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Modeling the Bluebell Railway in HO/OO

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Modeling the Bluebell Railway in HO/OO
Posted by JamesNWR05 on Wednesday, October 04, 2017 1:07 PM

So I've made the decision after a fair bit of thought that the reason I'm so unhappy with my model railroading experience so far is because I don't have a specific goal. Right now I have a random assortment of Bachmann Thomas engines and a boring 4x8 double loop of track with no real intent to get anything done. Therefore, I've decided that I'm going to get rid of all my Thomas stuff and use the funds to start up a new project. I truly admire the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex and I have a real desire to model it in HO/OO. I have never modeled a real railway before, so I would love help regarding exactly where to start. Thanks! 

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 04, 2017 1:35 PM

James,

the Bluebell Railway is, IIRC, the first preserved standard gauge railway in Great Britain and most certainly one of the best known also outside of the UK. They have a number of smaller, but also larger steam engines in service and only recently were able to extend.

Modeling the Bluebell Railway is certainly a rewarding project!

Here is what you can do to get a start.

Visit the Bluebell Railway home page and other sourcers for detail information. There is tons of info available online.

Check the track plan using the following link: OpenRailwayMap  Type in the station name, select signalling and you will get the track plan including signalling.

Watch videos of the Bluebell railway. There are plenty available on Youtube. You will get a feeling for the operation, bust also the setting of this line.

With all that info digested, you should be able to sketch out a first idea of a track plan for your layout!

Have fun!

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Posted by Old Fat Robert on Wednesday, October 04, 2017 1:40 PM

James: I prfer freelnacing, but if I were to do what you are thinking about, this is the way I would go at it. I would identify in my head and heart what it is about this railway I want to model. The towns, industries, scenery etc. Then make a plan for the railway by making a "run" in my head. That is, I am visualizing the departure station, the bridge over the river, meadows etc, then the arrival in to the next (final perhaps terminal). That will tell me what I really want the Bluebell line to look like. Examine the space you have to build in and grab a pen and paper and start putting those details on the paper. There will be some changes and a lot of erasing. But there will also be a lot of fun and before you know it you wil have your first iteration of the Bluebell. You (and only you) will know when it is right. Then get busy building - always remembering that train ride!

Old Fat Robert

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, October 04, 2017 3:50 PM

Google and Bing maps are a great tool for figuring out what to model. Especially if the railroad you are modellign still exists. Follwo the line and pick some interesting areas that you can fit into your space  - that can be a single track through some interesting scenery, or a neat station with multiple passing tracks, or a junction in the middle of nowhere. String a few of these segments together and fill in some connecting track. 

                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by angelob6660 on Wednesday, October 04, 2017 7:21 PM

JamesNWR05

I'm so unhappy with my model railroading experience so far is because I don't have a specific goal. 

A lot of model railroaders have that problem. Sometimes it's the drive for motivation to make it a reality.

Another problem is you have to much stuff that covers over 50 years from different railroads that range from NYC -BNSF.

 

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Thursday, October 05, 2017 8:39 AM

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A2AloRdVzu26VflfwJmPoOrxDzccMgrcvx0YXSfLH4w/edit?usp=sharing

 

I've complied a list of all the engines I'll need for my layout. Let me know if I've overlooked any, and where I might be able to find some of them that are not readily available/discontinued (such as Stepney).

Sitll figuring out the track plan. Luckily the Bluebell line is a single track, so I just have to choose which section of the line I want to model (i.e. which station) and then do a simple single loop around the rest of my baseboard. 

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 05, 2017 8:55 AM

The list looks pretty comprehensive to me, but you are free to add any other engine you may want to have. The Bluebell quite often hosts locos from other preserved lines throughout the country, so it is prototypical to see even the Flying Scotsman on your layout!

From your other thread I gather you´d like to have continuous running on your layout. I cannot recall how much space you can dedicate to your layout, but my suggestion would be modeling Horsted Keynes, as the trackwork at Sheffield Park is quite extensive.

Please check your messages - there is some additional information in a PM I will send you!

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Thursday, October 05, 2017 5:40 PM

I have a 4x8 space, so I'm currently drawing up a modified Horsted Keynes layout plan in SCARM. Updates soon. 

