N Gauge

LAYOUT WORK: Planning 'Bournemouth West for the S&DJR'

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24 October 2013

Well here it is, Variation 5 of the track plan, and probably the best so far - certainly the most tweaked and improved.

It consists of two levels, with Bournemouth West on the upper level. Operations-wise, it offers services from BW to Southampton/London (aka the Fiddle Yard), services to Bath (FY) via Evercreech Junction (lower level), and EJ services to Highbridge (FY, again), plus all associated freight movements, and a bit of a colliery for some extra local coal movements.

I haven't gone into any wiring or set-up details here. This is just the track plan. The colliery could do with improving somehow, and the Branksome sections are representations only - they are absolutely nothing like the real version, sadly. BW is pretty accurate, though, if somewhat truncated, and the longest platform will take a Pacific loco and six carriages quite easily.

It's going to cost a small fortune in points to build all of this, but I can manage it in stages, starting with the continuous loop.

Lower level:

Layout planning

Upper level:

Layout planning

25 October 2013

It kind of has the right feel to it, trying to get the best Evercreech and Bournemouth West that I could fit into the space.

I've taken a look at inserting another set of points at the junction at EJ, but the only ones that will fit are Setrack ST-5s or ST-6s. The rest of the track is Code 55. I can't see how else a possible loco siding can be added there, but on the plus side, the middle road siding between the two main lines was always used for stationing pilot locos as well as the Highbridge train when not in use.

There's also 145mm of loco siding to the north of the station area, left of the small goods sidings. It should accommodate a 130mm-long Fowler 0-6-0 4F, and most tank locos. Points motor clearance at the back of the layout is a very good point (no pun intended). The board height for the upper level is 50mm above the lower level, which is not much when you start adding motors. I can see seven points on the upper level that lay over track on the lower level, and will need to be careful to make sure that nothing clashes.

Three of those points are in Branksome Goods (if you include two motors for a 3-way set of points). They could be placed on the layout and masked with goods yard debris. Another could be masked in the same way, but that still leaves three main line points motors that could get in the way of lower level trains.

In this revision, I've inserted a single loco siding on the western side of EJ, but to be honest, whether straight or curved, it looks a little out of place there. The space between the EJ curve and the London main line coming out of the fiddle yard is going to be landscaped to provide separation between them, so that they are clearly different lines heading in different directions, although I'm not sure yet if the landscape will go up or down.

Layout planning

Improving the gradient down from BW to baseboard level would be a good idea as it's still rather steep.

Rather than move the right-hand set of points at the back that lead into EJ (the entire back section will be 'underground', from the red wall line at the far left of the layout underneath Branksome Goods, to the far right, where it emerges from underneath BW), I realised that I could start the incline just after those points. That now gives an inner incline (out of BW) of 1-in-53 and an outer incline (towards BW) of 1-in-56.

The height of the track as it starts to pass underneath BW is about 0.5mm, which still leaves 4.5mm of clearance at the tunnel mouth. That should work perfectly well, in theory (I love a good theory ).

29 October 2013

I'm not sure that I'm entirely happy with the MPD layout. It's completely fictitious, of course, and bears no relation to the real Branksome MPD (due to space restrictions), so I'm hoping for a best fit with good storage space.

The version I have offers a two-lane shed (at the top), plus a coal and watering stage with ash pit (between the top lines and the turntable), and then a three or four-loco storage line running parallel to the access road.

Layout planning

Does it need to be improved, especially given that Branksome MPD was never very large and only paid host to locos off the S&D lines?

11 November 2013

A new improved lower level track plan, showing a better loco stabling line at Evercreech Junction (above the junction itself, and totalling 331mm/13" in length), and a much better merge into single track at the right-hand side of the station. This also provides better access to the colliery sidings in the corner. Hopefully.

Layout planning

On the upper level, Branksome MPD has been completely re-laid. This version provides a much closer 'flavour' of the real Branksome, with two lane shed (bottom, 217mm/8.5" and 224mm-long sections), stabling/watering line (361mm/14.2"), and turntable. Because my stabling lines are much shorter than the real thing, I threw in an extra stabling line off the turntable (206mm), but even the shorter line off the turntable will hold a Pacific. The only drawback is that the shed will be facing away from the operator.

Layout planning

That should hold a few locos!

