For years I have been admiring a plan in the back of PSL Book of Model Railway Track Plans by C. J. Freezer. The plan, Grandchester (Plan 69), has a five platform station, which is perfect for a growing collection of NSWGR passenger vehicles. The station is in the middle of the space on an oval and the layout looks like an upside down ‘e’. The footprint is similar to my last efforts. C. J. Freezer planned a branch line coming from one of the platforms. This I have had to cut and with the branch line went the modest loco depot and turn table.
In place of the turn table I have added carriage sidings and a carriage shed. The sidings need to be long enough for a HUB set. They will enter a shed and curve away underneath what will be a raised section with a cathedral on it. The cathedral was purchased at the Forestville exhibition a couple of years ago. More on this when I get the scenery started.
At the other end of the station I have added a four track marshalling yard which will curve away to the rear of the layout. I have also added an arrival/departure road for goods trains to enter the yard. I plan that most of the shunting here will be done by an operator sitting right in front of where they need to work. The uncoupling of wagons would be done on the straight sections of track after the points, so that the sidings trail of into the distance should not be a problem. Ideally, I would have preferred five tracks here, as I ended up with on my last layout but space was a bit of an issue.
Despite my best attempts, I could not fit a turn table in. I have, however, been able to squeeze in some loco storage sidings for locos awaiting their next job. They will need to be turned in the staging yard. The large cupboard is stopping any further expansion.
The staging yard caused much thought. Reading Australian Model Railway Magazine in recent years, a couple of layouts stood out with grand designs. Kangaroo Valley in the February 2012 edition had a good idea, as did Weston featured in April 2012. They have two lines for continuous running and sidings either side where trains terminate and locos swapped. The layouts can be run as a point to point scheme. The yard for Kangaroo Valley looks as though it is operated during a session as another yard. A great idea but I wanted something simpler.
I’m not sure I achieved it.
I want trains heading to Sydney, Melbourne or any other destination to turn around and come back, like my old layout so I installed a couple of return loops. These will be hidden behind a retaining wall and under the town. Trains will leave the station, go through a return loop and then get stored, ready for their return, regardless of which direction they leave.
This has led to a different design of staging yard. I have ten tracks (the plan shows 11) and a through road. The rear two sidings will fit a 38 class and a HUB set. There are two roads that will hold longer trains with the rest holding the equivalent of a loco and 10 BCH length wagons. Off to each side, the four sidings will hold the equivalent of the U-boat set. A couple of these will be used as extra loco storage and the rest will hold multiple units of sorts.
The idea that really captured my imagination with Grandchester was the urban scenic features. C. J. Freezer drew in a road behind the station with a couple of streets running of at right angles. These streets don’t go far and are blocked by other buildings. When drawn, the layout was planned for an attic. I could use the idea in my shed.
The plan was drawn up using Anyrail software. I found it easy to use. It was a lot easier than a compass and grid paper and a lot more accurate. The grid that you plan on can be altered to different sizes and when it came to laying the track, this was a very useful feature. The design was more accurate than I could have hoped for. The lost staging road was due to cramming a bit too much in the back too close to the wall.
The plan shows that there is a large station building covering the platforms and a couple of bridges. This is so I can create an illusion that trains are longer than they are. This idea came from http://www.carendt.com/scrapbook/page94/index.html Here Allen Walker describes his layout, Prince’s Cross, and how a three coach train can appear longer if you cannot see the whole train at once. Hopefully, a similar effect can be achieved to make my eight wagon coal train look a little longer, not to mention any other train.
All I had to do was to build it.
As an aside, The Heritage Express headed to Newcastle today. The planned locomotive, 3642, wasn't up the front, most likely due to a total fire ban. Instead 4520 and 4490 did the honours of leading the train. The first shot is at Asquith this morning. The second shot is at my local station. I nearly missed it as it was running early and I was walking down the wrong side of the platform building as it rounded the bend ahead of me.