Prototyping the track plan

Now that the two baseboards can be reliably aligned, it’s time to start exploring how my proposed track plan will look. To do this, I have laid out the track to match the plan, taking care to cut sections accurately and not damage or scratch any pieces. This allows me to re-use the sections I am happy with when it comes to laying the track for real.

A top-down view of the proposed track plan, with the station in the background and the industry in the foreground. The leftmost line at the front is the hidden section.

Card mockups of buildings and walls have been added to give a feel of how the eventual structures might look.

I’m pretty happy with the station area – it looks good on a curve. The goods / loading bay siding at the back may curve away from the headshunt, or it may stay parallel to it.
The mock road bridge shows how it could be used to provide a scenic break for the hidden section. It also separates the industrial area from the station.

One of the things I agonised over in the station area is the first point in the loop – the one furthest from the camera in the photo above. When laid as a left-hand, there was not enough space between the bay and the main platform, since the main line curved back too quickly. A right-hand pushes the whole loop out to the front of the board, which I didn’t want. The solution was to use a wye point, which allows space between the main platform line and the bay, whilst keeping a nice smooth curve and not taking up too much space at the front of the board.

A mock-up of the industry area, showing how tall factory building walls could be used to hide the single-road fiddle yard that leads to the station. The line the brake van is stood on runs into a factory building.

Overall, this track prototyping exercise has been a success, as I now feel confident that that plan I have come up with both works in the space available and provides enough interest to keep me entertained.

I am still unsure as to what the industry area will be; I am now leaning towards a more general-purpose warehouse, which would allow me to vary the traffic a bit more. This is still undecided though at the moment.

Onwards to track laying and the electrics!