Saturday, July 24, 2010

Timesaver Layout - Yeah Right!

Unlike the previous gap between posts, this one is minute by comparison. However, in that mere two day break I've probably done more thinking about my trains than I have done in the past few months.

After my post about the coffee table layout I built, I spent a few hours looking further into the idea of building a 1200x600mm HO scale "Timesaver" themed layout to swap around with the N Scale one in the coffee table.

The basic idea of the Timesaver layout it to build something compact, and yet have it so it can potentially take up a lot more time and brain power actually operating it. Typically it involves a run around in the centre, with a few sidings coming off it, and basically you have a few wagons in various sidings that are identified to begin with, a defined destination for each wagon, and then you must shunt the wagons around to relocate them in the various sidings.

The basic layout of the track states that each siding should only be of a certain length to be able to fit the assigned amount of wagons and no more, so you find that the run around gets quite a bit of use.

Most of the HO scale Timesaver layouts I have seen are built to take two bogie wagons in each siding, but having a strict length to fit into, I have made them long enough to take a couple of RU's which are a bit longer than the typical S, K, U etc, and will still hold a BCH, most brake vans and other short bogie wagons. A single bogie wagon doesn't really fit the "rules" however I can make up my own if I want!

The sidings will also take shorter diesels like the 48 (hurry up Trainorama!) and the smaller steam engines, typically of the "tank" style, although a 19 class with a three wheeled tender should also fit comfortably.

Today I took a trip over to Bunnings for a piece of 1200x600mm MDF, and once home out with a whole bunch of photocopied point and track outlines I had, which were then laid out into the same layout as John Allen's design, albeit with the addition of an extra set of points and sidings which will merely help to fill in the space, and might provide some extra movements as well.

By the look of it, what I hoped will fit will fit, JUST. Hand laying the points will allow me to get the track centres as close as possible, and have the point blades and frogs of joining points a lot closer than RTR points. I might even see if a curved set of points in a couple of locations will gain some extra room, as every centimetre counts with such a defined space. Twisting the design slightly so the tracks run more diagonally gains a few extra cm's as well, as does having the sidings curved slightly.

As far as track goes, it will use seven sets of points, and about four metres of track, so there will be very little outlay there. Whilst it is a small area, there will still be room for basic scenery items like a goods platform, loading ramp gantry crane etc. Height will be the main constriction with any scenery though, as the layout base is only 100mm below the glass top.

Point activation will be a little tricky unless I use point motors of some description, and ideally I'd rather use a wire in tube method, but that may not be practical. Manually changing them through the glass would be a little hard, and I'd rather operate it with the top closed so some thought will have to go into this.

In any case, the Timesaver tag will certainly not save me any time at all, but is likely to chew up more of this valuable resource and ultimately slow down the spare room shelf layout, not to mention Gunnedah, which is where this Blog originally began!

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