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Older Inspirational Layouts

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1 hour ago, t-b-g said:

 

That looks very much like the one I am plotting! Except I was planning to include a bay just there for a cattle dock but have done away with it now as my boards are quite small and I wanted a bit of room for some scenic work.

 

Peter Denny once told me that the most interesting operation on such a plan came about if you run a mixed train. He had one that consisted of 2 six wheeled carriages, 3 or 4 goods wagons and a brake van.

 

He reckoned that even with such a simple track plan, sorting that out and getting it ready to depart was an excellent way to spend a while shunting. 

It's having the sidings facing in both directions that does it and Peter Denny was absolutely right about the benefits of a mixed train, especially if you make it a rule that the coaches can't be shunted into the goods sidings. The best thing I did with my current H0 layout, which has a conventional two siding goods yard opposite the station platform,  was to ditch the loco shed and make the kick back siding it would have occupied on the platform side into a private siding. It's amazing how much interesting operation you can get out of four or five points and five and a half feet of length. 

 

11 hours ago, Donw said:

The original LB plan has been widely used. For my 0 gauge Sparrows Wharf layout I realised I could not place the fiddle yard beyond the outer crossover so took the main line off to a sector plate before the  crossover. It worked very well  and was great fun to operate.

 

That sound a lot like another older inspiring layout built by another vicar, the Rev. P.H.Heath's Piano Line.  Heath was best known as a pioneer of 00n3 with his Llanfair Railway but the Piano Line featured in the July 1965 RM as a "Junior Modeller: Holiday Project"

26714264_pianoline1dimensionedredrawn.jpg.436dc77dfcdb294f3a7d3979419b7357.jpg

 

His version only had the siding on the lower side of the platform but I've added  a second one and that adds considerably to its operation. The right hand crossover can be reversed  to enable the right hand siding to serve a low relief wareouse or industry that also acts as a view blocker.

 

This arrangement is not as unprototypical as it looks. I've found at least four real examples (though not in the UK) usually where a light railway needed to shoehorn itself into the forecourt of a main line station to have its own terminus but one of them to serve a canalside quay.

 

Heath's original Piano Line  used Hornby track and a "Nellie" with a couple of coaches and a few wagons and its official purpose was "to be played about with by small boys who are carefully prevented from handling my narrow gauge line — though I have seen at least one more adult member of the railway modelling fraternity sit with the layout across the arms of a settee for an hour working out shunting problems."

 

There have been several versions of it including Tony Collins O gauge Goonhilly and Tim Hills' H0 scale  La Planche Port.

 

2103230463_LaPlanchePortBurgessHill2013DSCF8535cropped.jpg.a13350ce4944f529c822d23bd7f5ad70.jpg

 

The Piano Lines great virtue is of course that it provides a complete BLT on a single board with no separate fiddle yard but, as is often the case,  I think it was the Rev. Heath's  writing that made it an inspiring layout.

 

 

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I remember that plan well and it is another of those that are well worth considering.

 

I wasn't aware that there were real life versions, either in the UK or abroad. 

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When I built Sparrows Wharf because the main line came off the platform line ( imagine the bay turout reversed to create the main line) that made the loop have two short headshunts either end. Plus making a rule that any Wagons already in the station which were not being taken away had to be replaced in the same spot. It could take ages to shunt a 6 wagon train. Bring in the railmotor halfway through so you have to clear the platform and it was quite a job doing the shunt. One of my operators got the Railmotor stuck in a siding and in order to isolate it had to leave the crossover set against it tying the whole layout up. This of course was at Guildex to the amusement of those viewing.

 

Don

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4 hours ago, Donw said:

When I built Sparrows Wharf because the main line came off the platform line ( imagine the bay turout reversed to create the main line) that made the loop have two short headshunts either end. Plus making a rule that any Wagons already in the station which were not being taken away had to be replaced in the same spot. It could take ages to shunt a 6 wagon train. Bring in the railmotor halfway through so you have to clear the platform and it was quite a job doing the shunt. One of my operators got the Railmotor stuck in a siding and in order to isolate it had to leave the crossover set against it tying the whole layout up. This of course was at Guildex to the amusement of those viewing.

 

Don

 

It is that sort of imaginative operation that I really enjoy.

