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GW Branch Line (III) - a Portable Layout Puzzle


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Keith,

I'm not sure what level your carpentry skills are. I'm sure better than mine! 

For my open-top baseboards I created longitudinal L beams using pre-cut skirting boards; 2 glued and screwed at right angles with 2 of these beams used to make each baseboard.  Light, strong, straight, quick to make, and relatively cheap.

 

For a FY how about using a "lazy susan" with a rectangular piece of ply on top?

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I don't really think you need worry at all about turning passenger stock, especially in the period when formations were very different from the way BR moved in the 1960s putting 1st Class at the London end.  and as far as the GWR was concerned with corridors what happened in reality on the ground to 'handed' corridor vehicles fairly quickly turned into something quite a way from the designer's v clever intentions.  esecially so when it was the usual procedure to just specify how many seats an extra vehicle should have rather than what sort of vehicle it should be!

 

As far as I know the older Travelling Post Office vehicles only had the nets etc on one side so had to be turned before going back the other way (hence for example there was a turntable in the midst of the passenger yard at Old Oak Common for many years and it wasn't there to turn engines. 

 

But coming to the final and most important point I wouldn't worry at all about using cassettes to turn coaching stock.  However if it does still concern you the answer is to use two part cassettes with ine for the engine and another for the (passenger) train.  All you then need to do is swop over the position of the engine cassette between a train arriving in the fiddle yard and its departure.  Not a new idea so i don't claim credit for it.

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36 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Did Night Mail coaches have the facility to catch Mailbags on both sides, or do they need turning to face lineside in both directions?

As Mike says, where possible they were turned at each end of their runs but if this wasn't practicable, such as with the West of England TPO to and from Penzance, two vans were marshalled with the pick-up/set-down gear on opposite sides.

 

Here's my (truncated) representation of the Up train:

 

1953997935_20200807001D601on1840SOPenzance-PaddingtonTPO.JPG.c45c130d412282b3df71cc207f530164.JPG

Edited by St Enodoc
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I think cassettes still have the edge in this context because they can be slid, lifted over each other to shuffle their order and turned more easily than other solutions should you wish to do so. Any solution with a fixed axis requires that axis to be away from the wall (or furniture) and the arc swept out by the deck can take up a lot of space in the operating well. There might be the physical space to rotate the deck after the operator has stepped aside but it's just awkward to live with in a small space.

 

Cassettes can be rotated in a kind of three point turn that doesn't require the operator to leave the room... :wink_mini:

 

And away from the layout there are the added benefits of transporting and storing stock.

 

BTW: For extra flexibility I would suggest not having the cassette connection at the very back of the board. You can then slide a cassette into place from both in front and from behind.

 

Keith, I've got some suggested tweaks to your "Fairford-ish" plan. Is it OK to post a drawing here? That's the simplest way to explain them.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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Regarding building a turntable, Grainge & Hodder used to offer a laser cut one (as shown in the image on this page). https://www.graingeandhodder.co.uk/store/c3/Traversers.html

 

You need no carpentry skills to put their normal boards together, but I don't know about the turntable (or if they'd still make you one, but I don't see why you couldn't contact them to request it if you wanted) or for that matter the traverser. I imagine they'd both be pretty lightweight based on the boards I have (1m x 45cm each to Freemo spec).

 

Just an FYI, if you were considering the suggestion from the last page... (No connection, just a customer from a couple of years back).

Edited by Zomboid
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2 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

Keith, I've got some suggested tweaks to your "Fairford-ish" plan. Is it OK to post a drawing here? That's the simplest way to explain them.

 


Fire away - it’s just one option for my space, but I’d definitely be interested in seeing more - and who knows who may be looking for something at some future point.  Shall I take a guess and speculate you can show us how to include a turntable?

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Thanks Keith!

