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Phil Parker

Building Your First Layout Supplement

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If you've seen the January issue of BRM, you'll know that I'm busy building a small Great Western Layout as a guide for anyone looking to get started in the hobby.

 

Edgeworth Plan.jpg

 

As promised, we've set up a thread where I'll try and answer any questions you've got on the project. Don't worry if what you want to ask sounds too basic, we all have to start somewhere. Anyway, you will ask an a dozen people reading your question will think, "I wish I'd asked that". I can't promise to live on here 24/7 but will do my best to respond as quickly as possible so ask away!

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Hi Phil,

 

Whats the biggest you think you could go with that design of base board. I was wondering if you thought 3'x2' would be ok without any extra bracing etc

 

Cheers

Owen

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The Melbridge Dock boards are 3 X 2 and haven't moved since we built it in 1986 so I reckon you'd be OK. We didn't even varnish them!

 

Melbridge Board.jpg

 

 

Hope this helps.

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Great idea. and the track plan's not bad either?

 

Simple to convert to through station and some 'relatively minor adjustments/tweaks to move location/era/company.

 

Are these the traditional 12 inch squares or something awfully metric. Knowing how much I dislike cramped layouts, 15" just doesn't seem enough for 4 tracks with infrastructure.

Edited by Kenton

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Hi Phil

 

I am glad you started this thread as I am now seriously considering starting my first layout and this one has grabbed my attention - especially as I can follow the series and will be guided as to what I need and how to do it

 

I do have some questions though but I'm worried they will come over as nit picking but these are genuine questions from a beginner who doesn't find it all obvious yet

 

In the text you say that the baseboard beams are 6" deep but later when it shows you using the set square the measurements seem to suggest that the beams are nearer 4.5" deep ?

 

Also the panel pins - the box shows 20mm pins and the text says 30mm - which ones do I need ?

Edited by ThePurplePrimer
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The best questions are all the ones you don't know the answer to. Even better if no one else does :D I just love those editorial misdemeanours that seem to be put there to see if anyone is actually reading and paying attention.

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Ohhhh - Well spotted. I've just been and measured the wood again. I'm sure I specified 6 inches but you are right, the wood is 4 inches wide. Maybe I had an off day. Personally, I'd go with 6 if you can, it makes the structure stronger BUT 4 will be fine. These boards seem strong enough thanks to the backscene being integral.

 

The pins are easier - I bought two packets, 20 and 30mm. The 30mm ones were used and I picked up the cleaner packet for the photo without realising.

 

My feeling is that you should always over-engineer if possible so more wood, longer pins. Yes it means a little more weight but as long as you can carry the boards OK then the stability of your layouts foundations matters more.

 

And all questions are good. After all, that's why I wrote this stuff. Ask away! :-)

Edited by Phil Parker
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Great idea. and the track plan's not bad either?

 

Simple to convert to through station and some 'relatively minor adjustments/tweaks to move location/era/company.

 

Are these the traditional 12 inch squares or something awfully metric. Knowing how much I dislike cramped layouts, 15" just doesn't seem enough for 4 tracks with infrastructure.

 

Nope - 12 inch square. You are right, 15 inches isn't much and I've increased it from Cyril Freezers original 12!

 

If you were to widen the layout, it would improve the model but I'd rather build a little cramped for the article.

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Hi Phil

 

Will one of the coming articles show us how to signal this layout or will that be something left to us to decide ourselves ?

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Mickey - I've built several layouts without the softwood, hauled them up and down the country and abroad and never had a problem, hence I didn't mention it.

 

As long as the plywood is 9mm thick, it doesn't seem to be an issue. Softwood does make nailing easier but only because you have a bigger target to hit with the pin. In thoery it should add strength but it isn't essential. Of course there's nothing to stop you adding it if you prefer. That's why I made the point of saying this is all based on my experience rather than claiming to be definitive.

 

As they say on the bits of t'internet concerned with rusty old VW vans - your milage may vary.

