End to.end compromises

BrockleyAndrew
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End to.end compromises

Postby BrockleyAndrew » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:01 am

Idly wondering....
If you have an end to end layout with fiddle/traverser/whatever at each end, there is an inevitable relationship between your maximum train length and scenic section. For 6m available space you could run 2m length trains through a 2m middle scenic section, or 1m trains through a 4m section. Or single engine travelling well over 5m. Clearly, in the first scenario, having a 2m train enter a 2m scene, fill it completely, then exit would lose the sense of viewing a distinct train moving through a scene (but then in urban locations a train is often only glimpsed in restricted view).
But it would be a waste of effort to build a 5m layout with 1m scenic section running 2m length trains through the 1m scenic gap, wouldn't it?

Andrew
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jim s-w
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby jim s-w » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:53 am

Hi Andrew.

Originally my plan for new street was just the Wolverhampton end station throat (ok the plan went a bit wrong) which meant an 8 ft fiddleyard, 8 foot scenic and another 8 ft fiddleyard. So a 24 foot long layout with only 8ft of actual exhibit. From speaking to several exhibition managers it was a none starter as because of the amount of space and the amount that was effectively lost. I dunno what an acceptable proportion is but anything less than 50% scenic is probably not enough.

As for how much train per layout that will depend a lot on the prototype. Again using new street as an example, in the station area the longest train is going to be in the region of 15 feet but there's no way you will be able to see all of it in one go.

Cheers

Jim

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James Wells
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby James Wells » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:54 am

BrockleyAndrew wrote:but then in urban locations a train is often only glimpsed in restricted view


In an urban scene I think it could actually enhance the effect in some ways.

A few years ago there was a lovely 009 model of the Corris railway. The layout had a number of scenes, essentially a series of linked dioramas, and one was about six inches wide, looking along a narrow street towards a small level crossing. Clearly trains were much, much longer than the scene was, but people were waiting ages to watch a train pass over the crossing!

martin goodall
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby martin goodall » Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:07 pm

Take a look at Chris Nevard's Catcott Birtle layout - a simple (but very attractive) through station fed by a sector plate fiddle yard at each end (4 roads each, allowing 7 trains to pass through the scene before the sequence is repeated - you need one free road in one of the fiddle yards at any one time).

I can't remember the dimensions, but this information can no doubt be found on Chris Nevard's own website.

This layout always struck me as both visually attractive and interesting to watch. I don't think the length of the fiddle yards at each end was ever an issue.

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Noel
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Noel » Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:13 pm

BrockleyAndrew wrote:But it would be a waste of effort to build a 5m layout with 1m scenic section running 2m length trains through the 1m scenic gap, wouldn't it?


It depends on the effect you want to achieve. I have seen something not too dissimilar in principle done by Steffan Lewis. The main question is "Do you want to model a diorama with movement or operate a working model of a railway (or neither of these)?" The first can be any size you want, but the second is, I suggest, unavoidably going to need a substantial scenic section. The problem with dioramas, in my view, is what do you do with them when you have finished? To me, it seems more sensible to build something you can play with afterwards for more than five minutes without boredom setting in, but others have different objectives and hence solutions. Which is where I started this post.

Noel
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Tim V
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Tim V » Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:31 pm

BrockleyAndrew wrote:Idly wondering....
But it would be a waste of effort to build a 5m layout with 1m scenic section running 2m length trains through the 1m scenic gap, wouldn't it?
Andrew
In Brockley

I would tend to agree. However that isn't important. What is important is that your model satisfies you - not some exhibition manager or the bloke on the Clapham Omnibus.
Tim V

BrockleyAndrew
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby BrockleyAndrew » Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:54 pm

Many thanks All. I hadn't heard of Catcott Birtle before so was most interested to look that up, thanks Martin. I love the 7 trains into 8 spaces idea. And I was interested to hear that BNS was once planned as an 8'/8'/8' divide!

I had been musing about the apparent travel of trains on a layout - does a 2 unit train on a 5 unit long section appear to travel further than a 4 unit train....

I have been paring back grandiose imaginary schemes and trying to work out what I like viewing most at exhibitions and what I'd like to try to recreate at home. I like watching the relative motion of passengers trains moving at different speeds or directions on adjacent lines but suspect a large roundy layout would best suit depicting that but of course I don't have room....

