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Timesaver Inspired EM Gauge Micro Layout

BG John

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I've been trying to dream up some sort of smallish layout where I can run my old EM gauge stock. It's been sitting in a box for a couple of decades or more, and needs a bit of fresh air! I've never actually played with one, but I fancy creating a shunting puzzle that can also be operated like a proper railway. The first effort was a BLT using the timesaver track plan, that I was quite happy with, but it was 8ft long, and I really wanted something smaller. As a shunting layout, there's no scope for passenger stock in a timesaver, although when stretched it does make a convincing branch terminus with passenger facilities, but this wouldn't fit in less than 8ft in EM. So inspired by RichardEyre's Fun shunting 4x1 Plank topic, where I did throw in the idea of adding pasenger facilities, I came up with a new plan. I have a couple of 5ft x 1ft 6in sheets of 16mm ply from a dismantled wardrobe, and one of these seemed like the size I was aiming for. I couldn't fit Richard's plan in less than 5ft in EM anyway, so thought I'd use that if I couldn't get a timesaver to fit.


So my passenger stock could put in an appearance, I decided that I would effectively create two layouts in one, with the timesaver bit being 1ft wide, and 6in for a bit of a passenger station. With a tank loco and two bogie coaches taking up half the length of the layout, it won't be much more than a train popping out of the fiddle yard, and going back in, but it's better than nothing!


For anyone who doesn't know about such things, you can learn about timesavers here. The track plan shown there is a mirror image of what I've designed, so to avoid confusion, here's one I Photoshopped to match my track plan (the copyright notice on the web site seems to allow this):




I've added another turnout to give access to the fiddle yard in the only place it would fit, so it can make an off stage connection to the rest of the world.


I started by drawing a straight timesaver, with all the tracks the correct length to comply with the rules, in Templot, and then bent and stretched it to fit the space available, and look less boring. Then I added the buffers end of the passenger station, the rest being hidden away in the fiddle yard. Like this:




I haven't decided what facilities the yard will provide yet, but there may be a quay in the bottom left corner.


The tricky bit is fitting the fiddle yard in. Access from the yard has to be at an angle, and the only way I could think of doing this is through an overbridge. That means I need a road or path, but if I take this down into the yard it takes up a lot of space. So I've put it round the edge of the backscene, where it goes off the back of the layout, but that means crossing the passenger station. It would be very unusual to have a road bridge across the platform of a small terminus, so I've made it a footpath, but I'm not sure i'm happy about it.


The other problem is the length of a passenger train, so my original idea was to hide part of the platform behind a large factory or warehouse, like the Scalescenes one, so the passenger fiddle yard extends behind it. Then I thought that a trainshed might be better, as it would hide the train better. Operation is very limited, so I will usually run an auto train or railcar backwards and forwards, but I can run a loco round occasionally. I think the trainshed is better, but I'm using one on my broad gauge micro layout to hide my space saving cheating, and would like a bit of variety! This is what a rough mock-up with a trainshed looks like:




And looking in the opposite direction:




I'm currently involved in a 304.8mm/ft project where I'm minimising the use of materials, and reusing as much old material as possible, so I'm aiming to do the same with this layout. I'll be raiding my boxes of modelling materials and trying to buy as little new stuff as possible. I've been motivated by The £100 Layout Project, but have no intention of spending that much if I can avoid it! Using what I already have, and spending as little as possible, is more appealing!


It's taken quite a time for the idea to develop this far, and I'm sure there's lots of things that can be improved before I start building (including scrapping the idea and starting again!), so has anyone got any suggestions?

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  • 2 months later...

I rather quickly went off this plan. The wall, path and backscene round the fiddle yard seemed overpowering, and made the layout very unbalanced. The fiddle yard for the timesaver also seemed a bit too small. No one commented on it, so I decided it was a rubbish idea. Then I started to think about it again, and discovered a few people liked it, so it can't be that bad!


