Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

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LoNER
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Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby LoNER » Tue May 18, 2021 6:31 pm

As a result of the past year’s events future-proofing interests and pastimes has become a matter of some importance. I have amassed a collection of OO gauge buildings and rolling stock over the past 40 years (longer if you take into account my Triang Rocket) and now want to start doing something with them….But (as ever) there are constraints. We live in a duplex flat with the loft being our bedroom. Of the other two bedrooms one is a guest room that is in very frequent use, so not available for anything of a permanent nature. This leaves the third bedroom / study. Mrs LoNER has suggested that desk work can be transferred to our bedroom or take place at the kitchen table thereby freeing up this room…..But the room must still be capable of utilisation with a fold-down bed for guest overspill periods (we have 6 kids and 3 grandchildren between us so quite a high demand to visit us in London).
Therfore, the layout has to be: collapsible, fit the space - 6x4 being the comfortable max size and OO gauge (thus using what I have and what I’d like to have when a planned move to a larger property occurs in 6-7 years’ time.)
So the 6x4 will be a fold-away to 3x4 and slide behind the stock storage cupboards when not in use.
This means all but low-level scenery / ground cover and track will need to be demountable. This requirement set me thinking of possible opportunities; that of having two sets of buildings etc. to use the board for two substantially different locations particularly seizing my imagination. My stock of LNER locos would suit both Scottish stone / timber and Eastern England red brick with a centre shunting area representing the local industry / agriculture. Maltings, granaries, sugar beet processing, distilling and brewing are the sort of things I’m imagining.
So having looked at every 6x4 thread in existence over the last 3 months I have worked-up my starter for 10 on Anyrail the results of which are below

The operating position would be from the station side. I will have access round three sides of the board. The orange zone will be the principal industry interest but the other sidings might be goods shed, loco shed, coal staithes or whatever. The track has to be flat, so no higher level drops or loops can be used. In order to give less of a roundy-roundy feel I’m proposing a scenic break along the blue line at the bottom. Red brick retaining wall / low relief factory would work in red brick with maybe roofs or road covering the back track section, but how to do it for a Scottish scene? Any tunnel / hill would have to be modular and removable, has anyone seen such an approach work in practice. Two sets of backboards would be needed but join hiding shouldn’t prove insurmountable.
So advice and opinions are sought to a) sort the basic errors I’m bound to have made in the track design and b) help in designing the modelling of the scenic elements.
I know my express stock won’t look right on this size layout but I’m sure that there will be the occasional ‘light engine movement’ for Mallard and Flying Scotsman. I have enough stock to provide interest and every so often I can have a blast around the big loop with a 4-coacher.
I have at least avoided points on the centre line. Oh yes, lest I forget, its going to be DC.
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Mountain
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby Mountain » Tue May 18, 2021 10:32 pm

The main change that I would make is to avoid the use of curved points. Use standard left and right hand points instead to avoid de-railments as curved points are prone to sending trains off the rails. Otherwize the plan looks ok.the one siding will need a rail feed but otherwize it is fine, and DC is ideal.

aleopardstail
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby aleopardstail » Wed May 19, 2021 8:36 am

only real comment is the head shunt for the longer industrial siding looks a bit on the short side and it may be worth sliding that point along a bit so it just clears the board join, depends what stock you plan on using here of course but it just looks a bit short.

It appears the station is essentially the on layout fiddle yard as there isn't anywhere else to put trains (with 6'x4' I can feel that pain), its actually quite a clever design, agree with the comments on curved points but without them you are not getting anything like that versatility in the space, I suspect the PECO ones will be better than Hornby (I've used Hornby ones and regretted it).

looks quite fun to operate though, all the wonderful features of a small layout, tight curves, set track crossover "S" curves, the lot - but then you work with what you have.

Q: since its a folding layout and DC, presumably there will be a need for at least a small control panel to manage a few isolating feeds or to switch controllers about, is that going to be board mounted or stuck to the side? only mention it because I know the panel usability matters even if its literally a few switches but can very easily get broken if not careful.

as for the switching scenery, thats actually clever, make a virtue out of needing it to be removable. I wonder if you could have the basic platforms fixed and footprints for the station buildings - for your industrial bit either keep the same footprints of have the board with that entire area as a "yard" material so buildings can be added wherever (and changed occasionally to mix things up a bit). Then have the entire scenic break removable with either the retaining wall/road long and low relief buildings or a basic hill with trees - guessing in both cases a sloping road down to access the industrial bit is needed. should actually work quite well, possibly a low wall fixed to the board, the purpose of which is to hide where the backscene joins - literally half an inch high or similar - small amount of greenery would do the same, either runs along the retaining wall or the foot of the hill like scrub or a hedge, gap for the roadway if you add one.

if you want lighting in buildings would suggest battery operated LEDs so they are entirely self contained

removable means the only constraints on the industry bits are the footprint on the board and space to store them off it, but by gork you've got flexibility, brewery, urban coal depot, gas works, warehousing, steel fabrication, brick works, livestock market, dairy.. actually a very nice way to justify just about any goods stock you fancy.

if the only bits that are actually fixed is the platforms (and maybe not even them) it becomes quite an interesting track layout that could be anywhere and anywhen

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Wolseley
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby Wolseley » Wed May 19, 2021 11:48 am

A rather old style plan and not a very realistic one at that, but I have found that a model railway built to a plan like this is much more fun to operate than a super-realistic terminus to fiddle yard layout. My layout is an 8'x4' oval with double track, a four platform terminus, goods yard, turntable and engine shed, and I'm getting more enjoyment out of it than I have in anything I ever built previously.

