This is an ambitious project, which is an attempt to combine my British and Swiss modelling interests in a single layout. The idea is for a fixed track plan that will work either as a British or a Swiss outline layout, with scenery and buidings as swappable modules to enable the layout to be run in either mode. Time will tell whether or not this approach will actually work or not, but the intention is an operation-based layout rather than a exhibition-quality display layout.
It centres around a junction station between a double track main line and a single track branch, with a five-road marshalling yard for wagonload freight. In British mode it’s a Par/St.Blazey/Lostwithiel mashup with the yard handling china clay traffic. In Swiss mode it’s somewhere on the Lötchberg line with elements of Frutigen and Kandersteg. The fiddle yard is currently six main line tracks, although I have plans to expand this to eight. I haven’t completely decided how to configure the branch fiddle yard.
It’s at a very early stage of construction at the moment, since the track plan isn’t completely finalised, and nothing’s actually fixed down or wired up. This is the far end of the line, with the junction with the branch and a couple of roads of the yard in place.
What will be the station area, with a Dapol class 122 “Bubble car” looking a bit lost. The Speedlink/Enterprise era freight stock in the goods loop is being used to check clearances and siding lengths, and represents the longest train the yard can handle.
A steam-era freight at the other end of the layout. Despite the mixture of stock while test running, it’s intended to keep to one era during operating sessions, so you won’t be seeing kettles and modern air-braked freight stock at the same time, at least not when anyone is looking.
The track is all Kato Unitrack, some of it ten years old and on it’s fourth layout. No, it doesn’t match hand-ballasted Peco Code 55 in appearance, but that’s not what it’s for. I’m using a mix of #6 and #4 turnouts; all main line points with the exception of one trailing crossover are #6s, while the yard is all #4s. I’m done this because the some older rolling stock with cruder wheel profiles isn’t happy on the lightly-sprung #4s, but #6s don’t give closely-enough spaced tracks for the yard.
More updates will come as construction progresses.