 

Just about the most satisfaction I have had from the hobby is when I have exhibited a small layout, either Leighton Buzzard or one of own and people have said how much they enjoyed watching it being operated.

 

It has happened many times and people have even said that such layouts have been the most interesting to watch in the show. 

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11 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

That sound a lot like another older inspiring layout built by another vicar, the Rev. P.H.Heath's Piano Line.  Heath was best known as a pioneer of 00n3 with his Llanfair Railway but the Piano Line featured in the July 1965 RM as a "Junior Modeller: Holiday Project"

26714264_pianoline1dimensionedredrawn.jpg.436dc77dfcdb294f3a7d3979419b7357.jpg

 

 

That reminds me, I'm pretty sure there was a highly detailled OO9 version of the Piano Line either in the late 60s or early 70s to demonstrate that narrow gauge wasn't just a novelty for tail chasing. Anybody remember it?

 

Cheers

David

Edited by DavidB-AU
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4 hours ago, t-b-g said:

 

It is that sort of imaginative operation that I really enjoy.

 

Just about the most satisfaction I have had from the hobby is when I have exhibited a small layout, either Leighton Buzzard or one of own and people have said how much they enjoyed watching it being operated.

 

It has happened many times and people have even said that such layouts have been the most interesting to watch in the show. 

 

I suspect it would be fun sharing an operating session with you. 

 

Don

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9 hours ago, Donw said:

 

I suspect it would be fun sharing an operating session with you. 

 

Don

 

I would say the same the other way!

 

Modellers either "get" operating a layout as a big and enjoyable part of the hobby or they don't. Some very good modellers, such as the late Roy Jackson, Tony Wright and Tim Watson (to name the first to come to mind) are quite happy seeing their creations run but have little interest in shunting or marshalling trains.

 

If I ever lose what bit of skill I have for building models, I would be very happy operating a layout with everything RTR because I get just as much pleasure from operating as I do from building.

 

Frank Dyer described it as the difference between running trains and operating. I think he was spot on.

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Didn't CJF talk about some people being happy if they were able to operate a layout properly, and not really caring if the trains were "strings of tennis balls"? I guess the modern equivalent would be TrainSIM.

 

I like "playing trains with a purpose", which is part of why I decided to go for a coarse-scale layout with a fair bit of operating potential, rather than focus my limited "making things time" on finer scale, which would have resulted in a less-complete set-up, with less operating potential, in the same time.

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2 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

Didn't CJF talk about some people being happy if they were able to operate a layout properly, and not really caring if the trains were "strings of tennis balls"?

I had a feeling that it was J N Maskelyne but either way the point was well made.

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21 hours ago, t-b-g said:

I remember that plan well and it is another of those that are well worth considering.

 

I wasn't aware that there were real life versions, either in the UK or abroad. 

Usually for the same reasons that make it useful for us. This is going a bit OT but a feature of railways in France was  that some metre gauge systems, such as the Reseau Breton, the Vivarais, and the handful still running as public railways like the Blanc-Argent, were considered part of the national railway network so, where they met SG lines, often used the same stations. However, the vast majority of metre and all the sub metric were purely local "light" railways or roadside tramways and these were usually (not always) relegated to their own stations. Since they were built much later, they often had to find a space opposite or in the forecourt of the main line station. Most of these termini still had fairly conventional layouts but the awkwardness of the site, particularly if the narrow gauge approached from an angle off a street, caused a few to adopt a "Piano Line" format. 

 

I only know about France, which from about the 1890s to the 1940s, had a staggering number of local narrow gauge railways designed to reach the parts that the main lines never would, but it's entirely possible that late arriving local railways in other countries had to do the same thing.     

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The Skibereen terminus of the West Carberry Tramway in Ireland was similar, but not quite a piano. There, the terminus looked fairly ordinary, but leaving the station the track led straight into a head-shunt, the line towards Schull then climbing away almost in the direction the train had come from. The FY&NR terminus arrangement was similarly mad once it was integrated with the "main" one.

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When living in Gloucestershire one of my friends had an 0 gauge garden railway. It was top quality finescale models. He would ask a group of people to come round and run it for an afternoon. I spent many happy afternoons running the layout with others

post-8525-0-83963000-1464538894_thumb.jpg

 

This is part of the layout with one of the friends invited to operate standing by the viaduct. On a sunny afternoon, trains good company, tea and cake curtesy of our host what more could one want. After moving away I used to drive up some operating days but I  find driving less pleasant these days.

