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After a short break from railway modelling (well, about 40 years actually, since I "helped" my Dad to build a OO loft layout), I'm seriously considering building myself a small layout.  A few years ago I took up oil painting, and am particularly fond of painting steam locos (you can see some of them here:  https://www.grahamtownsend.com/gallery/).  While I was looking for reference pictures I came across RWWeb, and now I'm hooked.  I'm laying the blame especially with the creators of Warren Branch, Tetbury, Bishopscombe, and Hembourne, who have inspired me to post this.  You chaps have alot to answer for!

 

I have a 10 x 6 ft L-shape space available in a spare bedroom.  I'm looking at building something based on a GWR branch line terminus, set in a fairly flexible time period - perhaps 1930s to 1950s or something like that.  The terminus would sit on the longer side of the L, running round to a fiddle yard on the shorter side.  I don't want to be hyper-accurate, but am more concerned with creating the right sort of atmosphere.  That being said, I would like to build it in EM rather than OO.  It seems that there are ready-made Peco points and track available (I'm considering joining the EM Gauge Society), but was wondering how big a range of track is available.  For example, are there ready-made curved points?  I'm a reasonably competent model maker but don't really fancy building my own track...  On the same topic, would points in a goods yard area be the same radius as those on running lines, or tighter?

 

As far as stock goes, I'd like to run mainly tank engines - probably an 0-4-2 (fond memories of an Airfix one from my misspent youth), perhaps with an autocoach, panniers (of course), small Prairies, a Collett Goods, and a Mogul.  Maybe even a Manor if I think I can get away with it (and I'm already familiar with Rule 1, so why not?!)  But if I ran tender locos I guess I would need a turntable as well.  Would that be feasible in terms of realism, and also the space I've got to play with?  I would also like to be able to run three coach trains, but am not sure if that would fit, as of course I would need extra length at the buffer end of the platform for a run-round loop.  I'd really like to hear any thoughts you might have on that.

 

I have done some model making over the last few years, mostly 1:72 ships.  I built the old Matchbox model of the Flower class corvette as HMS Campanula, which you can see some pictures of here:  https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/theflowerclasscorvetteforums/hms-campanula-1-72-model-t730.html, and am also trying (struggling!) to finish an Airfix motor torpedo boat.  So I hope that building won't be too much of a problem - famous last words!

 

Final bit of rambling from me - I live in a rented flat, so, although the layout doesn't need to be as portable as one that was going to be used for exhibitions and so on, I do need to consider being able to move it at a later date without it being completely destroyed in the process!

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Your layout sounds really interesting and I can see similar thinking to mine. But I’m not able to give much advice as such. As I’m working on my first 00 gauge layout. But it is GWR and set in the 50/60s so might be of some interest. It's called Bovey Tor.

 

It's built on an open plywood frame and is supported on adjustable, metal shelf supports so it is moveable at least. Like you, I really appreciate fine scale track but do not fancy modelling it myself.

Edited by Gedward
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BTW, as I am also an oil painter, I thought I'd check out your work. A very impressive portfolio you have there. Particularly like the the intro cityscape image. Really like your style of work, there's a real sense of mood in many pieces. Excellent job. Can't wait to see what you do with the layout.

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If you’re a fan of GWR Branchlines I highly recommend you lose yourself in Kevin’s ‘Little Muddle’ thread on this site. It’s an incredible and inspirational layout indeed. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks very much Gedward.  I'm enjoying painting the 9F at the moment (after a David Shepherd original).  Now that one has some mood!

 

I think it will probably be a while before I actually "break ground" on the layout, lots of planning to do first.  But of course that's all part of the fun.

 

I took a look at your layout, really nice buildings.  I expect I will be asking to pick your brains when I finally get started, if you don't mind!

Edited by Graham T
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2 hours ago, JustinDean said:

If you’re a fan of GWR Branchlines I highly recommend you lose yourself in Kevin’s ‘Little Muddle’ thread on this site. It’s an incredible and inspirational layout indeed. 

I've already spent many hours looking at that one, in awe!  Thanks.

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52 minutes ago, Graham T said:

Thanks very much Gedward.  I'm enjoying painting the 9F at the moment (after a David Shepherd original).  Now that one has some mood!

