Friday, November 27

A West Highland 8'x4' Layout Design in OO

Over the years I've done quite a few West Highland based layout designs, so I thought I'd showcase a few of my ideas on the Forum.

This is the first - a rough sketch done using the demo version of Rail Modeller v3.1.6 for Mac. I'm evaluating this at the mo with a view to buying it - the other options are mostly PC based, but I'd rather use the Mac than my laptop most of the time. Anyway here's the plan:

This is a solid 8x4. It could easily have an operating well if stretched to 8 x 5, but I'd like to operate from the front, where the view is best. The layout gives the option of just watching trains go round in a grand setting, or of doing some shunting, but the stock for shunting would need to be fitted with automatic couplings.

There is a simple loop of Peco Setrack or Hornby Track, with a length of flexible track in the reverse curve at the front, which passes over a viaduct. The loop is served by three storage loops in the fiddle yard, which accommodate 6', 4'6" and 4' long trains. In the modern idiom this would cover a 66 or 37/4 hauled freight, the sleeper with a 66 or 67, and perhaps a set of 2 class 156 units in the shortest loop (these could run in both directions).

Below the viaduct (perhaps about 8" to 12" lower than the roundy-round track level) I have included a classic Inglenook shunting problem, based on the former Crianlarich Lower station, as used in the 1970s and 80s for loading pulpwood - there are some excellent photos of this in Tom Noble's "Profile of the Class 26s and 27s" [Bradford Barton]. An alternative, more up-to-date use could be for civil engineers vehicles. The siding lengths could be adjusted to suit - I've drawn these for the classic 5/3/3 wagon capacity Inglenook with 5" long wagons. This section is design for Peco OO finescale track. The Inglenook is not provided with a fiddle yard, but one or both of the straight roads could be extended under the main fiddle yard loops and curved round to enable the wagons to be changed off-scene. I'd bring the track right up to the edge of the board at the front (possibly with an unobtrusive stop block or means of preventing the loco shooting off into space). This would give the maximum space for photography, something else which I'd like to be able to do with my eventual layout...

This design provides many of my potential requirements in a relatively small space, but would be best sited with access all around, or at least to the bottom and right side as drawn. It's a long reach in to sort any problems on the fiddle yard out, especially with a decent height backscene, which would be necessary to give the appropriate scenic setting.

Anyway, I hope someone finds this of interest - please feel free to post any comments or suggestions. There will hopefully be more to follow when I dig out my designs folder and get the scanner fired up...

Saturday, November 21

Railbuses from Heljan!

Wickham departmental railcar 999507 "Elliott" on the Middleton Railway 20/09/2008

A shot in the arm for the 1960 era modeller of the southern section of the West Highland... Heljan have announced that they will be producing the Wickham and Park Royal railbuses used on the Craigendoran to Arrochar services between November 1959 and November 1961.

Something to look forward to over winter...