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Some context here - skip to just above the image for my track plan query

 

This layout is the first (perhaps of one, perhaps of many more) set on the fictional British colony of Clarke Island. It has an expansive rail network, which was initially developed by the island's political and business elite to transport their products (with much of the planning and rolling stock construction contracted to GWR). Initially, this was mainly to export goods back to Britain, but as industrialised parts of the island started to become more wealthy its importance in transporting goods and people across the country increased. As the development of road transport in Great Britain hit the rail network hard, the government of an increasingly autonomous Clarke Island resisted the urge to follow the trend, with one official quoted as saying 'people jumping into metal boxes at any time they like; driving anywhere they like; all while trying to avoid thousands of other people doing the same thing will never match the safety or the efficiency of a properly run rail network'.

 

Instead, events in Britain saw the network go from strength to strength. BR's policy of rapid dieselisation had two effects on Clarke Island's Railways. Firstly, it made a large number of steam locomotives, many quite modern designs, available to the railway as long as they could pay the scrap price and the transportation costs. Having forseen this situation after the publication of the 1955 Modernisation Plan, The railway had purchased HMS Indefatigable, an aircraft carrier now surplus to the Royal Navy's requirements, and converted it for the transportation of large numbers of rail vehicles*. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the first modern traction classes were shipped as surplus in this manner. This included the diesel hydraulics considered by BR to be non-standard (alongside a number of engineers from Swindon who were able to maintain them) and various 350hp shunters which were no longer required due to the changing nature of rail traffic in Great Britain. The delivery of surplus BR locomotives, and the Island's willingness to use them, meant that officials were able to evaluate the various locomotives ordered by BR to replace steam before placing their own orders for the most useful.

 

By the late 1980s, the rail network was still strong, however some branches had a limited service over poor infrastructure, especially in comparison to the standards of the main lines. One of these was the branch to Westhaven**. In common with a number of other short branches, usually those in rural areas less than 5 miles long, it had been suggested that this line was built to a lower standard, not much higher than the light railways of Great Britain, as a cost saving measure. Despite frequent campaigning from residents and local businesses most of these towns and villages would have to wait until the mid 1990s for their lines to be upgraded to mainline standards, a change which was often complemented by the introduction of DMUs and more frequent services for both passengers and goods. Until this time, line speeds were limited to 45km/h (Clarke Island had switched to the metric system in the 1970s) and services were often worked by small locos. In many cases, the locomotive working services on the branch would also act as a pilot at the junction station. While the mainlines were now using Mk1 BGs to transport most goods (with some adapted to provide refrigeration or freezer facilities) the limited speeds of these branches did not require this, so vans from the steam era were not an uncommon site.

 

The 1989 timetable shows that two trains per day ran to Westhaven, usually operated by a BR class 09 (Clarke Island Railways had converted a number of class 08s to operate these lines). These ran in the morning and evening, each connecting to an important commuter service at Dornock Junction. An additional train ran on Monday mornings and Friday evenings, while on weekends during the summer various steam locomotives were scheduled to haul tourist specials to the coastal resort.

 

With context out of the way, here is the scenic part of the layout (the fiddle yard will two tracks entering the scene from the top left). It is pretty much identical to Bridport West Bay, with a very short kickback siding removed. As I envisage it, the bottomost track is the platform, which is likely to have a small station building. The long siding at the top is the main goods siding, while the smaller siding may be used for livestock, but I am not committed to this. The layout is 1082mmx640mm. According to Anyrail, the lengths of each track section which uses flexitrack are:

- platform 645.01mm (enough for two Mk1 equivalents I think)

- headshunt 232mm (enough for the larger tank engines and double headed Holden 101s which may work the specials)

- short siding 298.31mm

All other track pieces shown are settrack - 3*RH points, 3*double straight, 1*R2 22.5, 1*R3 22.5.

