Another of those layout designs I’m unlikely to build. This one’s based on the Cambrian lines in the 1970s, designed to fit on a standard 6’6″ x 2’6″ hollow-core door, using Kato Unitrack.
The station and yard on the lower side of the layout is based on Machynlleth, the operational hub of the system both in the 1970s and today. The upper half represents any one of the many scenic sections of the line, with the section between Dovey Junction where the line hugs the Dovey estuary with a series of reverse curves a prime candidate.
There is no fiddle yard, and this is by design. The goods sidings on the outside of the oval, and the motive power depot on the inside serve the function of the fiddle yard. It will work provided you don’t clutter the layout with too much rolling stock. I’d suggest three or four two-car DMUs, one or two class 24 or 25 locomotives and perhaps 20 wagons should give enough variety without making things too crowded.
Speaking of stock, most of the signature items for the line are available off-the-shelf. Graham Farish make the class 24 locomotives used on freight as well as the class 101 and 108 DMUs which dominated passenger services. Dapol make the distinctive BR gunpowder vans which made the daily coast line freight such a recognisable train. Likewise, it’s easy to model the Aberystwyth-York mail, the one remaining loco-hauled weekday passenger working with Farish Mk1 coaches and Dapol parcels vans (Former blue spot fish vans converted to parcels use were common on this train).
This is a plan that, at heart, is really a glorified train-set oval. But it should still make a fair representation of a real place, and would make an ideal beginner’s project.