Friday, April 20, 2018

Murrbahn in HO: Trackplan Version 0.6-0

Well, I had some time on yet another flight across the ocean, so I started over with the Backnang track plan. I'm not willing to compromise too much on track length or fundamentally change how the tracks work. Part of the motivation for modeling this station at some point in the future is operating the rather busy prototype schedule with the minimal amount of tracks as present in the prototype. I've found that every turnout and every track connection was critical to enable fluid operations.

In earlier versions of this track plan, I had mirrored the arrangement in an effort to keep the orientation of the single / double-track arrangements, the station buildings against the backdrop, and maintain the left-hand bend of the prototype. This time around, I kept the track arrangements as in the prototype, and simply look at the station from the North. Thus the station buildings are now against the aisle. Having the buildings in the way might be a problem for locomotive changes and reaching into the layout. However, this way I also get the freight area next to the freight shed near the aisle, could squeeze in a representation of the team tracks on the south-east side of the station, and make them both easy to reach.

The flow of the track arrangement almost exactly matches the prototype in the early 1970's. While I want to keep the track connections, I am willing to compromise on the overal geometry in order to fit the station into the available space. As in previous attempts, I had to "bend" the station into the corners of the room. This requires a bunch of non-standard turnouts that I borrowed from the Peco, Roco, and Tillig track libraries. With exception of the Roco turnouts, they are all Code 100 and in current production, so I could combine them with Maerklin K-track and modify with center studs. Of course, I could also custom-build turnouts in place and get better flowing track that way. I'm not sure I have the track-building chops to do such thing, but there's some time to practice until I get to that stage. However, above plan shows that it is at least feasible to build the station within the available space. With the advance signals it takes up the entire (!) main level of the layout.

Since the town center of Backnang is now "in the aisle", I reserved space on the main level behind the operators for a town / city-scene. Backnang is a very pretty romantic town, so this should be a nice contrast to the rather rail heavy scenery on the rest of the layout.

While I didn't make any changes on the upper level I decided on the segments that will be built early and operated in conjunction with the Welztalbahn, my existing layout. The segment end plates could be made to fit the Fremo Puko modular norm. Certainly an interesting possibility.
Such extension, plus an additional staging yard, would provide enough work and traffic on the Welztalbahn to keep 4 operators busy, and thus plenty of opportunity to operate the layout more regularly in a group setting.

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