I've been racking my brain to try to work out how the passenger station would work though. An auto train or railcar running backwards and forwards would be fine, but I wanted somewhere for loco hauled passenger trains to put in an appearance. Operating these would be so unrealistic, that I don't think I'd ever bother, defeating the object. I thought of automation, but that would be very complicated, time consuming to implement, and expensive. So maybe a pasenger station was the wrong solution.


Inspired by Knobhead's various threads on backdating GWR RTR locos to early 1900s condition, I started thinking of my original aim when I started in EM 40 years ago. At that time, modelling this period meant lots of kit and scratchbuilding that was beyond my skills, pocket and motivation, so I ended up buying whatever was available, hence my small collection of 1930s/40s locos and stock, with some pre-grouping. Maybe after all this time, I should actually do what I originally intended! The locos I have are mostly too big for a small branch terminus, so maybe a loco shed would provide a better setting for them. So I came up with this revised version:




I've replaced the wall/path/backscene with two large warehouses, and the timesaver fiddle yard track squeezes between them, partly hidden by a connecting bridge. I've curved the track to make it a bit longer. This shouldn't be a problem, as I only need it to take a small tank loco and a few short wheelbase 4-wheel wagons. I may add a few inches to the length of the layout if necessary. I've also added up to 3 inches to the width to make space for a bit more scenery at the front, making it easier to include a quay and some water.


I'd always intended for the passenger station to be on a slightly higher level if possible, as I think this will make it more interesting, and I've kept this feature. Without the need to hide a complete train in the fiddle yard, I hope the warehouses will hide a small cassette for swapping locos, without the need for a backscene. I can then run locos backwards and forwards in a convincing way, and have a bigger scenic area. As I won't be able to run passenger trains, I've included a carriage siding, where I can stand a few coaches. There's no room to be able to shunt them.


I've incuded a two road loco shed, that will be partly low-relief, with maybe enough length to take one loco modelled. I think having some largish buildings at this end will make the layout appear more balanced. Potential locos (with links to Knobhead's conversions) are:

Airfix RTR 61xx converted to 31xx - http://www.rmweb.co....the-airfix-61xx

Mainline Dean Goods backdated - http://www.rmweb.co....rnby-dean-goods

Triang Lord of the Isles converted to 2-2-2 - http://www.rmweb.co....rd-of-the-isles (or maybe just static as it is)

Airfix kit 61xx converted to 31xx - My ancient and probably no longer working conversion, maybe to hide in the shed!

Airfix 14xx - Need ideas for what I can do with this one!

Airfix 14xx converted to 517 class - New topic started by Relaxinghobby after I originally wrote this - http://www.rmweb.co....gwr-14xx-to-517


For the timesaver, I just have a Wills 1804 saddle tank at the moment.


I'm much happier with the design now. The next stage is to print out the Templot plan full size, make some rough mock-ups of the buildings, and see how it works.


Any suggestions, rude or otherwise, welcome.


Edited to add topic on converting 14xx to 517 class

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I have seen a conversion from 14xx to 517, I believe it was

on the the GWR.org website.

You're right. Thanks.


It seems the obvious conversion, but for some reason I always thought it couldn't be done. Even if it's not accurate it looks the part. If it runs well enough it can do some shunting on the timesaver.


So how do I convert my Lima GWR railcar to a railmotor? :jester:

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You're right. Thanks.


It seems the obvious conversion, but for some reason I always thought it couldn't be done. Even if it's not accurate it looks the part. If it runs well enough it can do some shunting on the timesaver.


So how do I convert my Lima GWR railcar to a railmotor? :jester:

You don't!

You would be better off trying to convert a auto-coach in my opinion.


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So how do I convert my Lima GWR railcar to a railmotor? :jester:


You could start with a blowlamp, but you'd get a sort of plasticy smell from it.

Maybe a cheesegrater but that would be long winded.



Perhaps flog the railcar on ebay and start from scratch :sungum:

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Hi John,


Thinking about the options you have re backdating locos,

the 28xx, 45xx, County [4-4-0], City, Hall [saint], Castle

[star] and various panniers are all possibilities.

I guess it all depends on the size of the layout [and your

axle loading!].


Good luck, Jeff

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