Planning for the layout is never far from my mind albeit, as this will be my 'layout of a lifetime' there is no rush at the minute.
I've been reading and re-reading an article in MRJ 152 by Dave Bradwell where he describes the planning and rationale behind his model based on the Derwenthaugh area of the River Tyne (right next to the Metro Centre for this familiar with the area) and amongst others, he makes a very good point that really got me thinking about the layout design and it relates to the fiddle yard.
For those not familiar with the article in question, why, he reasons, do we give up almost 50% of the layout to a set of hidden sidings (as he says, are we really not going to look where the trains are going) when the same space could be given over to somewhere for the trains to 'go'. With this in mind, I've decided to forego the traditional fiddle yard opposite the junction and instead, model Consett station. As there was a coal yard at the station, it gives the coal trains somewhere to go rather than just going round and round and it will enable me to indulge in some shunting. It also has a number of sidings where I can quite legitimately stable both steel and coal trains. There will be a couple of hidden loops but the curves at one end of the layout that lead from Stella Gill will still enable me to stable a large number of trains.
So, with that in mind, I've cracked open Templot and have made a start on trying to produce the track plan using a 1:2500 OS map from 1968 as the template and, whilst I'm still getting used to the nuances of Templot so there may well be a lot I'm doing wrong, this is what I've got so far: