Site Seeing – April 18 – Small O scale layouts 7

I know that I said that this month was all about O scale layouts that fit within the 8′ x 2′ display footprint. With the addition of a fiddle yard or other means to stage trains I feel that today’s idea should work quite well for those interested in a slightly larger area US style switching layout.

Site 1: Midland Ohio, in O scale (from RM Web)

Originally Nick Palette was intending to build an O scale version of Shortliner Jack’s Box Street yard. Plan below:

After some thought and playing around Nick instead decided to use another plan, the Fort Smith Railroad. In mostly the same space. The track plan is below:

Nick who’s username on the RMWeb community is Northpoint, has been building this layout for some time now. While the Fort Smith layout plan is over the size of most of the layouts so far this April, I feel that within the context of the layout styles presented so far and with some reworking of the siding length to shrink the layout we are still within the bounds of the size of layout I envisioned.

Head on over to the RM Web link above to look through the layout build. First thought watch the video of Nick’s first operating session to whet your appetite.

What I’ve been up to this week

It’s the middle of the month already, and I’ve been busy. Since October 2015 I’ve been a member of the Ballarat Tramway Museum here in town. Over the last few months I’ve worked to provide help (by training I’m a Telecoms and IT guy) and doing whatever else comes up and needs doing. In December I began training to become a Tram conductor. Having finished my training I became an Assistant Conductor, but could not work alone. I needed to pass a Railway Category 3 medical to step up from Assistant conductor to full conductor. This is the same medical needed to work on any railway or tramway here in Australia; essentially the medical for everything not a driver. Today I passed that medical, which means that as of this weekend I can go out with a driver as a fully fledged tramway conductor for the museum. Hooray for me – one item struck off my bucket list. Later this year or early next year I’ll be looking to begin training to become a tram driver.

This week I’ve done other things for the museum (which has given me much enjoyment). With upcoming beautification work we needed to upgrade the original 1972 trackwork on the museum roads. So this week two and three roads (the ones closest to the right hand side (if looking at the museum) had work done to lift rails, replace sleepers, relay trackand then back fill for safety. While a lot of it was done with the help of equipment, there’s only so much that a machine can do before you need to have a body. I was gladly one of those bodies.

I was only able to help out on Tuesday and Wednesday but boy did I learn a lot about laying track. This all thanks to our blokes and the track crew from Maldon (Victorian Goldfields Railway) for their track laying ability. Here’s a visual update of what happened on our full size layout, instead of the model, this week.

April 12

April 13

Site Seeing – April 11 – Small O scale layouts 6

Whether you model the US, UK, Australian, Canadian, South American or European scene one thing that O scale requires is imagination. As much as I would like to have a very large garden and shed layout, the reality is that is not going to happen due to constraints with money and time. I have not enough of either and so the scope of what I model has to be within my reach, simple to achieve and quick to build and ready to a credible level of detail and where possible use what I have to hand. On to today’s site of interest.

Site 1: Pick Purse Halt O scale in 9′ by 2′  by Richard and Sue Andrews

When space is tight using imagination allows you to find and define the layout’s place within the wider railway network; Pick Purse Halt does this admirably. Let’s take a look at the track plan first and see why.

Pick Purse Halt’s track plan

On first look, there’s not much to the track plan. One turnout and a couple of sidings. The layout portrays a small passenger halt along a GWR Country branch. So we’re set in time during the 1930s with steam railmotors and Auto Coaches on passenger work and pannier tanks working the freight trains. Let’s assume though that the line did not close during the 1960s and the Beeching cuts; where would that take us?

Single car DMUs such as RDCs, Gloucester RC&W Class 122 Bubble Cars, Tokyo abounds with types, as does Europe and I think you may now get the idea. All we’ve talked about though is the passenger service on the through line. There is also the short freight passing by and reversing into the sidings. Or coming in direct from stage left; this is where the operational potential of the layout really comes into its own.

The freight area can be worked differently in many ways both visually and conceptually:

  • As described in the plan for UK mid-1930s
  • As a factory dock during the 1950s through the 1970s and 1980s
  • As a simple team track arrangement for literally any time you like
  • As a small transload point with a Y and a platform for unloading two rail cars by pallet truck and forklift

As a small layout Pick Purse Halt punches way above its weight. So much to be done with the design and the scenic treatment depending on the era and location you model. Your choice could come down to using what you have on hand to set the location.

With controlled lines of sight, and the feeling of the rest of the railway just beyond the board, this could well prove to be the best idea of the month.

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Site Seeing – April 9 – Small O scale layouts 5

While tooling around the Broadford MRC’s site looking for information on Glen Bogle mentioned earlier this month I found our next contestant for a small O scale layout well within the reach of anyone interested in the larger scale.

Site 1: Chard Creamery O gauge  8′ by 2′ (Richard and Sue Andrews)

Chard Creamery layout (8′ x 2′) – Richard and Sue Andrews

When it came time to build a new layout Richard Andrew’s thoughts turned to his boyhood memories of the S&D Railway to Basinbridge Milk Factory. Andrew says that “as I love small shunting layouts I decided to see if I could build a O Gauge layout representing a milk factory with either a river or as it turns out a canal running beside it in a 4′ x 22″ wide baseboard”.

With mock ups made Andrew decided he could put three tracks on the board without turnouts to give a loading/unloading bay for the milk, a centre road for coal and other goods, and a front siding which went to another loading/unloading bay for dry goods, butter, cheese, etc. He stresses that the layout is not a copy of Basinbridge, and chose to make the buildings of similar but freelance design.

Chard Creamery – O Gauge in a small space

The name Chard came about because of the canal that used to run from Taunton to Chard. While that canal is now long gone and Andrew had a Skytrex Barge built and painted in need of a home this seemed the ideal situation.