 

1671812815_KAFairfordish18.png.2f21d21c71491272fc2f745d10ba6779.png

 

It's a little bit lumpy but the important points are:

  • Platform line has a clear run of 915mm (after leaving the R2 curve) - just countryside in front.
  • The main line continues around to the loco release spur, and...
    • All loco facilities and the run round loop are below it, inc. 55ft turntable. (Loco movements need the run round loop to be kept generally free.)
    • All goods facilities are above it. Staggered turnouts at the release end give some headshunt space for the goods loop.
  • I allowed the release spur to get close to the end of the layout because it's obscured by the engine shed.
  • Stubby end loading dock - just long enough for one van.
  • Minimum radius turnout: Medium (i.e. ~3ft).
  • Cassette connection on hidden curve board (so no need for another baseboard rail joint) and away from the back edge of the cassette table.

 

Edit: I forgot to point out that there's no dedicated carriage siding in this plan... Is that a huge flaw?

 

Edited by Harlequin
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55 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

Thanks Keith!

 

1671812815_KAFairfordish18.png.2f21d21c71491272fc2f745d10ba6779.png

 

It's a little bit lumpy but the important points are:

  • Platform line has a clear run of 915mm (after leaving the R2 curve) - just countryside in front.
  • The main line continues around to the loco release spur, and...
    • All loco facilities and the run round loop are below it, inc. 55ft turntable. (Loco movements need the run round loop to be kept generally free.)
    • All goods facilities are above it. Staggered turnouts at the release end give some headshunt space for the goods loop.
  • I allowed the release spur to get close to the end of the layout because it's obscured by the engine shed.
  • Stubby end loading dock - just long enough for one van.
  • Minimum radius turnout: Medium (i.e. ~3ft).
  • Cassette connection on hidden curve board (so no need for another baseboard rail joint) and away from the back edge of the cassette table.

 

Edit: I forgot to point out that there's no dedicated carriage siding in this plan... Is that a huge flaw?

 


Thank you: I would say this “breathes” if that makes sense: one of the features of a country BLT.
 

With the engine shed and turntable on the ‘correct’ side of the running line, could you get away with putting the carriage siding in where it was - off the other loop? That end of the layout could then look very much like the original.  Given where the operator has to stand, you can’t see both the Engine Shed and Station building at the same time - even in this small space - so I think it would be worth a try, as I think there were two carriage sets stabled overnight for the morning departures.

 

If I could make one small suggestion, I think a second trap point on the running line (next to the loop one) would be recommended, based on how @The Stationmaster has explained the whole of the part beyond the Station was treated like a yard: I’m not an expert, but I think there is a trap point on the running line in photos in the Karau’s book.

_____________________________

 

I may not be around much for the next couple of days, but aim to get everything checked and remeasured for the weekend, so hope to have a general update by the end of the week.  Our daughter was home for a few days last week, which was nice, but I obviously wasn’t going to go into her room with a tape measure, even though she’s fine with me using the space when she’s away.

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The obvious place for the carriage siding would be parallel to and inside the platform road - which would of course completely ruin the effect Phil is searching for ......

 

 

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Continuing the goods loop parallel to the loco release would give a 2 coach carriage siding, which should be enough to give the impression of Fairford. Given the space I'd happily take the compromise that the last arrival/ first departure of the day could only be 2 coaches.

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2 hours ago, Zomboid said:

Continuing the goods loop parallel to the loco release would give a 2 coach carriage siding, which should be enough to give the impression of Fairford. Given the space I'd happily take the compromise that the last arrival/ first departure of the day could only be 2 coaches.

 

I can't see how that would be workable, given that wagons need to stand on the goods loop (or what is it for?).

 

Come to that, while I understand the desire to use the space in the corner, I think a closer representation of the goods yard at Fairford would (with one exception) be easier to work.  That was basically a long siding, divided in the middle by a crossover,so each part could be shunted separately from the platform end.  The short kickback to a loading dock is the exception to easy working and either was not loco shunted or required a loco to enter the goods shed.

 

As the runround on Phil's latest plan is significantly longer than the trains that will be run, I think that the points at the station end could be swapped to increase the length of the goods sidings somewhat without it becoming cramped.  I also don't see why the loco facilities shouldn't reflect the prototype more closely, giving something like the very hasty sketch below (swapped points arrowed):

 

Studio_20200902_204743.jpg.2be048787b4b2a3c32c1e068212751f7.jpg

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1 hour ago, Flying Pig said:

 

I can't see how that would be workable, given that wagons need to stand on the goods loop (or what is it for?).

