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Theory of General Minories


Mike W2
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42 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

I do have some criteria laid out! But I feel this should probably be in a separate thread as I am aware that I'm polluting the 'general theory of Minories' with my own mused layout plans yet again...

 

On reflection a layout where the fiddle yard and all stock must be removed is much more of a pain than a single section which contains just a few plain curves, and a layout that must be fully dismantled a dozen times a year is probably not one which will last very long in a home setting.  It looks like the garage it may be?!

 

To bring it to a more generic 'Minories'-themed discussion rather than my particulars - it would seem that the perfect fiddle yard for a Minories is:

  • With a least four roads
  • With all roads accessed by both up and down lines
  • With a usable length equal to one train length + additional loco (for @t-b-g's turnaround fix)
  • Ideally with a separate headshunt for the station, if no such length is provided by the visible layout
  • If no separate headshunt, then pointwork if possible to diverge the FY lines

 

I shouldn't worry. After 94 pages we've all gone well beyond simply discussing CJF's pure plan.

I've been wondering about the need to shunt into a traverser type fiddle yard as well. One answer is the slight cheat  that Gavin Thrumm used for his early post grouping Great Moor Street. (which with fidddle yard is on 3 x 3ft 6in long baseboards)

https://thrumlington.blogspot.com/2015/06/great-moor-street-minories.html

I'm quite tempted by his arrangement even though it involves a bit of cheating about up and down but if you then have to shift cassettes or shove a traverser back and forth before handling the next train the sense of operating a station is probably a bit lost anyway. For a home layout I'm becoming less sure about the idea of a "fiddle yard" as opposed to a set of storage sidings. John Charman's  ended up underneath Charford station so he clearly wasn't lifting stock on and off during sessions but rather was setting up the trains for the the day's timetable before starting. That's intesting because the first version of Charford had a complete shunting yard complete with run round "off-stage"   so he obviously developed his operating pattern over time.

My current "fiddle yard" has just two roads with a single set of points  but I'm wondering about adding a third so I can do much the same even if it cuts the maximum train length a bit.

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with thinking about layout designs. I spend hours doing it.

 

I attach a few scribbles to show how I work! Some ideas get developed in terms of signalling and baseboard sizes/basic scenics.

 

Others go nowhere.

 

There is one plan on these which actually got built but as a mirror image. On page 5, Church Warsop appears! It is the one at the top with the baseboard outline drawn. Edit to add that I just spotted the right way round sketch lower down the page.

 

2067219725_LayoutDoodles1.jpg.87847deca7afcbe42c4958b9bcf2f97b.jpg572588308_LayoutDoodles2.jpg.0f1023d958aa574ae4f14ed1cf9aa434.jpg1911050336_LayoutDoodles3.jpg.08d75d780d5d311c09a6cce5519dc7a0.jpg2054457873_LayoutDoodles4.jpg.9e873b4c16b836f56fb9c4584a877ade.jpg1863956744_LayoutDoodles5.jpg.272308172670a243d08ee5061aeeb297.jpg

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Once, when getting over flu and very, very bored, I tried to work out a formula by which to calculate the number of topologies that could be created with N plain turnouts (ignore L or R for this purpose, topologically it’s the same). It’s more complex than a normal node question, because turnouts are only ‘valid’ if entered from the switch-end.

 

Anyway, after about two or three hours, I got a headache and fell asleep, still with no universal formula.

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1 hour ago, Zomboid said:

Personally I'm with CJF, a return loop is the perfect "rest of the world". Have a couple of roads for overtaking so you can vary the sequence and there's basically no need to ever do any fiddling.

 

Of course that takes up quite a lot of space, but it's still the ideal as far as I'm concerned.

I agree. Especially if the loops are arranged via a double junction, as I had on a layout in the late 70s as a kid.

FC9D3529-2686-4199-AB9F-43D84D7A9812.jpeg.84a53ce0532a08632ba37d1289868f71.jpeg

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3 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

 

Space! Unless it's N with set-track radii.

I was using 00 with set track radii 2 and 3. The board marked “hidden fiddle yard” was removable. I suppose it was 4’ wide at that point, thus:

54142A85-E4A7-45DD-927B-C44FF6F52CB1.jpeg.36213a6935d893b476a5f8aec11bce0c.jpeg

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6 minutes ago, Regularity said:

I was using 00 with set track radii 2 and 3. The board marked “hidden fiddle yard” was removable. I suppose it was 4’ wide at that point, thus:

 

 

Doable for a lanky teenager; probably not the thing for a more portly middle-aged type (not that I'm intending to typecast either yourself or myself). But I'd want to squeeze at least one extra loop around the outside, which brings one down to 1.5" track centre-line to edge of board - a bit tight maybe.

