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Author Topic: First layout - Weardale sawmill  (Read 4804 times)

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Offline PeteW

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First layout - Weardale sawmill
« on: February 14, 2017, 11:39:50 PM »
Having summoned the courage to expose myself in public (ooh, missus), here's the early planning for my very first layout.

Having been back and forth through the many online layout plans, and having considered the need for a layout that can be readily moved between the garage for storage, and the dining table, I eventually decided I could manage a 4x2. I imagine that 4x2.5ft would be better in many respects, but with some extra work and complication (eg, ply and blue foam are readily available in 4x2 sheets without the need for extra cuts or piecing together supplementary bits).

Although there were several trackplans that caught my eye, most seemed (to inexperienced old me) to be cramming as much track as possible into the available space, which didn't appeal. Since I'd also determined to use Kato Unitrack, I found it easier to work with plans in SCARM that were already designed for that. The one I kept coming back to was Kato's "Granny Kay and Bonnie":
http://www.katousa.com/track-plans/granny-kay-bonnie.html

And after much laying and ripping up of virtual track, this is what I came up with:


The outer curves are 282mm radius, leading into 249mm - the tighter centre sections pulling the track away from the outer edges of the board. The points are Kato No4s, which I'm hoping will be OK because I'll be running only 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 engines, pulling no more than three or four 5-plank wagons. This pic (click to embiggen) will help to show what I have in mind:


Felled timber (tree trunks) will arrive on truck via the road at top-right to the sawmill occupying most of the centre. Sawn and planed timber (planks and pit-props) will be loaded at the triple siding at the lower right and then hauled to the small goods yard/halt at the centre top, where they are transferred to a local branch line service for onward transport.

I know the curves are tight, but not (I believe) ridiculously so. I've seen many pictures and videos of N Gauge layouts on smaller boards, with tighter curves, and they seem to work fine. I never had any desire to run long trains of passenger coaches so that isn't a problem. Otherwise, this seems to tick most of my boxes:
* Be easily movable. Tick
* Have a loop for running trains, and some sidings for shunting. Tick
* Have water. Tick
* Have at least one bridge. Tick
* Have some sizeable industry. Tick
* Be at least believable in setup and operation Tick (I think)

So, what I have I missed? What have I got wrong? What could be better? As I've said elsewhere, I have no background in trains or rail, model or real, so I'm coming at this from a position of total ignorance, and I'm ready - and willing - to learn.

Online Webbo

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 05:02:17 AM »
A sawmill - great idea. Not too many on this forum so could be very interesting. And, the layout is not all crammed which I think is a good thing.

Your sawmill yard appears to have the basic form of an Inglenook shunting puzzle. Is that something that might interest you?

Webbo


Offline Newportnobby

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 10:07:40 AM »
I have no idea how 0-4-0/0-6-0s run through Kato No.4 points so can't advise on that. 0-4-0s may be hard to find in N :hmmm:
The layout itself looks a great blank canvas for some serious scenic work but I reckon it will take a humungous amount of trees to bring it to life.

Offline PostModN66

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2017, 10:08:31 AM »
Nice!   :D

The curve radius should be no problem with small engines.

Your timber yard sidings look a little short, and something you might consider is having a part of the circuit "offstage" behind a backscene to break up the obvious oval a little.

I can imagine the finished thing looking great; good luck with it!

Cheers Jon  :)

“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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Offline Jimbo

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2017, 11:22:08 AM »
I think a sawmill/timber merchant is a great idea! Plenty of scope for activity there, I have no experience of Kato track whatsoever but should simplify assembly and wiring from what I've read on the forum etc, you've given me an idea for my small 2mm adventure actually!  :hmmm:, I'm sure you'll have fun with it, good little plan I think, plus you have plenty of scope for scenery there by the looks of it  :thumbsup:
'Keep it country!'

'Head in the clouds, feet in the mud!'

Offline PeteW

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 04:06:35 PM »
Thanks for the encouragement, chaps.

Addressing some points (never gets old, that joke) in no particular order, I'd have preferred No6s and reserve the right to use them if they fit without too much jiggery-pokey. Hadn't thought about the lack of 0-4-0s in N-gauge but I'll keep my eyes open - really fancy a little diesel for shunting at the mill. The mill sidings might be on the short side, but I think I can squeeze in another four or six inches of track if needed. As for the shunting puzzle, it's not something I've thought about, but I expect there will be at least some elements of it now that I've learned about freeing a buffer-locked loco by using a second engine for shunting the trucks  8).

As for the trees, yes it'll need a lot! I've spent most of the last week online looking at commercial trees (and wincing  :o), various opinions on the Hundred Trees From China, and reading tutorials on DIY trees. Lots of modelling required - how awesome is that  :claphappy:.

