4x8 british branch line

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by nkp174, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Okay, I'm looking at possibly building a British branchline in the next couple of years. The wife and I will probably be having our first little one in that time frame. The layout will be a 4x8 foam affair. It will probably include a 22" radius mainline oval...for the pacifics...and a branch line for my BR 0-6-0...or perhaps Thomas, Percy, and co.

    Since the branch will be limited to really small locomotives, carriages, and trucks...I'm planning to steal a page from the modellers of old...using 15" radius curves...so as to maximize the intrigue of the line. I'll use 4% grades...although I know from my nephew's Thomas...7-8% would be fine. I want grades in order to place Ffarquhar (Far Quarry) above the mainline...and also to add a stone viaduct...but I also don't want to turn it into the rockies...so 4% is ideal. The buildings will be OO scale...a mix of kits & scratch. The track will be either Peco streamline, Atlas C100, or a combination including some hand laid...with a chance I'll do c83 and cut down the flanges on my British equipment.

    The track plan is designed to make the mainline little more than a connection for Thomas's branch...but still offering continuous running and perhaps some of my 4-6-4s and 4-8-4s to be able to operate on it occasionally.

    It will consist of 2-3 stations...Knapford will be the junction. Knapford will also contain a yards and a small engine facility. The track work will be crazy since british layouts like this always have crazy trackwork.

    Ffarquhar will be a close approximation of Rev Awdrey's Ffarquhar on his first layout...just stretched out and thinned a bit.

    The line in between may have an additional small depot (there were, fictitiously, 3 towns in between)...and a couple industries.

    Basically, I've been researching this recently...and found it quite interesting that the original Thomas, Percy, James, and such were models...not toys...as he was a serious modeller...the faces were added by the illustrator.

    Attached Files:

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The Thomas trains will handle the 15 inch radius with no problem, but I think your bigger steam may have difficulty with even the 22 inch radius.
  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    A 4-6-4 will likely squeeze around 22", but that's a little small for a 4-8-4. Of course, the British didn't have any 4-8-4s...
  4. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've always run my 4-8-4s on 22"R without a problem. I agree that it is a little small...hence a corner out of the cab of my Rivarossi J-3a...but they can negotiate the curves. Actually, everything I have should take an 18" curve...but I suspect that the cars following them might not :mrgreen:

    I'd probably like to add
    LNER: A3, an A4 (in the original white/grey scheme),
    GWR: King, Pannier Tank, 47xx
    Southern: A Battle of Britain class
    LMS: a Coronation, a Jubilee, a Jinty (or two!)
    LB&SC: A1 (best paint scheme ever!)
    GNR: G Stirling single
    Something from the Midland...like a 115 Class

    Of those, I'll probably only add a few...a Pannier, a Jinty, and something else...but I really want them! I'll probably go for a GWR/BR theme with a Pannier tank, Collett Goods 2251, a Hall, and maybe a 2800 class.

    Here's a pic of an LB&SC A1...in Canada...
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    NKP174: Which Thomas stock are you using? The Bachman shouldn't require any flange modification -- I run it on Peco code 75. Hornby's new stuff usually runs on code 75 as well, but may be narrow to gauge.
    On you loco list, the hardest addition will be the Stirling single, unles you settle for Emily.

    (Can we talk you into a visit to the Great British Train Show? Only a day's drive away!)
  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I will probably be getting Bachmann's stuff. So far the only potential gift for an unborn child is a Bachmann A4 (Spencer)...which I was planning to give to my nephew...but might change my plans. It was a special for $25 at my LHS (I also picked up Gordon, an A3, for $23, a pair of carriages for Gordon for $11 a piece, and Thomas's coaches for $4 a piece...they're all going to the nephew).

    I didn't notice how Thomas handled my code 83 track (he spent most of his time on the code 100 coal branch)...but my Bachmann Branchline 2251 hates code 83 "points", as do my Branchline cars. The Cars further disliked my custom line code 100 "points". I didn't think to check if it was the axles out of gauge or the flanges (which look quite large).

    Emily will definitely be on the list...I almost picked her up for a future gift to someone for $20...but decided to stick with Spencer.

    The Great British Train Show sounds intriguing...but I doubt it will fit into my schedule/budget.

    Here are a few pictures I took last march...a Black Five (on the Newquay branch in the west Country), 9F (on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway), and the Stirling (in the NRM's annex)...

    Attached Files:

  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think the Thomas stuff is made with the US market in mind. I know the Harry Potter coaches have the wheels set a touch farther out on the axles than normal -- the axles are shouldered and there's a gap.
    Older British stock is definitely not intended for NMRA standard track; more recent products claim RP25 wheels.
  8. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I wish I could find my NMRA standards gauge...I looked very closely at the flanges while setting my Branchline stuff (purchased new 1 year ago) on code 83 track...and it appeared that the flanges are RP-25. I'm wondering if some other aspect was off...causing them to jump on the layout back home.

    Tonight I'm going to spend around 20min working on On3 trains...but my heart will be chasing 0-6-0ts in the vicinity of Battersea...
  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    You've really got my interest -- I'm quite curious to follow your progress with this!