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2 hours ago, t-b-g said:

I think it is almost impossible to plan a layout design for something that will actually turn into a layout until you know what space you have available and what sort of layout you actually want. Portable or fixed? Exhibition or just for home use? Single or multiple stations and operators? Period? Train length? Region? Goods, passenger or both?

 

A few of those don't seem to have been established yet. Doodling layout plans which may or may never get built is an enjoyable way to spend some time anyway and I do it regularly but unless you know where you are going, it is hard to set off in a particular direction.

 

It seems to me that we presently have a layout that might end up U or L shaped, may be one of three different sizes and locations, may have one or two stations maybe with or without a fiddle yard.

 

There have been a few decent designs presented, several of which would work nicely as a layout. As I see it, there are some decisions that need to be made as to which one to go for.

 

2 hours ago, Harlequin said:

@Lacathedrale William,

 

You need to make some decisions, commit to an idea and get something built!

 

Any layout in any scale, whether fixed or movable, needs as much space as it can get. What room gives you the most space and would allow to get started quickly? That's the room to use.

 

Don't get fixated on the plan. What era/style/region do really want to model? That's the thing to consider first - your heart has to be in it. Then make a plan and choose a scale to bring that idea to life as easily as possible. (That plan might not have anything to do with Minories!)

 

Does that help?

 

Edit: @t-b-g and I cross-posted. We both noticed the same issue!...

 

 

2 hours ago, Harlequin said:

 

 

This is true, of course, but William said earlier he wanted to get something done.

 

 

In respect of these observations, I find the following quote from the updated “60 Plans for Small Locations” interesting.  In introducing Minories to new readers, CJF wrote:

 

”Of all the many designs I have produced, none has caught the imagination of enthusiasts more than the deceptively simple Minories, a three-platform city terminus built on a pair of folding baseboards.  I have lost count of the number of people who have approached me at exhibitions and informed me that they had built and enjoyed operating it.”   (c) C.J.Freezer, Peco Publications, 1989, p20.

 

By itself, this quote doesn’t answer @Harlequin and @t-b-g’s questions - which are the good questions, of course - but I offer it in the conversation at this point for anyone reading this part of the thread and who may be feeling overwhelmed by the choices: if a Minories-type scheme looks like a reasonable fit for your interests, it has proven itself over time, so may well be worth it.

 

(The other thing I note, which I’d suggest is also relevant to @Lacathedrale’s circumstances, is that the updated plan book was called “Plans for Small Locations” - which is not necessarily the same as plans for small layouts).

 

Just a couple of general thoughts.  Hope that’s OK, Keith.

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1 hour ago, Zomboid said:

Personally I'm with CJF, a return loop is the perfect "rest of the world". Have a couple of roads for overtaking so you can vary the sequence and there's basically no need to ever do any fiddling.

 

Of course that takes up quite a lot of space, but it's still the ideal as far as I'm concerned.

 

I rather like the idea of extending the return loop into a small roundy, which I refer to as Zomboid's Onion, in recognition of your work on this thread:

 

 

It looks like a good way of having your out and back cake and eating it while sitting back with a cuppa and watching the trains go by. I have an N gauge scheme in mind which puts a few storage loops at the back of the circuit and makes a feature of the triangular junction and associated railwayness.  The station would be modelled as just the throat and part of the platforms of a through station with plenty of terminating traffic and extended through to to a fiddle yard as in @AndyB's Chestnut Lane.  A long way from Minories but well inside the provincial town station theme that has also crept into this thread.

 

 

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Great Moor Street was definitely an inspiration for a 'serious' Minories for me - I didn't realise the boards were only 3'6" long - those must be some fairly short trains, I'd have thought? If I can get that working then I'd be chuffed!

 

Leafing through 'Plans for Small Locations' I note Minories absence, but thread-darling "Maybank" makes a pseudo-appearance as Banwell, pictured top:

 

image.png.9c81d36edc890b1610e097a32244cd7f.png

 

One problem with the Banwell/Maybank plan is that gradient up to the MPD - over 4% as written!

 

I did fiddle with the Banwell plan to approximate Holborn Viaduct (as is my wont) at bottom and it comes out fairly well, if a little track-dense compared to Minories! :)

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Regularity said:

I agree. Especially if the loops are arranged via a double junction, as I had on a layout in the late 70s as a kid.

FC9D3529-2686-4199-AB9F-43D84D7A9812.jpeg.84a53ce0532a08632ba37d1289868f71.jpeg

It was certainly a good plan for Minories as a city commuter terminus on the basis that one suburban train with a tank loco on the front is very much the same as another suburban train with a tank loco on the front. The CF de l'Est even designed a Prairie tank specially for their line from Bastille just to ensure that very few railway enthusiasts would bother with a line where all the trains looked exactly the same. 

