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57 minutes ago, Graham T said:

 

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.

I had exactly the same thought as 9C85 regarding emergency access (I’m getting old too!).

But also, I had a 5’x8” removable fiddle yard and it was remarkably heavy and unwieldy.  Make sure it has a ‘gate’ or similar at each end to stop stock rolling off when you move it.  (I have the remains of a Tri-and Hornby hymek and Mainline peak to show what happens if you don’t!)  And think how often you might need to get out mid session, and how fast e.g. doorbell for delivery: it becomes a right pain if you have to put it all away each time.

Sorry to be a dampener, trying to help you enjoy it properly once it’s built.

Paul.

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3 hours ago, KeithHC said:

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

 

Thanks Keith, really useful.  I've incorporated the Cardigan Town idea into my plan, using a 65' turntable - should be long enough for a Manor class I think?  And that's really good news about British Finescale; I found the thread and am now following it.  Do you know if there are point templates available to download yet?  (Must confess I haven't had time to read the whole thread).

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2 hours ago, mpeffers said:

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.

 

All great stuff - thanks very much.  I found a very useful site on the Fairford branch, which I'm sure you've seen but I'm linking it here for my own reference as much as anything:  http://www.fairfordbranch.co.uk/index.htm

 

The plan is now taking shape (probably about version 12 so far!) and I've been able to lengthen the loop; I think it will be close to 5 ft now.

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8 minutes ago, 5BarVT said:

I had exactly the same thought as 9C85 regarding emergency access (I’m getting old too!).

But also, I had a 5’x8” removable fiddle yard and it was remarkably heavy and unwieldy.  Make sure it has a ‘gate’ or similar at each end to stop stock rolling off when you move it.  (I have the remains of a Tri-and Hornby hymek and Mainline peak to show what happens if you don’t!)  And think how often you might need to get out mid session, and how fast e.g. doorbell for delivery: it becomes a right pain if you have to put it all away each time.

Sorry to be a dampener, trying to help you enjoy it properly once it’s built.

Paul.

 

Thanks to you (and 9C85) for looking out for me ;)

 

The door opens inwards and will be open while I'm in the room, so there's no risk of someone trying to open it and hitting the fiddle yard.  I'm here on my own most of the time anyway.  In case of emergency I'll duck underneath!  I'll also make sure that the yard has a fiddle rail on all sides to make sure nothing makes a bid for freedom.  I'm thinking perhaps something removable on the side that connects to the scenic part of the layout though - otherwise the trains won't be able to get in and out ...

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48 minutes ago, Graham T said:

 

Thanks Keith, really useful.  I've incorporated the Cardigan Town idea into my plan, using a 65' turntable - should be long enough for a Manor class I think?  And that's really good news about British Finescale; I found the thread and am now following it.  Do you know if there are point templates available to download yet?  (Must confess I haven't had time to read the whole thread).

The templates will be available when the kits are released hopefully in the next 2 to 3 weeks time.

 

Keith

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Here is the latest iteration of the plan.  I suppose I should think up a name for this place too really.

 

It's still obviously at a very early stage, but is coming along I think.  As a total novice at this I'd very much appreciate feedback and constructive criticism.  As I've said, it's not supposed to be anywhere in particular, and of course everything has had to be massively compressed.  But I want to capture the feel of a real GWR branch line if I can.  So please continue to fire away!

 

A few things that occur to me...

 

  1. I'm still not entirely convinced by the turntable; but I'd feel better having it as I'd like to run some small tender locos.
  2. I could make the platform a little longer, and also curve it slightly, which I think would look more pleasing to the eye.  And I think moving the buffer end of the platform towards the front of the layout, just by a few inches, so that it's not parallel to the backscene, would also look better.  That shouldn't ruin the smooth curve leading out of the layout to the fiddle yard, which at the moment I've been able to keep at 3 ft radius.  Shifting the platform like that would also give me some more room for a curved backscene in the top left corner - the station forecourt.  The only downside I can see is that it would slightly reduce the space available for the engine and goods sheds.
  3. Should there be a trap point at the exit of the goods yard?
  4. Are there too many sidings, or indeed just too much track in general?
  5. The idea with the branch line running out of the bay platform is that it goes through a level crossing just beyond the signal box, and then disappears behind rising ground.  I'll add trees on top of there to help hide it.  The hidden area would be about 2 ft long, so good enough for a 14xx and an autocoach I think?  I would leave gaps between the baseboard supports in that corner, so that I could reach the track from underneath the layout if necessary, as it's a long reach from the front of the scenic section to that back corner.
  6. And I'm still pondering the scenic break into the fiddle yard.  A tunnel seems the (too?) obvious solution.
  7. I quite like the amount of open ground to the right of the road overbridge, and also between the road and the goods yard at the front of the layout.  I think I'd like to leave that relatively empty, and just devoted to scenery.
  8. Are there any glaring planning/operational/other errors that I've made?!

