Another small layout idea – and a view from across the pond

Trevor Marshall’s “Achievable Layouts” regularly comes up with some interesting model railroad ideas.  They are often small (and achievable), as Trevor models in ‘S’ gauge, so a medium size layout to him is a very buildable small layout in ‘N’.  His layouts often have a Canadian theme, that are a pleasant change from the usual USA ideas.

Two recent articles caught my eye. “Switching Putnam” describes an operating session on a small through station on a larger CP themed layout.  He writes:

As part of the session, Ryan Mendell and I worked a turn out of Woodstock to St. Thomas. Putnam was part of our assignment, and Bob warned us it would take about 90 minutes.

Really? That’s hard to believe, given how simple the town’s track arrangement is. Here’s a schematic, drawn from memory, of what’s there on Bob’s layout:



He goes on to describe how switching a station with just 4 points can take 90 minutes.  Interesting stuff, and I liked Trevor’s idea that the Putnam layout would make an excellent small layout in its own right.  Simple, but with excellent modelling and more operation than one would imagine.

The second article, “Roweham by Brian Dickey” describes operating an ‘O’ gauge GWR branch line layout at a train show in Canada.  It’s an attractive layout and Trevor’s views of UK style modelling are interesting (and mostly complementary.)  coincidentally, it also has just 4 points.  I liked…..

Three-link chain couplings are fun in 7mm – delayed uncoupling to shove a wagon into a spot is a snap. It’s the default condition.

The locomotives are beautiful.

7mm British modelling is an ideal size for an exhibition layout. The models are big enough that they have real presence at a show. At the same time, they’re small enough that a nice exhibition layout can be built without requiring a gymnasium to set it up. With the exception of the Autotrailer, which was quite long, all the equipment on the layout compared in length to what one would find on an HO layout that ran 50-foot freight cars.

Presentation is important. While those in the UK may be used to layouts that exhibit some thoughtful and professional presentation, I find this is rare in North America.

I would love to see more quality layouts like this at exhibitions, as opposed to layouts that emphasize quantity. A huge, poorly-conceived and poorly-executed layout leaves me cold, but smaller, well-done layouts like this are a delight – regardless of theme, scale, or prototype.


About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Hints and tips, Inspiration, Layout design and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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