 

I think it will probably be a while before I actually "break ground" on the layout, lots of planning to do first.  But of course that's all part of the fun.

 

I took a look at your layout, really nice buildings.  I expect I will be asking to pick your brains when I finally get started, if you don't mind!

 

When you're ready, you know where to find me. You're absolutely right with regards to the planning. It can be fun but also very frustrating when trying to tick all the boxes and finding that you just don't have the room anyway. And even after the 100th iteration, you'll still end up making changes once you start laying the track.

 

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Posted (edited)

Well now I really am committed (or perhaps I should be...)  Ordered myself an autocoach today.  So I thought I'd better make a proper start on the planning.

 

Here's my starter for ten.  As mentioned, the space I have available is 10' x 6'6", and here is my initial idea.  I know very well that this is probably going to change out of all recognition!  It will of course be another GWR branch line terminus.  I know very little about any of this, so will kick off with the first of what I'm sure will be a very long list of questions:

 

  1. Does the planned track layout make sense?  I'm not looking to build something based on absolute reality, but I'd like it to be at least feasible, and most importantly to look and feel right.
  2. The curve leading round into the fiddle yard is planned to be 24" radius.  Will that work for EM track?
  3. I've no idea how I will make a convincing break between the scenic section and the fiddle yard.  Any suggestions?
  4. The fiddle yard will be 4' long.  I'd like to run 3-coach trains, so I assume that will that be long enough?  Same question for the station itself, more importantly.
  5. I've planned for a turntable as I'd like to run tender locos (up to a Manor).  Would it be feasible to have a turntable at a small terminus like this?  If not, I'm assuming this sort of station wouldn't have seen tender locos?
  6. There's enough space to have another track running next to the runround loop, but I can't see a reason why there would be in real life?  (I'm also wary about trying to squeeze too much in, which I suspect I may have done already).
  7. I could make the runround loop a little longer if necessary.  Any thoughts one way or the other?
  8. What about swapping locations of the goods yard and the engine shed, and getting rid of the turntable?

Thanks very much in advance for any suggestions :)

Plan 1.pdf

Plan 1.jpg

Edited by Graham T
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I think it is a  bit of a stretch to have a turntable at this type of location but Rule 1 is also applicable.  There's nothing to say that tender engines can't run tender first either inbound or outbound from your station- I am sure somebody on RMWeb will be able to give an example of such a station in the real world

 

You also have to think about turning trains in the fiddle yard. Is 4ft long enough to hold a tender engine and 3 coaches which have come off the layout, plus a tender engine at the other end to take it back on? The alternative is handling the loco to switch ends, which will become frustrating, especially when there are trains on the tracks either side in the storage area. 

 

As for the track plan, a train can neither access nor depart from your short platform directly from the branch line- is this stub intended as a working platform, or is it a headshunt for the goods yard, or a layover siding for locos?

 

As for breaks between the scenic section and the fiddle yard, some modellers choose to suspend disbelief and just cut a hole in the sky ( a piece of board painted blue with a train sized hole cut in it), while others prefer a  more believable approach of having a tunnel mouth, or a road overbridge at the end of the scenic section.  Please note that if you choose the bridge option, it MUST have a bus on it.

 

:D

 

Enjoy. 

 

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Thanks 9C85.  I think I'll probably abandon the turntable; it didn't really feel right anyway...

 

I don't think I will mind handling the locos in the fiddle yard.  I'm more interested in making the layout look good as a scene than in the actual operations of it.  And I don't really see how I can extend the yard beyond 4ft anyway.  There is a doorway at the lower end, and if I go any further into the scenic area then the radius of the curve leading into the yard gets too tight I think.

 

The short platform is supposed to be a cattle dock and/or parcels bay.  Would that make sense?  I could reverse the point leading in to it.  As I'm probably going to get rid of the turntable then I might also move the goods yard to where the engine shed is on the current plan.

 

Thanks also for the tips on the scenic break.  I was thinking about a road overbridge (and also need to think about the whole topography of the site - I want it to look like countryside that a railway line was built through, rather than the other way around).  I was aware of the bus motif too - is that Rule 2?!  And of course I also need to think about scenery at the other end of the line too...