CJF may have been influenced on that by the Maybank: possibly the first terminus to fiddle yard layout and certainly the first based on a double track (secondary) main line. It originally used a motorised four road traverser (possibly a sector plate) but, by its final showing at the MRC Easter show (it didn't survive the Blitz) which may well have been when he saw and was fascinated by it. it used a balloon loop instead or possinly as well. 

 

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1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

Once, when getting over flu and very, very bored, I tried to work out a formula by which to calculate the number of topologies that could be created with N plain turnouts (ignore L or R for this purpose, topologically it’s the same). It’s more complex than a normal node question, because turnouts are only ‘valid’ if entered from the switch-end.

 

Anyway, after about two or three hours, I got a headache and fell asleep, still with no universal formula.

 

I think this would be a challenge worthy of Dr Sheldon Cooper.  

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3 hours ago, Flying Pig said:

 

I rather like the idea of extending the return loop into a small roundy, which I refer to as Zomboid's Onion, in recognition of your work on this thread:

 

 

It looks like a good way of having your out and back cake and eating it while sitting back with a cuppa and watching the trains go by. I have an N gauge scheme in mind which puts a few storage loops at the back of the circuit and makes a feature of the triangular junction and associated railwayness.  The station would be modelled as just the throat and part of the platforms of a through station with plenty of terminating traffic and extended through to to a fiddle yard as in @AndyB's Chestnut Lane.  A long way from Minories but well inside the provincial town station theme that has also crept into this thread.

 

 

 

Chestnut Lane was a nice little layout BUT was really a glorified shunting puzzle. None of the rolling stock really got to stretch its legs.

 

The EMUs  aren't suitable for my current BLT so at some point I'd like to come up with a layout that brings together more of my steam-era and EMU stock. Or maybe I should just ebay the EMUs. Lol.

 

In the dim and distant past I had a OO garage-filling layout called Highworth which had a Minories (high level) + out and back (lower leel) arrangement. This certainly allowed trains to stretch their legs, but was far from realistic, especially where the high level joined the continuous run. It did, however, have the advantage of allowing decent-length trains to do circuits ad infinitum if that's what was wanted.

 

I don't think there's much excitement running EMUs on a Minories layout; I'm guessing with a bit of shuttle-type electronics you could cut the human operator out of the loop! 

 

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I not that those who have been drawing reverse loops with tiny radius curves have not included extra loops. As soon as you include those the space needed rapidly increases.

 

To me, they are a decent enough idea but quite difficult to include in practical terms. Especially for somebody like me, who has single ended couplings and kit built locos that were designed for a 3ft minimum radius in EM Gauge, the size needed for a reversing loop pretty much rules it out as an option.The fiddle yard would be bigger than the rest of the layout, certainly in terms of square footage of board. That always seems to be not a good use of a given space.

 

To me, a 7ft or 8ft long layout with a 4ft fiddle yard (or thereabouts) is a very nicely balanced design. Making the fiddle yard much bigger (in terms of square footage of board) spoils that balance.

 

I have seen plenty of layouts where there is more baseboard area, more track and more operating in the fiddle yard than there is on the layout itself. That always seems to me to be a poor balance. 

 

 

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This was my design for a Minories fiddle yard that has the same footprint as Minories (7ft by 1ft in my version) and folds into the same volume (but with two hinges):

 

207827849_MinoriesFoldingFiddleYard21.png.9d71649fa49e207dcf09747cc654ca0a.png

 

1372228765_MinoriesFoldingFiddleYard21side.png.78bc6d31446538675784909c750e7ec2.png

 

Trains can enter and leave in parallel, so long as you have an empty road in the traverser above the train that's leaving (or you time things very carefully).

There's some headshunt room but not enough for all moves.

The idea was that this could be automated and so stock would not be handled at all. Hence the turntable.

 

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1 hour ago, t-b-g said:

not that those who have been drawing reverse loops with tiny radius curves have not included extra loops. As soon as you include those the space needed rapidly increases

It can do, but in this I managed to get effectively 3 loops in with just R2 and R3 curves.

 

spareroom2.jpg.86eb4c0d1633d02467ea22d2c53caa36.jpg

 

 

Obviously different rules apply for EM or long trains, but with shortish trains and RTR rolling stock, you can get a return loop with extra tracks into a fairly compact space.

 

Edited by Zomboid
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1 hour ago, Harlequin said:

This was my design for a Minories fiddle yard that has the same footprint as Minories (7ft by 1ft in my version) and folds into the same volume (but with two hinges):

 

207827849_MinoriesFoldingFiddleYard21.png.9d71649fa49e207dcf09747cc654ca0a.png

 

1372228765_MinoriesFoldingFiddleYard21side.png.78bc6d31446538675784909c750e7ec2.png

 

Trains can enter and leave in parallel, so long as you have an empty road in the traverser above the train that's leaving (or you time things very carefully).