Thanks.

 

Plan 2.jpeg

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Q3 trap point?

A3 Already there - the crossover between headshunt and main line gives you the trapping protection that you need.

 

I’ll think about the other questions a bit more.

Paul.

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I like it.

It has plenty of operating potential. One thing you could incorporate is swapping the engines on the auto train occasionally, with one coming in for coal and water and another coming 'off shed' to replace it. 

I would try to get a gentle curve on the platform or at least have it not parallel to the baseboard edge.

I wouldn't worry about it being having too much track but I do think you're approaching the limit :D The trick is trying not to fill it with too many trains . If a siding can accommodate (say) six wagons, try not to put more than three or four in it.  The space around the wagons will give an impression of size, whereas a full siding emphasises how cramped things are.

I think you have a plan for a very 'playable' layout. 

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The plan looks like it's a little crowded to my eyes. You could possibly free it up a little by moving the engine shed. I wonder if this could be put where the hidden siding at the top is. 

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1 hour ago, 9C85 said:

 

I would try to get a gentle curve on the platform or at least have it not parallel to the baseboard edge.

I wouldn't worry about it being having too much track but I do think you're approaching the limit :D The trick is trying not to fill it with too many trains . If a siding can accommodate (say) six wagons, try not to put more than three or four in it.  The space around the wagons will give an impression of size, whereas a full siding emphasises how cramped things are.

 

 

Thanks for the input.  I will replan with a curved platform - don't like to have too many straight lines :)  And I think I might get rid of the shortest siding to free some space.

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35 minutes ago, Kris said:

The plan looks like it's a little crowded to my eyes. You could possibly free it up a little by moving the engine shed. I wonder if this could be put where the hidden siding at the top is. 

 

The turntable is still bothering me.  But I think I will keep the branch line disappearing off into the top right corner, that was a really nice idea (sorry but can't remember now who suggested it).

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Yet another iteration!  Added a gentle curve to the platform, which I think looks a lot more pleasing.  And I have taken out one of the sidings.

 

 

 

Plan 3.jpeg

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Well I've done quite a bit of research into GWR branch lines (or scratched the surface, at least) and have come up with something that is a hybrid of a few different stations.  In particular I've been looking at Fairford and Lambourn.

 

I drew a few other plans, and firstly considered adding an extra platform, but then thought that two platforms and a bay would be too much for a branch line terminus.  I also considered making it into a through station, like the (superb) Little Muddle, as if the tracks continued on beyond the left hand end of the scenic section.  Then it would have been a double track line.  But I couldn't figure out how to make the scenic break look convincing without blatantly stealing from Encombe, and anyway I didn't really like the idea so much in terms of operation.

 

So now I think I'm getting closer to what I might actually start to build, whilst recognising that it will no doubt continue to evolve!

 

I'm wondering about having a gentle gradient leading up to hidden area / branch line?

 

At present the plan allows for 3-coach trains, although I imagine most traffic would be two-coach sets and the autocoach.  And the sidings could handle up to about 10-wagon freight traffic, although again I think the maximum I would use might be 6 or 7 wagons; I think it will look better to have them standing on a siding with some empty space around them.  

 

I am thinking about using ID backscenes, and perhaps having a few low relief houses behind the bay platform.  The scenic break to the fiddle yard is loosely based on Speen cutting, and the ground behind that will continue to rise, and also be topped by (lots of!) trees, in order to hide the branch line.  I've added a pair of cottages in the space near the front of the layout, for some visual interest and also to give me an excuse for an occupation crossing near to the signal box.  There will also be a small stream running through, which helps give a break from the station area into the scenic section, and then curves around to form the boundary of the station property.  Overall I'm trying to make it look like an area of countryside that a railway has been built through, rather than the other way around.  One other thing I'm pondering though, is how to add in a few more variations in the ground level, apart from the rising ground up to and beyond the cutting.

 

I also need to think about dotting little huts here and there, PW, lamp storage, and so on.  And about a million other things I'm sure!

Plan 4.jpeg

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The goods shed does not have access for road vehicles to deliver / pick up goods. They all needed this + room for these to turn. 

