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  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - 1st year's events
  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - 2nd year's events
  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - an operating session
  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - the track plan
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  • [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - the track plan

    Author: John Oxlade, Salfords, Surrey, UK (EMail: )

    (this layout is now dismanlted)

    When I was looking for my current home, I had a couple of requirements, one of which was room for a permanent layout. After I found what I was looking for, I spent about 18 months 'fixing' all of the things in the house that I didn't like (or needed doing), like the windows, roof etc., and used this time to thoroughly plan what I wanted in a layout. I think that if you get the planning right in the first place, you're less likely to want to tear it out in 5 minutes. I chose not to rush in to things, I am glad that I had the self-control to wait until I had the house more-or-less in order before starting on the railway room. In the 18 months of on-and-off planning, I probably came up with half a dozen basic ideas, and the final design is an amalgam of various features. Even after I thought that I'd come up with the 'best idea', I tried a few others just to see what they'd be like.

    One idea that was quite useful to see how things would fit was to draw a scale plan of the space I had for the layout, including all the window and door locations (specifically anything that opened into the space). Then using a compass or similar I drew circles in the corners, clear of the edges of baseboards, doors etc. of my chosen minimum radius. This gave an indication of what would fit where. I thought when I just looked at the room that I would have space for a centre aisle (i.e. track down both sides of the room and out in to the middle), but when I drew it out, it just didn't fit.

    Plan, plan, plan, and when I felt I'd finished planning, I planned some more.

    Before I started, I made a list of some of the features that I was looking for. Others might find this of some help too:

    1. No duck-unders.
    2. No curves sharper than 30" radius.
    3. No rabbit warrens of track all over the place.
    4. A reason for existence. i.e. Have the trains actually go somewhere. (If you have a reason for your imaginery railway to exist you'll have more fun than just watching trains go round and round in circles.)
    5. No gradient steeper than 1 in 36.
    6. Some part of the layout where there is just 'track in countryside'.
    7. Have trains disappear behind hills or buildings from time to time.
    8. Make the baseboards a comfortable height for the person who will operate it the most - me.!
    9. A minimum number of supporting legs below the baseboards - so that I can easily get in underneath.
    10. No supporting legs holding the upper level up that block views on the lower level. In fact, now that the layout is advancing quite well, it's not obvious what holds it up at all.!
    11. Include a couple of 'annoying features' to add a little interest.
      • I made the headshunt at Pfarrhofen too short for a class 50 to run-round a train.
      • The main points (switches) at Pfarrhofen are hidden behind the locomotive shed. This tends to make operators move locomotives well clear of them when shunting (switching) which is more prototypical anyway.
      • The industrial spur at Illerbergen (3 on the track diagram) is the 'wrong way' for trains running to or from Oberfahlheim so as to increase operational interest.
      If you find operation a challenge rather than a bore, you will maintain your interest.
    12. Platform tracks that are a lot longer than the trains using them. A lot of mainland European stations look huge compared to the lengths of the trains. Make the tracks longer than the trains and the whole layout looks bigger. If you have trains squeezed in to every track with 1/100th of an inch spare at each end then the whole layout looks small - even if it isn't.

    In the end, to get a reasonable amount in to what is not a large room, I decided to build on two levels and connect them to together with a helix. I know this is not unusual in America, but I don't recall hearing about using this idea in England. The helix takes up a large percentage of the room, but still probably gives me another 70% of usable space.

    The two heights I chose are about 36 and 60 inches off of the ground, which is approximately chest height for me when I am sitting on a low chair, and shoulder height when standing up. This puts the trains at a nice height (for me), and I am not looking down on everything all the time.


    There is a lot of useful information on layout planning in the Layout Design Primer, written by the Layout Design Special Interest Group of the NMRA.


    Anyway, here's a track plan of my layout. I'm afraid that drawing with a mouse is not one of my stronger points, but it gives you a general idea of what's going on.

    [ last updated 31st Dec 2003 ]