Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gunnedah and Beyond - The Track Plan Continued

Following on from the last post where the basic upper deck track plan was shown, here is a basic drawing of the bottom deck track plan.

After leaving the top deck and heading down the helix, the single main line will come out on the bottom deck and head into what will be basically a staging yard, that is a mixture of Hornsby and simply an area Beyond Gunnedah. A turntable will definitely be part of this yard, the exact location and layout I have not yet decided.

In this way trains that went through Gunnedah and beyond the upper deck heading towards Emerald Hill or Narrabri can have the engine and brake van swap ends in the yard and run back up the helix for a return trip through Gunnedah picking up and dropping off wagons as they pass the various industries.

This lower yard will also represent Hornsby so certain trains will start here and run north towards Gosford. They will go down the Cowan Bank where I will definitely model the disused No. 5 Boronio Tunnel and possibly one of the other tunnels for atmosphere.

Next they will run through Hawkesbury River Station, which also has a pair of sidings and in the steam days was the site of a coal stage, and another siding on the west side of the station where bank engines awaited duty. I found a track plan of Hawkesbury River circa 1959 which I have scaled into place on my drawing.

After leaving this area trains may go through a tunnel representing the Long Island tunnel and will then come out the other side and head into what will be a yard representing Gosford / Beyond Gunnedah.

If another helix is built, this staging area would represent trains coming from Werris Creek once they go up the helix to the top deck. Also as mentioned in my previous post having this helix would allow non stop running around the whole layout, and different coal trains could be run as a full and empty as they could go empty clockwise (down trains) through Gunndeah and full anticlockwise thrugh Gunnedah (up trains).

There may have to be some modelers licence used in as far as time periods go as I'd like to have the ovehead electric wires (or at least the frames that hold them up) representing the post 1960 period, but I'm not sure when the coal stage and banking steam engine siding was removed? In any case this is a case where it's my layout and I want t model the things that I find interesting and if it clashes slightly with reality so be it.

Having this section electrified will allow me to run 46 Class electrics and possibly the early stainless single deck interurban passenger trains if and when they are ever released.

Another possibility is having the 46 Class haul the W44 Concentrate train from Hornsby to Gosford where a Garratt would take over and haul it up the second helix towards Werris Creek. In this way even though the W44 never ran through Gunnedah, the top deck could be used simply to run it back around to the Hornsby yard where the 46 would once again take over.

So whilst everything will not be completely prototypical, there is flexibility there to have some interesting operation and run a good variety of trains.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gunnedah and Beyond - The Track Plan

It's been too long since I last updated this blog, but I haven't been completely idle.

All going to plan (when does that happen?) there's a good possibility that soon I may have a 7.2m x 7.2m shed to house a layout. It will have to share space with at least one of my cars, but that shouldn't bee too much of a problem.

I've come up with something that is probably a little bit ambitious, but by the same token I'm a big believer in taking a big bite and chewing like heck.

The plan shown here would be the top level of a two level layout, with the top level featuring Gunnedah yard. The benchwork looks to be around 750mm wide, and mainline curves will genrally be around 750mm radius as a minimum.

Along the left hand side a single line approaches Gunnedah, with two oil sidings on the outskirts, BP and Vacuum. These sidings would be serviced by either up or down trains, with some tankers being taken out from Gunnedah yard. I haven't decided exactly what will be located leading up to the oil sidings yet, as there are a few things to work out, more on that further down.

Trains will then take a 90 degree curve run into Gunnedah yard. Wheat trains will drop hoppers off to be shunted into the wheat siding, there are two mills which will need hoppers shunted in and out of, there is a goods shed, two oil sidings and two loco storage roads off the end of the wheat siding. So there is considerable opportunity for operation within Gunnedah yard itself.

Leaving Gunnedah yard the track once again curves through 180 degrees to the right where the stock yard is located. Stock trains made a big portion of rail traffic through Gunnedah.

Leaving the stock yards the track curves back through 180 degrees and heads back to the right, where the sidings for the Section Silo and Amoco oil siding branch off. The Section Silo is one of those big roughly circular silos made up of multiple circular bins.

The single main line then curves back to the right and past the silo, where another oil siding is located, Ampol this time. The multiple oil sidings will also allow for a good deal of operation.

Heading past the Ampol siding the track again curved to the right and runs along to where the meatworks siding is. Once again this will allow more operational work.

From there the track splits into two lines, with the inside track simply forming a return loop which will allow trains to head back towards Gunnedah.

The outer track will run down a grade around the outside and enter a tunnel which will take it into the helix that will take trains down to the lower deck.

I haven't drawn the lower deck in any real detail yet, but basically under the meatworks and section silo will be a very rough representation of Hornsby, which will in fact be more of a staging yard with a turntable. It may seem weird going from the outskirts of Gunnedah then into Hornsby but there is a method in my madness which I will explain later.

Underneath the extension between the section silo and the stock yards will be a brief representation of Cowan Bank that will actually feature a decent grade.

Curving back around underneath where the western end of Gunnedah yard is will be Hawkesbury River station, with the goods sidings located underneath Gunnedah yard.

Coming back around underneath where the Vacuum and BP sidings are will be a basic representation of Gosford, mainly to allow for more staging track and another turntable.

I'm not completely sure how I am going to get from the lower deck back up to the upper deck at this part of the layout. I can't fit a helix as it will block the entrance to the garage for the car. Although I have tossed up the idea of building a portable helix, maybe using castor wheels or something so it can be wheeled into place! That will need some more thought.

The reason for the lower deck representing Hornsby to Gosford is it will allow me to run electric power, so 46's will have somewhere to run, I can run a Newcastle Flyer HUB set behind a 38, and it also allows for trains leaving the outskirts of Gunnedah to enter Hornsby yard, have the brake van re-marshalled to the other end and then run back up the helix and back through Gunnedah dropping off or picking up wagons from the various sidings.

So the lower deck kind of works as both a Short North section, and twin staging yards. The main trains that would use this would be coal trains which I can run empty out through Gunnedah, past the outer reaches of the top deck and down the helix, and full trains can run in the opposite direction, coming from the "Hornsby" yard and up the helix and then back through Gunnedah. Empty trains would continue down the Cowan Bank and around to Gosford where they would then make their way back up to the top deck. This way empties and fulls look right going through Gunnedah and simply run in opposite directions.

Of course this is all still speculation and armchairing, but in principal it fulfills what I want to cover and should allow for some interesting operation.