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The 'Narwich' Modules


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No, that's not a spelling error or typing in a regional accent.

 

As mentioned elsewhere, i've had plans in mind to make a model based on Norwich Thorpe and Crown Point for a good while now. The track plan involved is a mix of pre and post resignalling/electrification in the mid 1980s. Those not familiar with the location, i started a thread a while ago trawling for information a lot of which can be found here:

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/66758-1980s-norwich-thorpe-plans/page-1

 

As a stand alone project, it's massive and very overwhelming. Currently my employer likes to make me move house every few years which makes creating such a monster at home a non starter. When Andy Y suggested the modular concept i noticed that there might be the possibility of breaking down the whole Norwich plan into managable modules. These could be 'quickly' completeable and be able to attach to modules built by others at module meets so parts of my layout can see use before total completetion.

 

I've started work on the plans for some of these modules. I have nearly all the track to build 2 of the junction plans, plus a big sheet of 18mm marine ply to make end plates and a bag of various banana plugs and sockets for wiring. Most of the module ends that fit inside the overall track layout have 3 or 4 lines crossing, not just 2 as laid out in the Modular Standards. So i've set myself an additional standard to compensate for this: The 'mainline' will pass through the centre of the end plates with it's 50mm spacing as layed down in the overall standards, then any 3rd or 4th tracks will be each side of these at a sligthly wider 65mm spacing.

 

post-9147-0-38795800-1407091378.jpg

 

This means i could theoretical join my modules up in the wrong orientation to be Norwich but still have some of the additional tracks operable between modules. (It's still the early days for the UK modules but someone in the future may want to have a 3rd or 4th track at their module end plates and wonder what might be a good spacing...)

 

Plans so far then working in Xtrakcad are being kept simple. I've marked on an 18'' end profile with a short stretch of track at 90 degrees at the correct spacings from the centre, but not the sides of the rest of the boards. Due to turnout proximaties to end plates and the fact that most of them are on the additional outer lines, not all sidings may be usable outside of a 'Norwich' setup. All curved boards are to multiples of 30 degrees.

 

First Plan: Trowse Bridge Junction:

 

post-9147-0-82048100-1407091382.jpg

 

Only piece of track i'm missing for this is the single slip. Remember the whole track plan is a 'based on' concept, the real version of this junction has never had this layout! The spur to the right is a siding that used to be there serving a factory beside the line. This module would be able to fit on a single board.

 

 

Second: Thorpe Junction:

 

post-9147-0-34355800-1407091373_thumb.jpg

 

Overall, this module would be 2 boards as originally drawn, however when i lined up the plans the upper curve was really too much so i've drawn on where the end would move to with 30 degrees removed and that would make it a single board. Much easier!

 

 

3rd: ongoing plan for the Depot:

 

post-9147-0-58497800-1407091363_thumb.jpg

 

There probably should be a trailing crossing on the curve on the mainline, but that will become more obvious when plans further towards the station are done. This would be a multiple board module, there's lots of track plan work to on the depot yet.

 

Overall, this how the 3 parts (so far) line up:

 

post-9147-0-43108000-1407091368_thumb.jpg

 

This also helps show why it'd be useful to remove 30 degrees from the second junction to help complete the triangle in a smaller space.

 

The 2 Junctions are likely to be worked on first while plans are made for the rest of the modules to make the layout. Work commitments mean there won't be rapid progress, but at least it gives me something small to do.

 

I also have the old Warren Lane large fiddle yard which will be adapted to be modular compliant, end parts may be tweaked to help with my additional 65mm spacing.

 

And why 'Narwich'? well, i like the Norwich plan, but most of my freight stock is more Harwich ;) Riverside yard will be gaining a container terminal when planning gets that far.....

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That's pretty ambitious and a perfect example of what "modular" can do - bits that can be built and operated as independent sections but all together make a great section.

 

Puts my two track, straight, 8ft long station plans to shame...

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Got to start somewhere. Glad for the competition, though you didn't have to make it quite so complex just to show me up :D

 

I suspect yours will be up and running before any of these are ;)

 

That's pretty ambitious and a perfect example of what "modular" can do - bits that can be built and operated as independent sections but all together make a great section.

