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Testing the design concept

Never mind how much you plan on paper there is no substitute for trying things out full size. I’ve finally had a chance to do this for the 300 square inch challenge and a few things are changing. To simulate the layout area I used some lining paper cut to 36inches by 9 inches and ruled off a triangle at one end to lose the 24 square inches necessary to get back to the 300 square inch limit . I added a pair of small radius peco points and placed some stock on the paper to see how things would fit. I only had a pair of right hand ponts available so the mock up remains a mirror image of what will eventually be built, but the picture below starts to give an idea.

The first impression is that the lower level goods yard will work fine. The second level passenger line though is a bit too short mainly because I want to run an engine that is far too big for this type of layout.

The solution to lengthening the passenger line is to use the diagonal across the baseboard more and to take it over the top of the goods headshunt. Using some blocks of wood, an offcut from a cardboard box, and a yard of peco streamline I mocked this up.

A trip to the local model shop revealed a couple of interesting items from the Harburn Hamlets range. An Anderson Shelter, just right to start giving a wartime feel, and a Pidgeon loft, so right for a tyneside layout. Somehow I need to squeeze both of these into the back yard of a tyneside flat. Now thats going to be a space challenge.

Don’t forget the benchwork!

My intention is to use traditional baseboard construction 3″ x 1″ softwood frames and a 9mm plywood top. Now is the time to make sure everything is in the right place and the baseboard frames don’t get in the way. My original thoughts were to use SEEP point motors, so each of the points need to be in the right place to allow these to fit on the underside of the plywood directly below the point tie bars. This means the track needs to be far enough away from the edge of the board to allow the point motors to fit. Again, the easiest way is to draw the frames onto the lingo paper and position the points in the right place using a point motor

The Inglenook design in practice

The lower level sidings take the form of an inglenook shunting puzzle. The usual design for an inglenook has been reduced to its smallest possible variation; a 5 wagon puzzle. This requires 2 sidings each with a 2 wagon capacity and one siding that can take 3 wagons. On the other side of the points is a headhunt that can take 2 wagons and the engine. Getting the lengths of the sidings right is critical to the puzzle working. Trying things out full size on a mockup is the only way to make sure everything works and there is sufficient clearance for wagons to pass when the sidings are full.

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About The Author


A DCC and computer control enthusiast and a modeller of things in the English Borders ECML and Waverley Route. He models in OO LNER and N gauge BR blue diesels.

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