I’m beginning to make some model railway time again. The first part of the year was hectic, with my mother’s demise, my wife’s hip replacement, the ESNG exhibition, and a number of panics at work. It’s a bit quieter now. The new hip seems to be going very well, and the hospital has given the all clear for Maxine to more-or-less go back to normal, except for heavy exercise. So good news – I’m losing most of my house-husband duties. Bad news – I’m losing my monopoly on the car, that has made me very lazy for two months.
Many moons ago, I discussed staging for my Lehigh Valley N-club modules. At the time, I decided to settle for staging parallel to the main line on the modules themselves (option 3 below). On reflection, I’ve decided to go back to option 1, with staging at right angles to the main boards. I do like the sharp, and prototypical 90 degree bend into the yard.
The next question is whether to have staging on the main line? If (or when, I hope) I take this layout to the Stuttgart meet, no staging will be necessary, as my boards will fit within a larger modular set up. At the other extreme, in my loft, there’s only room to operate the branch. But for ESNG shows, staging at both ends of the main line would give a loop for running, and also allow other N-club boards to be added.
What form should this staging take? The most compact approach would be a traverser or sector table. But unless I build a train turntable with a centre pivot, there will be a lot of shuffling of locomotives and cabooses. So I played with 3rd Planit for a while and came up with the end loop layout below.
I wanted something that would hold several trains, but would be reasonably light and transportable. The above module is 1200 x 700mm, about the size of an N-mod module, but will be lighter due to the cut out sections. I could start with a simple loop of track at one end of the layout, but one of these at either end of an N-club set-up will allow six trains to be stored, and leave one line free for running. The curves on the left are drawn as the four PECO Set Track radii. The inner 9 inch curve is a bit tight, but most shorter US and UK stock will be OK on it.
An early task will be to get some plywood cut to make a basic kit of parts for two of these.
I’ve also had thoughts on simplifying wiring and operation of the points. But that will be a future post….