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How about an off scene turntable - tender locos reverse back into the FY and reappear reversing onto the layout.  Don’t know how easy it would be to fashion an EM locolift to make turning easier.

Paul.

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Thinking about the scenery and terrain, are you planning a back scene? It might be a good idea to think about that early days too.

 

I imagine with your artistic background, you'll want to paint it yourself. When photographing your layout, higher is better.

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53 minutes ago, 5BarVT said:

How about an off scene turntable - tender locos reverse back into the FY and reappear reversing onto the layout.  Don’t know how easy it would be to fashion an EM locolift to make turning easier.

Paul.

 

I'm leaning away from having a turntable to be honest.  Will just resort to the "Hand of God" in the fiddle yard, that will save me a lot of space.

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31 minutes ago, Gedward said:

Thinking about the scenery and terrain, are you planning a back scene? It might be a good idea to think about that early days too.

 

I imagine with your artistic background, you'll want to paint it yourself. When photographing your layout, higher is better.

 

Yes I'm definitely going to use back scenes.  I could paint them myself, but also really like the ones used on Bishopscombe.

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I am led to believe the bus stipulation is indeed Rule 2 :D

 

There's nothing stopping you having the short siding as a cattle dock as it stands in your first plan - it would add a bit of operational interest shunting stock in and out of it.

 

Also, if you move the goods yard to where the turntable is, you immediately have a reason for a road bridge over the track at the scenic break  - the goods have to arrive at/leave the yard by road somehow.

 

The current Goods Shed could then become another industrial siding - I am not sure, but from my experience of most layouts on here, Rule 3 states that is has to be a brewery.

 

Cheers :jester:

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1 hour ago, 9C85 said:

I am led to believe the bus stipulation is indeed Rule 2 :D

 

There's nothing stopping you having the short siding as a cattle dock as it stands in your first plan - it would add a bit of operational interest shunting stock in and out of it.

 

Also, if you move the goods yard to where the turntable is, you immediately have a reason for a road bridge over the track at the scenic break  - the goods have to arrive at/leave the yard by road somehow.

 

The current Goods Shed could then become another industrial siding - I am not sure, but from my experience of most layouts on here, Rule 3 states that is has to be a brewery.

 

Cheers :jester:

 

There seem to be an awful lot of rules...  I'm sure I will manage to break lots of them!

 

The cattle dock might become a shorter platform for the autocoach, and yes I think I will switch the goods yard and the engine shed (afraid I might be breaking Rule 3 already).  Perhaps put a cattle dock in the goods yard, hmm.

 

I'll post a revised plan a bit later today.

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At the moment the EM Gauge Society points are only B6 left and right, but they do hope to extend the range if there is sufficient interest I believe. They are made by Peco specifically for the EMGS so you would need to join to purchase them. This may seem odd but in this case Peco are purely the manufacturer - all the R&D and Investment costs were made by the Society.

 

Making your own isn't as hard as it looks - I would recommend Iain Rice's Wild Swan book for good advice.

 

Radius-wise, I would try to stick to 3' for a running line. Part of the draw of EM is getting away from the train-set curves. If your platform angled downwards instead of upwards, if that makes sense, you would need less curve to get round the corner, and could use a larger radius. 

 

If you plan to use 3-link couplings you might want to put the good facilities at the front and the engine shed at the back.

 

Good luck with the project.

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You could also have another scenic break where the current goods shed is. The hidden section would only need to be long enough for your autocoach and a small tank engine.  You could have that train shuttling on and off from the bay platform and providing a connecting service with the 3 coach trains which use the 'main' platform.

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If you want evidence of a turntable at a gwr but then Cardigan Town station had one located in front of the engine shed. Also on the subject of EM soon to be introduced by British Finescale. You can checkout the thread under hand built track.