 

Puts my two track, straight, 8ft long station plans to shame...

 

I'm trying/hoping to make each module as unambitious as possible, even the Depot is going to need an un-modular board join somewhere so hopefully the complicated shed part can be seperate to the short modular part on the curve.

 

The Shinohara scissor crossing on the station throat could get interesting, no hurry to get to that part of the plan! And i still need to decide what i'm going to put on the 3rd side of the Crown Point Triangle, that'll be a very big headache of a module to get to fit snuggly with the other 2.

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It looks impressive, showing that you can build anything in small chunks. Even if the Grand Plan changed halfway through, the built modules can still be used and have a purpose. Having lived on Norwich, the station is not boring. ( release roads etc).

I'm looking forward to seeing your proposed platform arrangement.

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One idea that may help for this - one of our guys uses "drop in" bits of board (fixed to a pin that locates in a hole in the baseboard) forming the 4' between the rails which let him put either a buffer stop there (for when that end is being a modular joint so his extra track needs to terminate) or plain sleepers (for when it's connecting to one specific other module, it's not a conventional modular joint and the track needs to cross the joint).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mental planning continues. From looking at other threads here, a 2 to 4 track adapter board will probably be a useful addition early on.

 

I've also been trying to figure out what to do about the Carrow Road bridge over Thorpe Junction. Most of the terrain is flat apart from the road, and when organised in an incorrect orientation for the site I could end up with a main road bridge going into the side of a yard......I was thinking about making the bridge a loose scenic item that could get placed 'where appropriate' but that would involve lots of scenic concrete pads for it to sit on on different modules which would get awkward.

 

As a solution then, Carrow Road bridge will be built as an entire seperate module to sit between the Thorpe Junction module and the Depot module. This module will be 6" long by the standard 18" wide and consist of 4 tracks under a bridge. Simples. It means the entire bridge module can be positioned wherever it's useful, or if a 6" spacer is needed :)

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Another thought looking at it again - on the Thorpe Jcn module, on the Yarmouth line, why not leave off the crossover into the third track (up goods?)

 

It doesn't add anything operationally (yet/in this configuration) and it'd give you another standard end, making it easier to use that end of the module in a meet. 

 

And in future, if you did go back and build the next bit, you can always mod the Thorpe Jcn module to add the crossover back in.

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Good thinking Martyn, the end plate could be moved further back as well (like the overlap on the Trowse Bridge Junction module) to make the module smaller overall, the crossover to the goods loop can then be moved back to the Crown Point module which control wise will be more useful. The only addition needed to the Thorpe Junction board then when the time comes would be the stub of head shunt.

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Planning update:

 

Trowse Bridge Junction:

 

post-9147-0-03291800-1408648653.jpg

 

A new angle for it after removing 30 degrees from Thorpe Junction.

 

 

Crown Point:

 

post-9147-0-87067000-1408648642_thumb.jpg

 

Initial approach work. I still haven't decided what to put in this location, it may end up being a container terminal as that's my main vice. the cross over for the goods loop has been moved onto here as mentioned above. Very usefully the single track 60 degree curve at a 36 inch radius lines up nicely beside the loops.

 

 

Thorpe Junction:

 

post-9147-0-88191600-1408648650_thumb.jpg

 

Goods loop crossover moved to Crown Point module and 30 degrees removed from the curve up to Trowse Bridge Junction. also, 6 inches of Carrow Bridge Module added :)

 

 

Depot:

 

post-9147-0-22319600-1408648645_thumb.jpg

 

Still lots of work to do on the layout of the depot itself, but the mainline curve has received a trailing crossover now.

 

 

Station Approach:

 

post-9147-0-65646900-1408648646.jpg

 

Partly still work in progress on how the loco stabling and low-level sidings will fit on/connect to this module. In my head the Station Approach was probably going to be part of the Station module itself, but as i drew it down an obvious module joint appeared at the scissor crossing and it seemed rude not to break it down a little more! The scissor crossing itself is currently drawn using 4 medium radius turnouts, however the plan is to use a large Shinohara scissor crossing as the centre piece of this module.

