In a comment earlier today, Simon suggested I shift the centre platform backward effectively flipping the orientation of the three sidings. Here’s the original orientation:
In the original plan all three sidings work out to be the same length which is quite handy for staging trains. What Simon proposed was to reverse the pair and single roads in the station. I understood his idea but couldn’t visualise it so I put together this sketch to try and see how it could be incorporated:
The first observation is that the sidings are no longer the same length. I’ve numbered them in my sketches (1,2 and 3). Track 1 is the longest and 3 is the shortest. Tracks 2 and 3 can actually handle the same length of train if the short, stub-ended, track can be blocked. Since I plan on using this little siding to stable the station’s pilot engine this isn’t a problem.
Of course, it’s in the operation of trains in and out of the station that this variation really starts to shine. Ideally, all trains arrive on track 1 being pulled by their engine. Once unloaded the pilot hooks onto the back of the train and pulls it’s coaches out of the station leaving the engine light on track 1. If those coaches are due out on the next run they can be pushed into either track 2 or 3. The pilot can clear the train and the light engine from track 1 can work it’s way down to 2 or 3, hook on and leave. The platform at 2 and 3 is shorter but since the coaches are tight against the buffers here every car is still in the platform.
I created the above variation to try and tighten up the plan. I really like this iteration for it’s clean lines. I think it would terrific if operated using trains of EMU’s instead of traditional, loco-hauled, trains. I could see tracks 1 and 2 as the main arrival and departure tracks with 3 more for mid-day layovers.
I included the pilot’s siding as a switchback from track 3 as in all previous iterations of the plan. Looking at the arrangement of track in this plan it’s easy to see that the station could actually be a terminus on a double-track branch and this stub-ended track could be both roads on the main. If the layout were a little longer, a matching crossover in the opposite direction would be handy to make it easier to marshall trains in and out. With this second crossover the station really starts to become a Minories-style plan. Minories is another all time favourite plan so I’m quite pleased with this possible outcome.
Click here to read more about Minories on Carl Arendt’s Micro Layouts website: