A large scenic model railway layout baseboard with long curves of track which flow through vast swathes of well modelled countryside, can offer the perfect environment in which to enjoy the sight of long goods trains trundling by, or twelve coach passenger services speeding along. In reality, many model railway enthusiasts simply do not have the space or budget for such a model. A micro layout or shunting puzzle, if well designed, can be a viable alternative to larger model railway layout baseboards.
Many micro layouts are created as a simple fan of short sidings, sometimes with a passing loop. Operating is usually confined to running short trains in and out of the scenic area from small fiddle yards positioned at one or both ends. One limitation with this operating method is that the person controlling the trains must always be active, otherwise trains will hit the buffers etc. This is a shame as a model railway with continuous run can allow the operator chance to relax with a cup of tea, sit back and simply watch the trains go round and round.
An added benefit is that the rear of a large continuous run fiddle yard can be developed with storage sidings. This allows long trains to be assembled which pass through the scenic area without stopping. This means that the operator is no longer restricted to the very short trains associated with micro layouts. It is often the case in real life that the observer does not see the whole length of a train due to visual obstructions such as bridges, tunnels or simply the curve of the track disappearing behind buildings or the landscape. Running very long trains through a very small model railway layout is therefore completely acceptable.
To see more photographs of trains on micro layouts I have built visit www.brianford.co.uk and look at the locomotive galleries in the Just Pictures section.