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Hi Phil

 

Will one of the coming articles show us how to signal this layout or will that be something left to us to decide ourselves ?

 

They aren't planned AT THE MOMENT but that's not to say we won't do it. I'm going to have to find a signalling expert to sort out the details but I would like to do something in the future. Signalling is a can of worms and deserves more than just a couple of pages, which is all we could really devote to it in the third part.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the supplements are just the start. There will be more projects popping up in BRM that use Edgeworth as a test bed. In fact next months 2hr project is for the layout. Any other suggestions are welcomed too.

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Hi Phil

 

This looks really interesting, and is scale-able for a 6' N gauge version too which might be an option worth offering as an appendix...?

 

Are you going to explore the fiddle yard in more detail ie. traverser, cassettes etc. or just leave it as points into sidings?

 

 

David

 

I can't see why it should scale although in N I'd allow more space so the design can spread a bit.

 

The fiddle yard is a single point at the moment. For a home layout this ought to be OK. For exhibitions I might be tempted to go for a 3-way to add flexibility.

 

Point based yards have some disadvantages but win big on simplicity which makes them better for beginners. Of course if we wanted to look at alternative yards, Edgeworth would be a good candidate.

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I'd tend to think that reducing the station to 4', the fiddle to 2', and the width to 10" would produce a good result in N as a reasonable compromise between leaving the size as is, (which would be nice if you had the space), and reducing it in half.

 

Izzy

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If you've seen the January issue of BRM, you'll know that I'm busy building a small Great Western Layout as a guide for anyone looking to get started in the hobby.

 

As promised, we've set up a thread where I'll try and answer any questions you've got on the project. Don't worry if what you want to ask sounds too basic, we all have to start somewhere. Anyway, you will ask an a dozen people reading your question will think, "I wish I'd asked that". I can't promise to live on here 24/7 but will do my best to respond as quickly as possible so ask away!

 

I received the first issue of my BRM subscription on Friday, and since I have yet to make my first layout, I can see from the 1st part that the guide will be very helpful, even though I have considerably less space than 9 feet.

 

Its great to be able to ask questions to clarify things.

Edited by Harry2013

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Harry - How much less space?

 

If you are really short of space, the David is right, go for N gauge. Either that or read up on micro layouts. Don't let the space problem stop you though. I'm sure we can help.

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I have considerably less space than 9 feet.

 

Given that fully functional, albeit very small, terminus to fiddleyard layouts have been built in significantly less than 9 feet in 0 gauge, don't let that put you off :D. Whilst, perhaps, not really relevant to this thread, there are a number of tricks which can allow the space required to be shrunk quite a lot. There's no such thing as a free lunch, of course, but it's surprising what can be done.

 

Raikes Street, a notable 00 example of quart into pint potness, can be found here.

Edited by PatB

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Thanks to Coombe Barton for posting the link to this thread ... now we've found it we can enjoy it even more... and I think I'll be drawing some basic plans. This could be the most inspiring article ... in terms of bringing folk out of their armchairs... for quite some time. Not surprising I suppose. It was you Phil after all that convinced me to have a go at weathering locos myself ... ooh ... just a few years ago at my first Warley... so this should come as no surprise I suppose . This could be a fun journey. Thanks for producing it and this thread.

Gratefully....

Jon

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Thanks for creating this series of articles Phil, it's given me the necessary kick up the backside to finally get a move on and create an actual layout rather than just scribbling track plans and buying stock.

 

In terms of the level it's being pitched at I'm finding it more comfortable and engaging than the series of 'first layout' articles running concurrently in Hornby magazine, though that's just personal opinion. The section on wiring up and point control was useful without being overwhelming, the only thing I came away from that article wondering about was how a more complex trackplan with single / double slips is wired, though I'll soon find out the answer from elsewhere on this site. For a first effort, peco solenoid turnout motors seem perfectly usable and that guide dispelled the confusion I had about installing them electrically, I was prepared to go wire in tube to avoid them before I read it.