 

Come to that, while I understand the desire to use the space in the corner, I think a closer representation of the goods yard at Fairford would (with one exception) be easier to work.  That was basically a long siding, divided in the middle by a crossover,so each part could be shunted separately from the platform end.  The short kickback to a loading dock is the exception to easy working and either was not loco shunted or required a loco to enter the goods shed.

 

As the runround on Phil's latest plan is significantly longer than the trains that will be run, I think that the points at the station end could be swapped to increase the length of the goods sidings somewhat without it becoming cramped.  I also don't see why the loco facilities shouldn't reflect the prototype more closely, giving something like the very hasty sketch below (swapped points arrowed):

 

Studio_20200902_204743.jpg.2be048787b4b2a3c32c1e068212751f7.jpg

 

You're right that my run round is longer than it needs to be. It's roughly 1100mm between clearance points and 3 coaches would be, say, 800mm allowing some leeway. I hadn't measured it properly until just now and didn't realise it was quite that long.

 

So there is some room to optimise things. I was worried that the goods loop looked a bit short.

 

The goods shed in the top left corner does make good use of the space, though, and the turntable gets more difficult to fit the further left you move it - especially because there's likely to be a baseboard joint in the vicinity.

 

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13 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

The goods shed in the top left corner does make good use of the space, though,

 

The advantage of the prototype arrangement, which admittedly does appear strange at first sight, is that it can be shunted conveniently from the main line.  The goods loop in your plan doesn't appear to have any purpose - it has to be kept clear for use as a headshunt for the siding, but the siding could equally well come directly off the main line.

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12 hours ago, Flying Pig said:

 

The advantage of the prototype arrangement, which admittedly does appear strange at first sight, is that it can be shunted conveniently from the main line.  The goods loop in your plan doesn't appear to have any purpose - it has to be kept clear for use as a headshunt for the siding, but the siding could equally well come directly off the main line.

 

Yes... You can see that it could be shunted by either removing or using any vehicles stood on the goods loop but that seems a bit unnecessary.

 

Hmmm...

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14 hours ago, Chimer said:

The obvious place for the carriage siding would be parallel to and inside the platform road - which would of course completely ruin the effect Phil is searching for ......

 

 

 

Indeed - I had a look at this in one of my earlier versions (page 4), with precisely the result you describe.

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To explain the  position of the Goods Shed in the corner, it kind of happened by accident when I did my initial “might this fit” sketch (page 3).  I didn’t have enough space left for the building to fit on the loop as it was too close to the edge of the baseboard, so I tucked it into the corner as it would fit, and was on the same side of the running line as the Station.  It just kind of stayed there in subsequent iterations.  I kept the Cattle Dock on the loop siding.  I justified the “kickback“ Goods Yard on the basis Fairford wasn’t intended to be a Terminus, which also gives me a reason for a double ended Goods Siding, but I didn’t make it easy to shunt the Goods Shed as a result (it’s OK for it to be awkward to shunt the loading dock - it was).

 

13 hours ago, Zomboid said:

Continuing the goods loop parallel to the loco release would give a 2 coach carriage siding, which should be enough to give the impression of Fairford. Given the space I'd happily take the compromise that the last arrival/ first departure of the day could only be 2 coaches.


That was my thinking: it assumes the later version of the plan where the cattle dock has gone (as in reality).  I think the carriage siding was a later addition too.  As I’ve drawn it, the Goods Loop is then really just a second run round loop and headshunt for the corner Goods Yard, so I think a carriage siding could come off it.  If the Goods Loop is used as a siding it wouldn’t work.

 

I suppose, thinking about it, the alternative is to not have the carriage Siding - Harlequin’s loop might just be long enough for two, 2-coach sets to be stabled on the running line (which is no longer a running line once it is past the station, as I understand it).  Might involve a bit of shuffling at the end of the day, but could be an option.