 

 

Station:

 

post-9147-0-31063200-1408648648.jpg

 

Again, lots of planning work still to do here, this could end up being another interesting shaped board. Starting from the top, for ease of size the low level sidings (and royal dock area) will be a separate module along side when i get that far with planning. Platform 1 is pretty self explanatory, there will be a trailing crossing between platforms 2 and 3 for loco release and the same for platform 4 to the middle road. I'm not happy with the approach work for platforms 4, 5, and 6 yet. at the bottom will be 2 or 3 carriage sidings beside platform 6, depending how wide the module already is.

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A little more playing with planning (playing with a saw might be useful soon!)

 

Worked out some kinks on the station module so i'm happier with the fan for platforms 4, 5, and 6, but it does involve a 3 way point so may be subject to further amendments. Added the loco release crossovers too. This is not drawn at it's proper length yet.

 

Also had a play with the orientation of modules who's designs are already finished, so like this for example it's a 6 platform station serving 2 mainlines and a branch line.

 

post-9147-0-75516200-1408734492_thumb.jpg

 

Platforms 1 and 2 work as arrivals for the top mainline with departures available from 1 to 6. The branch and the bottom mainline can arrive at all platforms with departures from 3 to 6. The carriage sidings also have good access for storing more trains.

 

Would this kind of configuration be a useful 'hub' for potential future module meets?

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What's the overall dimensions of all the bits together?  That in itself may be a contributory factor to its use!

 

It's certainly ambitious and would be a great centrepiece - although you may find it takes several people to operate successfully.

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Well each individual board junction module is to be 4ft or less in length and at the widest ends are less than 3ft where the diverging tracks meet the next modules. Judging by the scale on the above picture, the 2 junctions together in that configuration are roughly 5ft top to bottom and 6ft6in right to left.

 

The dimensions of the station module are a different kettle of fish that I've not worked out yet, and the following is one of the reasons planning is taking so long: The ends of the platforms at Norwich do not line up with each other, platforms 1 and 2 are the longest stepping down to 5 and bay 6 being the shortest. 1 through 4 are electrified and long enough to hold 'London' length trains. My standard train length is 7 carriages + loco. Platform 4 either needs to be just long enough to hold 7 carriages and allow a loco to release and run round or just long enough to hold the entire train and require a second loco to release (which will be standard m/o for platform 3 anyway). The longest platform 1/2 would be roughly 1 carriage longer than that and 5/bay 6 would be 1 carriage shorter. As a module the station will probably need to be on 3 boards of as yet unknown length and roughly 2ft wide. Now imagine as a huge coincidence that the approach tracks on the yet to be drawn Norwich goods shed module happen to be an exact mirror image of the spacings for platforms 1 to 5 in the station and the ends of the goods platforms happen to be exactly the same width as the passenger platforms. Now imagine 1 of the board joints on the station module is after bay platform 6 has finished but before the release crossovers in the other platforms and the goods approach board can fit there instead. Narwich then becomes a through station and opens up a whole other world of possibilities!!!

 

if a lot of that doesn't make sense then let me know and I'll try and draw some pictures.

 

That's why a lot of planning is going into the larger modules. Even if I didn't have work and family being my time priority I'd expect this to take many many years to make and get right which is why it'll be nice to do some of the simple junction modules to work the rest of it off. The whole module concept has opened it up to a flexible arrangement that can be changed to suit my mood if required which isn't something I thought of when I did my first thoughts into this a few years ago........in the mean time I probably should lay down a simple fun set track loop so at least I can run something......

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It makes sense.  In one word... "big" :)

 

As it happens, the station module I was planning - albeit a simple two track through station with crossovers - will be 12ft and that will be designed for two Bachmann 4-CEP units together, or 7+loco as per your design.  However I am sure there will be other stations planned that are just two or three coaches capacity.

