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Old 19-03-2018, 03:03 AM   #1
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Default Alternative track plans for planned shed

As posted in my welcome thread, I am in the process of having a shed built in my garden to accommodate a model railway. Its internal dimensions will be 7.5 x 2.7 meters. Whilst waiting for the shed to be built, I have been putting together some track plans of several possible alternative layouts to go in the shed.

To give a background to what I am interested in: I have a penchant for the old-fashioned, and should like to model the pre-nationalisation era (ideally, I should model the pre-grouping era, but there is very little ready to run stock available for this at present, and I am not sure whether I do not think that my first model railway in adulthood should need to rely on kits).

I like in-depth and complex layouts, with a focus on passenger operations, especially terminus operations. Although I want a layout to have realistic scenery and look reasonably pleasing, my main focus is the interest in the operations rather than creating a layout to look beautiful or showcase the stock. Realistic length platforms and trains are important to me. I am very interested in layout automation and should want to automate (or, at the very least, semi-automate) a layout that I build, and have some years' experience in computer programming, albeit in an amateur capacity.

As to gauge/scale, although I have no particular attachment to any one gauge, the lack of a comprehensive selection of ready to run stock in the eras that interest me in N gauge (which scale would be preferable on account of the ability to fit more into the space) leads me to choose OO gauge. Again, I prefer to stick to OO gauge at present rather than more adventurous albeit better looking gauges such as EM or P4 on account of not being confident of having the necessary skills to adapt rolling stock.

Bearing in mind my interests/preferences, I should be grateful for constructive feedback on some alternative layout plans that I have drawn up to use my forthcoming shed space.

The first I call "St. Mary Cross". It is intended to represent a (fictional but plausible) main line terminus in London in the 1930s. It is a two level layout, connected by a helix. Track plans below for the upper level:

Mod. Image removed as too large.

Edit: Here is a link to the full sized image which was originally too large to make the text easily readable: my apologies.

and the lower level:

Mod. Image removed as too large.

Edit: Here is a link to the full sized image.

As to the colours: the white lines are the main running lines, the various shades of green, yellow and purple are various fiddle yard sections, the red represents sidings and yards, the dark red being the engine shed, and the blue represents 4th rail electrified track, the lower station ("Pudding Lane") representing a station on the sub-surface part of the London Underground (inspired by stations such as Moorgate, King's Cross Thameslink (before it was called thus), Liverpool Street and Aldgate). In theory, this station could represent any of the London termini that had access to the Inner Circle/widened lines, although the plan was to use it with GWR stock. There are no goods facilities as we imagine that there is a large goods depot further down the line, although the intention would be to run light freight trains through the helix into the lower level.

The second I call "Bournehampton". It is intended to represent a (fictional but plausible) terminus on the south coast of England in the first half of the 1930s. Track plan below:

The colour codes are the same as for St. Mary Cross save that the fiddle yards also use light orange, and there are goods facilities in this station and the goods sidings are represented in brown.

Although this is a single level layout, there is a degree of level separation in the fiddle yards allowing one reversing loop to run on top of the other. This may be more clearly seen in this 3d rendered view from SCARM of the fiddle yards:

Mod. Image removed as too large.

Edit: Here is a link to the full sized image

The lines at the rear of the fiddle yards are 35cm higher than the station, and the lines at the front of the fiddle yards are 35cm lower than the station, giving the requisite 70cm clearance between the two levels to allow crossing without any gradient exceeding 1.8%.

Please note that, in both layouts, I have used SCARM's representation of Hornby platforms to show where the platforms will be, as this is the only platform representation in SCARM: I do not intend to use actual Hornby platforms, which are very narrow as platforms go from what I understand.

This layout is inspired by a mix of Bournemouth West and Brighton: it is intended to be set in the South-Western section of the Southern, albeit one of the two separate main lines leaving the station (the front/central fiddle yard connexion) connects to the Brighton section of the Southern.

The potential advantages of the St. Mary Cross layout over the Bournehampton as I see it are:

(1) it represents a more major station, allowing for more interesting operations;
(2) the lower level adds a real interest;
(3) it represents London, where I live;
(4) it could in principle represent several railway companies' termini by changing the stock (and possibly the signals - I am not sure whether these can be made to be easily swappable);
(5) the GWR had a somewhat more interesting (and certainly more technically accomplished) fleet of locomotives than the Southern.

