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Turning locos at a terminus


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I am currently working on an end-of-steam/early diesel terminus (based on Minories) and would like to include a facility to turn locos. The size of the station may not have warranted a turntable but I would really like to include one! The same probably goes for a station pilot as well, but I would like to include one for operational purposes, hence no runarounds at the platform ends.

Can anyone help with information on the operation of such a facility, with an idea of a track plan? Apart from turning I guess the loco would definitely need water. But would it take on coal and have ash removed? And is there anything else that needs including, outbuildings etc?

Thanks.

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Water is probably the most important service and in early days was often provided for at the end of platforms from a water column.

 

The provision of a turntable alone was reasonably common and one that immediately springs to mind is Nottingham Victoria (note not a pure terminus). Though in most cases the MPD was some distance from the station. Really depends on the size of the MPD and probably the cost and inconvenience of locating one in the town/city centre.

 

As an MPD grew in size and importance such things as ash disposal, coaling, enginemans' bothy/signing on, sanding facilities, repair shops, crane hoists, etc became more common. Do not make the mistake of adding large coaling plants/ ash handling towers to a small MPD, and remember that such plants where they existed had lots of storage sidings for the wagons required to service them.

 

I would be tempted to keep it simple. Turntable, water column, and a short siding for a couple of wagons of coal. Assume there are bigger facilities back along the line for loco storage, ash removal, routine servicing and cleaning.

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You should look at the layout at Largs in steam days. No release crossovers, so almost certainly there was a station pilot; centre carriage storage roads between platform tracks; turntable and water tank, but no shed building.

 

Largs was one of three Clyde Coast termini that I can think of which had engine facilities but no actual shed buildings - Gourock, Wemyss Bay and Largs. The nearest sheds were Greenock Ladyburn for Gourock and Wemyss Bay, and Ardrossan for Largs - too far away for engines which did not need major servicing between trips.

 

Wemyss Bay had had a shed previously, and it was still standing into the 1960s, but no engines were shedded there. Apparently the water tank was built into the shed, which was why the building was kept. There was a turntable and a pit, which could be used for fire cleaning.

 

Gourock did not have a pit, just a turntable and water. Fires were cleaned, ashes left between the rails and cleaned up occasionally. There was a station pilot there. The last steam pilots were old Caley engines - an 0-4-4T and Jumbos - before diesel shunters.

 

The National Library of Scotland has 25-inch to the mile maps showing all three locations, though the latest one is of Gourock in the late 1940s - the other two are just previous to WW1. The website is not the easiest to use, but is worth persevering with. I did try to include links to the appropriate maps, but gave up in frustration!

Edited by pH
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First point is you have misunderstood the Minories station throat, the lower road of the three track portion does nothing useful.the crossovers should be trailing first the leading on the approach..  And you need more departure platforms than arrivals, and longer arrivals platforms than departure as the loco eats up length on the arrivals side, sorry but I don't think much of the track plan.

 

The loco facilities a loco would use depend on the duty as much as anything, Tender engines are pretty nasty to drive backwards so drivers would normally turn if they had the chance,  Tank engines go equally well backwards but even so engines such as BR standards have nice drivers seats arranged  for forward running so if the journey was long enough and if there was a turntable at the other end and if there was time Tank engines too were often turned, 

 

As well as the length of duty the depot the loco is allocated to also affects things, if the loco is allocated to a depot at or near your station it will be prepared for duty, coaled, oiled etc on depot before starting the turn of duty, that turn may mean it returns the next day, or ten times or more that same day if it is on a branch line duty,obviously it wont be turned every time if it is shuttling back and forth it may not even  need water.  A loco from a distant depot off a long cross country trip will probably need turning but may not need coal, a N class from Eastleigh on a Southampton train would turn at Cheltenham St James after a 70 odd mile trip and be heading back within the hour, while a Cheltenham based Manor would arrive from under the road bridge light engine tender first from Malvern Road and take the train out and on return would again leave the stock and return to depot tender first.