There's some headshunt room but not enough for all moves.

The idea was that this could be automated and so stock would not be handled at all. Hence the turntable.

 

 

Good luck with that! I am always interested and impressed when somebody tries to do something like that.

 

Getting something that complicated to work reliably is well beyond anything I would ever attempt. I have seen better people than me try and fail!

 

If I had a 14ft length to play with, a 7ft long fiddle yard to handle 3ft long trains might not be how I would wish to use the length. I would perhaps go for a 10ft scenic section and a 4ft fiddle yard, or better still, 9ft and 5ft. That would allow trains of up to a 4-6-0 and 5 short or 4 long bogie carriages and with my idea of backing light engines out, if it was done as a "standard" traverser, you could back a loco onto the end of another train. That would give you no stock handling, longer trains plus a much simplified construction.

 

Still, each to their own and I hope to see that working one day.

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32 minutes ago, Zomboid said:

It can do, but in this I managed to get effectively 3 loops in with just R2 and R3 curves.

 

spareroom2.jpg.86eb4c0d1633d02467ea22d2c53caa36.jpg

 

 

Obviously different rules apply for EM or long trains, but with shortish trains and RTR rolling stock, you can get a return loop with extra tracks into a fairly compact space.

 

 

You could store 4 trains rather than 3 as long as your first move is a departure, followed by moving a train in the fiddle yard forward to clear a road for a train to depart from the station. You might need to do a fair bit of shifting trains from one bit of fiddle yard to another.

 

In terms of the space used to store 4 trains in a conventional fiddle yard (which could be as narrow as 8"), compared to the reversing loop, I think you are using a lot of extra room space to add very little. I would be much happier with a 12" wide traverser with room for 6 trains on it.

 

Of course the Buckingham "Denny" turntable does the same job as a reversing loop. All the trains are turned, with no handling. You run the layout for an hour or so, then turn it and carry on for another hour. 

 

Still, again, each to their own. If you prefer the reversing loops than go for them.  

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4 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

Surely, if you build a turntable FY, it need getting on for as much room as a tight return loop?

 

Not necessarily - there are designs that lie flat to the wall, then pull out when needing to be turned (using the space where the operator usually stands after they’ve stepped to one side).  IIRC, @RJS1977 may have one?  Keith.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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4 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

 

Not necessarily - there are designs that lie flat to the wall, then pull out when needing to be turned (using the space where the operator usually stands after they’ve stepped to one side).  IIRC, @RJS1977 may have one?  Keith.

 

Mine's not a turntable as such, but it can be picked up, turned round, and put down again, similar to this one from one of CJF's books (except that mine has fold-down end stops).

 

image.png.e89642ae8dff15f88e2cbfd7f3e9a389.png

Edited by RJS1977
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2 hours ago, t-b-g said:

I not that those who have been drawing reverse loops with tiny radius curves have not included extra loops. As soon as you include those the space needed rapidly increases.

 

It seems to me that the concept is better suited to a garden railway with terminus in a shed. No fiddle yard at all, just plenty of run gives a decent interval between the same train departing and arriving back again. Successive departures can be sent round in opposite directions, so long as the double junction is properly interlocked!

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9 minutes ago, RJS1977 said:

 

Mine's not a turntable as such, but it can be picked up, turned round, and put down again, similar to this one from one of CJF's books (except that mine has fold-down end stops).

 

image.png.e89642ae8dff15f88e2cbfd7f3e9a389.png

 

Now you are talking!

 

I have a similar thing on one of my layouts, the only difference being that I don't have the points in the fiddle yard. The cassette (in my case with 5 tracks) plugs onto the inlet track, being moved manually.

 

The present Denny fiddle yard on Buckingham is as near a perfect design as I have seen. You need space either side when it is turned but otherwise it is only about 15" wide for 6 tracks. The turntable is approx 4ft 3ins long, which just takes a big loco with 5 short carriages.

 

Once I saw it in action, I stopped trying to design something better.

 

13 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

 

It seems to me that the concept is better suited to a garden railway with terminus in a shed. No fiddle yard at all, just plenty of run gives a decent interval between the same train departing and arriving back again. Successive departures can be sent round in opposite directions, so long as the double junction is properly interlocked!

 

I agree. I think it works better in a big space, with large radius curves. there is a plan for an O gauge layout in the garage with just such an arrangement in the garden, except that the garden will have an oval with a triangular junction to the terminus. that allows me to just run stuff round in the garden if I want to. 

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