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Galgorm Hall 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:13 pm
by carnehan
Hello all. Sorry for the rambling here but I thought I’d get down all I wanted to say now!! I have been on here for a bit now and have found everything very informative and it has helped me to develop plans for my own layout. I have spent the last months gathering together track and I am now prepared to dive into full construction mode and have therefore decided to chart the progress on here.

A little bit of history first. I have always had an interest in planning and developing my own model railway layout and throughout my teens I started and planned many themes but never took them any further. Subsequently all original train items I had were sold on to fund other interests but last Christmas brought me a Flying Scotsman Hornby train set. Since then the seed has well and truly been sown with much spare time being devoted to coming up with plans , reading forums and delving into the marketplace for more rolling stock and track.

Now back to the hobby it was time to develop a plan. I looked at many layouts and plans, viewed Peco and Hornby track plans and was still none the wiser. I live in Northern Ireland and we don't have much in the way of rail infrastructure to get ourselves excited about. My local town, Ballymena, has a double platform through line station with a couple of sidings for old rolling stock and nothing else. I decided to go back in time a bit and visited the library to see if it was possible to create a prototype of what Ballymena looked like. To my surprise the town used to have an extensive rail network supplying access to the many linen mills that made the town prosperous in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I took a section of this and using the Anyrail programme began tinkering. I posted the first of these on here and was pleased with the responses I got to further enhance the track plan. Many plans later I have settled on what I have attached below. The second of these is just simply to show the full loop minus sidings - due to being an Anyrail freebie rather than the full programme.

The layout has changed dramatically from the original Ballymena plan and as such I decided it was time to be creative and give this station and town its own name. In my mind the history of this fictitious town lies somewhere on an English mainline (this will allow me to run the trains I want to!!) and has had a long standing history of producing flour and linen in the area due to the nearby river providing the power needed. An old flour mill, now long gone, gave the town its name of Millburn.

The layout will happen in at least two stages. The first of these will be the mainline Millburn station and country run along both sides of the loft. The second stage has yet to be finalised in terms of its theme but I want it to include a 009 narrow gauge line. At the moment I am juggling between a quarry and small village settlement or a small harbour and village. There is plenty of time to think about this as I won't start this until after Stage 1 is completed. This may be some time as I am on a strict budget to prevent this enjoyable hobby spiralling out of control.

The layout will be positioned in the ‘Vees’ of the loft to keep the minimal floor space available for safe manouevering. The boards will be no more than 70cm in width but will measure about 4.5m in length. I am happy with this arrangement as it allows for long trains not being on corners all the time and, as can be seen by the plan, gives a good railway station to operate. Joining both vee sides of the layout will be narrow 2.25m x 30cm boards. One end will be landscaped but the other will remain untouched. I am doing this as it will span the open area of the room just in front of the water tank and behind a shelving unit so there seems little point in investing time and money on a section that will be barely seen. I may create a siding on this section to allow for cassettes to be put in place to allow removal of trains to avoid having to create a designated fiddle yard. The vee boards will be made in 3 sections. The gap between each joist is only 15” so I have to consider the manouvering of the boards into place (and out again should we ever move home!). Also, as a result of the joist spacing the layout will have to remain fairly low relief. The back board and all items within the layout will measure no more than 13” in height.

The plan itself is a large tail chaser with a double line looping the entire room. The Millburn station section has a number of sidings allowing for a 3 platform railyway station and some engine and coach sidings. To the left of the plan will be a large linen mill complete with its own goods sidings. To the rear of the station will be a raised town section with railway station and a bridge spanning all track to the platform nearest the front of the board. To the right hand side as the track curves round there will be a road bridge to allow the track to disappear into the unlandscaped section.

I have bought Peco code 100 electrofrog points and Atlas flexi track. I had wanted Peco flexi but I got 40 pieces of Atlas for what I would have paid for 20 Peco. Ballymena men like their bargains!! Anyway, from what I have read the Atlas will suffice and only the die hard modeller will notice the difference. I am undecided as to DC or DCC operation. I need to buy a controller for either. Price wise they seem fairly similar but the additional cost will come in converting the locos I have. As this is a project that is on the go slow I think I still have time to make my choice. I am favouring the wire in tube approach to points. This is partly due to my inability to wire much more than a plug but also due to the cost of electrifying everything too. Besides, it might be fun to be a signalman as well as a train driver!!

I plan to set the period in the 1950’s and 1960’s as I want to run both steam and diesel engines. These will be essentially BR liveried trains and coaches but the Flying Scotsman will appear on special outing days.

So, there we have it. Millburn layout is on the go. I will update with pictures once I begin the baseboard construction. I hope to get this underway next month. Any feedback, suggestions or comments will always be welcome on this project and I look forward to updating the build as it goes.

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:16 pm
by thebritfarmer
Welcome to the forum. Nice layout plan you have. It puts me in mind of Five Elms layout
I will look forward to seeing your progress.


Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:06 pm
by hornbyandbf3fan
Looks like a good plan!

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:24 pm
by Bufferstop
Looks a good plan. I can see that you will probably want to get the basic loops down and trains running quickly, but once thats done it might be worthwhile concentrating on developing the section of the station to the rear of the main lines, ballasting platforms etc, before doing the same to the section in front. Otherwise your enthusiasm might flag trying to do all of the ballasting, then all of the basic scenery then all of the buildings. Bringing sections at a time to a reasonably finished state stops any single aspect becoming a mountain to climb. Welcome and don't hold back on asking for help.
John W
aka Bufferstop.

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:23 am
by carnehan
Thanks for the comments. Bufferstop, your advice is taken on board. I do want to get the track down so I can run something but am more than happy to progress slowly with the scenery aspect. I know that doing track ballasting will be a long monotonous job so will follow your lead and do in stages working from the back forward. Hopefully I can maintain a similar quality of build throughout.

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:02 pm
by patchford
This looks good and I like the period which should give the layout some real extra added interest. looks great

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:17 pm
by carnehan
Thanks Patchford.

A quick update - I had a chat with SWMBO to discuss the buying of timber for the baseboards. I can do it once I replace the fire alarm!! Safety first!!

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:05 pm
by jon_1066
Looks like a great space and a great project. I have a couple of questions/comments on the track plan:

You have a singe road with two platform faces on it in the station area. This was very unusual - any particular reason why you have designed it like this?

The double slips are great for saving space but you have a whole load of facing points. These were avoided if possible due to the risks of incorrectly set points causing a head on collision. Your points at the double slips would put an Up train going the wrong way on the Down line and vice versa and don't look right to me.

Most stations in this era would have had a goods shed, coal staithes, and perhaps cattle dock. Any particular reason you have omitted these?

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:00 pm
by carnehan
Hi Jon

Thanks for the feedback. It has made me go back and look at the track plan again and do a little more tinkering. I've included the plan below.

In answer to your questions:

I hadn't even noticed the single road with platform and in doing so it just looks wrong. This has now been omitted and a three bay holding area for locos installed instead. Some times you can't see the wood for the trees.

My positioning of points, and in particular the double slips, were for convenient access to sidings. Perhaps these aren't prototypical but I've tried to place what looks right. I've re-jigged them a little and perhaps this looks a little better. It does in my opinion anyway.

In previous plans I had a goods depot siding with the view of positioning a Peco loading platform along side it. I got platform crazy in the previous plan and decided the goods area must go - albeit a choice I wasn't happy with. Having moved the loco bays to the front of the layout this has allowed a goods siding area to be re-installed.

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 7:16 pm
by carnehan
A short update to the build. Timber was bought this week and I have now started construction of the baseboards. As stated previously, I need to keep this small and narrow enough to manouver them between the trusses. As you can see from the first photo - space is tight in the loft. Welcome to my Man Cave.

Millburn Build 1.jpg
Millburn Build 1.jpg (68.37 KiB) Viewed 10745 times

I have 3 4x2 sheets going down either side (two made - four to go) with an additional 2x2 at one end for more length. This will be spanned by a 12inch wide joiner. At the desk end this will be sceneried but the other end won't.

Millburn Build 2.jpg
Millburn Build 2.jpg (49.21 KiB) Viewed 10745 times

The baseboard frames are made of 2x1 plained timber with a 6mm plywood top. I still have to drill holes in the frames to create passes for wiring and I will also be using coach bolts to ensure the boards always marry up should they need moved. The backboard can be no more than 12 inches to allow easy access between the trusses. I may add additional backboarding to the supporting section running the length of the trusses to allow for additional height.

Millburn Build 3.jpg
Millburn Build 3.jpg (57.18 KiB) Viewed 10745 times

I have made further changes to the plan for the umpteenth time but do think that with each tweek it improves it a little bit more. I now have space for a diesel refueling pump, small goods loading dock and sidings for the mill/factory.

Millburn Station 1.jpg
Millburn Station 1.jpg (41.61 KiB) Viewed 10745 times

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 12:38 pm
by Shaun Wilson
carnehan wrote:I know that doing track ballasting will be a long monotonous job

I used a track ballasting device on mine, they save alot of time and are easy picked up from ebay. :)

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 10:24 pm
by whoshotjimmi
Track ballasting is, indeed, long but it is only as monotonous as you make it. I personally feel that the time saving track ballasters give a unrealistic feel and I am more than happy to spend hours applying every last grain of ballast by hand for a good result! Equally, the ballasting is an opportunity for you to add loads of little imperfections and experiment. 100m of track in the real world will be full of imperfections and spending the time on 100 scale metres of your layout will give you a more satisfying finish.

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 9:45 am
by carnehan
Thanks, I have been getting the same advice elsewhere. TIme is something I am not concerned with on this project. I am in it for the long term. Patience I think is the order of the day to allow for the most realistic layout I can achieve.

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 4:45 pm
by carnehan
Just a quick update. Work is progressing well on the baseboards. I am now two thirds of the way round and well impressed with my minimal woodworking skills.

I couldn't resist getting the track plan printed and some of the track loosely in position.

More updates soon.

Re: Millburn Station 00 Gauge Loft Layout

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:33 am
by carnehan
Just a small update. Not much has been done recently. Work is busy so leaves little time for model making. Some more track has been provisionally laid and I will pot photos soon when this is completed.

I have , however, made my DCC choice. Having read much advice and weighed up the options i have gone with the NCE Powercab. I came across one on ebay for £95 posted (bargain). It arrived last week in full working order - having tested with my Flying Scotman. Now I just have to set up my other locos with chips and we are sucking diesel.