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Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby martink » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:45 am

I am looking at building a new exhibition layout during the second half of this year to replace Sarum Bridge. I am currently brainstorming ideas, and don't expect to make up my mind for another month or two. If anyone here has any suggestions, I would certainly like to hear them.

The main requirements:
- a one-man-show, so the layout needs to be fully- or at least mostly-automatic
- plenty of visual action to keep the audience interested, with multiple trains doing sensible train-y things plus a few animations like level crossings, road systems, canal systems, etc.
- probably one large board (5-6' x 1.5-2'), but it might be larger if the concept makes it worth the effort
- some use of servo-driven pointwork, but kept within strict limits, with other points dummied up as required.
- still haven't absolutely settled on T for this one, so a remote possibility it might end up as N instead.
- something seriously different from other exhibition layouts, especially Sarum Bridge!

Ideas so far:

- a major non-station rail junction, such as Aller Junction between Exeter and Plymouth. This site had 4 tracks splitting into 2x2, so 2-3 trains would be visible at a time with one having to give way at the crossing. This location also had a secondary road alongside the main line with bridges over all three rail lines, so plenty of road activity as well. The track plan would be a double oval, wrapped once, with probably 3 trains tail-chasing on each line. The main drawbacks would be having half the trackwork and trains hidden and its rural similarity to Sarum. Might be done in N instead on 2 boards and more complex trackwork, such as Norton Fitzwarren with 4 tracks splitting into 3x2.

- a major incline or bank, such as Shap, Ais Gill, Masbury or Hemerdon. Loops at the top and bottom, lots of double headed trains and even some dummy bankers at the rear. Again, a fair amount of hidden track and the similarity to Sarum, and it might work better in N with the possibility of attaching and detaching pilot engines (though not, alas, bankers).

- a major through terminus station, with the western approach Edinburgh Waverley as a likely candidate. 4 tracks coming in, two as through lines with loops and the other two each to multiple bay platforms. Worked as 4 mini-layouts, two ovals and two shuttles with HSTs, the odd goods or parcel, DMUs and even the Edinburgh-Glasgow push-pull. A good road network and parkland. The main drawback would be the large number of buildings required - for a UK town scene, it works out around 100 buildings per square foot - a truly scary number!

- a standard/narrow gauge junction station, with a simple basic T gauge main line layout plus a few stations on a linear-motor based narrow gauge line. Possibly even an Aussie 2'6" line from stations like Moe, Colac or Wangaratta. Tempting...

- something set in the mid-1800s, working to T scale or thereabouts but using a linear motor track instead of conventional to reliably handle the tiny locos and coaches. Roads with horse-drawn vehicles! The main drawback (or possibly advantage) would be having to get seriously into 3D printing.

- a modular system loosely based on T-TRAK-T. This would end up being to my own standards, partly for concerns about the robustness of the T-TRAK approach when applied at this size, partly for scenic consistency, but mainly to make use a standard electronics package for each board giving full automatic speed, block and signal control plus a few common variants such as passing loops, turnback sidings, etc. Each board would have some sort of operational track feature (passing loops, auto DMU carriage sidings, etc), or novelty animation (roads, level crossing, racetrack, etc) as well as the basic double track. Standard board size would be something like 3' x 9" (enough to have a loop big enough for a full length HST), or possibly 3' x 15" with two double tracks, front and back. The main drawback would be the lack of a single, coherent story. A major advantage would be its much larger overall size, with the ability to have more than a handful of people watching it at once.

Anyway, comments, suggestions (particularly new ideas), etc., would all be most welcome.
martink
 
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby mattd10 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:50 am

These are all good ideas! I've always liked the idea of a junction layout, the one I always had in mind was worting junction on the south west line, simply because the flyover means trains always pass at speed.
The incline is a nice idea, but as you say the limitations of T and it's couplings may make regular attachment difficult.
For me a large terminus is a great idea and is what I currently have on the drawing board. Perfect for T gauge if you can sort out the pointwork. Would you use stock points or make modifications?
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby martink » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:20 pm

All the T options including the incline would generally use fixed rakes, though there are a couple of tricks that could work in that case. For example, with two or three motor units all the trains would already have adequate hill climbing capacity, so a pilot engine or banker would only be used for visual interest. A pilot engine could be set to run a bit more slowly than the rest with a resistor, couple of diodes or similar inside the body. With a dummy coupler it could be moved to the head of the train and just sit there being pushed along. While a similar trick could be done with a banker, it would probably only work with bogie stock, which limits its usefulness.