However, there are some difficulties with this layout, in particular in relation to the availability of ready to run rolling stock. For the GWR, there is a serious shortage of suburban carriages: one can get brake composite non-corridors of decent quality (to form B-sets), but no others. I have had a go at 3d printing a non-brake carriage, and am awaiting the result, but it will still need to be painted (full colour 3d printing is not yet able to print things large enough for 4mm scale). Rolling stock generally is lacking on the GWR: there are no full brakes, the only dining car is in the Hornby "Railroad" series and there is very little other than the "Railroad" standard clerestories to represent the older stock (toplights, concertenas, dreadnoughts) that routinely ran mixed up in all but the most prestigious express trains (and sometimes even in those) in the period. The Hornby Collett carriages are very lovely, though.

The locomotives to work through the underground section (the GWR 97xx class) are also lacking, although somebody sells on Shapeways a 3d printed 97xx body shell to fit onto a Bachmann 57xx chassis. However, again, I should need several of these for this layout, each of which would have to be painted. I have also received conflicting advice about whether the helix to connect the upper and lower levels will be workable, even with the short trains of ~6 carriages that will be used on it.

The lower level will require suitable Underground stock: I have two old but lovely white metal assembled and mostly painted kits of O/P stock ("Q38 stock") from Harrow Models (before the kits were taken over by Radley Models and the bodies made from resin) which I should really like to be able to use (and, indeed, the concept behind this layout largely comes from the desire to use these and the desire generally to model the London Underground). Further Underground models can be purchased fully made up from Radley Models, and there is of course the Heljan Metropolitan Vickers locomotive.

The potential advantages of the Bournehampton layout over the St. Mary Cross layout as I see it are:

(1) all the stock that I need to run a good set of realistic operations can be obtained ready to run;
(2) there is no potential issue with a helix or gradients > 2%;
(3) the fiddle yard arrangement means that there are no conflicting movements as there are in the St. Mary Cross design;
(4) the layout uses only large radius right and left hand points in the scenic area, allowing use of Peco Bullhead track throughout (the St. Mary Cross layout also uses the recently announced slips and crossings, but it is not clear when those will be released);
(5) I worry that the locomotive shed might be too small for the requirements in the St. Mary Cross layout - Bournehampton has a similarly sized locomotive shed for a much smaller station;
(6) not being a two level layout, there would be space either underneath or above this for a separate Underground (or other) layout in due course, or even possibly two other (smaller) layouts, one on one side of the shed and one on the other, which I could then build after acquiring experience with this one;
(7) the two main lines (albeit each two rather than four track) add some interest;
(8) there is potential for variety of rolling stock with inter-regional working which would not occur in a London terminus; and
(9) I am planning on having the shed painted green, so the rolling stock would match the shed.

I should be very grateful for any thoughts that people may have on these two possible layouts.

Mod. Smaller thumb nails reproduced here.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Main line terminus revised 8 upper.jpg (20.7 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg Bournehampton-1.jpg (19.5 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Bournehampton-1-3d-fiddle-yards .jpg (69.1 KB, 19 views)