Any advice about this layout would be appreciated, particularly as this is my first shunting layout. If I have made any glaring errors in the trackplan which would be unsafe (I hope to have avoided this by drawing inspiration from West Bay) then please correct these too. As I mentioned above, the idea of the short siding of a cattle dock is good enough but I would be open to suggestions for something else to go in its place. I'm also wondering about the big empty space. I am currently imagining fields with a track running from the platfrom towards the town (just off scene on the right). A coastal scene isn't really an option as I have no way of lifting the track above the main board or placing the sea below it, so I am imagining that the sea front is in the town itself.

image.png.dcffb02c8baf4d2c7c0c9acf197c5f2c.png

 

 

*I have just made this up and have no knowlege of boats. Please inform me if you feel that there is a more obvious solution (e.g. because a ferry would be able to do the job) for transporting hundreds of rail vehicles to roughly the location of the Azores (yes - the island is arguably too big to be believable but I don't really care about this). Alternatively, if they should have bought another carrier in order to increase capacity please contact me and that can also be resolved.

 

**All town and station names TBC

image.png

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The triangular grey space confused me until I looked at the pictures and saw it was a goods yard area, I initially thought it was another platform which would have been very odd.  Obviously shunting the yard needs to use the main line (i.e. the fiddle yard in this case) as a goods headshunt, which is unfortunate as the stock will keep disappearing off scene.  I wouldn't curve the "cattle dock" siding, especially if you're using tension lock couplings which need a straight bit of track for the uncoupling ramp, and the curve would make loading beasts (or anything really) a bit more difficult.  Also, don't forget you may lose a bit of length on the run-round headshunt to the buffer stop, and your 2 Mk 1s in the platform need to be far enough clear of the points at each end for the loco to get past.

 

All that said, yes it will work and given the space available I can't see how you could do much more.  I take it you can't give up the empty triangle bottom left to the domestic authority, in exchange for more useful space elsewhere?

 

Finally, putting my ex-naval hat on, I can't think of any less economical vessel for shifting railway engines around the ocean in the 1950s than a retired aircraft carrier burning heavy fuel oil in boilers to drive a steam turbine plant needing over a dozen stokers in each watch to keep it running - but as my imagination requires a mirror image Settle and Carlisle running north-east towards Newcastle, who am I to quibble?

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Clarke Island sounds great, bit like my plans for an Isle of Skye railway.  There were some good bargains in he 1970s, class 14s, and maybe class 22 and Warships, locos which could be maintained by fairly small workshops due to their relatively light power unit.

I thought the dark area was a dock!  If that is the space you have available and you want to use off the shelf set track, then its pretty good.  Personally I would cut and shut set track points going for a 45mm track spacing and squeeze an extra siding in, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone less versed in bodgery than myself.

I am no expert on Aircraft carriers but wasn't indefat one of the two "Double Decker" carriers with low roofed, 14ft high hangers which would have been too low when track and Railway stock was loaded.

A light fleet carrier would be a better bet.   Trains in the Hanger, cars on deck!   Could be adapted for Roll on Roll off  rail traffic through the stern

Edited by DavidCBroad
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Hi DK, I like the idea of the backstory - plenty of scope even for a small layout.  I was just wondering if your operating position is above (or "North") of the layout or below ("South") as I think that could have quite a difference?  Personally, I wouldn't want to be reaching across the open, scenic area for every uncoupling manoeuvre if I could avoid it - I'd be forever knocking off chimney pots and leaning on the scenery.

 

I think your platform length should be OK for a two coach train - but if you can check the clearances before fixing down your track it might be really helpful (I speak from experience).  The run round track of 232mm should also be OK for the locos you mention, but if there's room to leave a few extra mm for any future purchases that might be wise - there are several different types of buffer stop available that may also add (or deduct) a few vital mm.

 

Finally, another good thing about this track plan is that placing the platform at an angle not only gives you a bit more space but also avoids the tight "S" curves that come with crossovers using Setrack points: the only change I'd make is the one @Chimer has suggested of straightening the short goods siding to make coupling easier.  Keith.

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Could you flip this to put the platform at the back?  As it is, the platform and any station buildings will tend to hide both the trains and the sidings and you'll always be reaching over to operate.  What sort of fiddling space do you have?

 

2 hours ago, Chimer said:

Also, don't forget you may lose a bit of length on the run-round headshunt to the buffer stop, and your 2 Mk 1s in the platform need to be far enough clear of the points at each end for the loco to get past.

 

Perhaps a couple of Bachmann 57' Mk1 non gangwayed carriages would be better? Or even bits of DMU, so long as they're the short-frame type - Class 101, 108 or 110 are fine.  DMU driving trailers have been operated as observation cars. 