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, October 06, 2017 12:34 PM

Since there's almost nothing available for UK railways in HO, you're looking at OO. You will need to decide if you want to do the usual UK layout, using OO scale (4mm = 1 foot) but HO track gauge, or go for what I think they call "Proto 4" or something like that, which is also 4mm=1 foot but uses the correct track gauge instead of HO.

Stix
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 06, 2017 2:37 PM

OO scale is 1/76 scale, whereas HO is 1/87 scale. This may not seem much, but it actually is quite a lot. Most British railway modellers use 16.5mm track, which is not the correct gauge for 1/76 scale. There is a small number of folks modelling in EM gauge, which is 18.2mm - the correct gauge for standard gauge models in OO scale. Proto4 is the fine scale edition of EM gauge, which prototype rails and wheel flanges.

I´d suggest to go with "regular" OO scale and 16.5mm track in order to keep things manageable.

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, October 08, 2017 3:51 AM

James,

I think you (and anyone else with an interest in Bristish steam) might find this video interesting!

 

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Sunday, October 08, 2017 10:08 AM

JamesNWR05

I have a 4x8 space, so I'm currently drawing up a modified Horsted Keynes layout plan in SCARM. Updates soon. 

 

I haven't come to a complete conclusion yet, but I think I'm going to end up doing Kingscote Station instead. It's less specacular than Sheffield Park or Horstead Keynes, but I think it's a good start for my first real layout and I think I can manipulate the trackplan a little to fit my baseboard. Working on the initial plan now, updates soon.

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 7:42 AM

Thanks to Ulrich, I have a solid layout design! 

 

 

I would love feedback. Here is the info he gave me regarding certain aspects of the layout.

 


The layout is diveded into two parts - the station area, which will be fully scenicked, and the staging area, hidden behind a backdrop, which will act as a scenic divider. The sraging area needs not to be scenicked, as it serves as a storage yard for trains/cars. This feature, however, will make the layout´s operation more interesting!

I have, against my initial recommendation, chosen Peco code 100 track, as it offers a more suitable variety of smaller switches. Don´t be afraid of smaller switches and sharper radii - all British trains will be able to negotiate them! Cars usually have truck-mounted couplers, unless they are short 4-wheeled cars.

A word to the setting of the layout. Branchline stations are usually a short distant away from the town or village they serve, so there is no need to model that. However, it was a common practice to have housing available for the staff working at the station. I have considered that in my plan.

Unfortunately, the test version I have downloaded wouldn´t let me add the scenery, as it is limited to 100 objects. I already have that figure pretty much exhausted.

You have to picture a road overpass on the right side of the layout, hiding the "hole" in the backdrop. The road gently eases down to the station area. On the left, a tunnel can serve the same purpose.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, October 12, 2017 12:32 PM

Re scale / gauge, my understanding is when "Half O" scale was introduced from the continent (3.5mm = 1 foot, or 1:87 scale...1/2 the size of European O scale, 7mm = 1 foot / 1:43.5 scale), British manufacturers found that the smallest available motors wouldn't fit in HO models of UK engines. They decided to increase the linear scale to 4mm = 1 foot, but kept the "HO" track gauge.

Stix
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 13, 2017 11:42 AM

Just as food for thought - here is another idea for a UK preserved railway-themed layout, this time based on the North Yorkshire Moors Rlwy. The plan is based on the line´s Goathland Station, which came to fame through the "Harry Potter" movies.

More background info is available here!

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Posted by angelob6660 on Friday, October 13, 2017 2:59 PM

Ulrich, that track plan is a little more better than what Griffin did. It looked a little complex for the staging area.

 

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 13, 2017 6:03 PM

angelob6660

Ulrich, that track plan is a little more better than what Griffin did. It looked a little complex for the staging area.

Ouch - that hurts!

I developed the plan, so you have to blame me Whistling

There is a reason behind the staging looking the way it is. It´s a bi-directional storing facility for cars for trains going in the opposite direction, iunto which you have just to back in or out.

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Posted by angelob6660 on Friday, October 13, 2017 10:04 PM

Sir Madog

 

 
angelob6660

Ulrich, that track plan is a little more better than what Griffin did. It looked a little complex for the staging area.

