Saturday, December 18, 2010

Layout Part II - Swallow's End Track Plan

The layout now has a name - thanks to all who provided advice, suggestions and pointed out where some of the suggestions had previously been used.  Given that the previous layout built here in Longreach was named Swallow Street (after the street where we live - and based on a track plan called Collier Street, Amity's maiden name) we decided this terminus should continue the theme and so Swallow's End.

Swallow's End is a quiet little village "somewhere in England".  If it were GWR territory it would be yellow/blue code (I am not too up with the GWR colour coding but the 57xx in the Haresnape book I have are marked thus).  I guess this gives a nominal axle load of around 18T for locomotives so I will work with that.

I have also negotiated a small extension.  Instead of having cassette operation, I am going to build traverser tray which will hold the trains and be separate to the main board (bolted on for operation).  This in effect will mean the previous entry/exit line will be moved 15 inches to the end of the board.  At this stage I don't plan on changing the track plan by adding more space in the loop but I could - this will mean there is a bit more room for the points but the traverser will be fixed at a 0-6-0T, 7x 10' wagons and a 15' brake.

The signals are marked where I think they should be - as there is the possibility of a passenger train being locked in the platform while a freight comes in (or vice versa) I am assuming block control.  Obviously, should such a branch stub survive Beeching, it may well have become a one engine in steam and eventually just the platform if close enough to a major urban centre to provide suburban traffic (similar to how St Alban's Abbey is now).  With the extension, the home signals can be included rather than just the pair of starters.  The positioning of the home signals provides the limit of shunt as well.


  1. Two comments.

    First, on the signalling. I would say your starter is too close to the run-around loop. As it stands, you can't shunt it without clearing that signal: which would involve entering the next section with all the consequent hassle. Why not move it out, so that all the shunnting can be done inside it.

    Secondly, I would think about swapping the cattle dock and coal yard. It was common procatice to keep cattle docks out of the way - often with their own entrances, so that they did not need to be herded near other operations (with the risk of the noise exetra panicing them and causing them to stampede).

  2. Thanks Mark - I was wondering about that. Perhaps moving the starter to be next to the home (even the same post but facing the other way? Was that done over there? It is here) or putting a Shunt Signal on the post as well.

  3. It was very rare in the UK for signals for opposite directions to share a post (at least after the 1870s) - signals for opposite directions tended to be on opposite sides of the line unless there was a sighting issue. Which side it was varied from company to company - the GWR preferred the fireman's side, but most other lines had them on the driver's side.

    A shunt signal would work as well: just have a Limit of Shunt board one train length plus a bit out from the starter. However, for a not-too-heavily trafficed branch, moving the starter would be more likely, unless it put the signal outside the range for mechanical operation, which wouldn't be the case here.

    Can I recommend Modratec (an Aussie company - just Google them) to you. They make locking lever frames, but even if you are not planning to use theire services, they have a free donwloadable lever frame generating program, which will handle signal placing etc. I use it - highly recommended.

    One final point on your plan: I note there is no way of releasing a train loco without shunting into the yard. It was done on occasion, but, unless you are planning only push/pull or railcar passenger operation, why not provided such a loop?