Archive for the 'Suburban' Category

Some buildings, but not as many as in an urban layout - these plans probably feature part of a smallish town.

"Kickback Quarry" by Iain Climie

Posted on January 31st, 2004
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Kickback Quarry © Iain Climie

A popular small space subject in GB and Europe is the small branch line, light railway or narrow gauge terminus, serving a small town or large village. A typical example is shown above (ignoring the heavy broken line). Entry from the hidden area is often under a road over-bridge, with a scenic block along the long siding to the left e.g. a bank, trees, buildings.

Traffic is light, with domestic and rail coal in, agricultural produce and livestock out, passengers, parcels and occasional other items going both ways. The Western end of the run-round loop is within the hidden area itself, allowing a sector plate or similar to be used. It’s very quaint, but could easily reach limits of operation and interest quite quickly, for builder, exhibition operator and audiences at exhibitions. So consider the effects of a quarry (or possibly factory or other plant) opening somewhere to the NW after the station has been built. An extension now comes in as shown by the broken line, and operating potential could increase significantly.

Firstly, the separate line may use its own stock, including workmen’s carriages as well as mineral wagons.

Secondly, there will be significant extra traffic to a quarry, including explosives, occasional coal wagons and other supplies.

Thirdly, unravelling a fairly long loaded train from the quarry (to allow it to proceed back along the branch line) could take some time, particularly if other sidings are occupied.

Fourthly, there will be far more scope for mixed trains of carriages (including main company and workmen’s coaches) and wagons.

Lastly, additional equipment such as signals, would now become a requirement, not just an optional extra.

To be fair, I don’t know whether this set up is prototypically realistic, and it is only intended to be a starting point for thought; considerations of scale and size are left to the reader. The layout itself could be very compact (e.g. in H09) or stretched considerably if space permitted.

The junction of the mineral extension is a little contrived (for space reasons), so would need some sort of geographical justification e.g. a hill or river. Yet it does seem to allow much more varied operation, perhaps in a little more space. My hope is that such a scheme could increase public interest in small layouts at exhibitions, and bring new recruits (especially younger ones) into the hobby.

Possible train movements on this layout include:

  • normal passenger services in and out,
  • empty stone wagons to quarry,
  • full stone wagons from quarry,
  • workmen’s carriages between quarry and station (some in place at start),
  • workmen’s carriage(s) to and from main station,
  • empty quarry wagons to station from rest of world,
  • full quarry wagons to rest of world,
  • van or similar to and from quarry,
  • livestock in and out,
  • other agri-produce (including wood) in and out,
  • coal in for domestic and railway use,
  • empty coal wagons out and
  • explosives and other supplies to quarry with empty van(s) in return – specialist wagon may be needed for explosives.

Plenty there to keep an operator or two busy!

"Big Foot Lumber" by Stuart Edmundson

Posted on April 17th, 2002

Stuart Edmundson first posted this plan to the On30 Conspiracy group at Yahoo!, but has kindly agreed to its publication at as well. “On30″ models are O scale models running on HO gauge track, representing 30″ gauge prototypes. The beauty of plans in this scale, however, are that they can usually be used for standard gauge HO layouts (albeit with smaller scenery).

Big Foot Lumber started life as a shelf layout - shown at the bottom of the plan as ‘Existing Module’ - and this portion is an interesting switching layout for either a narrow gauge or small standard gauge operation.

The key to building this layout is to ensure that you can access the hidden sidings at the top left of the plan, just in case of a problem arising. One option would be for a single track to descend after entering the tunnel and swing around to a fiddle yard area under the sawmill, but this would be dependent on space and the maximum gradients your trains can comfortably handle.

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© Stuart Edmundson

"Norfolk & Adair"

Posted on March 10th, 2002
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Norfolk & Adair © Emrys Hopkins

Two layouts in one here - on one side of the central viewblock is the town of Norfolk with a few small industries, minimal engine servicing area and a passenger depot. On the other side is Adair Junction, where a logging line joins the branch line. Adair Junction is heavily influenced by the famous Gumstump and Snowshoe layout, but I’m not aware of any particular influence over Norfolk.

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Norfolk station

The unusual aspect of this plan is that it’s designed to stick out from the corner of a room. The two staging areas go against the walls and - thanks to the double slip - trains can be brought out of one “yard”, run around the layout as many times as you like and then sent away to the other staging area.

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Adair Junction

"Norfolk (Clue County)"

Posted on March 10th, 2002
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Norfolk, terminus of the Norfolk and Adair RR © Emrys Hopkins

After choosing to model in HO scale with an American theme - specifically a logging line in the late 1920’s - I started putting some ideas together for the layout. The space I had available was 9′6″ by 6′6″ and it just so happens that this plan fits that space perfectly!

There are my usual double slips and a three way point to allow me to cram in as much trackwork as possible in a very small area, but the part of this plan that I am happiest with is the helix connecting both the logging branch and the short line to the one fiddle yard.


Posted on March 10th, 2002
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Llanddewi © Emrys Hopkins
This is another narrow gauge offering and is based on the Gravetts’ 0-16.5 layout, ‘Llandydref’. This layout was 8′ by 2′ overall so I wondered what I could squeeze into half that length in (roughly) half the scale. The minimum radius on the plan is 6″ which will severely restrict the rolling stock which could be used (but what would you expect in 4′?!).

Possible improvements: More length would allow for wider curves.