Last edited by jamespetts; 19-03-2018 at 11:22 AM. Reason: Inserting links to the full sized images
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Old 19-03-2018, 09:01 AM   #2
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Very interesting and very ambitious plans.
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Old 19-03-2018, 09:14 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. I don’t know why, but your image is so large it is impossible to see your text.
Ambitious plan though.
I'm not arguing with you, I'm explaining why you are wrong.
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Old 19-03-2018, 09:48 AM   #4
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attached are some slightly smaller images
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File Type: jpg Main%20line%20terminus%20revised%208%20upper.jpg (20.1 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg Bournehampton-1.jpg (19.7 KB, 10 views)
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Old 19-03-2018, 11:23 AM   #5
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My apologies for the image size issues: I was expecting the images to resize automatically as they do on some other forums. Thank you for fixing the issue with the thumbnails: I have amended the original post to include links to the original larger sized images in case anyone would like to see them in higher resolution.
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Old 19-03-2018, 01:50 PM   #6
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James P, download Paint.Net i set the resize to 2000 pixel with the maintain ratio ticked, save the file and then use the slider to get to 175Kb gives me a full screen picture that's the right size.....
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Old 19-03-2018, 05:09 PM   #7
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AFAIK if using a Windows PC then Microsoft's Paint is included. I've had Windows XP, 7 and 10 and it's been included.
Load image to that then use resize image. I find the pixel setting option easy with a width to 1000 and the height will auto set. Save As the image to wherever required then upload to forum.
If using a tablet or Apple Mac computer then you would have to use or source whatever software your system allows. Macs have a built in image sizing software.
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Old 19-03-2018, 05:14 PM   #8
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Hi James
A very ambitious plan, and I'm being a bit picky - you say a main line terminus with passenger trains (obviously), a ten or twelve carriage train could be almost twelve feet long - which would would mean with your shed having an internal length of 7.5m (say 24feet), the loco will be half way down the shed before the train leaves the station (terminus) - you can of course limit the length of your trains.I only mention this because when drawing up layout plans it is easy to forget the train lengths. BB
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Old 19-03-2018, 07:03 PM   #9
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Hello James.
A very ambitious plan - it is easy to get disheartened if things are so complex that achieving anything in a reasonable time is difficult. I'm a bit simple (so my wife says) and like to keep things simple or at least manageable.
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Old 19-03-2018, 10:02 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your replies. I do know how to resize images: I just did not realise that it was not done automatically by the forum as in some other forums. I shall know for next time.

In relation to the size of the plans, since I am having a large(ish) shed for the purpose of a model railway, it does not seem to make much sense to put a small model railway in it.

As to train lengths, I had carefully measured to make sure that the trains fit in both platforms and fiddle yards of both designs. Is the locomotive being half way down the shed when at rest in the platform a practical problem, or only an aesthetic issue? I ask because I am content to have a layout whose main focus is the station and station throat rather than the tracks beyond (although I note that the Bourhehampton layout has a little more run of scenic plain track beyond the station than the St. Mary Cross design), and I am very keen on having realistic length trains (not all or even most will be 12 carriages, but this needs to be able to be the maximum) but obviously if this will create some practical problem of which I am currently unaware, that is another matter.

In relation to getting disheartened and complexity - it is very difficult to calibrate this and know whether, and if so, in what way, it would be optimal to adjust the plans without rather more detailed information on the relationship between any specific degree and type of complexity and the amount of time that it would take to complete any given stage of layout construction.

May I ask - what aspects of the layout do you think to be especially ambitious? I should note that, owing to a lack of woodworking skill, I am planning on having the baseboards made professionally, so the work that would be necessary before the layout became operational would be track-laying, wiring and associated electronics and DCC fitting the locomotives; the layout could then be operated as the scenery took shape later. From what I understand, track laying itself is not an especially demanding task (it has to be got right, of course). Presumably, the time taken for track laying, by its nature, scales in linear proportion to the amount of track to be laid?

One thing that did occur to me in relation to the original design, the St. Mary Cross layout, was that some of the stock (the 97xx locomotives and suburban stock other than brake composites) is not available in ready to run form. The Bournehampton layout plan, by comparison, is intended to be able to be used with 100% ready to run stock, as there is good availability for the Southern (it is rather odd that there are no GWR suburban carriages that are ready to run, really; the 97xx is perhaps a more understandable omission). The relevant GWR stock can be created by 3d printing: the 97xx is already available on Shapeways as a body replacement for the Bachmann 57xx chassis, and I have created a test GWR suburban carriage in three parts (see here - note that I do not make any profit on the sale of these and the (software) models are available for fee download), and I shall find out soon how those turn out when the parts are delivered. However, I am not sure how I might get on with painting them. This does make me wonder whether the Bournehampton layout might be preferable to enable me to use entirely ready to run stock.

Thank you all again for your replies: that is most helpful.

Last edited by jamespetts; 19-03-2018 at 10:03 PM. Reason: Spelling error
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1930s, gwr, scarm, southern, terminus

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