However, the space restraints have made the set-up a little compromised. Access into the MPD from the five lines at top right of the diagram will mean going quite a way out before being able to cross over. The only apparent way to change this is to extend the upper level to the left so that the scissors crossover can be moved in between the MPD access point and the station.

I'm still intrigued by the idea of lengthening the incline down from BW until it goes underneath BW and loops along the the back straight. It'll provide a longer run out of BW, more space for the approach pointwork, and probably allow the Branksome goods sidings to be moved out of the far corner and inside the loop. All I need is to get enough clearance over the EJ line and junction. I think the biggest hitch is having the EJ junction sitting directly under the BW incline, even if the clearance space is enough. I'll try and work up a fresh track plan to show the rearrange upper level.

20 November 2013

So here's Variation 6, reflecting some of the suggestions I've received, especially in improving the station throat and the positioning of the points at BW. It meant moving the incline curve over to the left, where it now sits over the lower line into the fiddle yard. It still cuts across the junction at Evercreech, below it, but I was able to shift the points to get them out in the open.

Layout planning

The upper section has a longer flowing incline up to BW and longer sidings. So I've ditched Branksome Goods rather than squeeze it in alongside the MPD. The goods and carriage lines on either side of BW will be able to hold trains of up to around three feet, so that should be enough.

Layout planning

You can see that the Highbridge branch (bottom left, on the lower level) passes in part under the BW incline, but this just means inserting some girders and having the incline as an overhang.

Layout planning

This sort of thing happens a lot in urban railways, but I hope it doesn't look too out of place here. Part of the line out of EJ can appear as a brick-lined cutting (or Bath stone?) between the BW incline and the MPD, if there's enough room to model it. If not then I'll have to cover it entirely.

My only worry is that the incline won't clear the EJ line properly. AnyRail gives a height of 3.86cm there and about 4.4cm when it goes over the fiddle yard exit, so perhaps EJ needs to be lowered a tad. What's the minimum height requirement between the baseboard (excluding track) and the underside of a bridge?

5 December 2013

I steepened the incline just a tad so that the gap between the baseboard and the top surface of the incline is 38.9mm - say 39mm. My tallest loco at the moment is Dapol's M7, which measures 33mm from baseboard to the top of the chimney on Peco Code 80 track. If I use 6mm ply for the incline, that leaves clearance of 5mm (plus a tad more when I use Code 55 on the actual layout).

Better still, if I use 3mm ply for that section of the incline (with plenty of hidden buttressing underneath) then in theory it should still be strong enough - leaving a clearance of 8mm. That should be enough, I think. I've put the track plan into the context of the entire room, with the fiddle yard extension added, to show how it should all come together. I've also added part numbers for the track, although the Setrack curves will probably be replaced by Code 55 flexitrack on the real thing.

Layout planning

14 December 2015

It's quite a complex plan, but it offers the full range of operations for Bournemouth West and a semi-full range for Evercreech Junction, so when it's completed it should be enough to keep me interested. Of course, completing it won't be a quick process. I'm probably looking at a couple of years of work before the track is finished on both levels and in the fiddle yard. If not more!

If I can get the baseboards constructed and the Evercreech roundy loop completed by next summer then I'll be happy enough. Here's the full track plan, with Bournemouth West on the upper level, masking the lower level tracks at the back of the baseboard that connect everything to the fiddle yard. (I need to run tests on the incline, which is 1-in-59 at its steepest, just to make sure that it isn't too steep.)

Layout planning

The image here is rather compressed, but the full sized version is available when you click on this image.

14 March 2014

Here's the wiring for the Peco double slip. I have one of these in the Evercreech Junction goods siding, and one at the colliery. This was worked out by my electronics advisor - certainly not by me!

Layout planning

15 March 2014

And here's the scissors crossing at the throat of Bournemouth West. Don't ask me how it works. It looks like a spaghetti attack to me.

Layout planning

18 August 2014

It's been a while since I posted something here, but development on the track plan has been ticking along. This is (probably) the final version, with a large number of minor tweaks since the last published version. These have mostly been to curve radii and points positioning, plus some amendments to the MPD. As before, Bournemouth West is on the upper level, masking the lower level tracks at the back of the baseboard that connects everything to the fiddle yard. The incline is now a fairly acceptable 1.70% or 1-in-59.

