Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Rounford Halt N Gauge Scenic Micro Layout with Continuous Run Part 3 Revised Track Plan

Revised track plan for Rounford Halt scenic N gauge micro layout
The track plan I designed for Rounford Halt, an N gauge micro layout is similar in some aspects to the one I created for Crowley, a OO gauge minimum space layout built some time ago.  The track plan for Crowley is detailed in my blog post dated 11 September 2012.  Crowley’s compact, circular design has a passing loop and five sidings enabling a considerable range of operating opportunities.  I particularly like the ability to relax and watch trains trundle around the branch line circuit when I am not in the mood for shunting wagons.

Whilst building Crowley I jotted down a few ideas for other layout designs with slightly different track plans which would allow alternative features and model landscapes to be developed.
Aerial view of Rounford Halt N gauge model railway layout
I was confident that the track plan I designed for Rounford Halt would allow interesting and varied operation.  The challenge was to fit a number of scenic features into the landscape in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  For me, a track plan fails if there is no opportunity to develop equally interesting lineside features and scenery.

After preparing the track bed detailed in my last blog post dated 26 November 2014, I pinned the track back in place to help confirm which sidings I would keep or omit in accordance with ideas for the surrounding scenery.  Ideas for creating model scenery which had been sketched out on paper required thorough investigation before the track was permanently fixed to the layout baseboard.
Rounford Halt micro layout viewed from the front of the baseboard

View from the front right corner towards the site of the station platform
The front of the layout would be where nearly all of the rolling stock movements and shunting would take place.  Many track plans naturally lead to a logical arrangement of surrounding features.  The fact that the middle of the branch line within the passing loop was the most practical location for the station halt and was also directly behind the sidings in front of the passing loop illustrates this point.  When shunting wagons in the sidings or running locomotives around trains left in the passing loop I thought it would be nice to look across the tracks onto a station halt within the branch line circuit.

I decided to create a flat area of tarmac around the front edge of the sidings which would allow model railway accessories to be swapped and changed to create different scenes.  I have a number of Ratio models including a yard crane, coal staithes and yard huts which are not fixed to any of my layout baseboards.  To help maintain interest on small layouts the small collection of accessories can be used in alternative combinations.
Rounford Halt goods yard viewed from the front right corner
The goods yard was designed with one deep corner area where I could place a goods shed or storage building.
Rounford Halt goods yard viewed from the front left corner
Crescent shaped scenic areas at the front of Rounford Halt
The thin wedge of scenery between the siding and passing loop on the left of the layout was to be developed as a grassy area with a few bushes.  I felt that adding another flat area to expand the goods yard would probably unbalance the ratio of tarmac-countryside scenery for this particular layout.
Rear siding viewed from the left of the layout baseboard
Rear siding viewed from the rear of the layout baseboard
The short siding at the rear of Rounford Halt had a small triangle of space next to it which could be used to create a loading platform, cattle dock or locomotive servicing area.  At this point I had decided to keep the siding on the left rear corner and use the right rear corner for scenic development.  It should be noted that by removing a buffer stop the siding at the rear could be connected to another baseboard in order to expand operation at a later date.  This is an important feature to ‘future proof’ a layout to some degree, allowing it to be developed when time, budget and other factors permit.
View towards the rear corner where the road will cross the branch line
Examining known factors helps when making decisions about how to tackle challenging issues.  With the location of the station platform decided and plans made for three corner areas only a few options remained to enable the road to pass over or under the track.  Options for the rear corner on the right were considered at this point, including installation of a level crossing or a bridge.

Rounford Halt is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website

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