For any of the designs, I would use the minimum of pointwork, unmodified where possible and cut down to a more traditional outline where necessary. Only a few paths would be done this way, with any remaining station pointwork dummied up and non-functional. It might also come done to having points only on tracks used with bogie stock, with 4-wheel wagons kept to a dedicated point-free route. Everything has to be built around the limitations of the scale, and for me the vital key is hands-off reliability. That's why I went with no points at all for Sarum Bridge. At its most recent exhibition showing, I had exactly one derailment over two days, and that was when somebody seriously bumped the table!
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby msimister » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:41 am

Taking the Worting Junction idea a bit further east, I've often thought about a four-track layout somewhere around Walton-on-Thames or Esher. Lots of running, no points, stopping trains and expresses and, depending on what era modelled, quite some variety, providing you like southern EMUs (REP/TC, CIG/BIG, COR/BUF, VEP, HAP, BIL, SUB, EPB, etc), but some loco hauled trains too (Warships on Exeter trains, Class 74s on boat trains, Class 33s/Class 73s on parcels and some freight too). Loops at either end or a classic oval shape with sidings 'around the back' would work.
Cheers,
Malcolm
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby Nutter » Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:50 am

How about Guildford station - gives you a chance to do the Wey Navigation by the station.
Mike based on the Southern side of London

Posting most of the time from a mobile phone please excuse typos. Happy to spot potential problems that other people may have overlooked.
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby msimister » Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:31 am

A navigation would add interest. The Wey Navigation also passes under the south western mainline near Byfleet & New Haw, another possibility.
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby martink » Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:48 pm

Thanks for your replies. I have now had a good look at Worting Junction and Guildford, and both have interesting features. I normally tend to think in terms of WR territory, so I wasn't familiar with either. One way or another, I won't be making up my mind for another month or two, so there is plenty of time to consider, reject, reconsider, etc.

The idea of doing a working canal scene is one that has been rattling around in my head from the beginning of the linear motor experiments. It would even be possible to improvise a crude form of locks, although the boats would have to move up or down a steepish slope in short slow bursts. However, in a small scale like T with a some servo-operated gates....
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby dkightley » Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:23 pm

It would even be possible to improvise a crude form of locks, although the boats would have to move up or down a steepish slope in short slow bursts.

You can be cleverer than that!! The lower linear drive drags the boat into the lock, the servo operated gates close, a water level section within the lock raises under servo control ( taking the boat with it), swinging the end of the upper linear track into place under the now raised water level to grab the boat, servo controlled gates open.....and away goes the boat! It may even be possible to link all three actions together to utilise just one servo...which would need to be a slow moving servo...such as an undercarriage servo

And rather than using electronic linear drives, you could use the mechanical pulley and belt system for driving boats. As the needs are much simpler, it would be much cheaper to put together.
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby martink » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:13 pm

dkightley wrote:You can be cleverer than that!! ....

Alas, not quite that simple. I have thought of a number of ways of doing it, but it comes down to the old complexity vs results tradeoff.

And rather than using electronic linear drives, you could use the mechanical pulley and belt system for driving boats. As the needs are much simpler, it would be much cheaper to put together.

Yep, that would be simpler in many ways, but has its own drawbacks. A hybrid system which uses a belt drive for the locks only perhaps? Hmmm...

Lots of thinking still to be done.
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Re: Brainstorming for a new exhibition layout

Postby Kupzinger » Mon May 02, 2016 2:20 pm

For an exhibition layout, I would go for something that looks great from far and from close. And for the first part, I would say the layout should have a realistic landscape concept - something that appeals to the viewer, and is consequential. A river scene for example could have these features.

One example (without saying you should do exactly this) could be Crianlarich.


Image


This is one of my dream-later-maybe-plans :)

Here, the line comes from the south, passes through a small station, and then splits up to a lower and a upper branch on each side of a river. Traffic is dominated by DMUs, coming as four-coach units from the south and splitting up to the two lines. Coupling could be avaided as discussed above. There could be three hidden fiddle yards, essentially only a single track for terminating the short DMU trains.

A number of nice briges (etching?) are included. Cars could go through the village. The river, as shown in the scetch, could be enlarged to a Loch, maybe made out of a mirror, so that trains in either side get a nice doubling effect depending on the viewpoint.

Some trackwork is required, but essentially there is only one point that needs to be operable (where the two lines split). The rest could be "dead track". The leg to the East is the former Callender line and used to access a timer loading place.

The real scene can be modelled a bit more compact as in 1:450, but the main feature of a river valley and a railway cutting into it from the south, could be preserved.


Maybe you can take some aspects from this? Maybe some tourist boat service on the loch? With bus connection to the station?

Cheers
Kupzinger
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