Layout planning

Again, click on the image to see the full-sized version.

19 August 2014

As far as the details go in the track plan, I'm modelling 1930, so the platform numbering is correct (it was swapped around in 30 September 1931).

I've used the 1909 Ordnance Survey map that's reproduced in 'Bournemouth to Evercreech Junction' by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith, matching my station track plan to that except for the outermost two goods/storage lines on the northern side of the station (the Wharf Road side). These were omitted for reasons of space. The points connecting all the station lines to the approach road have also been altered where necessary to be able to fit in all the connections, but they're generally similar if not exactly the same.

Platform 1 is shown clearly (in its later Platform 6 mode) in Photo 8, with the line next to it being used for carriage storage. Photo 3 just about shows the goods area beyond these lines (the online pic 3 also shows this, albeit from the opposite end of the platform, with the carriage storage line containing some carriages, then the goods shed line and the two adjacent goods storage lines - the only line not seen is the outermost one). The second goods line also has carriages on it, so I'd say that the use of all of these lines was flexible, even if they were used for goods wagons much of the time. Admittedly I've restricted myself in terms of goods storage, but I'll just have to juggle the carriage storage line when goods needs more temporary storage, so it's a good excuse for a bit more shunting.

Photo 1 shows the station exterior in 1914 (much better than the 1962 version for my purposes), and I'll really need some luck with those chimneys! What I can't work out is when the ugly sheet steel canopy over my Platform 5 (the later Platform 2) was built by the SR. I have it there in 1947 but (obviously) not there in 1910.

The signal box on the track plan is Branksome's rather than BW's, but again it's on the wrong side - necessary otherwise it would be sitting with its back to the audience. The line at the very back of the plan is my substitute for the lost carriage sidings that lay outside BW itself, but I suppose it could also substitute the missing Wharf Road line. There's certainly not the space (or the budget!) for a second scissors crossing. Instead, the available lines will be used for carriages or goods as the timetable demands.

The traverser will definitely have a couple of full length shelves for stock storage, although they won't be connected to the layout. The layout is more a flavour of BW rather than a scale representation - impossible in just 2.5 metres of space. The full title, Bournemouth West for the S&DJR, shows that the main theme is the S&D (in its very last days of semi-independence), with operations via Evercreech Junction (again scaled down but still relatively accurate in what it includes) that can be handled by a mixture of S&D and LMS locos hauling a mixture of S&D and SR rolling stock. All of that runs into BW which also has purely SR services arriving and departing from and to the rest of the country (the fiddle yard). It should be a pretty busy layout that will give me a lot of opportunities to run varied locos and stock. Fingers crossed.

27 August 2014

Initial thoughts from DorsetMike on how to achieve a realistic Bournemouth West Station:

BH Enterprises do some LSWR/SR valancing; the south facing side of each canopy looks to be almost continuous roof lights, Scalelink and Peedie do etched skylights, but for the quantity you require that could get expensive.

I'd be inclined to use plastic sheet, clear on south side plain on the north, draw in the rooflight framing with fine paint marker or use thin plastic strip.

As the support girders are fairly well hidden apart from the ones that go between the platforms I'd suggest having those visible ones extended from the station building across all platforms and fix the triangular roof trusses/supports to them, they could either be built up from plastic section or cur from sheet. The outer ends cut from plank embossed plastic, valances fixed to the bottom.

The pillars don't show up well in the images, but are probably tapered round ones, again BHE do a cast LSWR pattern. They also do fancy etched bits for the tops.

There seems to be only one central row of pillars for each platform, hence the girders between platforms. I suspect no pillars on those parts of platforms with buildings; they will have brackets from the buildings. Not being able to see the top of the roofs it's difficult to suggest a finish; they could be planked or panelled. Scalescenes do a panelled paper. Corrugated iron is another possibility. If you can find a pic showing the edge profile that might help.

The canopy edges are not corrugated or clear. If you look at one of the better photos that show it, you can see that the skylights look more like those that are available from Peedie Models. Scalelink do a similar item on a longer fret (203mm) and also do frets that would provide the wall supports for the girders

1 September 2014

Seeing as the layout plan has been finalised. the construction phase can begin on the next page (click on the link in the blue bar, below).


Additional input on this page provided by NGF members Leo1961, DorsetMike, and newportnobby.


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