 

I'm building some "basic" modules at the moment for the same reason as you - to have something to run, and to "prove" the standards.  I will probably work on a more complex something at some point but at the moment it's getting something together.

 

I suppose you could go "in the spirit of" rather than a faithful copy of Norwich, that may allow you to cut down some of the extra trackwork which also reduces costs?

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If i can get the station module in 12ft i'll be happy. 2ft of points, 9ft of platform, and 1ft of station building might push it a little though, creative planning required.

 

It's very 'based on' in concept already and it's going to be easy to loose a lot of track when planning riverside yard and the depot properly - it would be unfeasably big otherwise. The trailing crossover on the Depot board is likely to get removed again, all it allows is a departure from Lowlevel sidings at the same time as a Goods arrival from the Yarmouth direction, pretty pointless in the grand scheme of things.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, mental planning is reaching it's conclusion and the kids are now back at school so I'm hoping for some good pc planning time in the not too distant future. The 'Narwich'-ness may be reduced slightly as I've not managed to logically fit in a container yard anywhere, but I have seen a picture with a couple of freightliner containers stacked in riverside yard so some will still come in and the low level sidings can be used for motive change from pairs of 86s to pairs of 37s going to a terminal at Yarmouth or Lowestoft.

 

Planning rationalisation then will see Crown Point being more like a much reduced version of the old engineers sidings for wagons to be loaded/unloaded by a hardstanding. Most of riverside yard will be ignored, just a few sidings the far side of the main goods shed to help with the kick back into the TMD and for the small stack of containers.

 

As a side note, I do have another layout plan that revolves around the cranes and ship that I was toying with before modular came on the scene, but it's a stand alone. In my current situation modular still makes more sense, plus there's very little in the way of scenery and buildings in my modular plans here (well, apart from the station, goods shed, and engine shed which are all modules along way down the line) so any actual model making can still be focused on my intermodal fetish.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Some alterations. Crown point and Trowse bridge junction are getting cut. Reason is 3 fold, I'm not happy with the Trowse Bridge Junction layout, I can't do Crown Point justice with limited space, and making a triangle layout DCC compatible when I don't do DCC usually doesn't seem worth it.

 

So that's most of the plan east of Carrow Road chopped (left of the bridge as I've drawn it above). Thorpe Junction will remain as planned but with the 'Industrial Siding' on the Trowse Bridge board being moved onto it, maybe with the addition of a trailing crossover along side on the mainline to help with operations. This means both board ends away from Carrow Bridge will be a nice simple standard modular 2 track mainline. Dimensions for this alteration are TBC.

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  • 3 months later...

Planning continues!

 

In 'SG's dream layout' world, all based around the Great Eastern, there would be a continuous run OHL equipt mainline with a through station (lets call it Ipswich!), a couple of junction off the mainline in one direction to create a 'diesel' reversing loop (continuous run direction change), and a junction off the mainline in the opposite direction leading to a 'diesel' terminus station. No fiddle yard!

 

Narwich suitable designed could work as the terminus station for this as well as being part of the layout able to be removed and exhibited/taken to module meets. The size of it makes it suitable for stock storage to compensate for the lack of fiddle yard in my grand plan, plus if I did Norwich as a standalone layout I'd want OHL on it, but this 'design' removes that requirement which is more 'modular system' friendly.

 

I've done some hand drawing of the station, approach, low level sidings, and Thorpe Junction/TMD to plan them to a more sensible size, however I think they really are too ###### a quality to show on here at the moment so I'll do my best to describe the plan.

 

Station: The layout is similar to the picture in post #11 above, but there will only be 2 full length carriage sidings at the bottom, the third will be a stub that finishes before platform 6 (bottom bay platform). With a lot of platform compression this will hopefully fit in a 2ft width but will be tight! The 18inch modular end will line up 90 degrees with the top platform 1 edge, and gently angle out to gey the 2ft width at the bottom edge. I suspect it will be 3x 4ft long boards in total.