 

Keith

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13 hours ago, Graham T said:
  • Does the planned track layout make sense?  I'm not looking to build something based on absolute reality, but I'd like it to be at least feasible, and most importantly to look and feel right.
  • I've no idea how I will make a convincing break between the scenic section and the fiddle yard.  Any suggestions?
  • The fiddle yard will be 4' long.  I'd like to run 3-coach trains, so I assume that will that be long enough?  Same question for the station itself, more importantly.
  • I've planned for a turntable as I'd like to run tender locos (up to a Manor).  Would it be feasible to have a turntable at a small terminus like this?  If not, I'm assuming this sort of station wouldn't have seen tender locos?
  • I could make the runround loop a little longer if necessary.  Any thoughts one way or the other?
  • What about swapping locations of the goods yard and the engine shed, and getting rid of the turntable?

Some thoughts on the above.

 

Whilst I appreciate you’re not going for modelling a prototype, basing your layout on an real life location (or elements of) is a good way of making the layout make sense. It is tough - even modest branch termini generally require a lot of compression to fit a reasonable space.

 

Bridge/Tunnel is the traditional fiddle yard exit disguise, but sometimes feel a bit... unsatisfying? I think because of their size, they are features of the layout and they draw the eye in. If the topology around the area doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the scene or, for example, there seems to be an easier route for a road to reach where it’s going without requiring a bridge, it can feel a little too obvious what it’s trying to disguise. Things like hedgerows, trees, pipe bridges and even just a backscene hole can be effective despite not acting as a full view-blocker.

 

4’ should be adequate for a traverser for a tender engine +3. Hattons’ website is quite good for posting images of RTR stock alongside a ruler if you want to know more about lengths before purchasing anything.

 

As ever, there’s a prototype for everything. The Fairford Branch had a turntable at the terminus end and almost everything used it - even pannier tanks. Equally, the Lambourn Valley branch made significant use of tender engines but without the facility to turn them at the far end. (The original intention was for the Manors to replace the Churchward Moguls, so not unreasonable to run the former if you do the latter, btw)

 

As a general rule, platforms and loops at branch termini seemed to be significantly longer than the ‘usual’ trains. This often lost to compression in models, but I’d suggest lengthening the loop if you have the capacity to.

 

Goods yard and engine shed swapping positions seems sensible for the relative space they tend to occupy. Looks likely that the turntable wouldn’t fit at the back (not look as good?) if you want to keep it.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Barclay said:

Radius-wise, I would try to stick to 3' for a running line. Part of the draw of EM is getting away from the train-set curves. If your platform angled downwards instead of upwards, if that makes sense, you would need less curve to get round the corner, and could use a larger radius. 

 

If you plan to use 3-link couplings you might want to put the good facilities at the front and the engine shed at the back.

 

Good luck with the project.

 

Thanks for the tips.  I had a bit of a brainwave (!) and have decided on using a removable cassette-type fiddle yard.  The thinking is that it will be 4.5 ft x 1ft, and can go up on a shelf when I'm not "playing trains".  When I am using the layout it doesn't matter if the door to the spare room is obstructed.  That gives me some more space, and I can ease the main line curve to a 3ft radius.

 

I am planning to use 3-link coupling, so the goods yard is indeed moving to the front.

Edited by Graham T
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2 hours ago, 9C85 said:

You could also have another scenic break where the current goods shed is. The hidden section would only need to be long enough for your autocoach and a small tank engine.  You could have that train shuttling on and off from the bay platform and providing a connecting service with the 3 coach trains which use the 'main' platform.

 

Thanks, I really like that idea.  The hidden section would be tucked away right in the corner of the room, and so hard to reach.  But I think I could have holes in the baseboard in that area so I could access the track from beneath if I needed to.

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35 minutes ago, Graham T said:

 When I am using the layout it doesn't matter if the door to the spare room is obstructed.

 

I now know that I am getting old because the first thing I thought when I read this is 'what happens in an emergency?' eg when you collapse after seeing how much your next 'must have' loco or carriage is going for on Ebay? :O

If the door opens inwards and the fiddle yard stops it doing that, then I would at least try to incorporate a 'fail safe' mechanism... that would be an engineering challenge in itself. 

I don't wish to pry but are there other people likely to be in the house when you  are playing trains? Would they be able to get to you?

Other solutions would be to put in a 'stable door' and crawl in/out via the lower half if the fiddle yard is in use, or 'just' switch the way the door opens from inwards to outwards.

Again, apologies for the Health & Safety intervention. 

 

Edited by 9C85
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