    I have a 4x6 00 British layout. It's 80-90% finished but I'm always tweaking it. You can see some pics of it at this thread, although it's changed a bit since then: http://forum.zealot.com/t154795/

    I'm trying to depict the Somerset & Dorset Line on my layout. I can run older stock and make it reflect the 1930s or run more modern stock (which I do most often) and have it set in the 1950s and '60s. My main locos are:
    -- a 4MT 2-6-0 (Bachmann)
    -- a 4MT Tank 2-6-4 (Hornby-Dublo, made ca. 1962)
    -- a Collett 0-6-0 (Bachmann)
    -- a kitbashed 3F 0-6-0 (Hornby)
    -- a Black Five 4-6-0 (Hornby, made in 1978 )
    -- another Jinty 0-6-0 (Hornby-Dublo, made ca. 1962) (which is my current avatar)
    -- a 2P 4-4-0 (Hornby)
    -- a Great Western Frilsham Manor 4-6-0 (Bachmann) (OK, so it didn't run on the S&D, but it still looks great and the GWR crossed the S&D at several places)
    I also have several other locos from other regions that I occasionally run as well.

    My layout consists of an outer loop and and inner loop. They're joined by a crossover link. The outer loop uses 18-20" radius curves while the radius of the inner loop is probably something like 17.5"!

    I also have several North American locos (one being a CN Hudson) that I occasionally run and I don't have problems with the tight curves. My Pacifics and my Hudson can manage the 17.5r inner curves, although I think 1-2 of my locos (the 4MT 2-6-0 and 4-6-0 Manor) might bind a little.

    I also have 1-2 Bachmann Thomas products but they don't run very well.

    At any rate, if you get a chance, please have a look at my layout pics and feel free to offer and suggestions!

  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    BTW, I'm also interested in finding out more about the Rev. Awdry. I'm intrigued to hear that he was an avid and serious model railroader. I do know that his son Christopher has written several serious steam railway books and I think his son is an avid railway enthusiast as well -- he probably has no choice! :mrgreen::mrgreen:

    I do know that Awdry's Thomas books always depicted the engines performing real-life railway tasks, and he simply wrote stories around that. I think, as a child, he lived in Wiltshire and heard GWR and Southern trains chuffing in the distance, and then made up stories around them for his son. Most of the Thomas stories are based on the Isle of Soder (aka Isle of Man) but I'd be interested to find out more about the real-life engines on which Awdry based his engine characters. For example, the "real" Stepney is based at the Bluebell Railway in Sussex.

    Could you suggest or recommend any biographic books on Awdry or any by his son? I'm always fascinated by biographical details. I did come across an Awdry website once and I just googled this one, which looks good:
    The Real Lives of Thomas the Tank Engine: Main


  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Rob, I've checked out your layout before! I was particularly interested in your rolling stock!

    The best site I found was the same one you found...
    The Modelling of Sodor

    I read a number of things on him...so that my future layout will depict his original layout. I'm still around 8months from having a kid...and we'll probably spend a couple of the next five years in Europe...so I'm torn as to whether to start the British layout now or in a few years. I certainly would love to do so now. I guess I'm arm chair modeling for now...examining kits, rtr offerings, and track. The question is when will my workshop shift from O to OO scale stuff!

    Do you guys know...it seems that an awful lot of the OO structures are either over-priced Hornby kits or card models? I'd prefer to find more of an Atlas style structure kit...both in price and style. It seems that Brits are more into building than we (north) americans...as their layouts seem to usually have scratch built equipment/structures, and continuous running/staging seems rare.
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I'll have a further look at that website then. It looks good ... I'm still going to try to get a biographical book on Awdry and maybe 1-2 "serious" steam railway books by his son (eBay's probably a good source).

    I've used several Scalesdale series of buildings, made by Hornby. You can see those on my layout. They cost around $20 to $50, depending on which one you're buying. They look great and are very authentic. They are, of course, "right out of the box" and purists (who like to build original buildings from scratch) sometimes look down on these.

    But the other thing I really like about these buildings is that they're very tough. I have two young sons and sometimes they knock things on the floor or damage them. These buildings are so durable they can take a fair bit of abuse and (so far) none have been broken.

    I also have a few building made out of Hornby kits. One is a signal box and the other is my GWR-style station. While these kits are good, they've taken a beating and parts are either breaking off or needing repair (I've repaired parts of the station several times as it's been knocked off the layout a few times :eek:). These kits cost anywhere from $13 to $30 -- is that comparable to the Atlas ones you're referring to?

    Thanks again for your feedback!

  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Sounds like the kits are closer. I must still maintain my focus on On3 trains...and the lion's share of the budget...so I'm intrigued by cheap buildings (atlas buildings run $4-$15). I might end up scratch building a few low-detailed, heavily reinforced buildings, and reinforcing hornby kits.

    I like the village on your layout...they are distinctly British.
  14. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks! I'm going to have a look at some of your current pics as well ...

    I know what you mean by maintaining focus. While my main layout interest is in British trains, I do have quite a collection of Canadian and American stock as well! and I've been tempted to start on a Canadian (i.e. Toronto's Don Valley region) layout sometime. But it's tricky to do this when your main/first layout isn't finished, and you have limited space and budget. :cry: Cheers, Rob
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rob: I have the Awdry bio. It'll be available for loan whenever you can get it.
  16. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Ah, what I could do if I had the money for that lathe, cnc mill, drill press, spin casting equipment, NWSL sensipress, that new Accucraft live steam mason bogie, and about a dozen of the MMI 4-4-0s. :oops:
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Wow -- thanks, David -- You have quite a collection! If I can't get out your way in the near future, maybe I could get it at the GBTS? Cheers, Rob

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