 

One small point to note, on the ipad edition of BRM the last couple of pages of your supplement seem to have jumbled up and the page headed for constructing a plastic kit has content for attending an exhibition, with content for the kit construction missing.

 

That aside, I'm looking forward to next months issue and who knows, I might actually have something built by then myself (wouldn't bet on it just yet though!).

 

Thanks again.

Edited by Saddletank

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Phil - that track plan looks suspiciously like that of the SR rebuild of Seaton to me. You could always go Southern instead of GW... just a thought!

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Glad to hear the supplement is inspiring people to get stuck in to some modelling - that's what it's all about!

 

It doesn't matter if you build a different plan or ignore half the stuff I write, as long as you have a go. As John B says, the layout could easily be built SR rather than GWR. I could even see a Scotish terminus working just as well with some fish vans too. Let's face it, it is only toy trains at the end of the day so if something goes wrong, no one dies. The thing is, if you have a go you'll at least get a bit of experience, let's face it, I've made enough mistakes along the way. Then you (probably) won't make the same mistake again.

 

The layout is progressing well. I've seen the proofs for part 2 (looking good) and am busy working on part 3. Hopefully at the Doncaster show you'll be able to see the layout finished and working.

 

And Jon020 - Don't blame me for your mucky locos. I just suggested it... :scratchhead:

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Hi Phil

 

Will one of the coming articles show us how to signal this layout or will that be something left to us to decide ourselves ?

 

Shipton-on-Stour (GWR) had similar facilities in a different configuration, and was always worked "one engine in steam" and without signals. 

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Courtesy of this thread I think I might have to brave the Trafford centre to get a copy of the mag!

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As I'm currently without a layout and looking at a small space not much bigger than this, this is a really interesting thread. Must get round to picking up my copy of the magazine.

 

A couple of mentions have been made of making adjustments to suite other companies / eras. Any feel up to going through what some of these tweeks might be?

 

As a L&Y / LMS chap, my choice of prototype for a limited space, rural / small town fiddle to terminus is limited to say the least; I've been looking at the old MR line to Barnoldswick, but am struggling with compressing it. I am close to conluding that, for a first attempt to get soemthing to run on, anything is better than nothing.

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Phil - that track plan looks suspiciously like that of the SR rebuild of Seaton to me. You could always go Southern instead of GW... just a thought!

 

And is no doubt what CJ Freezer had in mind when he produced the plan for RM/Peco....

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As I'm currently without a layout and looking at a small space not much bigger than this, this is a really interesting thread. Must get round to picking up my copy of the magazine.

 

A couple of mentions have been made of making adjustments to suite other companies / eras. Any feel up to going through what some of these tweeks might be?

 

As a L&Y / LMS chap, my choice of prototype for a limited space, rural / small town fiddle to terminus is limited to say the least; I've been looking at the old MR line to Barnoldswick, but am struggling with compressing it. I am close to conluding that, for a first attempt to get soemthing to run on, anything is better than nothing.

 

The key is to use the right buildings - I'm pretty much using the Ratio range as they are classic GWR. If your signal box is the right colour it will be a big help for a start. Station architecture varies a lot but things like fencing and valances can make a big difference. You could use a resin staion, rip the old valances off and replace with the correct plastic ones for example.

 

Era? Well start with road vehicles. No need for acres of cars, most people could only dream of owning one in LMS times. Plenty of horse power though, the sort that eats from a nosebag. Three wheel delivery vans based on motorcycles (Oxford diecast) were popular in large towns and cities.

 

The list for this is huge and comes back to careful examination of pictures from the time and location. I'm sure others will be able to fill in more details though.

 

You are bang on though when you say, "for a first attempt to get soemthing to run on, anything is better than nothing". You are very unlikely to build your perfect layout first time. Far better to build a testbed layout to get the hang of all the techniques and make all the mistakes. By thinking of it as a testbed you give yourself permission to give things a go accepting that they might not work. Once you've built the model, the dream layout will happen far quicker because of all your new skills. Mind you, we built Flockburgh as a testbed and liked it so much the dream layout never happened.

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