 

Don

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8 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

I had a feeling that it was J N Maskelyne but either way the point was well made.

 

My philosophy as well (coincidentally as JN Maskelyne was a member of my club many decades ago!).

 

When I'm running a loco, I don't much care whether it's got the correct number of rivets on the tender, spokes on the wheels, or if the wheelbase is strictly correct. I get as much enjoyment out of running my father's 1956 Triang Princess (with all its known deficiencies) as my Bachmann City of Truro. Unfortunately the trend towards more accurate models (not that I'm saying that's wrong) over the last couple of decades or so has led to big increases in prices, as the use of standard mechanisms has been phased out.

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On 27/11/2019 at 19:13, Pacific231G said:

 

The sad truth also is that permanent home layouts, however good when first built, tend to gradually fall into disuse and become something to potter with  rather than to devote a day or an evening to operate.  There are exceptions of course such as Peter Denny who had weekly operating sessions  and others. The regular operating evening also seems to be particularly popular with American modellers and to a large extent replaces the model railway club. However, on more than one occasion when visiting for other reasons, I've been invited to see someone's (or someone's father's) model railway, usually in the loft,  and I've found a very dusty scene that clearly hasn't been visited let alone run for months.

Very true and I've visited numerous superb home layouts over the years with a coating of dust and requiring much track cleaning before a train can be run. Exhibition layouts often spend their time at home boxed up and covered which is all well and good but if mine were anything to go by seldom got set up at home (except to be given the once over prior to an exhibition) as they either took up too much space or one simply couldn't be fagged to bother!

Back to John Ahern though, I get the impression he simply loved building things with operation being a secondary concern. His writings will always be an inspiration to me. 

Does anybody know the issue numbers for the MRC's featuring his articles on Watlington by the way?  I lost my copies years ago and whilsr his photos appear in various books (which I've got) his notes were very good.

 

Bob.

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As someone whose modelling was mostly inspired by Peter Denny and his general practical attitude to modelling, I have long believed that less is more, that size isn't everything by any means. The small layout that can be used quickly and easily is much more likely to be used on a regular basis than those that can't. I still can't quite believe that some layouts are only fully erected and used when at exhibitions. It does of course help explain why so many either run poorly or not at all.

 

One of the most successful layouts I have built was inspired by the small folding baseboard layout PD made. It was on two metre long boards 12" wide using simple flap-back hinges with the fiddle yard at the rear. But operationally it gave much pleasure.  Here is the trackplan.

 

1243074220_AllSaintsP4trackplan.jpg.8efc2bacde0f6d803611de821f924153.jpg

 

It was called All Saints and to P4. Although tight the fiddle was workable with a passenger/shuttle using the lower road and the top one for freight for easy wagon changing.  I often wonder if it still exists and works. These days I have a small 5' long one (on a single board10" wide) with a small 30" end on fiddle board.  Again it gets used a lot because it's small to store ( or takes up little space so can be left erected), and is easy/quick to set up.

 

Izzy

 

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Interesting little layout that - a sort of Leighton Buzzard Mk1-Piano hybrid.

 

Sometimes hybrids bring out the worst of each, but that seems to have the best.

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1 hour ago, Izzy said:

As someone whose modelling was mostly inspired by Peter Denny and his general practical attitude to modelling, I have long believed that less is more, that size isn't everything by any means. The small layout that can be used quickly and easily is much more likely to be used on a regular basis than those that can't. I still can't quite believe that some layouts are only fully erected and used when at exhibitions. It does of course help explain why so many either run poorly or not at all.

 

One of the most successful layouts I have built was inspired by the small folding baseboard layout PD made. It was on two metre long boards 12" wide using simple flap-back hinges with the fiddle yard at the rear. But operationally it gave much pleasure.  Here is the trackplan.

 

1243074220_AllSaintsP4trackplan.jpg.8efc2bacde0f6d803611de821f924153.jpg

 

It was called All Saints and to P4. Although tight the fiddle was workable with a passenger/shuttle using the lower road and the top one for freight for easy wagon changing.  I often wonder if it still exists and works. These days I have a small 5' long one (on a single board10" wide) with a small 30" end on fiddle board.  Again it gets used a lot because it's small to store ( or takes up little space so can be left erected), and is easy/quick to set up.