 

I thinik your pilot loco is a bit of a suburban terminus feature, very Liverpool Street, most small terminus had release crossovers for off peak services even if the peak service required a pilot or even fresh engines taking the stock back out on the basis of the train engine becoming pilot for the next arrival, again the Pilot duty was often part of a roster which involved taking a train at some stage, there were turns where an engine stood pilot at the far end of a duty for a time before working home, it was only in the diesel shunter era when pilots only shunted carriages,    So really there is no definitive answer.  

 

Some depots had engine sheds big enough for the entire allocation to be housed under cover, some had 40 locos allocated to a shed which held 6 so some depots used the shed like a garage and others only used the shed for repairs,again horses for courses, though personally I don't see the point of modelling big engine sheds because you can' see what is inside. 

 

I ring the changes, I operate a four platform terminus not too different to your plan  and home based locos normally Halls arrive, take coal , turn, have the fire cleaned and go on shed until the next turn, foreign based locos ie Granges and Castles turn take coal and wait on an outside road for their return trip, Tanks often just run round and take water at the station column and when a Tender loco works a Tanks turn it too often departs tender first as there is no time in the schedule for it to run to shed to turn.   The famous Ranelagh (.?) Bridge facility at Padington was for locos from depots in the country to turn between turns, local based locos worked to and from Old Oak Common Tender first and sometimes worked empty stock Tender first back to Old Oak Carriage sidings, so it very much depends on what you want. 

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A number of points occur to me.

 

Firstly a station pilot was almost invariably a tank engine and as such would not require turning itself; it would however often be responsible for shunting out the stock of an arriving train - often re-docking it in a nearby platform for a later departure - thereby releasing the train engine.  Your track plan does not include loco-release crossovers therefore all arriving trains will need to be shunt-released or have the departing train engine come on and the train leave again before the arriving engine can be released.

 

Tender engines were not always turned at or in the near vicinity of a terminus.  If a turntable could not be provided they would run tender-first to the nearest shed which had one or would be obliged to run their next trip in service tender first.  Examples have been given above.  May I add Portsmouth?  The turntable was located north of Portsmouth & Southsea station towards Fratton and in the old canal cutting.  Incoming engines often worked trains up to Portsmouth Harbour.  They were sometimes shunt-released there or sometimes had to wait (usually on the busier days when pathing a shunt move could not be done and dwell time in the terminus was also quite short) for the train to depart before coming down from the Harbour tender first and running through Portsmouth & Southsea to turn half way to Fratton.

 

In your track plan you must allow for locomotives to arrive and be released from every platform.  You may place a turntable where ever you can fit one remembering they are quite large objects.  I would set that layout up such that the turntable was mid-way down the extreme right hand side. There would be a connecting spur to it from the arrival track (roughly where that changes colour) and with the point trailing for arriving trains as a main line facing point is to be avoided where possible.  Thinking in terms of a clock face your locomotive then arrives to be turned facing exactly 9 - 3 (left - right) and leaves the same way.  You can if you wish then add a coaling track (or two) leading off the turntable in the 7 position and alongside the triple track of the station throat.  That permits those locomotives which require coal or a rake out to be serviced on that road and possibly allows a second engine to be turned at the same time if it's busy.

 

The spur should have a trap point set to derail anything running away from the turntable towards the left before reaching the main line.  If you include the coal road that will suffice as the trap since it diverts runaways towards the siding and protects the main line.

Edited by Gwiwer
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Thanks to everyone for their advice, it's much appreciated. Taking David's observations on board I have amended the track plan, which has created longer platforms and a new platform face. Space dictates the position of the turntable must be as per the plan. I have also included a short siding for coal wagons, and a water tower. My knowledge of prototypical track plans is very weak so I hope I've not made any glaring errors - more advice and constructive criticism would be very welcome. Thanks

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I think the water tower would be better placed at the station end of the coal wagon siding. The piping from the tank would then be a straight supply to water columns on the end of the platform.

 

I presume the crossovers are slips of some sort, otherwise on that plan an incoming train can only access platform 1, or the topmost one.