It seems to offer quite a bit of operating potential in the limited space available. My only criticism (and perhaps that's too strong a word) is to echo what aleopardstail said about the head shunt for the longer industrial siding looking a bit on the short side.

Build it and enjoy.....

Jim

LoNER
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby LoNER » Wed May 19, 2021 4:09 pm

Thanks for the speedy comments thus far. Further questions as follows (apologies if these are obviously naïve).
“The main change that I would make is to avoid the use of curved points. Use standard left and right hand points instead to avoid de-railments as curved points are prone to sending trains off the rails”

Mountain, where to place the suggested improvement in point work? The reason I chose to design in PECO was the better reputation of their curved points (as aleopardstail has identified). I know this board won’t be ‘realistic’, but I want to get a flavour of ‘place’ that suits my locos and I want to run them (so long since, so long!!!).
“only real comment is the head shunt for the longer industrial siding looks a bit on the short side and it may be worth sliding that point along a bit, so it just clears the board join, depends what stock you plan on using here of course but it just looks a bit short.”

Point taken, aleopardstail (and Wolseley). I have experimented to eliminate the short head shunt, with the introduction of more point work (always going to come in handy in future though). This provides yet more shunting scope, maybe a private company loco. However two points are now on the fold line. What do people think? I’ve added and indication of where the commercial access road will run so the low relief / cliff side will come down the grid south side of it.
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“presumably there will be a need for at least a small control panel to manage a few isolating feeds or to switch controllers about, is that going to be board mounted or stuck to the side? only mention it because I know the panel usability matters even if it’s literally a few switches but can very easily get broken if not careful”.

I was planning on a demountable control tray with plug connections to the permanent board wiring, maybe a slot in runner bracket like a desk drawer.
“I wonder if you could have the basic platforms fixed and footprints for the station buildings - for your industrial bit either keep the same footprints of have the board with that entire area as a "yard" material so buildings can be added wherever (and changed occasionally to mix things up a bit)”

I’m still pondering the platform issue; neutral block work facings and large flag surfaces could work for both stone and brick themed locations and it’s one less thing to detach for storage. Station buildings’ locations could then have the suggested yard / road access surfacing ringfenced to provide the necessary flexibility, I’ll experiment with the Superquick examples I have in storage when looking at the surfacing issues. The fixed low wall / hedge /berm idea to hide removable scenic edges is one I hadn’t considered and which makes good sense.
“you've got flexibility, brewery, urban coal depot, gas works, warehousing, steel fabrication, brick works, livestock market, dairy.. actually a very nice way to justify just about any goods stock you fancy.
If the only bits that are actually fixed is the platforms (and maybe not even them) it becomes quite an interesting track layout that could be anywhere and anywhen”

This is the aspect that I’m keen to make work, the livestock market was something that hadn’t occurred to me but the scope to have some ‘hairy coos’ being wagoned in could be fun – all other suggestions for any ‘real life’ LNER locale industries gratefully received. The 'anywhen' aspect hadn't occurred to me either. In the words of Bread, "If a man could be two places at one time I'd be with you. Tomorrow and today, beside you all the way". If fact he gives an example of the same place at two times - cue alternative distressed old main building, concrete shelters and modern image!!. Lets see about the two 1930s regions first no point running when I'm hardly crawling yet!
Last edited by LoNER on Wed May 19, 2021 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

aleopardstail
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby aleopardstail » Wed May 19, 2021 7:17 pm

points over a join is a problem, I think I can see the ones you mean (ST241), could shift them a bit to the left to get a short length of track - suitable for a few PCB sleepers to cover the join nicely.

I prefer the first goods yard personally as that one has a lot of back and forth blocking sidings - now that may be exactly the puzzle you want but it looks like the sort of sidings that were shunted by horses or ropes

one suggestion, don't nail the track down, get hold of some stinky copydex latex based glue, makes it easy to experiment and lift sidings, while being grippy enough to hold flexi track in place and then basically fiddle with the bit in the middle until you find something that works.

the basic concept though I like, the only alternative to the curved points really means a deeper board and 4' is already pushing it.

the dismountable control box makes sense, easy to get a suitable connector with however many wires you need

platforms are probably low enough to leave on a folding board, also avoids having a long thin narrow thing to safely store, slab platform pretty much works right up to modern day.

