We’ve had a few operating sessions over the past year. Most of the crew has enjoyed the calamity that has ensued from the signalman getting things wrong. I can’t say that I have enjoyed them as much as others.
When we first started over a year ago, we had seven blokes in the shed and all at the front of the layout. After a couple of squishy sessions I decided to put a couple of people into the access holes in the middle of the layout. With the new branch line station mentioned in the last post, three people were put in the middle.
However, visibility for these drivers is poor. They need advice of where to stop their train. This stops other operators from running their trains. The yard work is also held up by locos going to and from the loco sidings. With the planned harbour extension this will make this section busier and more cramped. It will be difficult for operators in the middle to bring their trains out from staging, run through the station and onto the harbour.
I was taking about this with my wife after a session. Her reply was, “I don’t know why you didn’t just build it around the walls of the shed instead of just to the middle. You could build a lift out section and have heaps of room in the middle to move around.”
That was about six weeks ago. Since then I have been working ideas and plans.
After a few frustrating weeks I began to realise that I didn’t need to make too many changes. I started to make a list of what I liked with the current plan and needed to take into consideration the building kits that I had purchased and constructed or are on the to do list.
I liked the station. That’s staying. I liked the marshalling yard. That’s staying but I have an opportunity to make them double ended. I would have liked to be able to add an extra siding or two. That’s not really going to happen. However, they will be longer. I’ve kept the carriage sidings and they will be accessible from two platforms so hopefully they will be easier to work without blocking the running roads. As the new layout is a large oval, there could be some empty carriage workings around the layout to the right platforms. As I type this, I have just wondered why I haven’t thought of this before.
The layout will be on three levels. Below will be a staging yard with 10 dead end sidings, 8 double ended sidings and one through road giving access to the dead end sidings. More may be added if there is space. The line at each end will climb a 2% grade and reach the main line via a double slip near the lift out section. There will be a small station here with a turn back road for suburban trains coming and going in each direction. Heading east trains will continue to climb, though a planned tunnel, pass through another suburban station and in to the main station. If it is a goods train it will need to cross to the inner line to access the goods sidings. Goods trains upon leaving the yard will need to do two laps before vanishing into staging. Heading west from the lift out section, the four tracks will need to be bi directional to gain access to the right platforms and the goods yard.
The line underneath the town scene along the back wall will be at zero level and in the staging yard. However, the second line will climb to the third level where there will be a branch line station. There is also a peninsular which will be a future harbour extension and another section that could be another place to operate later.
The big issue is that everything needs to come off the layout and I start all over again. I know I’m not the only one to have done that.