Edited by Flying Pig
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I would add another siding into the goods yard from a point in the loop, maybe running parallel to the top siding.  You could then shunt three sidings.

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4 hours ago, Chimer said:

I wouldn't curve the "cattle dock" siding, especially if you're using tension lock couplings which need a straight bit of track for the uncoupling ramp, and the curve would make loading beasts (or anything really) a bit more difficult.

I'll have a closer look at possibilities for that siding when I have the track and some wagons ready to experiment with. I am using tension locks (though so far I have always used the 'hand/magnet of god' rather than dedicated uncouplers. I might investigate that option now that you've mentioned it, but it wasn't a consideration when creating the initial design.

 

4 hours ago, Chimer said:

I take it you can't give up the empty triangle bottom left to the domestic authority, in exchange for more useful space elsewhere?

You are correct.

 

4 hours ago, Chimer said:

Finally, putting my ex-naval hat on, I can't think of any less economical vessel...

I rather suspected that this may be the case.

 

3 hours ago, DavidCBroad said:

Personally I would cut and shut set track points going for a 45mm track spacing and squeeze an extra siding in, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone less versed in bodgery than myself.

I am no expert on Aircraft carriers but wasn't indefat one of the two "Double Decker" carriers with low roofed, 14ft high hangers which would have been too low when track and Railway stock was loaded.

Wikipedia confirms this to be the case - you might squeeze some smaller stock in if you're careful but I agree it wouldn't be that useful. I am certainly not ready to cut up points!

2 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Hi DK, I like the idea of the backstory - plenty of scope even for a small layout.  I was just wondering if your operating position is above (or "North") of the layout or below ("South") as I think that could have quite a difference?  Personally, I wouldn't want to be reaching across the open, scenic area for every uncoupling manoeuvre if I could avoid it - I'd be forever knocking off chimney pots and leaning on the scenery.

 

1 hour ago, Flying Pig said:

Could you flip this to put the platform at the back?  As it is, the platform and any station buildings will tend to hide both the trains and the sidings and you'll always be reaching over to operate.  What sort of fiddling space do you have?

It was going to be operated from the bottom but you both make good points and I have also realised an issue with the fiddle yard location, so I will probably rotate the plan 180 degrees.

 

2 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

I think your platform length should be OK for a two coach train - but if you can check the clearances before fixing down your track it might be really helpful (I speak from experience).  The run round track of 232mm should also be OK for the locos you mention, but if there's room to leave a few extra mm for any future purchases that might be wise - there are several different types of buffer stop available that may also add (or deduct) a few vital mm.

I think the coaches should fit from trials I have done in the past with similar lengths but I will of course check this. I planned to use a bufferstop which would not take up any track - the standard Hornby one is certainly off the table.

 

3 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Finally, another good thing about this track plan is that placing the platform at an angle not only gives you a bit more space but also avoids the tight "S" curves that come with crossovers using Setrack points: the only change I'd make is the one @Chimer has suggested of straightening the short goods siding to make coupling easier.  Keith.

While I've not designed a trackplan that I've really intended to build before (train-set style excluded) I have certainly read enough threads on here where the suggestion has been "try and do x to eliminate that S curve" that it was at the front of my mind to avoid one if possible (the space also helped with this).

 

1 hour ago, Flying Pig said:

Perhaps a couple of Bachmann 57' Mk1 non gangwayed carriages would be better? Or even bits of DMU, so long as they're the short-frame type - Class 101, 108 or 110 are fine.  DMU driving trailers have been operated as observation cars. 

I had considered 57' stock but I will have a go with standard Mk1s first. Shorter coaches remains a backup option, but likely a more expensive one. I could always use my single Stanier 57' (I think this was bought for the previous Hornby Hogwarts Castle to haul, but it definitely has LMS branding on) or my Collett Suburban (courtesy of the Virtual Exhibition's spot the difference contest) as a stopgap measure until I can find something more suitable if the Mk1s are too long.

55 minutes ago, Jeff Smith said:

I would add another siding into the goods yard from a point in the loop, maybe running parallel to the top siding.  You could then shunt three sidings.

A nice idea in theory to increase the number of possible manouvres, but I do wonder if it would make the layout too crowded. Having fewer sidings would probably also increase the difficulty of some tasks, making it more interesting. It would be difficult to add a third siding without an S bend too.