Many thanks again

Andrew
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Mark Forrest
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Mark Forrest » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:15 pm

On my SGW project Fryers Lane, I've ended up with a layout which is 4' 8 1/2" scenic with a 4' fiddle yard at either end. The idea is that (once I've made some changes to make the fiddle yards more user friendly) one operator can be occupied shunting wagons around the sidings, while another shuttles passing traffic the through the scene.

I've tried to make the fiddle yards interesting to viewers by leaving them open to view (although scenic breaks separate them from the main layout). It is operated from the front, with the operators positioned in front of each fiddle yard, meaning the operators are on hand engage with the viewer. It also means operating it at home is done from the same position as when at shows.

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John Donnelly
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby John Donnelly » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:42 pm

Mark Forrest wrote:On my SGW project Fryers Lane, I've ended up with a layout which is 4' 8 1/2" scenic with a 4' fiddle yard at either end. The idea is that (once I've made some changes to make the fiddle yards more user friendly) one operator can be occupied shunting wagons around the sidings, while another shuttles passing traffic the through the scene.

I've tried to make the fiddle yards interesting to viewers by leaving them open to view (although scenic breaks separate them from the main layout). It is operated from the front, with the operators positioned in front of each fiddle yard, meaning the operators are on hand engage with the viewer. It also means operating it at home is done from the same position as when at shows.


Thats pretty much exactly what my SGW layout, Pelton Level, is going to end up as...

John

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Ian Everett
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Ian Everett » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:27 am

I recall a well-known exhibition manager commenting about Clecklewyke "another ****** layout with more fiddle yard than scenery" - before it came second in the visitors' poll.

Its proportions were roughly a 9ft scenic length between two 6' fiddle yards. One yard is operated from the front. It faces the public and is, I hope, interesting in itself, showing the use of cassettes and the block bells which are a vital means of communication. I enjoy operating this end as I also enjoy talking to viewers, however, our more shy operators prefer the other end, which is hidden by a couple of poster boards giving details of the layout, its design, imagined location and history. Operation is basically "train tennis", with a variety of trains of different speeds, some stopping at the station but no shunting.

My other two exhibition layouts,Humber Dock and Royston Vasey (the latter meeting the SGW criteria), have a single scenic section in diorama form, about 5' long, with a cassette fiddle deck at one end. Crucially the main line of each continues on to a traverser which can swing to allow trains to run from it on to a hidden line behind the backscene back to the cassette deck. We use nothing more high-tech than string to move the traverser.

Thus either of these two layouts can be operated by a single person (although we normally travel in pairs, to allow meal etc. breaks). The traverser is hidden by a poster board but the main fiddle yard is operated from the front, again allowing interaction with viewers. We use home-made Sprat and Winkle couplings so shunting can be done without moving from the operating position and obscuring the on-lookers' view.

There is nothing original about these arrangements: they follow the well-known precepts of Iain Rice, which can be found in his voluminous writings.

Ian

dal-t
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby dal-t » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:20 pm

I often find fiddle yards/traversers at least as interesting as the 'scenic' bit, and I do like the one hidden, one open arrangement. That lets me peer into the open one and see (a) what stock hasn't appeared yet, and (b) what solution have they used for the swinging/turning/shifting issue - while keeping a bit of mystery for the operations from the hidden end. But as far as the length of run on the scenic bit goes, I think the ideal distance is not necessarily linked to the length of train. I find the satisfying layouts (to watch) are those where the train - or at least the head of it - visibly 'appears', then runs, before 'arriving'; likewise a departure needs to start, 'travel', and then disappear - just like on the real railway! Of course there are genuine locations where an arrival bursts upon the scene announced only by the signals (J S-W is modelling just such) but more normally they come into view (and, dare I say, earshot) well before they are actually upon you - and when they leave, you usually have time to watch them go, gradually fading into the distance, before a curve or overbridge or cutting hides them from view. This applies equally to light engines, 'double-headers' on an excursion or ECS working, or one of those endless lines of unfitted minerals trotting along behind something like an 'eight freight' (we won't mention the equally endless cattle trains, because of the difficulty/undesirability of replicating the odour that lingers long after they have faded from view). It's simply the amount of time between first element going and the last that varies (although I have found it rather unsettling watching immense lengths of Canadian freights rattling past for what seemed like hours, after the passing of the triple-heading motive power was fast beoming a distant memory). So I think the length of scenic section - aside from the 'letterbox' effect, which can indeed be extremely effective - is primarily determined by the modelling scale, and I'm going to stick my neck out by saying in 4mm I believe anything less than 8' requires 'special measures' to make it work, and 12' is a lot better (at least double this for mainline setups). Sorry if this upsets, but commendable though the 18.84 and 4'8.5" initiatives may be, they do seem to have led us towards micro-layouts, and I think it is time we got a sense of proportion back.
David L-T