And how come no-one warned me about the research? Loving the research. I hope you guys like research, because I'll be sharing some of mine in another post shortly.

Offline Jimbo

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2017, 04:30:56 PM »
Research is gooooood!
'Keep it country!'

'Head in the clouds, feet in the mud!'

Offline Jimbo

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2017, 04:41:26 PM »
I've yet to experiment, but realistic trees can be made from 2.5mm or 1.0mm solid copper cable stripped and bent and using masking tape then painted etc apparently, the kind that's in your socket or lighting ring main at home (Twin & Earth cable)......the missus is still wondering why her hairdryer isn't working!!  :-\. If you go down the home made tree route.....or is that root!?!?........you can buy it by the reel from a diy store or electrickery retailer  :thumbsup:
'Keep it country!'

'Head in the clouds, feet in the mud!'

Offline PeteW

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2017, 05:04:18 PM »
I've yet to experiment, but realistic trees can be made from 2.5mm or 1.0mm solid copper cable stripped and bent...
Thanks, Jimbo. I've seen that technique and (in the right hands) it produces some stunning trees. But I can't see making two or three hundred of the beggars that way. Probably keep that technique for a couple of 'hero' trees in the right places.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2017, 07:27:05 PM »
Pete,
You can get some wonderful and fairly quick/inexpensive results from puffball trees.............
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=15475.0

Offline PeteW

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2017, 11:11:38 PM »
Pete,
You can get some wonderful and fairly quick/inexpensive results from puffball trees.............
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=15475.0


Thanks for that - some great results shown in that thread.

I've been looking at (and watching) a bunch of tutorials using sea foam as the basis for trees and have been suitably impressed. At the moment that looks favourite for the bulk of my forestry, and could use puffballs to fill in the gaps.

Online Webbo

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2017, 11:15:34 PM »
You'll need plenty of tree stumps around the place as well with a sawmill nearby.

There are at least two manufacturers of these that I know of.

Webbo
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 01:51:40 AM by Webbo »

Offline PeteW

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 01:02:46 AM »
So, the research then...

This has taken me by surprise. When I came up with the idea for the layout it was the result of, oh... about two minutes' thought. County Durham for pure family nostalgia, and sawmill because I like woodworking and I like sawmills (and it seemed like it would be easier than trying to cram a coal mine into a small layout). I started with the simple goal of looking for basic info about branch lines in Weardale (and Teesdale, and the upper Tyne valley) - what did they look like, how big, what kind of buildings. And then sawmills - most of the model rail sawmilling seems to be set in the US, so were there British operations, and were any in Weardale? So began an instant obsession that has occupied just about every spare minute of the last week or so.

I immediately lucked into the Disused Stations website, an absolute treasure trove of info and pictures:
http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/

And just about the first thing I found was this 1897 map of Shincliffe (just south of Durham):

And would you look at that: a sawmill, right next to the mainline, with sidings serving the yard! Admittedly, it doesn't seem to have lasted long, and it isn't exactly in Weardale, but you can't have everything, eh?

But there were some sawmills in Weardale itself, as confirmed by the equally-wonderful Mill Archive website (https://millsarchive.org/), including this one in Hamsterley itself:


Another rich resource, is Britain from Above (http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk), an archive of early aerial photography of Britain (if you haven't explored this I urge you to do so - fantastic pictures of all kinds of interest and a great source for railway modelling inspiration). There I found this picture:

This is an industrial sawmill at Crook, just on the edge of Weardale (steaming loco an unexpected bonus). And other pictures from the same group revealed this:

A view from the reverse angle showing a siding direct from the mainline to the timber storage area. (Note: if you register with the website you get the ability to zoom in, and download images for reference.)

What about smaller sawmill operations? Another treasure trove, http://www.forestry-memories.org.uk revealed this, up in Scotland but fairly typical, I'm sure:

That's from the early 1950s, so now I know what my lorries should look like!

Back at the Disused Stations website I found this picture of Wolsingham station:

Suddenly I knew how to deal with the top edge of my layout, and having noted that the line up Weardale followed the river closely, that gave me the idea for the stream beside the line on the bottom edge.

Hopefully I can capture some of these elements in the layout.

Offline Bealman

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2017, 02:44:40 AM »
Regarding the lack of 0-4-0 locos in N, I'm pretty sure a Farish 03 or 04 wouldn't look out of place. They're pretty small models!
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 08:14:02 AM by Bealman, Reason: Stupid predictive text »
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Jimbo

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Re: First layout - Weardale sawmill
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2017, 07:54:43 AM »
Thank you for posting that Pete....and the links, very interesting stuff!
'Keep it country!'

'Head in the clouds, feet in the mud!'

 

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