Progress and refining the plan

The last plan I posted was a real example of scope creep and how easy it is to start filling up a simple bit of benchwork with too much material. Back to the paper eh? It’s been a couple of days and I’m thrilled to share this updated version.

I’d been opposed to a plan that incorporated staging based on purely aesthetic reasons. What I’d been forgetting is the obvious: I had only planned on one engine for the forseeable future. With only one engine I can’t remember what it was I was thinking I was going to “stage”.

The other issue I’d had was siding lengths, the previous plan was just too short on these important elements. Things were going to be tight and I was worried that the layout was going to look like one heck of a lot of track to store only a few cars (“Why’d they build such a complicated station for such a little amount of traffic?”).

While I loved the concept, it felt like the first few moments after you’ve realised you really have had too much to eat. Perhaps get back to basics? I still love Ian Futer’s Victoria Park and maybe I could design something that took that layout and go with that? Unfortunately, even in S, I can’t fit coaches on that plan into five feet. Maybe a freight version? So, I decided I’d have a go at working through Victoria Park and, in general, the basic Inglenook plan and here’s where I’ve landed.

S scale approximately 60" length

S scale approximately 60″ length

I’ve based the turntable on the twenty-four foot table found at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. In S this works out to 4-1/2″ in S. Number six turnouts in S should work out to a sixty inch radius and just about eleven inches in length. Trains arrive in this station from the left. On the layout I think there needs to be about eight or nine inches of track in front of the loop turnout. This leaves a nice length of line in front of the station. While “in real life” this line would be where all trains would arrive, on the layout the only movements on this line in front of the station will be light engines running around their trains.

The second turnout from the right end of the layout, the entrance to the goods yard and coal siding, needs to be centred between the turntable and the end of the layout. Doing so will leave a decent switching lead and also enough track on the runaround to form one of the three sidings that make up an inglenook. The fun here is not only the typical inglenook game but also balancing cars in front and behind the engine. I’ve played this game on my current, HO scale, microlayout and it’s fun.

I think this iteration really delivers a lot more scenic potential. As with the previous iteration, the whole scene climbs toward the back. I could see bordering the turntable area and some of the left with a hedgerow along the back edge. If the lefthand siding actually became a coal yard, it would be a terrific place for a scene around the weighbridge office and some great vintage vehicles loaded with coal.

I tend to think a plan is one that “works” when I can visualise most of it in vivid detail and everywhere I look on this one, I see it all. I may be terribly close this time.




  1. Hi Chris.

    That’s a very nice plan, and save for the use of a turntable at the end (a turnout was used), virtually a mirror image of one I produced in slightly more space in S many years ago. In fact, the only S scale layout I have built and taken out on the road. The operating potential is surprisingly large. One thing to think about is the use of a chain, with a link from a standard coupling at each end, to enable shunting of the coal yard by running the engine on a parallel route.

    A small number of observations/suggestions.

    1) The 24′ turn table was a later addition at Bembridge, to allow for the O2 0-4-4T locos brought over by the Southern. Prior to that it was 3″: perfectly capable of accommodating a 6 wheel tank loco (2-4-0T wheel arrangement).
    2) The platform would cope with 2, maybe 3, short (4 wheel) coaches. Such things would be antiquated, but in common use on the Isle of Wight and also light railways.
    3) At the cost of a shorter coal siding, you might wish to consider something like a “barry slip” so that there is greater siding available in the goods road. A barry slip is like two over laid turnouts, looking for all the world like a double-slip until you realise that there is no diamond crossing. Something like the picture in this link, on the Templot forum:

    4) The coal siding could come off the platform road, on the other side to your plan as drawn, but heading in the same direction. To make this work scenically, you would need to rotate the whole track layout a little, using the turntable as the fulcrum. This then opens up the space a little more, as the main route travels diagonally across it. Essentially, you would then have Bembridge, but with the coal siding reversed and coming off the main side of the loop, rather than outside it.

    Hope that helps. I wish I had thought of idea 4 before: might have done it for myself a few years ago!


    1. These are all terrific suggestions and I really appreciate your sharing them. Thanks.

      While I drew the plan with standard gauge intentions but to also play host to narrow gauge equally. So, in addition to the IOW engines I wanted to make sure that table was long enough to play host to narrow gauge engines like the 4-4-0T’s used in Ireland and even here at home on Prince Edward Island. Keeping the table at twenty-four feet satisfies that need. I indicated four inches on the plan but that needs to be 4-1/4″.

      The station road is too short for modern coaches. At only twenty-two inches in length it would be tight for a pair of fifty-seven feet for each car. Four-wheelers will work much better and I could see three car trains working well.

      That turnout is neat. Thanks for the link. I had been thinking about pushing the two turnouts that make up the goods yard and coal sidings such that they would overlap at the guard rails. I wanted to keep the turnouts simple in design to look like something that a railway with few dollars to invest in their line to build and perhaps that excuses slips and similar pointwork. That said, I could be wrong about this.

      I had started with equal helpings of the actual Bembridge plan and Maurice Hopper’s Stroudley Green as inspiration and note that on Stroudley Green the coal yard was accessed from the run-around loop road through diamond that crossed the goods yard lead. You had some really terrific observations on which variation a prototype railway would prefer to build and work and I wonder if a suggestion such as your’s or Mr. Hopper’s would be much closer to actual practice?

      Thanks, again, for taking so much time to help. I really appreciate it.

  2. hi, Chris:

    You know, a nice little kitbashed Sn42′ Hunslet 4-4-0T would fit that turntable, could this be the end of that fictional PEIR Victoria branch you’ve mentioned before?

    Just add a PEIR plan 19 station, a recognizable structure or three from Victoria, and have fun!

    1. Great minds do indeed think alike on this front. It’s hard to not think in terms of a last place for the PEIR’s Hunslet tanks to call home. They would fit on the table and all the siding lengths work as well with twenty-four to thirty foots narrow gauge cars.

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