Monday, 27 July 2015

A plan for two gauges

I've always enjoyed doodling track plans, I have a couple of box files of plans from my younger years. So many ideas, so little time to build them, but even so I still occasionally doodle plans for fun. Last week an unplanned and somewhat dull stay in hospital gave me the, er, opportunity to doodle...

Here's one of the ideas that emerged, and it features both standard and narrow gauge. I've long wanted to have both on the same layout but sadly didn't finish the last layout I tried this. This plan keeps the OO gauge to a minimum, just a simple inglenook shunting puzzle provides operational interest without even a need for a fiddle yard. The narrow gauge (009) has a low level continuous run for easy exhibiting, and also a small shunting yard, perhaps with workshop or engine shed, at an intermediate level by the SG siding. Sharp curves (about 8" radius) and gradients (about 1 in 30) allow the NG to emerge from bridges either end, pass along in front of the layout, and climb up to the level of the SG yard - the small numbers are heights in cm.

The overall size is 4'6" by 19" allowing it to be built as one board, though a larger board would help. The rear 6" provides hidden staging for the NG to swap trains, cassettes could provide more capacity but aren't really necessary. Actually the rear section could be made removable or fold-up to allow the scenic board to sit on a narrow shelf at home, the lack of continuous run and staging being less important than the display and shunting.

The big question is the theme and setting. Obviously an industrial scene, a quarry/mine, gas works, water works etc. are all possibilities, though need bulk transfer of coal or minerals which is tricky to model. I'm thinking a large factory with an internal system - such as a chemical works (I grew up near ICI plants with internal rail systems), or a paper works (like Sittingbourne), would work well. The NG would move loads around the plant as well as transferring goods to and from the SG, while SG wagons would have more variety and be loading/unloading direct to the factory buildings too. Another option would be a munitions factory or MoD site, perhaps a good excuse for the Narrow Planet RNAD loco and crew van, and the 009 Society wagons kits with some "interesting" loads...! These themes could work from the 1930's right through to the 1980's with appropriate stock.

Whatever the purpose of the site, scenically there is a lot of track (much of it a little overgrown perhaps), with grassy banks and undergrowth.  The left hand end would be built up to suggest factory buildings and warehouses - I'm thinking more modern brick and concrete Scalescenes type rather than the older and slightly twee Metcalf kits - while the right hand end looks more rural, the SG on an embankment surrounded by trees. A stream passing under the lines could add interest, with a rural backscene contrasting with the industrial foreground.

Well I don't know if I'll ever get to build this layout, but it would be a lot of fun in a small space, with up to three trains running at once.  It would also be a good layout to build with my son, to include standard "OO" trains along with the 009 I prefer. And I do have a Model Rail "OO" Sentinel shunter put aside...

No comments: