Category Archives: Inglenook

Incorporating an Inglenook in the design

Insight – Why am I modelling the way I do?

A recent conversation with a fellow modeller has bought me back to thinking about why I’m modelling, and what my modelling should represent. Let me explain.


I have a lot less modelling time now than I ever did before, due to my work commitment, which is driving the nature of my modelling in different (if interesting new) directions.

Among the changes I’ve had to make is in the scope of the work. Because it takes longer to complete larger and more complex projects I’m focusing on smaller easier to complete in a day projects as my primary goal. I have some large projects that remain on the table. These will be for items I cannot buy, kitbash or otherwise make out of something else.

Will this change the nature of posts that appear here on the Andrew’s Trains blog? No, I don’t believe so. This blog has always been about small layouts with lots of operational potential, and that is in line with what I am moving to in my modelling.

Weathering will continue to play a large part in my modelling, upgrading blue-box style kits to better reflect the prototype is where I found real joy in modelling as a young man. And I’m going back to that in a big way this year. There’ll be more posts along these lines to come over the next few months as I get my modelling life back in order.

With a demanding and hectic work life simplicity is my goal. Modelling simplicity likewise has to be the case. Simple projects that can be done with:

  1. tools I already have,
  2. resources I already have, and
  3. that can be completed in the time I have to give them.

This is the focus of my modelling going forward. Likewise to layout building. I have a couple of projects that I want to complete, one of which is a Supernook, a new design I’m working on now that will begin with the baseboards build before we left the USA 13 years ago. I’ll be continuing on with the US-based shunting layouts, but I’m interested in building a Australian/UK-based Minories layout soon as well.


Takeaway

I’ve made modelling a complex and often difficult endeavour. I’ve lost my love of producing models that I enjoyed building and that I am proud of. Life is short, and more so as I near my mid 50s. Time with my family and enjoying what I do is not limitless. So the time is now to make the changes that keep me happy, healed and enjoying what I do. I hope that you will stay along for the ride. With almost 100,000 unique views over the last 3 years I’m hopeful that you will stick around and see what is coming.

Site seeing – the Second Hand Inglenook edition – September 20, 2018

I admire modellers who can get to the meat of a project, quickly and with vigour. Gazmanjack (Gary) on RMWeb used second-hand track, wood and other parts from his modelling left-overs to create a stunningly good small layout for operations. Read on for more.


Linden Ford – the second-hand layout

Gazmanjack (his handle on RMWeb) back in 2014 built an outstanding layout from left over bits and pieces, as an adjunct to his current layout, to give himself something to operate on during the other layout’s longer build. I’ve only just found it and wanted to share the forum post with you.

And what a cracker this layout is. I won’t go into too much detail here, as I think the adage of a picture telling a thousand words is true on this occasion. There is plenty of information in the post too on the build including scenery, tree armatures, and so on.

Image 1: Linden Ford – an outstanding small Inglenook layout

I hope that you find inspiration in the post. So much with so little that turned out so well. Well done Gary!


Resources

Site Seeing – March 18 – The ‘other’ Glendale freight layout edition

It’s been a while since my last post and that is thankfully due to being fully employed for the first time in two and a half years. A full-time job is a very satisfying thing. But I digress.

As I wrote in my March 6th post I’ve worked up another idea for the Glendale Freight layout. Let me say from the outset, that this is not one of my better ideas; especially after seeing Bruce Petty’s original layout. There’s merit in the ideas expressed in the design certainly – it just doesn’t have that vibe going on as Bruce’s layout does in spades. Before I go on to tear my work apart let’s take a look at a 1/12th scale model and why I find them so useful for designing a layout.

So what’s wrong with this layout idea?

  • Firstly the central theme of the design is not the freight station, it is the entrance from staging onto the layout.
  • I wanted to have the train enter through a portal of buildings, cross the street and then go about its business. It’s a pretty skimpy idea right? There’s no meat on the bones though.
  • Why this means to enter onto the layout instead of some other way? Is there some missing story about this means of entrance; did the city grow up around the freight station for example? But isn’t this supposed to be Glendale CA, right? Well, is it?

The layout is overall 8 feet long (2400mm) and each square is 12 x 12 inches (300 x 300 mm). It is 2 feet (600mm) wide. And it’s very linear.

So what would I do different now that I’ve built this mini layout?

  1. Angle the entrance onto the layout,
  2. Angle the buildings and the street to the long axis of the layout,
  3. Cluster the switches near the end of the run around, and finally
  4. I’d make a transition between the industrial area on ‘main street’ at the entrance end and the other end of the layout – making it more suburban

And having had a while to think on how I’d make those changes here’s a rough drawing of the layout that ‘could’ spring from this thought experiment.

This design has gravitas. It is the last bastion of railroading in the inner city, and the edge of the suburbs. Sure there are some strange curves, and I’d rework the industry lead and the industry back wall too. But it is much more interesting and tells much more of a story than the first layout.

This layout could be setup as is with the industries, it could be modified for a single industry layout (say an industrial workplace such as a foundry), or it could be something that I’ve not considered and that you already have swimming around in that pool of ideas in your head. As an aside, I videoed the first layout build process. If interested in seeing that video let me know in the comments and I’ll post it here over the next week or so.

Site seeing – March 06 – Bruce Petty’s Glendale Freight house Module Redux edition

In a post on January 18, 2017 I made mention of Bruce Petty’s excellent module of the end of the Union Pacific’s Glendale Branch and the freight station located there. Bruce’s Module is 5 feet (1500mm) x 18 inches (450mm) but to my eye looks much bigger because of the great use of the space he has made. There is no crowding, no feeling of busyness, only the feeling of a warm summers afternoon in Los Angeles sometime during the 1960s or 1970s. This small scene is evocative and places you immediately in the place and time, even if that is coloured by your chosen time period.

The majority of my layout designs fit into an 8 foot space Bruce’s layout module with the addition of a 3 foot fiddle yard fits right in the space available and would make an excellent display or exhibition layout. More importantly it would fit with any time period from the late 1940s – early 1950s (when I believe that the freight house was built) through to the mid to late 1980s when I believe the freight house fell out of use.

As I said in the previous post I’ve pondered over how to use Bruce’s track plan in other ways. I’ve even worked the design up into a 1/12th scale model to see how it might work. I’ll come back to the alternative in my next post; for now let’s revisit Bruce’s excellent module.

A closer look at Bruce’s module

While this module is a part of Bruce’s larger railroad forming the end of the UP’s Glendale branch it can also stand alone as a layout in its own right. At its heart it is an Inglenook layout. Each of the freight house roads can take two 40 foot boxcars against the dock. For those of you interested in modelling this layout at a later stage it is highly likely that the Freight station never hosted more than 2 x 50 foot boxcars at any one time. If it did so then they would be placed on the right most track with the second car either unloaded directly into trucks as shown in Photo 1 above or set off spot on the left most track and switched out once a suitable space was available at the dock. Lots of switching possibilities here.

Of particular note in the photo above is the connecting piece to the rest of the layout. I like this little yet important touch. The wooden insert which allows the module to join the layout has been disguised as a typical UP/SP bridge. Very smart and ensures that the layout and the module appear to be a single whole and not something that Bruce built later on.

Operation

Operations on this layout would be pretty good too. As we’ve discussed before on the blog Inglenooks are completely prototypical and often used by railroads in tight places. Operating with a locomotive pushing in – pulling out switching focuses on the industry or industries served. The longest track on Bruce’s layout I would use as my switching storage and sorting track. The incoming train pulling outbound cars before spotting them on the long track. Cars would then be switched according to requirement on the remaining two car tracks at the docks. Any cars from those pulled needing to be spotted back at the dock could then be spotted before the locomotive crew pick up the remaining outbound cars and head back across the bridge and back to the yard. And here endeth the session.

Short, clear, easy to achieve, enjoyable and within the 30 minutes to 1 hour per day play time that a small layout should give you. Whether you use a single person (driver/engineer only) or two person (driver/engineer and conductor) crew to do the work the time taken will remain roughly the same. I prefer a two person crew simply because it makes the play time more fun when family or friends get involved.

Hope that this revisit has been of some use. If you like the blog don’t forget to Like and Subscribe. PLease comment if you are looking for more information on layout designs or on the designs I’ve previously posted. And of course take the time to visit the “further reading and resources” links below.

Further Reading and Resources

Site seeing – January 18 – the ‘Perfect Storm’ but in a good way edition

I’ve had an idea for a small layout, running around the mouse wheel that I use for a brain, for a while now. What kicked the idea off was a 2013 plan published in the Model Railroader for the Glendale Freight House that Union Pacific built there during what I ‘believe’ was the early 1950s. Bruce Petty has already built a layout based on the real location and using the UP freight house in Glendale. Let’s take a look at that first to see where we start from.

Site 1: The Union Pacific freight station drawings

Step one of this plan is to get a copy of the plans. They are available for logged in users on the MR site by clicking the link above.

Modellers in HO scale will need to enlarge the drawing substantially (which is doable at a local copy store)to be able to build directly off the drawing.

Big thanks to my next site owner for the idea about doing that. He uses the protective sleeves (clear plastic ones) to build on.

The model once completed using liquid polystyrene cement does not stick to these plastic sleeves and Bruce simply lifts the completed side of the model off the sleeve. Plan protected, model free, what’s not to like about that? I just wish I’d thought of that all these many years later. I did mention that I have a mouse driving the wheel that powers the mental machinery, right?

Site 2: Bruce Petty’s LA River Railroads site

Bruce’s website is a trove of information on the railroads of LA. His layout looks fantastic too. Of most interest to me was his article on the Glendale freight house build which you access from the link above. Well worth reading the entire page and taking in the method of building it. Clever, clever man!

This building rests on his Glendale module. When speaking to him via email earlier this week he told me: “… the modules for my layout are 18 inches wide and 5 feet long. If I ever move the layout goes with me easily taken down. All structures
and small detail parts come off the layout. On the Glendale module only the loading dock stays as it is concrete. No big deal to take this module down off the shelf brackets, it’s the end of the UP Glendale Branch.

Essentially the layout is an Inglenook (and exactly as the original). Bruce says that just like the original “… it gets switching crews from Southern Pacific and Union pacific. It’s a fun module to switch on and I can take it to shows.” What more do you need?

In the next post I’ll be taking a look at how I’d like to model this location as a stand alone layout. I’ll be taking a slightly different tack to Bruce’s excellent representation. I’ve been thinking about using an interesting technique to cover off the gaping hole in the wall exit to the fiddle yard that ought to work perfectly for this design; and all in 8 feet.

Additional resources:

Bruce has kindly provided me with images of the layout module. My thanks to Bruce for his kindness in being so willing in talking to a stranger and being willing to take photos of his layout especially for me to share with you.

All included images above are copyright of the creator and author: Bruce Petty. Used with permission on Andrew’s Trains.

Site seeing – November 4 – The ‘I got track plans coming out my ears’ edition

Small layouts are my thing. Like most modellers in Australia space here is at a premium. So a small space layout, offering lots of operating potential, is the way to go.

Recently a long time model railroad friend Shortliner Jack shot me several links over to look at. We’ll be coming back to look closely at those this month. For right now though let’s take a look at a downloadable and one of Shortliner’s links.

Site 1: Designing small shelf Layouts for operating fun

Presented back in 2015 at the NMRA’s Thoroughbred Limited 2015 MCR Convention in Kentucky I felt that this download (in PDF format) provides a great overview of small layouts and a bit of learning about the why and how along the way.

small-layout-handout

The details shown on the Inglenook drawing on page 4 are wrong (you can find out more about Inglenooks in this post); besides that however there are some exceptional small layout designs that should inspire the modeller in you to get out there and make something.

Site 2: Railroad Line Forum – Layout Design Ideas

This is the site that Shortliner Jack pointed me to as a source for his next layout inspiration. Being in the far north of Scotland, buried in snow for 9/10ths of the year, and surrounded by only boxes of Whisky for company he has a lot of time to work on layouts. One layout in Proto48 caught his eye specifically:

There are so many more designs in this thread large and small that you’ll spend several hours looking through and pondering them all. Great ideas and thanks to Robert Chant for sharing his design on the forum.

 

Site seeing – 10 September – All you ever wanted (or needed) to know about Inglenooks

Since we’re on somewhat of a roll with the Inglenook this week and it’s uses in small layout design let’s go to the source of all things Inglenook.

Site 1: Adrian Wymann’s “The Model Railways Shunting Puzzles website”

If you’ve not heard of Adrian’s site before then you are in a for a treat. This site has everything that you ever wanted to know about shunting puzzles, including the Timesaver and the Inglenook.

Image courtesy of Adrian Wymann
Image courtesy of Adrian Wymann

Of interest for those of us thinking of building a layout using the Inglenook design is the discussion on the design of operation and movement for the layout. Additionally there is the mechanics of designing and building the layout also. Very well worth the look.

Site 2: Adrian Wymann’s layout “Little Bazeley-By-The-Sea

Putting the Inglenook to work Adrian’s great little layout deserves a look. Well designed, well executed and well presented Adrian walks you through the design and build process and provides a lot of insight into the process.

Image courtesy of Adrian Wymann
Image courtesy of Adrian Wymann

Head on over to the websites and do a bit of reading – you’ll not be disappointed.

Site seeing – September 09 (the follow-on Inglenook folio edition)

Yesterday we looked at Yandilla Sidings, an excellently presented Australian Inglenook exhibition layout (read more about that post here). Today we have another Inglenook that jumped out at me on the Micro/Small Model RR Layouts group on Facebook.

Site 1: Ben Gray’s “Rozelle Street” layout

First we need a little context before we get to the layout’s brilliance. As a Western Sydney boy, I regularly saw long and short freights during the 1970s come through Blacktown in Sydney’s west before and after school. Living in Marayong on the Richmond branchline we had regular freights to and from the Riverstone Meatworks, and further up the line to Richmond itself.

In the inner west (when I could wrangle a train trip into the city) I saw several locations that I always thought I’d like to model. The Mungo Scott flour mill siding for one as shown below seemed ideal. It was inner-city, working class, railway grit that has had me fascinated all my life. Here’s two examples from that location.

Image courtesy of Rob Cook
Image courtesy of Rob Cook

8042 at Mungo Scott

Image courtesy of Trent Nicholson

So now that you have a visual context of the type of layout that I’d always wanted to build let’s take a look at Ben Gray’s vision of inner city railway industry in a small space (not that you’d notice).

Image courtesy of Ben Gray
Image courtesy of Ben Gray

The image above caught my eye immediately. First, I loved seeing these 46 class electric locos working freight and passenger traffic around the Sydney network. Designed for heavy freight drag work out of the Sydney basin and over the ranges to our west, these locomotives were built by Metropolitan-Vickers and its partner Beyer, Peacock and Company in England for the New South Wales Government Railways. For many years these were the most powerful locomotives in Australia with a one-hour rating of 3,780 horsepower (2,820 kW) and the ability to deliver more over short periods. They are to me the most beautiful locomotives (electric or diesel) built and look fantastic on this Inglenook (if only there were overhead wire – sigh).

There are some very clever uses of visual trickery here. The layout is just an Inglenook but it is so much more because the focus is not on the Inglenook; rather the focus is on the concept of the viewer’s experience of the layout. You have to be an inner city kid, who saw locomotives similar in appearance, doing what locomotives do with freight cars. And how it worked on me. Good one Ben and well done on taking me back 30 years with one photo.

Enjoy another view of the layout. Follow the links above and if you’re a Facebook user head on over to the group and join in the small layout love. Finally see if you can work out some of the clever tricks used in the design of the layout.

Now for a little more 46 class locomotive weathering porn (model first, prototype last):

Image courtesy of Dean Bradley

And

Image courtesy of http://nswrailrambler.blogspot.com.au/
Image courtesy of http://nswrailrambler.blogspot.com.au/

The lovely old 46’s were notorious for getting and staying grubby, but really what’s not to like eh? All the best see you over the weekend.

Site seeing September 8 (Inglenook folio edition)

The reason the Inglenook is such a popular subject for small layouts is simple: it works on many levels to enable operations. Today let’s look at one recently found Australian design.

Site 1: Yandilla Sidings

Captured and photographed by David Bromage at the Gold Coast Model Train Show in or around June 2016 at the Carrara Indoor Sports Stadium this layout shows what can be achieved in a small space with great presentation and attention to detail.

Image courtesy of David Bromage
Image courtesy of David Bromage

In this overall image  you see the entirety of the layout. What it shows to me is that you can have a small layout (in this case with UK prototype trains) that keeps the interest of the viewer and the operator, allows interactivity between the viewer and the operator (and should you choose to do so) allow the viewer to become the operator.

Image courtesy of David Bromage
Image courtesy of David Bromage

In addition you can build the layout board and case quickly, with little effort if using pre-built (Ikea style) components. Then you can go to town on the detail in the viewable scene. If you want more than you can add more into the scene, or as the operator has, show the operating scheme to the public at large.

Image courtesy of David Bromage

Using the link in the heading above will take you David’s portfolio for the exhibition. I hope that you enjoy looking into this scene and learning as much as I have from it. I’d like to build an Inglenook in HO for exhibition use this southern spring and summer. I have several layout ideas for an inglenook and a Supernook – who knows what we’ll end up with!

Site seeing: August 31 – Winter is going (at least down here)

Winter is over, although where we live in Ballarat at 420m (1370 feet) above sea level, you’d be hard pressed to tell that change of season has arrived. Our mornings are still cold, the winds are still lazy (they go through and not around you), and the weather is not shiny or happy. However, my seasonal allergies have kicked in, and the Wattle has been in full bloom for about 3 weeks now. I’m sniffling, my eyes are streaming and I look like I’ve gone five rounds with the late, great Muhammad Ali. My allergies and the weather are not the reason for today’s end of Winter post…

Site 1: Croft on the ScaleFour society’s website

Built as a shunting puzzle (Inglenook) and based loosely upon the real Croft goods (Darlington, NER, not Leicestershire LNWR), Croft is a magnificent example of simple effective display and operation. The image below courtesy of RMWeb and Steve Taylor.

I could go on at length about this layout, or I can let you soak up the atmosphere of this image and then follow the ScaleFour link above.

Site 2: RMWeb’s Croft Gallery

Go, look, mind blown.

Hope that this gets your creative juices flowing. Looking forward to the Southern Spring.