 

Izzy

 

Wasn't All Saints featured in the Modeller a number of years ago?

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54 minutes ago, St Enodoc said:

Wasn't All Saints featured in the Modeller a number of years ago?


Gosh, you have a good recall. The Feb 1985 Your Model Railway, when edited by Dave Lowery. I think this morphed into Model Rail when ASP got taken over/disappeared. 
How time flies......

 

Izzy

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On 28/11/2019 at 21:35, t-b-g said:

 

That looks very much like the one I am plotting! Except I was planning to include a bay just there for a cattle dock but have done away with it now as my boards are quite small and I wanted a bit of room for some scenic work.

 

Peter Denny once told me that the most interesting operation on such a plan came about if you run a mixed train. He had one that consisted of 2 six wheeled carriages, 3 or 4 goods wagons and a brake van.

 

He reckoned that even with such a simple track plan, sorting that out and getting it ready to depart was an excellent way to spend a while shunting. 

But sometimes you end up with a much better layout, if you enlarge it even slightly.

 

Just found John Charman's article in Railway Modeller 1959 December, in which he describes his extension to it.

 

"In fact since the caravan days Charford has been moved to no less than four homes, such is the penalty of life in the RAF, but whatever else goes Charford will remain, and portable at that!

Leaving the confined space of a mobile home has meant the long-awaited chance to extend the layout. It is true that to date the extension is no more than a 2ft 6in square corner piece, but the difference it has made to the appearance and operation has to be seen to be believed."

 

He goes on to explain exactly how he did this and arranging it so that it is now a modular format and so could be extended by adding additional modules.

 

So rearranging things to utilise a greater area or to make a layout flow better, sounds perfectly valid reasons to me. Obviously, Peter Denny with his various changes over the years, tried to do the same thing.

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13 hours ago, Izzy said:


The Feb 1985 Your Model Railway, when edited by Dave Lowery. I think this morphed into Model Rail when ASP got taken over/disappeared.

Your Model Railway was formerly Model Railways and, before that, Model Railway News. It returned to the Model Railways title in 1987 but ceased publication in 1994.

Model Rail started as a supplelement in Rail (formerly Rail Enthusiast) but became a separate magaizine in 1998.

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7 hours ago, kevinlms said:

But sometimes you end up with a much better layout, if you enlarge it even slightly.

 

Just found John Charman's article in Railway Modeller 1959 December, in which he describes his extension to it.

 

"In fact since the caravan days Charford has been moved to no less than four homes, such is the penalty of life in the RAF, but whatever else goes Charford will remain, and portable at that!

Leaving the confined space of a mobile home has meant the long-awaited chance to extend the layout. It is true that to date the extension is no more than a 2ft 6in square corner piece, but the difference it has made to the appearance and operation has to be seen to be believed."

 

He goes on to explain exactly how he did this and arranging it so that it is now a modular format and so could be extended by adding additional modules.

 

So rearranging things to utilise a greater area or to make a layout flow better, sounds perfectly valid reasons to me. Obviously, Peter Denny with his various changes over the years, tried to do the same thing.

 

I don't think that Peter Denny ever suggested that the tiny original Leighton Buzzard or Stony Stratford would be what he would have chosen to have when he had space available for something more ambitious.

 

It was more a case of it being possible to have some sort of layout in a tiny space rather than none at all.

 

As soon as he had more space the scope and complexity increased accordingly and even LB ended up considerably expanded.

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On 30/11/2019 at 08:52, 4109 said:

Very true and I've visited numerous superb home layouts over the years with a coating of dust and requiring much track cleaning before a train can be run. Exhibition layouts often spend their time at home boxed up and covered which is all well and good but if mine were anything to go by seldom got set up at home (except to be given the once over prior to an exhibition) as they either took up too much space or one simply couldn't be fagged to bother!

Back to John Ahern though, I get the impression he simply loved building things with operation being a secondary concern. His writings will always be an inspiration to me. 

Does anybody know the issue numbers for the MRC's featuring his articles on Watlington by the way?  I lost my copies years ago and whilsr his photos appear in various books (which I've got) his notes were very good.

