This is not really a progress update, more of an “overall vision” of what I am hoping will be achieved over the coming months.
As far as the main Gunnedah yard is concerned, 90% of the track is in place, all of the points are working, and trains (well, a 48-class on light engine duty) can be run from one end of the yard to the other. The next challenge is to be able to run a train completely around the room.
The layout was always designed to operate with two levels, the top level comprising Gunnedah Yard with representations of what is found on the line both on the way into Gunnedah and out the other side. The priority however, is to get the top level as complete as possible first.
The track plan shown is pretty much what I would like to get down to allow continuous running as well as some “trip trains” that will allow for some actual operation.
Starting with the proposed helix (that may or may not eventuate depending on circumstances), that would bring trains from the lower level which is effectively “staging” and representing trains coming from Werris Creek/Newcastle/Sydney, to the top level, joining the single line running around the inside of the layout which represents traveling towards Gunnedah.
This line continues around the room and has two sidings located on the approach to Gunnedah. The first siding is the BP oil siding, the second is the Vacuum (Mobil) oil siding. The BP siding is shunted by trains heading to Gunnedah, where empty tankers will be pulled from the siding and full tankers (having come from Werris Creek/Newcastle/Sydney) placed in the siding. Empty tankers will then dropped off in Gunnedah Yard, and will then await being added to a return train.
The second siding is the Vacuum siding, this was typically shunted by trains heading back from Gunnedah towards Werris Creek, full tankers would have been left in Gunnedah Yard and attached to trains heading back towards Werris Creek, and again empty tankers pulled from the siding and replaced with full tankers.
Both of these operations will typically involve a mixed goods consist, and allow for some simple shunting duties by shunting the sidings, as well as placing empty and full tankers within Gunnedah Yard.
Gunnedah Yard itself has a few sidings, the main grain siding with silo, another oil siding, and at the far end of the yard will be a stock siding. In reality the stock sidings are slightly further along the main line, however space kind of dictates that it will be part of the yard. The stock sidings are not pictured but will be on the right-hand side of the diagram towards the inside of the layout.
As trains proceed along the single line out of Gunnedah Yard heading “North” a set of points splits the line, the outside track representing what is North of Gunnedah. The section of the layout where the proposed helix is shown just after the line splits, will be a lift out section, this goes across the doorway to the room. When the line reaches the other side to the layout proper, the first siding is the abattoir siding. Having a “runaround” this siding can be serviced by trains traveling in either direction, typically mixed goods, and will usually be refridgerated wagons.
As the line winds its way clockwise, the next siding is the colliery siding. Due to space limitations it will be fairly basic but will still allow for coal train operations. I have drawn up many variations of this siding, but this one should work acceptably well within the space available.
On the left-hand side of the diagram, just past the colliery siding is what will be a fairly basic representation of Emerald Hill, which is the next station north of Gunnedah. Whilst this is a through station as part of the main line north, it will essentially operate as a terminus for trains travelling north. Emerald Hill has a small station platform, a loading bank, a stock loading bank, and a wheat silo. This will allow for a bit of shunting of mixed goods trains, as well as allowing trains accessing the colliery siding a runaround facility.
This design is not overly complicated, and yet should mostly capture the operations of trains running to Gunnedah and beyond. Adding more sidings means more sets of points, which greatly increases the amount of work required, and quite frankly I want to as much as possible keep a sense of “open space”, and not turn what is essentially a single country line into a metropolis!
The exact placement of all tracks may vary slightly as things often look different when track is placed in the space, but the overall design is pretty close to what I think will work best.