 

10 hours ago, Flying Pig said:

 

I can't see how that would be workable, given that wagons need to stand on the goods loop (or what is it for?).

 

Come to that, while I understand the desire to use the space in the corner, I think a closer representation of the goods yard at Fairford would (with one exception) be easier to work.  That was basically a long siding, divided in the middle by a crossover,so each part could be shunted separately from the platform end.  The short kickback to a loading dock is the exception to easy working and either was not loco shunted or required a loco to enter the goods shed.

 

As the runround on Phil's latest plan is significantly longer than the trains that will be run, I think that the points at the station end could be swapped to increase the length of the goods sidings somewhat without it becoming cramped.  I also don't see why the loco facilities shouldn't reflect the prototype more closely, giving something like the very hasty sketch below (swapped points arrowed):

 

Studio_20200902_204743.jpg.2be048787b4b2a3c32c1e068212751f7.jpg


I’ve been shown a RM layout plan drawn by Stanley C. Jenkins from the 1970s that also has this arrangement by the way, where the Goods Loop doesn’t rejoin the running line: effectively you have the two crossovers into the Goods Loop but not the end point. The later version of the Fairford plan in Karau’s book also looks like this - it does not show the Goods Siding as a loop any more; just pull the second crossover closer to the Goods Shed and it looks like that.

 

8 hours ago, Flying Pig said:

 

The advantage of the prototype arrangement, which admittedly does appear strange at first sight, is that it can be shunted conveniently from the main line.  The goods loop in your plan doesn't appear to have any purpose - it has to be kept clear for use as a headshunt for the siding, but the siding could equally well come directly off the main line.


Agreed - that’s how my sketches basically evolved (as above).  Without the loop I don’t think it looks like Fairford, but it was actually the Goods Siding, as you say, and intended to be accessed from both ends as is usual for such through stations.  Take away the run round loop and engine facilities and I think the plan is identical to Lechlade, the next station along the line - it even appears to have had the same crossovers into the Goods Shed / loading dock siding.

 

All helpful points, thank you - making me think more about the Goods side of operations.  Keith.

 

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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On 01/09/2020 at 21:01, Harlequin said:

Hi Keith,

Suggestion regarding supports and cantilevering over the bed and desk:

Use 4 of those cheap, lightweight, folding work stands:

1956107831_KA17b.png.bf6a6632b8d2bf3e7be7e2993b1c7219.png

 

The three main scenic baseboards in this drawing are all the same size, 22in by 44in. On the left one of the long boards and the smaller hidden curve board are bolted together at the joint to support each other.

 


Phil, could I ask a quick question on these trestles (I think you said you have some?). The website gives measurements for the trestles as 792mm high - I think that means working height when folded out (not storage size when folded flat).  I make 792mm just under 31.5”.  The footprint is given as 572mm by 578mm which is close enough it doesn’t matter which way is which (23” sq. covers it).  I’d go and look, but the website still says they’re not in stock here at the moment so I thought I’d ask.   Thanks, Keith.

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24 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


Phil, could I ask a quick question on these trestles (I think you said you have some?). The website gives measurements for the trestles as 792mm high - I think that means working height when folded out (not storage size when folded flat).  I make 792mm just under 31.5”.  The footprint is given as 572mm by 578mm which is close enough it doesn’t matter which way is which (23” sq. covers it).  I’d go and look, but the website still says they’re not in stock here at the moment so I thought I’d ask.   Thanks, Keith.

 

When they are opened out they are ~440mm across the splay and exactly 750mm tall. So the 792 must refer to the folded size. They weren't in my local B&Q last time I looked either.

 

There are lots of similar products but those were the cheapest/simplest. You could go for the metal ones with the top bar that rises to get clearance above your desk but... they are heavy, painful when they hit your ankle and more tedious to setup and adjust.

 

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A couple of things - firstly as already noted by Keith there needs to be a trap in the principal line beyond the platform because it can't be trapped by using any of the various points as a crossover arrangement to protect the passenger line in the platform.