 

Bob.

Hi Bob

I've got them somewhere so will dig them out. There was one on Watlington, one on Aston Rowant and I think one on Chinnor (which the C&PRR have done an excellent job of recreating) 

Update

I couldn't find anything in MRC (which doesn't mean they don't exist) but I think the articles you're recalling may be two he wrote for MRN in 1950

A Compact Branch Terminus (Watlington) in August  includes about two pages worth of text, 8 photos and a track plan for a six foot long versionin 4mm/ft scale.

More About the Watlington Branch (Aston Rowant) in September includes about two and a half pages worth of text, five photos and a track plan also for a six foot long layout and  set of simple elevations for the Aston Rowant station building which he says is almost identical with that at  Watlington as is the goods shed. As a bonus there is also a photo of the halt at Bledlow Bridge which looks very similar to the extant halt at   Wainhill Crossing.

 

There are more photos here

 

http://www.gwr.org.uk/nowatlington.html

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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20 hours ago, Izzy said:

As someone whose modelling was mostly inspired by Peter Denny and his general practical attitude to modelling, I have long believed that less is more, that size isn't everything by any means. The small layout that can be used quickly and easily is much more likely to be used on a regular basis than those that can't. I still can't quite believe that some layouts are only fully erected and used when at exhibitions. It does of course help explain why so many either run poorly or not at all.

 

One of the most successful layouts I have built was inspired by the small folding baseboard layout PD made. It was on two metre long boards 12" wide using simple flap-back hinges with the fiddle yard at the rear. But operationally it gave much pleasure.  Here is the trackplan.

 

1243074220_AllSaintsP4trackplan.jpg.8efc2bacde0f6d803611de821f924153.jpg

 

It was called All Saints and to P4. Although tight the fiddle was workable with a passenger/shuttle using the lower road and the top one for freight for easy wagon changing.  I often wonder if it still exists and works. These days I have a small 5' long one (on a single board10" wide) with a small 30" end on fiddle board.  Again it gets used a lot because it's small to store ( or takes up little space so can be left erected), and is easy/quick to set up.

 

Izzy

 

Very good looking plan Izzy and using a Y for the main line points does make the exit to the fiddle yard smoother.  Would you have any pictures of All Saints?

The two problem I've found with the Piano Line concept is that if you're doing it to minimum length the main line entrance points tend to be just where you want the break between the two boards. P.H. Heath's version occupied a single five foot long board as does Tim Hills' La Planche Port. so that wasn't an issue for either. The other is making the exit credible and I gave up (for now)  on an H0m version on a four foot board because I couldn't figure tha out to my satisfaction.

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6 hours ago, BernardTPM said:

Your Model Railway was formerly Model Railways and, before that, Model Railway News. It returned to the Model Railways title in 1987 but ceased publication in 1994.

Model Rail started as a supplelement in Rail (formerly Rail Enthusiast) but became a separate magaizine in 1998.

 

Thanks for that info. I rather got lost over the years with all the changes in the various titles and the comings and goings. With Dave Lowery as a contributor to Model Rail these days I sort of assumed that was the successor to YMR so nice to get it straight

 

 

56 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

Very good looking plan Izzy and using a Y for the main line points does make the exit to the fiddle yard smoother.  Would you have any pictures of All Saints?

The two problem I've found with the Piano Line concept is that if you're doing it to minimum length the main line entrance points tend to be just where you want the break between the two boards. P.H. Heath's version occupied a single five foot long board as does Tim Hills' La Planche Port. so that wasn't an issue for either. The other is making the exit credible and I gave up (for now)  on an H0m version on a four foot board because I couldn't figure tha out to my satisfaction.

 

Yes, it took an awful lot of planning/fiddling around to get it all in. As it was of course all hand made track and pre-Templot it was all drawn out by hand to fit. The key to any small layout I find is getting equal balance between the fiddle, arrival road, and run round. I'll see if I can find any worthwhile shots of the layout. I lost most of my pre-2000 images in a early digital storage disaster - all stored on Kodak professional CD's which corrupted - now I use multiple HDD's but the damage was done. Those that remain are ones not considered worthwhile saving for the long term.......

 

Izzy

 

 

 

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