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23in x 53in N gauge coffee table layout - shunting puzzle and loop

Black Sheep

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I've got a glass topped coffee table in which I'm looking to build a layout, preferably one where trains can just be left to run round and watch instead of a shunting layout but I'm stuck for ideas


so, anyone got any suggestions I'd be very glad to hear them!


the coffee table is 23 inch x 53 inch (585x350mm), the sides are fully open but the top is split into 3 pieces of glass with wooden frame.


can a layout be made to fit?

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I was thinking of having a loop (would love double track run but would accept a passing loop) with a station one side and some taller buildings down the middle to split the scene without having to fit a back-scene, then another station or just a small halt- type station.


although I'm a bit stuck as to what to try and fit in

most of my stock is steam locos

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  • 2 months later...

I've now got a better idea of what I want and have been playing around in anyrail.


As previously said, I'd love a loop, I'm probably going to run this one as 1950's using my DP1 with blood and custard so radius 1 curves, hidden a little by a bit of foliage to hide the severity of the curve are acceptable.


I've tried producing a dog bone to make it look like a small rural junction station so that the train goes down the (fake) two line main route, into a tunnel and returns down the single track branch and through the station on the other line and repeats at the other end, but there is not enough length to bring the lines together. 


I've not been able to produce a convincing out and back either. 


I'd rather not have a back scene down the middle as that would mean the other side is rarely seen yet still needs to be scenic. 


I'd like to be able to do some shunting while SWMBO is watching strictly-come-Xfactor's-got-tallent or whatever so a yard is essential. 

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Having read this month's Railway Modeller there is a small 33 x 23.5 N gauge layout called 'Black Sheep Lane' which has shown me what is possible in the space I'm working with, and with the extra length I have, I'm confident of squeezing a small station in. Although I'm not sure a single line branch with passing loop is a convincing stomping ground for DP1.


I had been trying to convince my wife (given that the layout is to live in the coffee table in the lounge) of having a coal mine as the main industry, but she favours a brewery (her parents were publicans when she was growing up)


Unlike 'Black Sheep Lane' there won't be a second level, other than that, the track layout I kept coming to is quite similar, except for the afore mentioned station passing loop. There will also be an inglenook type shunting puzzle yard (serving the brewery) in the middle.


track plan to follow...

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So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the plans for Milliedale Brew Lane (all my layouts are named Milliedale, this one is 'Brew Lane' as that's the name of the road leading down to the Brewery!) - designed to be built in 23in x 53in:




The buildings will be the Metcalfe Brewery kit (brewery yet to be named and open to ideas on that)


The station should have enough space in it for a two coach train and DP1, or possibly 3 coaches and small loco, station building will be the Metcalfe Country station, as I have one from Milliedale that I can use.


The other buildings up the top of the retaining walls and banking, will be mainly terraced houses and corner shops courtesy of Scale Scenes.


The layout is intended to use up all the 1950's vehicles my mother keeps buying me for christmas each year which wouldn't be at home on Milliedale itself due to Milliedale being 1948ish although mother did excel herself this year buying a mountford narrow boat, hence the canal.



Hopefully the layout doesn't look too trainset, although there is a reasonable amount of compromise taking place to fit in the table.


Not sure how the buildings will stand up to the direct sunlight that pours through my lounge window on an afternoon, I think we face south...


as always, open to suggestions and opinions,

will start the build topic when building commences,

right now I have a bathroom floor to sort and a bedroom to paint.

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  • 7 months later...


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