It seems that between Christmas and New Year, I will be off work as the whole place shuts down. I recall a Cyril Freezer article in a very old Railway Modeller magazine where he mentions that for children, the long school holidays are an excellent time to build a layout - well, I don't get 6 weeks but 10 days isn't bad and a little layout shouldn't take that long. Obviously not all the work will be carried out in this time - that's not the point - but I can get the basics sorted to leave the detailing work and fun bits.
Before this I need to decide on the track plan. Thanks to Michaels post a few weeks ago, I have options and just need to take my pick. To do this I need to see things full size, so I laid out the point plans on the new baseboard. A loco from the Bachmann beginners range was all I had to hand plus a couple of wagons so these stood in as my rolling stock to test siding lengths and clearances.
To start with I decided to ignore the plan based around a traverser. It's nice and ingenious but I need some points to test locomotives over. I don't want a model that is just an engine shed either as it will be acting as a background for photos of all sorts of stock. Mind you, I did work out how to make the traverser work. Think length of studding being rotated by some Meccano gears with the table attached to a nut threaded on...
Anyway, Option 3 First:
which looks a bit like this:
albeit without the loco lift at this point. Michael suggests an engine shed frontage along the nearest edge and a coaling stage at the far end hiding the exit from the baseboard. If I had a stud of large engines this would be a nice idea and an excellent way of displaying them. Should you want to make the model up in a clear case in some way I can see it looking good on a shelf and far more interesting than a case with shelves to show off your stud.
Option 2 was initially my preferred plan.
A flip-over fiddle yard wouldn't be difficult to arrange and thanks to the clever arrangement, you can simulate a run round loop so the train can come in with the loco at the front and then get to the back of the wagons for shunting. I specifically didn't want a model that required pole or rope shunting as it simply doesn't look right in 4mm:1ft scale thanks to the lack of mass in the wagons.
I like the idea of a platform on the plan - this is a layout for everyone since you can run passenger trains. A single car DMU, railcar or even autocoach would be ideal and if a cassette based fiddle yard is employed, ought to be easy to operate. As for freight, the clever bit is the ability to bring a train into the platform and exit on the opposite and correct track. Imagine you are dealing with a normal station cut in half by an over bridge.
Which leaves Option1:
That turns out to be the plan that I fancy building. It's very shuntable, the three sidings give you an excellent inglenook. I was surprised how many wagons I could fit into them, although I have cheated by using a Y-point here. To get into the engine shed though, a conventional point is used which allows proper testing of locomotives. The shed itself cries out "Airfix" to me and hides a potential exit from the board.
However the model can be operated completely within the confines of the box which the others can't and I quite like that. I also like the warehouses in the background and already have a picture in minds eye of how they will look. In fact I have an idea how the whole model will turn out, especially the atmosphere of a run down corner of the rail network.
Anyway, that's the track sorted out, unless I change my mind again, now I need to work out how the rest of the model works so I can finish the baseboard.