Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Meinsingen in 4.5 sqm

Meinsingen is my third attempt at squeezing a halfway interesting HO layout in 4.5 square meters, and the first that made it far enough to post here.

It's an "along the wall", two-level layout with hidden staging with reversing loop under the top left corner (not visible in the PDF). Contrary to other layouts I made so far, the operator is located in an aisle and surrounded by the layout. A single track runs along all 4 walls of the room and crosses the entrance on a removable bridge.

The main station of the town of Meinsingen is located in the middle of the room, dual-connected to the run-around track (so that trains can change direction), and represents the terminus of a rural branch line. North of the station is the small town/residential area of Meinsingen. To the West is a light industrial area with a few sidings, industries, and loading dock/ramp. There are minimal engine maintenance facilities in Meinsingen. Just enough to maintain the yard engine stationed here.
Traffic destined for Meinsingen consists of passenger trains and short freight locals that need to spot cars to the various industries, pick up cars and then leave again.
The part of the run-around track in the Northwest corner could be hidden behind trees. A tunnel would look tacky here, unless I spend much more space on a proper hill.

The Southwest corner is hills and a valley, maybe a small river or creek.

In the Southeast corner is the small station of Teilingen in the middle of the woods, with the branch to hidden staging. There is also opportunity for train meets here.

The scenery remains forested along the East side and over some meadows or maybe fields in the northeast corner, we are back at the outskirts of Meinsingen.

Operationally, I'm not too happy with this layout. Every train that comes out of staging has to cross the bridge along the door.

In order to get back into staging, each train either has to change direction in Teilingen (including potentially moving the engine to the other end of the train, or enter the Meinsingen station. In Meinsingen either the engine runs around the cars, or the cars are taken over by another engine. In order to turn around, steam engines need to back out of Meinsingen to the West, take the main line to the North side, then back up again into the station.

Spotting cars and operations within the Meinsingen station is not too bad, though, as long as the trains consist only of 4-5 2 axle cars, or at most 2 D-Zug cars. The station tracks only allow for short trains < ~40-60 cm.

Overall, there are too many compromises here to make this worthwhile in HO.

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