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13 minutes ago, DK123GWR said:

A nice idea in theory to increase the number of possible manouvres, but I do wonder if it would make the layout too crowded. Having fewer sidings would probably also increase the difficulty of some tasks, making it more interesting. It would be difficult to add a third siding without an S bend too.

The S bend would not really matter assuming you are running mostly 4 wheel goods wagons and a tank engine.  Goods yards often had spaced out sidings to allow access between sidings.  Many GWR BLTs had an end loading dock.  Parcels were usually unloaded at the platform.

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If you omitted the turnout that opens the run round loop and took both sides of the loop off-scene you'd have room for your Mk1s. (Use the FY to complete run round moves.)

That might give you a bit of leeway to have the track(s) enter the scene more centrally, which would help with the realism.

You could also give the platform a gentle curve to maximise the length and give the scene a more dynamic feel.

 

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51 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

If you omitted the turnout that opens the run round loop and took both sides of the loop off-scene you'd have room for your Mk1s. (Use the FY to complete run round moves.)

That might give you a bit of leeway to have the track(s) enter the scene more centrally, which would help with the realism.

You could also give the platform a gentle curve to maximise the length and give the scene a more dynamic feel.

 

Like this? I'm not sure whether the FY would fit under that arranngement and I am becoming increasingly confident that a pair of Mk1s will fit in the platform while a loco runs round under the current plans.

image.png.780dc964bc801fe522a140e2b3db207d.png

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If the lower grey block is the platform, it needs to be redrawn next to the track or, as this is the colonies (!), dispensed with altogether; passenger just jump down to ground level or are provided with sets of steps if they're first class...  If you have a raised platform, then I see no reason why it cannot be extended to the buffer stop.  

 

Passenger train, loco + 2x mk 1s arrives, loco stops a few feet short of buffers.  Passnegers detrain, parcels/mail is unloaded.  All doors are shut and loco sets back until the coaches are clear inside the run around loop.  Loco runs around, then couples to other end of stock for return journey.  A short time is allowed for the shunter to couple and connect the brake pipes and the guard carries out the brake continuity test (you don't need steam heating in the Azores), then the train sets back into the platform, stopping with what is now the rear coach a few feet from the buffers.  

 

Train is now ready for loading of mails and parcels, and passenger can be allowed to board.  There may even be room for 3 coaches, or 2 plus tail traffic.  The Qunister's kickback semi hidden headshunt enables goods shunting to take place at the same time as the passenger trains are arriving, departing, or setting back; they only need to be interrupted while the loco is actually performing the running around move.

 

I'm not happy about 09s as regular passenger locos, though.  I understand the reasoning; they are capable of 27mph as opposed to the 08's 15mph, but, well... 08s and 09s are famous for their extremely smooth riding qualities.  They can rival any Pullman or Royal Train Saloon, until that is you attempt to make them move.  At that point it's advisable to find something to hang on to, tightly; an old Canton driver who was eking out his days to retirement on Cardiff Docks once told me that he knew even in the darker recesses if he was off the road at night, because the ride got better.  Regular running with an 09 at anything above shunting speed is going to play havoc with the track.  Might I suggest a 22 as motive power, not much longer than a 350hp shunting engine...

 

I concur with the idea of a 3rd goods siding.  Goods facilities need a loading dock, an end loading dock, and a mileage road.  The mileage road is where customers on the cheapest (mileage) carriage rate who do their own loading and unloading can back their vehicles to the wagons; the coal road is usually the other side or further along it or one of the other roads.

 

Railway locomotives and rolling stock are usually carried stowed as deck cargo on ordinary merchant ships; they are too large to go through the hatchways into the cargo holds.  An aircraft carrier, even one where the engines had been replaced with something more economical (you don't really need to go charging about the high seas at 28knots or so in the peacetime cargo business), is not really suitable.  The flight deck, which I assume is where you were imagining the railway stock would be stowed, is higher than most cargo handling cranes capable of that sort of load can manage, and you can't access the aircraft spaces further down in the ship because the aircraft lifts are too small.  About a dozen locos or coaches, or 3 dozen 4 wheeled goods wagons, can be carried on a typical ocean going merchant vessel of 8,000 tons or so, and they don't all have to go at once, so the islands normal merchant shipping will be able to manage.  The train ferries were still in use during your period, for goods traffic Harwich-Hook of Holland and Dover-Calais for the 'Night Ferry', so would have been unavailable for this work, and perhaps not up to the rigours of the Western Approaches and the Bay of Biscay, not that the North Sea and the Straits of Dover don't have their off days...