 

Station Throat: the plan is now very basic, 4ft long board with the 4 tracks on, scissor crossing towards the middle, facing points on the platform 1 side to go to the low level sidings* and an isolated siding at the bottom to be for diesel refueling. The board will be the standard 18inch width at the Thorpe Junction end but 20inch wide at the Station end with the extra 2inch sticking out at the top to give space for the *low level siding connection which won't be modular standard but available as an optional extra to the 'Station Throat' board.

 

This bit really will be better explained when I can do a decent drawing!

 

Low Level Sidings: as mentioned above this will come off some extra width on the throat board and will consist of 3x 4ft x 1ft planks with sidings possibly the loading dock and sit snuggly against the station boards or any other modular boards that aren't wider than the 18inch standard. I'm toying with the idea of a 4th designed to sit alongside the throat board as well (with a suitable notch out of it for the connecting track) to add the small virtual quarry sidings that are on that site. This board would need to come to a point at the Thorpe Junction end though to sit inside the lines to Riverside yard.

 

Thorpe Junction/TMD/Riverside: I'm starting to get to grips with this area now, the Junction beside the TMD is simple enough as shown in earlier posts. The trailing crossing on the curve is back so Low Level departures can get across to the correct line. In 'Grand Plan' use the junction would need to be fitted the wrong way with the Station Throat being the other side of Carrow Bridge to it, all 'moves' would still work though. The main operational design departure comes in riverside yard which for ease of modelling needsto be long and thin rather than short and wide like the prototype is. Also, the reconfigured Grand Plan use of it sees the requirement of a single track branch at the far end. The design for this is still to be properly worked out but I'd like it to fit within a 2ft width (not counting the part with the junction alongside the TMD) with the single through track becoming the 'departure' track (line closest to the station) from riverside yard, and the yard itself a mix of loops beside the through line and sidings further out from it with the outer 1 being a kick back into the TMD similar to the prototype.

 

Carrow Bridge: Now thinking this will be 12inch long module with the bridge in the centre rather than the module just being the width of the bridge. This means it can hold the length of a locomotive, so if for example a meet organiser wanted the station but not the throat (using someone else's crossover module) then Carrow Bridge could be added to allow loco access to the carriage sidings. Obviously couldn't shunt carriages into them but they could hold a lot of loco's!

 

I will draw all this down so it makes more sense honest. All is still alive and awaiting time in the land of Narwich. I mentioned on another thread that I'd simply like the time to be able to quickly knock up a simple modular board as time really is against me for doing any of this, that board is likely to become the station throat board. (Carrow Bridge still stands a good chance of becoming my first properly completed module though. Big thanks to The Bigbee Line for sending me some photos from underneath it)

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Some pictures to go with the waffle above.

 

Station, Approach, and Low Level Sidings. I'm not feeling the virtual quarry so may just ignore that part. The loading dock may get rationalised too to allow more long sidings.

post-9147-0-72011900-1422466335_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

Carrow Bridge, Thorpe Junction, TMD, and Riverside Yard. Full size planning will see the TMD getting very squished to help reduce the overall length of this section and create more space for freight loops but this gives a rough idea of the plan. The lines crossing the pilot road (headshunt) are a feature of what was the prototype so i'd like to try and keep them if possible. There's a couple of double slips and a single slip needed here, what's the quality of peco slips like these days?! The unprototypical through line re-centres itself for the module connection at the end of the loops, I may curve this end bit towards the station so it's more like the overall orientation of the prototype, and may be useful for 'grand plan' (below) incorporation.

post-9147-0-81685100-1422466364_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

And here's how it would be involved with 'the grand plan'. Note the changed orientation of the TMD/junction/riverside module.

post-9147-0-60871900-1422466377_thumb.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

Still planning wears on......

 

I'm trying to rationalise it down yet further to be financially, physically, and practically more manageable by a sole 'operator'. The other day I had a realisation that by chopping off platform 6 and adjacent sidings, the station plan becomes very similar to an extended 'Minories' inspired plan that also floats around my head a lot. The platform and track layout inside the station still remains the same (so the part that would be familiar as a passenger would still look right) and the throat is very similar. The main key feature of the Norwich approach is the scissor crossing, as long as that key feature is there then the rest kinda looks right around it, and at the end of the day this is Narwich, not Norwich ;) Also, as impressive as multiple tracks off each board end is, for ease of construction and operation just the standard 'Dave' 2 would be a better bet. But I don't want to lose the feeling of expanse that the 'prototype' had.