 

Stabling two short coaching sets is very straightforward on the plans and variants posted on this page - the two sets sit one behind the other on the central line of the three.   The stopblock end set would however have to be moved to the run round loop (by the second engine at Fairford) to make room for any arriving train,  Once that arrives on the centre road the engine and stock on the run round loop runs out past the platform onto the single line clear of the Starting Signal. (that Shunt Ahead subsidiary signal is obcviously there for a good reason) so the arriving train can run round and/or shunt.

 

That means you can work to the real 1948 timetable if you wish -

1. First engine from shed collects the 'open' passenger set, runs to platform and departs at 07.00

2. Second engine from shed collects second set of coaches from centre road and shunts them towards the platform and then back into the run round loop.

3. Freight arrives on centre road at 08.55 - it has a little headroom to shunt the good shed from that end but the passenger stock on the runround loop can either shunt into the section past the Starting Signal to allow the freight to runround or simply move to the platform ready to depart at 09.15, which then gives the freight 40 minutes to shunt if it needs to run back as far as the platform.

4. Freight shunting clears the platform no later than 09.55 in order to allow acceptance of the 10.05 passenger train arrival and also ensures that the centre road and runround loop are clear to allow that train to runround after arrival.

5. After runround the 10.05 arrival shunts to the runround loop to leave the centre road clear for the 10.42 arrival to run forward clear of the platform (which in the simplest arrangement means the 10.05 arrival works the 11.05 departure).

 

The only potential problem I can immediately see is the need to make a back shunt to get to the goods shed and dock with limited headroom in the neck but freight traffic would be comparatively light.  However far worse is where coal wagons will be standing and the only available space seem for them to be the goods loop so using it to shunt will involve moving coal wagons to one side (wherever that might be)

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On 31/08/2020 at 11:37, The Stationmaster said:

As Fairford seems to keep coming to the fore I've added below the Service Timetables (STT - GWR speak for WTT) for October 1910 and September 1948 - so they are both the Winter service.  The ones below are of course readily available online.  While I can't easily copy them I have the Summer period STTs for 1891, 1901, and 1938 in my collection so can possibly answer queries should they arise.

 

The 1948 tables will enlarge if you click on them.

 

October 1910

1910.jpg.6026e78900ab11e5c9b80f66df92ad2f.jpg

 

 

September 1948

418278609_1948down.jpg.8fc6a5e3f6ab754fe8a6ac7fe1437191.jpg

 

 1851535464_Sept1948Up.jpg.b52aa40f7992e4ee694384dd4ac53f63.jpg

 

 

 

 

 


Thank you for this.
 

I also have access to timetables from 1937 and 1950 in Karau’s book (I don’t think it says whether they are Summer or Winter timetables).  I’ve not had time to compare them in any detail yet, which I should do when I get a chance, but I just wondered as part of thinking things through if the basic pattern at Fairford shown in these timetables (7 Passenger and 2 Freight) changed much - it seems consistent across the four timetables I can see?  
 

It sets a basic requirement for four trains to operate the station (compared to, say Ashburton, which I think usually had 1 Freight and an Autocoach passenger train that shuttled up and down, so just needs two).  
 

This is before Specials, excursions, through coaches and all the other usual modelling variations we add in of course.

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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

A couple of things - firstly as already noted by Keith there needs to be a trap in the principal line beyond the platform because it can't be trapped by using any of the various points as a crossover arrangement to protect the passenger line in the platform.

 

Stabling two short coaching sets is very straightforward on the plans and variants posted on this page - the two sets sit one behind the other on the central line of the three.   The stopblock end set would however have to be moved to the run round loop (by the second engine at Fairford) to make room for any arriving train,  Once that arrives on the centre road the engine and stock on the run round loop runs out past the platform onto the single line clear of the Starting Signal. (that Shunt Ahead subsidiary signal is obcviously there for a good reason) so the arriving train can run round and/or shunt.

 

That means you can work to the real 1948 timetable if you wish -

1. First engine from shed collects the 'open' passenger set, runs to platform and departs at 07.00

2. Second engine from shed collects second set of coaches from centre road and shunts them towards the platform and then back into the run round loop.

