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MPD structures and features


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Hi there,


I thought I was done with my track plan when I realised I hadn't made certain of clearances for buildings. I'm having trouble finding good overall views and descriptions of MPDs however, and track plans often miss out or don't label buildings.


It would be useful if y'all could help me put lists of essential and desirable stuff that could be included. Also good sources of info (I have some of the Paul Bolger MPD books, and North Eastern Sheds in the Last Days of Steam, but the vast majority of pics are of locos). I'm intending to model a North Eastern- or Scottish-flavoured MPD in the late 50's. Track plan is at




So far I'm at:


Shed building (including offices, workshops)

Coaling stage


Ash pits + ash wagon siding

Inspection pits inside and out of the shed

Sand drying kiln

Breakdown train siding


Many thanks!

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Don't be fooled into believing that all sheds had all facilities, though by the late 50's most of the big ones had a pretty complete compliment.


For example, a turntable was not essential and even by that date many a MPD had lost theirs in favour of turning triangles rather than finding space in the yard for turning the larger engines. Coaling and ash plant towers were also not as common as might be thought. Many a smaller shed would still use ash pits adjacent to coaling stages and manpower to empty them. Water tanks too, were not always obvious sometimes being hidden in the roof of the shed itself and sometimes being simply supplied to a water stands through a pump house. Brakedown trains also were usually only kept at the larger MPDs and these would almost certainly have lifting frames often more than one. Finally remember that most sheds did not perform major repair works on locomotives. They were merely for minor repairs - the major centres had separate or adjoining repair shops for this purpose.


Oh and what is a "big shed"? Well probably one that could easily house a dozen locos, so we are talking probably 6 road sheds or bigger and several sidings for coal nearby (by the 60's several sidings for shunters, cripples and scrapped locos, and some of those oily things)

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Many thanks for those answers, especially the comprehensive response from Kenton! I'm not sure how water tower/tank and columns escaped the original post! I've been debating whether to fit some coal wagon sidings in or to keep them off-scene due to space issues, but I'll have a go at another reshuffle...


Anyone got anything to add?

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Have you consulted old maps to get the general philosophies of shed layout pinned down?  Not only do they suggest the workflow and loco routing through each facility, but the sheer range of shapes and sizes gives you a range of space-friendly options.

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Yup, I've got Paul Bolger's books on MPDs which includes layouts, for the NER, WR and ER, and had a good google search for pics of several that looked suitable. www.britainfromabove.org.uk has also been very useful once I'd determined exact locations.


The problem is that condensing an MPD layout isn't quite as straight forward as a BLT, as it's a bit difficult to reduce loco lengths and space between adjacent lines is already at it's minimum. So I've gone a bit freelance, using the work-flow of the shed as the starting point, and trying to replicate the flowing points layouts of the prototype as much as possible when using Peco streamline points (with an almost 3-yr old and other commitments I'm not about to start hand-built track, as attractive as it would be!). Here is the plan in two versions: Without and with coal storage (RH side). Imagine that the scenic section doesn't include the LH edge, and stops part-way down the RH edge, and the curves in the top LH corner are hidden!




The intended function of each track, from the top of the board to the bottom, is: 1 Engineering/breakdown train siding; 2&3 double main line; 4 coaling ramp; 5 Locos in (ash, coaling, water, turning); 6 ash disposal wagons; 7 Locos in (turning and water only); 8 Locos out.




The intended function (two tracks have been swapped): 1 Engineering/breakdown train siding; 2&3 double main line; 4 coaling ramp; 5 ash disposal wagons; 6 Locos in (ash, coaling, water, turning); 7 Locos in (turning and water only); 8 Locos out.



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