martin goodall
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby martin goodall » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:25 pm

BrockleyAndrew wrote:I had been musing about the apparent travel of trains on a layout - does a 2 unit train on a 5 unit long section appear to travel further than a 4 unit train


The late Cyril Freezer used to reckon that you need a visible run of not less than two and a half times the length of a train to make the layout look convincing.

This depends on the length of your trains, but it appears to me to be a pretty good rule of thumb.

Terry Bendall
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Terry Bendall » Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:26 pm

How you solve this problem ultimately depends on the space that you have available. If traversers are used you can get more train in the space and having been involved in three end to end layouts with traversers at both ends thay work successfully.

Pulborough has 7 foot long moving sections and a one foot fixed part next to the layout to allow locos to be stood in cassettes. The scenic part was 25 feet long. Staverton, now mainly dismantled, but due to appear one day in a different form had 9 foot long moving sections for the traverser and again had a 25 foot scenic section.

Ravenscroft sidings has 5 foot long moving sections for the traverser and at one end the fiddle yard formed the other half of the run round loops. Originally the scenic section was 11 feet long but a year ago an additional board 4 ft 6 ins long was added to show the other half of the run round loops which increases the operational and viewing interest. All these dimensions were chosen to ensure that everything fitted into a estate car.

Terry Bendall

BrockleyAndrew
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby BrockleyAndrew » Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:56 am

It's really interesting to hear different opinions but also really good to have the rough breakdowns of scenic vs off-scene dimensions. In the same way that the mechanics of the hidden area can be as interesting as the on-show, the reasons behind the decision making in design are just as fascinating. There is an antiques truth/myth that the depth of upholstered seating furniture was determined by the length of a horse's tail, in that because horse hair was used for the banding in the upholstery, seats were therefore as deep as the average horse tail. It would be great if, as in Terry's post, layout dimensions in multiples, were determined by the length of an average estate car interior!

Andrew
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Guy Rixon
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Guy Rixon » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:29 am

How about the old dodge of scenic yards in front of the fiddle yards? I am considering a layout where the whole frontage is scenic, but only half of that is the running lines between the fiddle yards. It works for me, but perhaps others find that arrangement disappointing?

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Ian Everett
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Ian Everett » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:12 am

BrockleyAndrew wrote:...seats were therefore as deep as the average horse tail. It would be great if, as in Terry's post, layout dimensions in multiples, were determined by the length of an average estate car interior!


And the diameter of US space rockets was determined by the size of the railroad tunnels they had to pass through from factory to launch pad. This in turn depended on the gauge of the track, which was the same as the wheel spacing of a wooden waggon, which was designed to accommodate the two horses pulling it. So the size of the rocket was determined by the width of two horses' bottoms.

Sorry about that!

essdee
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby essdee » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:40 pm

But how did they decide what colour to paint the waggons' wheels, Ian?......... or what breed of horse to use.....?

(Sorry, couldn't resist; back now to my own thinners/spraying environment trials ruts.....)

Steve

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steve howe
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby steve howe » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:25 pm

It seems to me that if there was enough space at either end for, say, a 4ft fiddle, that would be sufficient radius to bring the tracks round behind and make it a roundy-roundy with fiddle loops of choice along the rear section and the return bends could extend the scenic potential?

Steve

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jim s-w
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby jim s-w » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:58 pm

Ian Everett wrote:
And the diameter of US space rockets was determined by the size of the railroad tunnels they had to pass through from factory to launch pad. This in turn depended on the gauge of the track, which was the same as the wheel spacing of a wooden waggon, which was designed to accommodate the two horses pulling it. So the size of the rocket was determined by the width of two horses' bottoms.