 

 

Ouch - that hurts!

I developed the plan, so you have to blame me Whistling

There is a reason behind the staging looking the way it is. It´s a bi-directional storing facility for cars for trains going in the opposite direction, iunto which you have just to back in or out.

 

I was talking about the crossover in the staging instead of the passing siding. 

I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, October 14, 2017 12:16 AM

angelob6660
I was talking about the crossover in the staging instead of the passing siding

Well, that way you have a storage track accessible in either way.

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Saturday, October 14, 2017 5:28 PM

angelob6660

Ulrich, that track plan is a little more better than what Griffin did. It looked a little complex for the staging area.

 

 

Angel!! I love Ulrich's plan!!!

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Sunday, October 15, 2017 8:26 AM

 

Second draft implementing some feedback from others who I have shared the project with. I wonder if there is anyone following this project? Huh? Oh well, I'll keep sharing! Maybe I'll motivate someone to switch to British operation...Devil

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Posted by angelob6660 on Sunday, October 15, 2017 10:56 AM

JamesNWR05

Oh´┐╝ well, I'll keep sharing! Maybe I'll motivate someone to switch to British operation...Devil

 
I had thought about it from time and time again. But I prefer to stay... unless I lose interest but that's not going to happen.
 
If you loved Ulrich's plan. Why did you make a secondary track version?

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, October 15, 2017 1:11 PM

 Your staging in this latest one is set up so most trains run clockwise. But that makes all the sidings facing point - not typically done to switch them like that, a train running the other way where they would be trrailing point would switch those.

Are both sides actually accessible? If they are, I'd put Ulrich's station on one side and put your station from the latest plan on the other side. One side can serve as staging for the other, or you can run station to station, just using multiple laps to gain mileage. That gives you twice the operation in the same area. Still with a scenic divider through the middle.

                                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Sunday, October 15, 2017 2:05 PM

JamesNWR05
I wonder if there is anyone following this project? 

You have 1104 views on this thread, so I'd say you have quite a following.

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Sunday, October 15, 2017 3:23 PM

Yes, both sides are accesible @Randy, I like that idea. Let me toy with it a bit and see what I come up with.

 

Didn't even notice @BMMECNYC :P I guess you're right!

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Posted by cuyama on Sunday, October 15, 2017 6:10 PM

JamesNWR05
   

The S-curve(s) created at the lower left by the curve directly into a turnout diverging in the other direction which, in turn, is part of a crossover made from PECO Small (!) turnouts could well prove problematic. The whole area could be easily redesigned to eliminate all the s-curves. These s-curve issues have been pointed out in a number of your earlier plans and are worth watching for and eliminating (IMHO, of course).

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, October 15, 2017 7:24 PM

Byron - we are talking truck-mounted tension lock couplers on bogey coaches and body mounted ones on very short 4-wheeler wagons, both of British outline, so S-curves are by far not as critical and so are the small Peco switches.

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Posted by cuyama on Sunday, October 15, 2017 7:47 PM

Sir Madog
Byron - we are talking truck-mounted tension lock couplers on bogey coaches and body mounted ones on very short 4-wheeler wagons, both of British outline, so S-curves are by far not as critical and so are the small Peco switches.

Crossovers made from PECO Smalls are pretty challenging with US outline equipment, especially when led into via a curve in the opposite direction. Maybe less with British outline, I don’t know. Since the s-curves could be easily eliminated, I’m personally not sure why anyone would wish to start with a potentially troublesome track arrangement.

So I’ll bow out … good luck to our young friend in finally getting something built.

 

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Monday, October 16, 2017 9:48 AM

cuyama- I want to get this built just as much as you do (if not more)- trust me!! Ulrich has been extremely helpful and kind to me despite having a personal life to cope with beyond model railroading. I know you said you'd bow out, but let me know what you think here

The most glaring issue to me is platform placement- not sure if you are familiar with Kingscote at all but here is a photo for reference- clearly the space between the tracks could pose an issue

Other than that, I think this plan is very faithful to the real-life location- but not sure about the mechanical aspect of it. Let me know your thoughts.

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