 

So working from that, the approach, station, and low level sidings can become 1module of less width than drawn above, probably just 2ft wide. 2 tracks would come on the 'Dave' interface, imediately there would be a headshunt siding each side to keep the width impression of Norwich. First piece of pointwork would be the scissor crossing, then points to the left for the LL sidings and platform 1, and points to the right for platforms 4 and 5 and the centre road. An extra trailing crossing at the mouth of platforms 2 and 3 would allow some extra pathing flexibility into the main platforms. This reverses the approach layout from that at Norwich especially concerning LL siding access, but for an operable model it makes more sense to me.

 

The main alteration to the TMD/Riverside Yard/Carrow Bridge layout drawn above is that Carrow Bridge will only have 2 lines going under it, the trailing crossing on the curve and the extra lines each side of the curve will be removed, and the extra feed from under Carrow Bridge towards Riverside yard will be removed. That last point will also remove 1 passing line from beside the TMD which will vastly simplify the point work there. The layout of the yard will be similar to as drawn, I need to work on the point ladder designs, ideally the 'loops' need to start as soon as possible by the TMD and be 8ft long, the sidings in the rest of the yard only need to be 4ft long to handle the part train lengths I work to. The single track feed out the back of Riverside yard will be long enough before the module end to use as a loco runaround if no other modules are attached (just add buffer to avoid expensive plummet to the floor). It is also where the current 'Dave' competition modules I'm working on would fit on and do kind of fit in with the design of my grand plan. Depending on the orientation of where Narwich station is fitted at the other end (either in it's prototype position or through Carrow Bridge) would determine whether the single track branch is freight only or not.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lots of planning later, got some boards lined up and some more managable layout planning done. Boards:

 

post-9147-0-32992300-1429727799_thumb.jpg

 

Reclaimed ply that will need frame work fitting to. Mostly 18" wide, may need a lot of work to achieve required board dimensions.

 

Track plans for 'Narwich Station' and 'Narwich riverside':

 

post-9147-0-01492800-1429727933_thumb.jpg

 

post-9147-0-99745300-1429727945_thumb.jpg

 

lots of points over board joints at the moment but there is some play in proposed board sizes to help shift that about. Envisaged max train length of 8', the hardest to compress is the loops on Riverside but I want them joining to the single track exit. Carrow Bridge should be beside the turntable too.

 

Have I achieved a very compressed but still recognisable Norwich there with all the relevant features?

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It's more of an empire than a module :) However I did notice a couple of double slips in there and there have been discussions as to whether a slip is permitted under the modular standards as the angle of the curve on Peco slips is considerably less than the 36" mainline curve standard.  It does pass the 24" "sidings" requirement but then that is not supposed to be for mainline trains.  Whether that operational restriction (and if we choose to follow it on the day) would make certain parts impractical only you can really work out.

 

Personally I only have ready to run stock so I don't envisage any of my stuff having issues on Narwich but obviously that won't automatically be the case for everyone.

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It's zoomed out a bit too much to be clear, but there's actually only 1 single slip on there, everything else is a diamond crossing (one unusual feature I like of the prototype layout is the 'pilot road' between the running lines and the engine shed being crossed by diamonds a few times despite it being a headshunt, lots of movement interuptions). The slip allows access from the headshunt to the bottom 2 long freight loops so the curved part can only ever be used as part of a shunting operation anyway.

 

Better way to look at it is Riverside is a lot of train and engine storage and the Station is a very overgrown minories with some freight roads beside. I even got the current virtual quarry on along side the throat :) the scissors in the throat would be the nice shinohara offering.

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As long as the curves aren't in the main through track it can conform as long as the curves access a non passenger line and have a low speed limit, much like can happen on full size lines. You could put warning signs by the point control so people know not to take that route at speed or in passenger service ;)

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