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Thanks, I'll give it a rejig.  My first thought is to attach the cattle dock to the right hand end of the shed, and then shorten the siding that is shown between the shed and the cattle dock a little.  That would give a distance of about 50 ft between the goods and engine sheds.  Do you think that would work?

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56 minutes ago, Graham T said:

Thanks, I'll give it a rejig.  My first thought is to attach the cattle dock to the right hand end of the shed, and then shorten the siding that is shown between the shed and the cattle dock a little.  That would give a distance of about 50 ft between the goods and engine sheds.  Do you think that would work?

Goods vehicles in the past were much smaller than they are today so 50ft should be fine. 

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After much pondering a flash of inspiration came to me, and I've come up with a couple of potential names for the layout - either Chuffnell Regis or Market Snodsbury.

 

And I'm still doing a lot of head scratching about the plan...  Having drawn it out life size I ended up with this:

 

IMG20210324084111.jpg.a26da22cac3a13b41bbfcc46bbfa5737.jpg

 

There isn't really a ski ramp at the far end, if you were wondering.

 

I don't have any EM templates for the points, so used large radius Peco code 83 (I know that's US track but it seemed to work for this purpose).  Everything looks to flow reasonably well, but when you go to a life size plan you realise just how much length these points take up!  That has forced some changes to the plan; for example, I had to shift the turntable to a different position.  You'll see I've also popped on a mock-up station building.  Thought for today is to have the engine shed on the fourth line from the left, and then the goods shed on the track furthest to the right.  Then I can have an access road sweeping around at the end of the tracks into a curve to reach the goods shed, mit cattle dock as well, of course.

 

So now I'm back to wondering whether to go to EM or just stick with OO.

 

As I've said, what I'm aiming for is a layout that looks right - it isn't trying to be a historically accurate portrayal of anywhere (or when) in particular.  I'm now considering going with Peco code 75 track, keeping the flowing curves that I've got, and using large radius points - that would save me a lot of length.  And of course then I wouldn't need to re-wheel everything as well.

 

Still, no need to make a decision yet!  Have to buy some wood first :) 

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As usual I hit send too early.  I meant to ask a couple of questions about Peco code 75 track.  I know that the actual rail profile is much more lifelike, and of course it's 16.5 gauge rather than 18.2.  But how about the sleepers; are they at the correct spacing, and are they the correct length?

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Hi Graham

 

Always good to see a full size plan, it does show just how much space the large radius points take up! 

 

I have used code 75 before and it looks OK, especially side on, but the sleeper spacing is too small. I am currently planning Bishopscombe's  replacement, and will be using Peco 00 bullhead track which looks much better. The only drawback with this at the moment is that only large radius turnouts are available, although I believe more options are on the way. The bullhead turnouts are more expensive, but I think they're a big improvement on the flat bottom 75 ones.

 

Looking forward to seeing more progress, and probably stealing the odd idea too!

 

Regards

 

Les

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Thanks very much Les.  I would use bullhead rail if I decide to with OO (which I suspect is what I am going to do...)  Can it be combined with other code 75 rail though, I guess it can?  Although that might look a bit odd I suppose.  I ask because I think I will need at least one curved point.

 

Ah, so Bishopscombe Mk II is on the cards!  That will be interesting to see.

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Hi Graham

 

I believe the code 75 SL110 joiners can be used to connect code 75 to bullhead. I may need a curved point and one Y also, so I'm looking at maybe cutting the webbing and increasing the gap between some of the sleepers. 

 

Les

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I was just looking at Marcway points.  I don't suppose you know how long one of their 36" Radius points is?  I've tried calling them but no answer at the moment...

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Posted (edited)

Just got them on the phone.  A 36" radius point is about 9.25 inches long, so about an inch shorter than a Peco point.  The Marcway points are a bit cheaper too, so this looks like it might be my solution.  They also make a wide range of points, including curves and so on (although those are expensive!), so I've just ordered a set of their templates - you can't have too many plans!

Edited by Graham T
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Before you abandon the idea of EM can I suggest you buy one of the copperclad 'SMP' point kits from Marcway? They are very straightforward to build  despite being basically a template and a set of raw materials. Build a couple and then just buy more raw materials from then on. You will have the skill to build points off template to whatever type you want, and very cheaply too. Your track will flow like the real thing because you are no longer constrained by ready-built track. 

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I haven't completely made my mind up yet to be honest.  I do like the look of EM, but am put off by the time and expense of modifying all the rolling stock as much as anything.  It's the overall look of the whole scene that I'm trying to achieve, so I want to take a look at the Marcway OO track; if it seems right to my eye then I will probably opt to use it...

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  • Graham T changed the title to Chuffnell Regis

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