Skytrex Building Flats fill in the background while all main buildings are scratchbuilt out of card with a Slater’s brick overlay. The pub scene replaced a former building now relegated to the background and helps to block the view of the fiddle yard.

 

Site seeing – April 8 – Resources boom

When you are building layouts, and the trains that run on them you need resources. Today’s site provides a lot of insight for compensation (no you are not getting any money) and other arcane topics that most of us never need to know about. On to today’s site.

Site 1: CLAG – the Central London Area Group of the Scalefour Society

While the site is specific to the Scalefour standards, there are many interesting pieces of data on the website for you to explore. Many of these ideas apply as much to HO scale as to Scalefour.

Of note is the useful data and workshop practice. There are lots of others too. Take a look around the site and you’ll find something useful to your modelling or model building.

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Site Seeing – April 7 – Small O scale layouts 4

Ian Futers’ layouts seem to get around more than the builder himself. Probably because he manages to build great small layouts with plenty of operating potential that remain popular year after year.

Site 1: Glen Bogle

Ian Atkinson and Chris Towers’ of Broadford Model Railway Club own the layout presently. The layout, built originally in basic form by Ian Futers, is in the process of being enhanced by the present owners. A Scottish 1950-1970s era layout with a station, goods facilities and just four turnouts comprises two 4′ 6″ scenic boards and a 4′ 6″ fiddle yard with a three road traverser board.

Operation of the line is in the late steam early diesel period. Coal, Timber and fish traffic somehow still survive along with a mediocre passenger service.

Glen Bogle - as designed by Ian Futers
Glen Bogle – as designed by Ian Futers

You can gather further information on this layout from the club’s website as a PDF download.

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Site seeing – April 6th – track charts aplenty

My favourite layout planning tool for US themed layouts is the railroad’s track and spot maps. I have several, bought when we lived in the USA from 1997 – 2006. When I’m looking for modelling inspiration that’s the first place I look into. They go by many names; Southern Pacific uses SPINS, others use CLICS, while others use ZTS. On to today’s treasure trove…

Site 1: Prototype track and industry charts – a primer

Byron Henderson, with the help of Bruce Morden wrote a great introductory article available on this website. It is a reprint from Layout Design Journal #26 of Spring 2001. Very well worth the read for those of you who have not seen a track chart or map of this kind before.

Site 2: Conrail Archives – ZTS (Zone Track Spot) Charts

For those interested in the Conrail era and areas served what a feast this site is. Clicking the link above takes you off to a library of ZTS maps neatly packaged in PDF format. Armed with a ZTS map, Bing and Google maps there is almost nothing that you cannot research.

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Site Seeing – April 5 – Small O scale layouts 3

With many thanks to David Bromage for sharing photos of his visit to the 2016 Bendigo Model Railway exhibition let’s take a look at a new O scale layout on the Australian exhibition circuit: Filching Road Yard.

Site 1: Filching Road Yard (courtesy of David Bromage)

Photo courtesy of David Bromage
Photo courtesy of David Bromage

New on the Victoria model railway scene is Filching Road Yard. A simple and not overly large O scale of 8 feet (2400mm) by 18″(450mm) wide. The layout is a budget build and was designed to fit into the back of the owner’s car (a station wagon).

With only two turnouts and a cassette fiddle yard this could be the ideal O scale starter layout. To keep your costs down you could also build your own trackwork, a project that I’ll be undertaking later this year as I attempt to increase my modelling skills into trackwork.

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Site Seeing – April 3 – Small O scale layouts 2

In this continuing series during April I want to visit one of my favourite exhibition switching layouts: Ingleton Sidings.

Site 1: Ingleton Sidings

nevard_110330_ingleton-sdgs_DSC_1821_02_web1-400x267[1]Paul Allen’s masterpiece Inglenook, built in OO scale,  shows what can be scaled up very simply to British O scale (1:43) with the use of commercially available kits, RTR trucks and loco’s available now or in the very near future. The entire aim is to keep cars and loco’s short to keep the visible part of the layout within the 8′ (2400mm) maximum. Giving enough run and movement without taking up the entire house.

Ingleton Sidings, designed to sit on a standard home window sill or ironing board, illustrates what can be achieved in a minimum with RTR products and basic scratchbuilding techniques. The location as modelled is fictional and represents a small BR sorting siding during the late 1950s through to the early 1960s. The layout features point motors, 16v lighting, line side CCTV and Kadee automatic coupling. With the layout detailed and weathered to represent the last days of steam.

If you are thinking of going British O at minimum cost and personal commitment then Ingleton Sidings might be the place where you start.

Now see it in action:

First up an overview of the layout and features:

Next, from February 2014 – the initial running of DCC and Sound on the layout at the Milton Keynes model railway exhibition:

Site Seeing – April 1 – Small O scale layouts 1

O scale, whether 1:48 US scale or UK scale 1:43, are outstanding in small spaces. With DCC operation, and the ability to run locomotives with sound has made a complete difference to the displaying and exhibition of layouts in recent years. In this first post in this unfortunately short series we’ll look at one of my favourite small UK O scale layouts: Oldham King Street

Now owned by David Hampson the layout was originally built as Percy Street by Ian Futers.It was later modified by David to become Oldham King Street.

Image 1: In its original guise as Percy Street

Enjoy the videos of the operation of Oldham King Street. I hope they give you ideas for your own small layout. Don’t forget to visit the layout pages on this site too. There are many small layout designs there for you to use.

In this video note the smoke generators (which first attracted me to the layout many years ago:

In this second video, an open wagon has split the points and needs re-railing…

Finally watch this video for ideas of the operation available in this small space…

There are plenty more on YouTube, just search “Oldham King Street”.

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