 

The bottom platform seems a little excessive unless there is seasonal passenger traffic, and perhaps the coal wagon siding could be moved to the edge of the diagram to allow space for a mechanical coal grab to be sited between the tracks?

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One thing to remember is that arriving and departing trains are exactly the same length if they have the same number of vehicles and the same type of loco so, unless something special is happening for one or the other, platforms handling arrivals and departures need to be of similar lengths.  While it might not necessarily be unusual for a terminus to have platforms of different lengths don't forget that unless formations are changed what arrives has to leave, and vice versa but that does not preclude a station from handling short or long trains at platforms of different lengths of course.

 

What you do need to think about are parallel arrivals and departures - something which Minories caters for extremely well.  On your original plan with only three platform faces it probably didn't matter too much as only one pair of platforms effectively blocked a parallel move to/ from the other.  But you no have 3 platform faces which block each and at what looks to be a potentially busy station with fairly comprehensive immediately to hand loco facilities.  To be honest i would look more to improve the parallel move capabilities than I would to providing such a comprehensive (i.e. including coal) loco facility although in fact it looks as if you might have space for both.

 

 I would also relocate the 'station pilot' siding because where it currently stands it is next to useless as the pilot shunting from it has to block  the entire layout to get everywhere but the immediately adjacent platform - far better, with fewer conflictions, to have it trailing into the arrival line from somewhere adjacent to the turntable.

 

Rick (Gwiwer)'s point about access to the turntable is also important )and goes along with my point about the siding for the pilot.  True Kings Cross had fairly awkward access, requiring a double back move, to get to/from the turntable but that was not entirely typical - Ranelagh Bridge at Paddington was much easier with direct access to/from the sidings and turntable from a goodly number of the platforms and of course the sidings where the pilots sat trailed into the arrival direction as well.

 

Over the years I have been involved in the operation of a couple of termini, albeit in the diesel age, and the first thing you learn is not to tie yourself in knots on the track layout - hence you tend to look for that sort of thing when looking at layout plans, especially those for the steam age where parallel moves and 'easy' shunts were far more important.

 

So as you consider the elements in your plan always think very carefully about how trains will work on it.

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My main comment would be that with a centre road between the upper two platforms you would almost certainly have points an engine length back from the buffer stops on the platform roads to allow for the loco to be released.     Also I doubt that any sort of mechanincal coal handling plant would be in use at a facility that small.  Some sort of platform (probably in timber) between the coal wagions and the loco road with some baskets tht would allow for coal to be topped up.

 

 

Jamie

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Your plan reminds me a little of the Locking Road Excursion Station at Weston-super-Mare. There were limited loco facilities there.

 

It was built next to Weston-super-Mare General Station in 1914, and was built to handle the holiday traffic to Weston, it closed in 1964.

 

You can see part of the station in this photo, ignore 6018 and its train, the Excursion station is to the right.

There were two platforms with four faces, you can see the right hand platform at the top middle right through the steam.

The  two lines on the right lead to the turntable, I think a loco is taking water hidden by the signal.

There was a third line to the turntable out of site to the right that passed through a single road loco shed where the station pilot would stable.

https://uk.images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=Az_6xdf4TxlVZgcAQhNNBQx.;_ylu=X3oDMTIybXY0ZjZ0BHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZAM1N2VlNGNjM2RmZDRlMDA5NmQ4MzA4OWYxMjkyZjE5YwRncG9zAzUEaXQDYmluZw--?.origin=&back=https%3A%2F%2Fuk.images.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3Fp%3Dweston%2Blocking%2Broad%2Bstation%26fr%3Dmcafee%26fr2%3Dpiv-web%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D5&w=4174&h=2993&imgurl=www.alextrack.co.uk%2Flibrary%2Fimages%2Frailways%2Fresearch_sources%2Ftransport_treasury%2Ftransport_treasury_george_heiron_gh0257_xlarge.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.alextrack.co.uk%2Frailways%2Fresearch_sources%2Fgeorge_heiron.shtml&size=1441.4KB&name=George+Heiron+GH257&p=weston+locking+road+station&oid=57ee4cc3dfd4e0096d83089f1292f19c&fr2=piv-web&fr=mcafee&tt=George+Heiron+GH257&b=0&ni=21&no=5&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=1289uepbm&sigb=13lgj1mgk&sigi=1422oh5im&sigt=10jt7danj&sign=10jt7danj&.crumb=fdAtepRAUPW&fr=mcafee&fr2=piv-web 

 

 

 

edit, -  my bad, there are only two lines to the turntable as seen on this plan, perhaps the single road shed was gone by then.

Again ignore the lines to the bottom of the plan, they are Weston General station, but the carriage sidings between the stations had acess from either station.

Unfortunately we cannot see the stopblocks of the Excursion station so do not know if a loco release crossover was present between the platforms.

http://bristol-rail.co.uk/wiki/File:WSM_Approach_Map1.jpg

 

 

cheers

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Thanks again for all the informative replies. I have tried to take on board the points made and have revised the plan. I have added a headshunt, which could also be used by the pilot? I'm still not sure about access to the turntable. Would a better option be to include a spur off the headshunt? I've removed the siding for coal wagons, it would be nice to include one for operational purposes but would it be unprototypical? Once again observations and constructive criticism will be welcomed. Thanks

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Thanks again for all the informative replies. I have tried to take on board the points made and have revised the plan. I have added a headshunt, which could also be used by the pilot? I'm still not sure about access to the turntable. Would a better option be to include a spur off the headshunt? I've removed the siding for coal wagons, it would be nice to include one for operational purposes but would it be unprototypical? Once again observations and constructive criticism will be welcomed. Thanks

My main comment is that you still haven't made as much provision for parallel moves as there really ought to be - look at the Marylebone plan and what it offers on parallel moves.

 

Apart from that the engine sidings need trap points as does the headshunt.  I have very mixed views on the release crossovers - you face an immediate problem (might not be a problem?) of them constraining the length of trains which are going to run round and of course running round reduces the number of potential turnover engines you need and the need to shunt stock using the headshunt.  However I would be far more wary of setting a  visual trap in that those release crossovers might conspire to make the platform lines look shorter and over complicated - all depends on what you want your terminus to be and how you intend to work it.

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Chesterfield Market Place looks more like your original plan, with a middle road between the main platforms. As with Marlylebone, the loco facilities were at the top of the layout. See this page for a map and photo.

 

http://chesterfieldforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5271

 

Also

 

https://www.hpacde.org.uk/picturethepast/jpgh_derbyshire/DCCC001465.jpg

 

DCCC001465.jpg

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Thanks again for such informative replies - this really is a steep learning curve for me! The plans uploaded by Karhedron and Armchair Modeller both show the turntable located at the top of the plan, which seems a much better arrangement. I have done another re-design based loosely on Chesterfield Market Place, which appears to work quite well in the space I have available? However, I must confess that, with my limited knowledge of the working of a real railway, I'm struggling to fully understand Stationmaster's observations about parallel moves. Is this plan any better in that respect and, if not, where could it be improved?

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I am planning something similar in operation and track plan, also having evolving changes of emphasis in layout...good luck and will watch with interest....I sure and hope that you'll receive the same support, encouragement and advice from the great guys on here...Regards Bob

Edited by BobM
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Thanks again for such informative replies - this really is a steep learning curve for me! The plans uploaded by Karhedron and Armchair Modeller both show the turntable located at the top of the plan, which seems a much better arrangement. I have done another re-design based loosely on Chesterfield Market Place, which appears to work quite well in the space I have available? However, I must confess that, with my limited knowledge of the working of a real railway, I'm struggling to fully understand Stationmaster's observations about parallel moves. Is this plan any better in that respect and, if not, where could it be improved?

That looks beter to me especially with the loco release roads.  You do owever still need a loco release crossover from Platform 2 reading from the top downwards.  The arrangement isnot very clearly visible in the photo of Chesterfield.   If you arerunning short of length then a bit of handbuilt trackwork with the two points on the loco release road becoming a 3 way point would save quite a bit of space.