Sorry about that!


This is one of those 'finding facts to fit a myth' theories (watch any of the ancient alien or conspiracy theory program's on the history channel). It is true that the diameter of the boosters used on the space shuttles (not actual rockets in terms of a self contained vehicle) was dictated by a tunnel. However the relationship between the diameter of the tunnel and the track gauge are not connected. ;)

Jim

dal-t
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby dal-t » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:01 pm

steve howe wrote:It seems to me that if there was enough space at either end for, say, a 4ft fiddle, that would be sufficient radius to bring the tracks round behind and make it a roundy-roundy with fiddle loops of choice along the rear section and the return bends could extend the scenic potential?


That's exactly the process I've been through with my own plans - it's the 'extend(ing) the scenic potential' bit that's coming back to bite me. But it does depend on how much depth (width/) you have available - not really viable in a 'shelf' situation.
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steve howe
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby steve howe » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:21 pm

But it does depend on how much depth (width/) you have available - not really viable in a 'shelf' situation.


That's my problem. My railway room is a timber shed in the garden, the layout currently in it (Roseladden Wharf, along with workbench, bookshelves, drawing board and sundry clut) occupies the full width with no capacity for fiddle yards. I have seriously considered taking the tracks outside in some sort of weather proof conduit around the back of the shed and in the other side... :shock:

....but this may be just a mad fantasy

Terry Bendall
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:12 am

steve howe wrote: I have seriously considered taking the tracks outside in some sort of weather proof conduit around the back of the shed and in the other side.


I can recall this being done in OO and it was written up in one of the magazines many years back. Probably track constructed with the rails soldered to copper clad sleepers would be robust enough to withstand extremes of temperature and some sort of lift off lid to allow for maintenance and possible derailments. Another recollection is of PECO OO track laid in the garden and it might be interesting to try that with a couple of lengths of Exactoscale track to see what happens.

BrockleyAndrew wrote: the reasons behind the decision making in design are just as fascinating.


I think in many cases the reasons for the decisions are pragmatic ones based on the space that we have available, what we want to do with the layout, the time that we have available, and the skills that we have, can develop, or can buy in. Some will have the space to build large layouts which are never intended to go to exhibitions and they may have the time to do the work, or have a team who can assist. A lot of people will build layouts to take to exhibitions and it is just as well that they do, since exhibitions would be very boring without layouts but those that do will probably have to make the sort of decisions that I outlined in my earlier post. There are of course large layouts built to P4 standards that do go to exhibitions and quite a lot more in OO and N.

Terry Bendall

Mark Forrest
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby Mark Forrest » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:59 am

Guy Rixon wrote:How about the old dodge of scenic yards in front of the fiddle yards? I am considering a layout where the whole frontage is scenic, but only half of that is the running lines between the fiddle yards. It works for me, but perhaps others find that arrangement disappointing?

That idea really appeals to me and over the years I've considered several layout plans along those lines. I think the stumbling block that has prevented me getting beyond the "rough sketch on a notepad" stage is how to operate from the front when the fiddle yard(s) are at the back. Problem is that I prefer operating from the front at shows; at home this is a must as my layouts generally sit on shelf brackets.

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John Donnelly
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby John Donnelly » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:33 pm

Mark Forrest wrote:That idea really appeals to me and over the years I've considered several layout plans along those lines. I think the stumbling block that has prevented me getting beyond the "rough sketch on a notepad" stage is how to operate from the front when the fiddle yard(s) are at the back. Problem is that I prefer operating from the front at shows; at home this is a must as my layouts generally sit on shelf brackets.


I'd thought of doing the same with one the fiddle yards on Pelton Level and had considered some form of automated traverser with a camera and a screen at the control position but haven't given it much more thought than that...

John

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jim s-w
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Re: End to.end compromises

Postby jim s-w » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:46 pm

Has anyone ever tried a frontscene to hide a fiddleyard? Most of is use backscenes but would a low relief style front scene have a similar effect? (the scenically hidden fiddleyard doesn't have to have any railway on it after all.

Just wondering

Jim


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