3. Freight arrives on centre road at 08.55 - it has a little headroom to shunt the good shed from that end but the passenger stock on the runround loop can either shunt into the section past the Starting Signal to allow the freight to runround or simply move to the platform ready to depart at 09.15, which then gives the freight 40 minutes to shunt if it needs to run back as far as the platform.

4. Freight shunting clears the platform no later than 09.55 in order to allow acceptance of the 10.05 passenger train arrival and also ensures that the centre road and runround loop are clear to allow that train to runround after arrival.

5. After runround the 10.05 arrival shunts to the runround loop to leave the centre road clear for the 10.42 arrival to run forward clear of the platform (which in the simplest arrangement means the 10.05 arrival works the 11.05 departure).

 

The only potential problem I can immediately see is the need to make a back shunt to get to the goods shed and dock with limited headroom in the neck but freight traffic would be comparatively light.  However far worse is where coal wagons will be standing and the only available space seem for them to be the goods loop so using it to shunt will involve moving coal wagons to one side (wherever that might be)


Thank you - in my world, this sounds like fun.  While the carriage siding was in place by 1948 it sounds like it can be classed as optional for a model.  In terms of coal traffic, the extra wartime siding would have been in place by then, which I haven’t included in any of the versions yet.  From what I can tell, the point for that extra siding was immediately after the Goods Shed and before the second crossover into the Goods loop, presumably to give the maximum possible length for the siding before the turntable.
 

Thanks, Keith.

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2 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


Thank you for this.
 

I also have access to timetables from 1937 and 1950 in Karau’s book (I don’t think it says whether they are Summer or Winter timetables).  I’ve not had time to compare them in any detail yet, which I should do when I get a chance, but I just wondered as part of thinking things through if the basic pattern at Fairford shown in these timetables (7 Passenger and 2 Freight) changed much - it seems consistent across the four timetables I can see?  
 

It sets a basic requirement for four trains to operate the station (compared to, say Ashburton, which I think usually had 1 Freight and an Autocoach passenger train that shuttled up and down, so just needs two).  
 

This is before Specials, excursions, through coaches and all the other usual modelling variations we add in of course.

The most likely increase  in the level of  freight workings - judging by other lines - would have been during and immediately after WWII (and up to the very early 1950s in some cases) as that was the period when the traffic in 'military stores' was at its height after WWII.  Unless it involved additional trains which were not in teh STT RAF Fairford appears not to have generated any additional freight taffic as it was still operational in 1948,  and even more so in 1950.

 

The most common railborne traffic for airbases were bombs (there wouldn't have been any until the USAF mo ved in after the war) and fuel and if these existed as noticeable flows they would have almost certainly have been mentioned in Paul's work.

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3 trains on scene between 1042 and 1105, too, since the freight is still hanging about (guess it'll be ready to go since it departs at 1115 once the 1105 is past Lechlade). That'll be fun making sure you don't get totally gummed up.

 

It'll be even more fun with the turntable and a requirement that all locos depart smokebox first.

 

Shame it's G*R, really. I'd be surveying places to build it if it were Southern...

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23 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


Thank you - in my world, this sounds like fun.  While the carriage siding was in place by 1948 it sounds like it can be classed as optional for a model.  In terms of coal traffic, the extra wartime siding would have been in place by then, which I haven’t included in any of the versions yet.  From what I can tell, the point for that extra siding was immediately after the Goods Shed and before the second crossover into the Goods loop, presumably to give the maximum possible length for the siding before the turntable.
 

Thanks, Keith.

 

It's encouraging that Mike thinks that the Fairford variations with the kickback goods shed are workable. The addition of a coal siding would make sense but the danger is that the plan might start to look a bit overdeveloped.

 

Without redesigning the plan from scratch, maybe the simplest and most open position would be alongside the goods shed track, something like this:

1710511184_KAFairfordish19.png.40a093364cd73434039bf2d5e9454409.png

That's just a quick hack: You can see that I haven't aligned the new turnout properly. (Also, the extra required trap is not yet inserted and the run round loop is still longer than strictly needed.)

 

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