After a year of just exhibiting my existing layouts and mulling over the next one as well as lots of false starts on the next one I think that the plans are coming together for the next layout which will have the project name of Wealden Cement.
I've been juggling with a number of requirements some of my making and its taken a while to get these into a plan that I think provides the following
• Continuous run for running in and watching trains go by
• Integration into the WSNG standards for exhibiting
• Standalone option for exhibiting solo
• Something a little different
I have had a 4 foot module, baseboard built and with track placed on it for most of the summer, the challenge was I couldn't get excited about the plan. I wanted to use buildings and track from my back stock if possible and this constrained the look. The other challenge was that I wanted to be able to use the WSNG track 3 if possible and do something a little different.
After building Crawley Yard I'd been toying around with doing something with Cement next and also something I could potentially link with the yard- Maybe the aggregate supply side like a quarry but whilst the ideas were floating around they weren't exciting me.
Model Rail (issue Nov 2015) has provided the inspiration with Tring Sidings. Tring is on the WCML but essentially trains come up the slow line, stop, reverse over a slip and into the exchange sidings. There they decouple the engine and break van and the main line engine either picks up a new load or departs light. The cement works shunter then arrives from the works and pulls the wagons into the change over area. It stops the wagons and runs around them to then push them into the Cement Yard for filling. This is then reversed once complete. This little operation could keep one operator busy at a show and provides some real operational action.
Unfortunately this was never going to fit on a 4' board and to get a continuous run In the minimum width was going to need to be at least 2 and 1/2 Feet so the current plan is for two boards 4 feet long by 2 foot 6 wide. What I'm not sure is if these will be long enough?
One of the nice things about N gauge is being able to run longer trains than the larger scale so a Presflo train I think needs to be around 10 -12 wagons ( Now I don't have any presflos but assuming they are similar to other wagons I'm estimating them at 2 1/2 inches each so for 10 to 12 that’s a train of around 30 Inches including a loco and break wagon. Getting exchange, transfer and load sidings is going to be a stretch so I'm going to have to compromise on length.
Plan v0.1 below reflects this first round of thinking and will need some tweaking the exchange sidings are slightly to short, if I had 18 inches that should enable 6 wagons and a break van and my need to be the target length and I need to validate the 18' in the change over area. There is quite a lot of space at the cement works end but as I don’t want any points crossing the board joins I'm going to play around with real track and see if I can squeeze as much length in as possible