possible alternative for the middle bit, you have the set of points leading into it, if you could raise that bit of track say 6mm, or have a cutout in the board you could make a single drop in middle bit (needs its own storage), but you could make that modular, then perhaps have a couple of different track layouts - loco depot with turntable (or without), or a couple of industries, or even just a single "disused" siding

LoNER
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby LoNER » Thu May 20, 2021 6:04 pm

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So this is a rejig to get nearer to the original plan, improve the head shunt length and avoid a point on the centre line. I'm very tempted by a commercial baseboard offering which will fold along the centre line, as marked. What I have in mind will certainly permit platforms, fences etc. to be fixed in situ as they have a protective edge that folds to a 7 inch width (so ca. a couple of inches free air above board level).
At least all the curved points will be in easy reach! As for tinkering with track formation, I will try to experiment with some old Hornby bits I have but while I'm happy to do scenics I know track placement for this system is above my pay grade. Having the track professionally made to a de-bugged design is the luxury gift to myself to compensate for foregoing a convertible. I'll never 'drive through Paris with the free wind in my hair' (no hair to feel the free wind in anyway!!!) so I'm going to enjoy this instead.

ChrisGreaves
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby ChrisGreaves » Thu May 20, 2021 7:38 pm

aleopardstail wrote:...possible alternative for the middle bit,... you could make that modular,
Hello aleopardstail.
Please and Thank You: Have I understood your comment?
51190128144_851126e6a1_c.jpg
51190128144_851126e6a1_c.jpg (34.36 KiB) Viewed 472 times
Are you suggesting that the piece outlined in yellow could be a removable module, that one could have several clones of that shape and size, with just the one track joint (outlined in green)?
That would make a round-and-round with a set of (roughly 3'x2') pieces in various stages of construction. When the in-laws come around drop in a finished module for ooohs and ahhhs, but once they are gone, get back to the fascinating mechanics of a hump yard?
Thanks
Chris

aleopardstail
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby aleopardstail » Thu May 20, 2021 7:55 pm

ChrisGreaves wrote:
aleopardstail wrote:...possible alternative for the middle bit,... you could make that modular,
Hello aleopardstail.
Please and Thank You: Have I understood your comment?51190128144_851126e6a1_c.jpgAre you suggesting that the piece outlined in yellow could be a removable module, that one could have several clones of that shape and size, with just the one track joint (outlined in green)?
That would make a round-and-round with a set of (roughly 3'x2') pieces in various stages of construction. When the in-laws come around drop in a finished module for ooohs and ahhhs, but once they are gone, get back to the fascinating mechanics of a hump yard?
Thanks
Chris


basically something like that, possibly elliptical to better use the space or some other weird and wonderful shape, also depending on how the board is made and um.. personal width (more of a problem for some of us than the lucky ones) it can be a useful access point when building the layout - other bonus is you can drop a board in, stick the entrance bit of track to it, then when the glue or whatever is set, remove it and work on it elsewhere.

LoNER
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby LoNER » Fri May 21, 2021 3:56 pm

Interesting concept for the drop-in yard module, but as there's not going to be storage for something of that size I'll stick to the fixed track plan and alter the buildings / backscene to suit. On the subject of which, the platforms (if permanently stuck down) would have to be fitted with a removable centre piece (hidden by the station buildings) so the layout can still fold away. Fortunately, I've no surviving in-laws to come round so cosmetic appeal to the uninitiated isn't a problem I'll have :wink: .

aleopardstail
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby aleopardstail » Fri May 21, 2021 4:59 pm

LoNER wrote:Interesting concept for the drop-in yard module, but as there's not going to be storage for something of that size I'll stick to the fixed track plan and alter the buildings / backscene to suit. On the subject of which, the platforms (if permanently stuck down) would have to be fitted with a removable centre piece (hidden by the station buildings) so the layout can still fold away. Fortunately, I've no surviving in-laws to come round so cosmetic appeal to the uninitiated isn't a problem I'll have :wink: .


that should be reasonably easy to hide, have a small "scene" that can be sat there for if anyone is looking, bench seating maybe and a few standing passengers, maybe a luggage trolley.

lack of storage for a base works, pick some track you like and have it all as some sort of gravel/ash type yard and can stick different sized and shaped buildings and then job done :)

LoNER
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Re: Flexibility in a 6x4 plans - Help!!!

Postby LoNER » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:27 am

So folks, Dereham-based Norfolk with maltings and goods / livestock unloading is my southern LNER choice and a stone buidings, East Highlands setting for the Scottish varient (not another virus!). So more advice please. Based on the first overall plan with the last edition of the shunting area; how should the electrics be arranged to permit 3 (if possible) analogue loco operation?

I went through my stored collection last week and inventorised, 18 locos (which surprised me) and a significant kit building programme for my Kirk suburbans were the main outcomes. Designing and making the key buildings will be my forthcoming winter's work. Looking forward to my V2 and fish vans getting a run! Once I finally commission the baseboard I'll move my postings to the 'Under Construction' part of the forum.
I may have to find an excuse for a Rainhill 200 celebration, but hope it doesn't take until 2029 to complete the layout!
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