 

Jamie

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Marylebone was hardly a compact terminus, it was designed as a six platform terminus but began life with four platforms and a roadway between platforms 1 and 2.  Subsequently the roadway became two more platforms but only to allow platforms 3 and 4 to be demolished and the and sold off thus Marylebone had  very complicated throat allowing all sorts of parallel movements but not enough platforms or traffic to use them,  Note there is no headshunt  but arrivals and departures are possible from every platform.  Actually it would be a fantastic station to model in LNER Days with B17s Directors Atlantics and big GCR 4-6-0s taking turns in the few expresses and even Flying Scotsman post war but the GCR 4-6-0s were mercilessly culled by Thompson to make way for his indifferent B1 4-6-0s  as the LNER era ended.    Apart from Locals most duties were to Leicester I believe with some all the way to Manchester.

 

Chesterfield looks like a much better inspiration for a model.

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Thanks once again for all the support. Regarding the point made by Jamie92208, space is tight - my longest train will be a loco plus 4 Mk1's in 00 -  I have amended the plan to include a Peco 3-way point to enable runaround at Platforms 2 and 3. Does this look better? To expand on Siberian Snooper's post. My plan allows departure from Platform 1 with simultaneous arrivals to Platforms 2, 3 and 4. Also, departure from Platform 2 can work simultaneously with arrivals to Platforms 3 and 4. Is this arrangement OK or can it be improved further? And to Bob, good luck with your project as well, how are things going?

Further constructive criticism and advice would be much appreciated.

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Amplifying that just a little a parallel move is any move literally parallel with another so can (and often does) include a train arriving or departing while a light engine movements takes place on an adjacent track or perhaps while empty coaching stock is shunted.

 

It would be prototypical to have a station the size suggested by your track plan able to cope with some parallel move options in order to save time when busy.

 

The turntable is still placed awkwardly.  It requires an incoming locomotive to shunt out, then shunt forward to the access road which occupies a whole platform, then shunt a third time onto the turntable.  Once turned the same is true in reverse.  The platform cannot be used while locos need to turn making it largely redundant; if a train occupies it nothing can turn.

 

Do you have to have the scenic break, marked by the vertical blue line towards the right hand side, where it is?  Can the back scene come across left to right marked by the horizontal blue line and the turntable be placed where I suggested earlier namely to the bottom right outside the coloured curve?  

 

All platform roads except the top one can be reached by direct arrivals and all can reach the main line upon departure.  If the top platform is not to be used for arrivals it could be a parcels dock which also permits shunting moves to the turntable but I feel it is unnecessarily fussy.

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Your plan is evolving well, but I'm still not sure I understand what sort of station this is. Minories is/was intended to be an inner-city station, with an intensive service, for which its layout is pretty useful, but the basic design could equally be a seaside terminus, where the operation is more leisurely, but the trains can be full and numerous. In the latter case, land would be cheaper, so facilities more generous. Hopefully you know just what sort of purpose your station is to serve.

 

As for termini with turntables, compact Charing Cross (SER) had a turntable - but it was on the other bank of the Thames, across the bridge.

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Your plan is evolving well, but I'm still not sure I understand what sort of station this is. Minories is/was intended to be an inner-city station, with an intensive service, for which its layout is pretty useful, but the basic design could equally be a seaside terminus, where the operation is more leisurely, but the trains can be full and numerous. In the latter case, land would be cheaper, so facilities more generous. Hopefully you know just what sort of purpose your station is to serve.

 

As for termini with turntables, compact Charing Cross (SER) had a turntable - but it was on the other bank of the Thames, across the bridge.

One that might be worth looking at is Windermere in steam days.  From memory that had a nice overall roof and had a turntable and some basic servicing facilities as well as the ability to handle excursion trains along with the normal branch service.

 

Here's the 1957 plan.

 

Admin edit: Image removed due to copyright 

 

 

Jamie

Edited by Mod4
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If you connect the turntable directly to any of the platform roads then effectively that road becomes a headshunt. so I would suggest either connecting it to the release road between the platforms or connecting it facing away from the station somewhere on the curve.

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