 

You came up with a good little minimum space corner shunting puzzle plan and a viable back story, but I do think it's worth adopting Harlequin's suggestions; he is very good at this sort of thing!

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7 hours ago, DK123GWR said:

Like this? I'm not sure whether the FY would fit under that arranngement and I am becoming increasingly confident that a pair of Mk1s will fit in the platform while a loco runs round under the current plans.

image.png.780dc964bc801fe522a140e2b3db207d.png

Hmmm, not really...

What form of fiddle yard are you planning? A fan of sidings? Cassettes? Sector plate? How big?

I think for a layout this compact the fiddle yard needs to be an integral part of the plan.

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4 hours ago, The Johnster said:

If the lower grey block is the platform, it needs to be redrawn next to the track 

That's the sam platform as the first diagram, but I couldn't be bothered to redraw it.

 

4 hours ago, The Johnster said:

 The Qunister's kickback semi hidden headshunt enables goods shunting to take place at the same time as the passenger trains are arriving, departing, or setting back

I don't think there is much need for this as it is only a short single line, so I doubt there would be more than one loco present at any time.

 

4 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Might I suggest a 22 as motive power, not much longer than a 350hp shunting engine...

You might, but I have a 350hp shunter in an odd livery which runs well. After considering it in the past, I decided that I would not like to learn how to paint using this loco. By contrast, a very quick search yielded no class 22s available for under £50. Any that were under £100 were likely to rise due to being ebay auctions in progress. As a result, it may be very inconvenient to listen.

 

4 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Goods facilities need a loading dock, an end loading dock, and a mileage road

I'll see if I can incorporatre it. One option would be to replace the cattle dock with the mileage road (or move the loading dock to the cattle dock and the mileage road to the loading dock).

 

4 hours ago, Harlequin said:

What form of fiddle yard are you planning?

Something like this. but the lengths of the tracks are not exact as I would determine what is required through experimentation.

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Posted (edited)

What about something like this?

2066318753_DK123GWR1.png.8feb0da2a3b97a781f129616fb41ce10.png

 

  • The FY is on the left, viewed from the bottom, platform and station building at the top.
  • Uses two Streamline Large Y turnouts and a Streamline Small radius.
  • Run round completed in the FY. (I would suggest cassettes.)
  • The on-scene run round might just handle two Mk1s...?
  • Continuous curve on the platform until it reaches the loco release siding (and you could curve that too if you really wanted!)
  • Cattle dock off run round loop.
  • Goods siding at front.
  • Smooooth... :wink_mini:

 

Edited by Harlequin
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7 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

What about something like this?

2066318753_DK123GWR1.png.8feb0da2a3b97a781f129616fb41ce10.png

 

  • The FY is on the left, Viewed from the bottom, platform and station building at the top.
  • Two Streamline Large Y turnouts and a Streamline Small radius.
  • Run round completed in the FY. Might just handle two Mk1s...?
  • Continuous curve on the platform until it reaches the loco release siding (and you could curve that too if you really wanted!)
  • Cattle dock off run round loop.
  • Goods siding at front.

Its a nice design and it could certainly be made to look natural more easily than my original plan. However, one aspect that I didn't mention at first (but should have done) was my desire to build as much as possible using spare track and rolling stock. As I have no Streamline points, it doesn't really acheive that.

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4 minutes ago, DK123GWR said:

Its a nice design and it could certainly be made to look natural more easily than my original plan. However, one aspect that I didn't mention at first (but should have done) was my desire to build as much as possible using spare track and rolling stock. As I have no Streamline points, it doesn't really acheive that.

 

 

Making something beautiful and using up spare parts are not always comfortable bed-fellows but you might be lucky.

 

Maybe some other reader will find it useful.

 

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35 minutes ago, Flying Pig said:

[Making something beautiful]

... is not always the point, Phil.

 

Well, yes and no, but I was wrong to snipe at DK's Settrack if that's what he really wants to use. It was only meant to be a gentle hint. Maybe it came out wrong. Sorry.

 

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