1 Background

This layout started off as a test layout, but like all good test layouts, it ended up being a little more involved! The original point of it was just to test a few semaphore signal models, but I added a bit more track here and there.

It is essentially a small suburban network, with the central station (Delaware) located on a main line. Delaware is also a point of divergence for another line. All the trains running on it are 101 dmus, since they appear to have the best framerate!

2 Features

The layout has:

  • all semaphore signals
  • eleven stations
  • eight trains sets running a full 24-hour timetable
  • a number of workable signal boxes
  • use of scripts for a couple of minor tasks
  • some canted corners (normally I forget about those)

3 Progress

Currently I need to implement the timetable (discussed below) before I can release the layout for people to look at.

4 Tracks and signals

Each station shown on the map above is a block post, with distant, home and starting signals, where applicable, in both directions. Signals are modelled on those found on the Victorian Railways in Victoria, Australia. They are all lower-quadrant somersault signals, and the only difference from British practice is type of signals used for shunting. The entire network is double line, with the exception of Racecourse to Stanhope and Glenview to Ievers, which are both single line. Stations on the single line section are further between and receive less services.

There are sidings/yards of varying size at Ievers, Glenview, Eaglehawk, Bealiba, Alphington, Racecourse and Stanhope.

Trains travelling towards Alphington or Stanhope are classified as Up trains.

Workable signal boxes are:

  • Glenview - 14 levers - most trains terminate and reverse here in the single platform, however some continue on to Ievers. Small number of signals provided for shunting to the yard.

Glenview signalling diagram (upside down to version that needs to be in the box)
  • Ferris - 11 levers - very easy frame to operate, with distant, home and starter in each direction. Spare levers provided for operating adjacent level crossing when that functionality becomes available.
  • Delaware - 50 levers - hardest frame to operate, with junction of two lines, trains every two minutes at some times (you’ll never hear the block bells stop ringing!), short single line section on Racecourse line requiring operation of points for all trains. Spare levers for future siding or splitting existing signals.

Delaware signalling diagram (upside down to version that needs to be in the box)

Delaware frame, looking over the platforms towards Eaglehawk
  • This frame has some extra locking requirements - some of them are:
    • 29 and 47 require 44R.
    • 2, 14 and 19 require 8N; likewise, 8R requires 2N, 14N and 19N.
  • Alphington - 17 levers - interesting box, as all trains terminate here. Two platforms share the same short section of single track to the double main line, so sometimes have to juggle arriving/departing services with each other. Goods platform provided, but no trains use it yet.

Alphington signalling diagram
  • Racecourse - 20 levers - many trains terminate here and return towards Delaware via the crossover, but some continue to Stanhope. Trains also occasionally visit the yard or the siding on the fringes of peak periods. Frame is yet to be updated since line was extended from Racecourse to Stanhope.

I will eventually put in the boxes for at least Bealiba, Cygnet and Eaglehawk stations.

There will soon be a small number of signal scripts to enforce a couple of clearing points that I want observed. Also I need to address the single line section from Glenview to Ievers, as it is currently on lock-through in the down direction to prevent more than one train heading down there at once. The problem is that this prevents you (when working the Glenview box) from getting Huntly to accept down trains. I have ideas about how to solve this.

5 Scenery

I have no immediate plans for scenery, but I’d like to at least get some basic terrain done, provided the frame rate doesn’t drop too far.

6 Timetabling

The timetable has taken a fair bit of work, but I’m pleased that I now have it finished (almost). After I’ve decided what all the route names are (currently they’re all just sequential numbers), I have to implement the timetable (along with routing, reverses, stops, route changes) in the layout proper.

You should be able to view it here (pdf, 14 pages): Attach:Delaware_Timetable.pdf

A normal day’s operation will require eight train sets, running a total of 310 services for 18.5 hours of the day (0540 to 0015), which includes about 20 empty car movements. (On the timetable these are shown in grey - times are for passing through only). Presently there are no spare sets. There are currently three configurations of train sets (all comprised of 101s), being:

  • M-M-M-M (2 sets)
  • M-M-M-M-M-M (5 sets)
  • M-T-M-M-T-M (1 set)

The timetable runs as follows:

  • Before am peak:
    • Scattered services as trains are retrieved from yards and sidings at Racecourse, Glenview, Eaglehawk and Bealiba.
    • First trains: Stanhope 0559; Glenview 0603; Ievers 0620; Alphington 0625.
  • am peak:
    • Combination of different routes, including:
      • Ievers to Stanhope limited express, every 30 min.
      • Ievers to Alphington, every 30 min.
      • Alphington to Glenview, on average every 10 min.
      • Delaware to Stanhope, every 30 min.
      • Delaware to Racecourse, every 30 min.
    • About 25 trains per hour through Delaware.
    • Frequency of trains between Glenview and Delaware is about 7 min.
  • Between am and pm peaks:
    • Three trains put away in sidings, leaving five to cover all services.
    • Ievers to Alphington, every 30 min.
    • Glenview to Alphington, every 30 min. (in gaps between Ievers to Alphington services)
    • Delaware to Stanhope, every 15 min. (connects with main service at Delaware)
  • pm peak:
    • All trains in service.
    • Different combination of route from am peak:
      • Ievers to Stanhope, every 17 min.
      • Glenview to Alphington, on average every 8 min. (in gaps)
      • Delaware to Racecourse, every 17 min. (in gaps)
  • Evening:
    • Three trains taken out of service and returned to sidings/yards.
    • Cut-back version of pm service patterns:
      • Ievers to Stanhope, 30 min.
      • Alphington to Glenview, 30 min. (in gaps), finishes at 9pm.
      • Alphington to Delaware, 30 min. (connects with main service at Delaware)
      • Delaware to Racecourse, 30 min. (connects with Alphington to Glenview service), finishes at 8pm.
  • Night (after 10pm):
    • Requires three trains to run services:
      • Ievers to Stanhope, 40 min.
      • Alphington to Delaware, 40 min. (connects with main service at Delaware)

6.1 Challenges with timetable

The challenges with this layout and its timetable is that although Delaware is treated as the “central” station, nearly all services are through services, meaning there is no programmed layover time at Delaware. This means that once a service departs from its origin, it has to keep going until it gets to the destination without being delayed, which will usually be on the other side of the network.

The layout itself presents some challenges, particularly that Stanhope and Ievers are in single line sections, and have only one terminating platform and line. This means you can’t have successive arrivals or departures from these termini, and, particularly in the case of Ievers, there is a minimum time of 10 minutes between a train departing and another being able to arrive.

Another issue related to this is the single platform at Glenview - yes, yes, I know I could build another, but that’s not the point! After a down Ievers train goes through Glenview, you’ll notice another train is often scheduled to follow it as far as Glenview, then reverse, and do this before the first train comes back from Ievers. Ideally I would have these spaced nicely so that, for example, if the Ievers trains are running every 30 min, then the ones terminating short at Glenview do so inbetween, so that Glenview passengers get a 15 minute service.

But this isn’t possible. In busy times, as soon as an up Ievers train has departed Glenview, a down Ievers train will enter the same single line section. When a down Glenview train terminates, it does so before it leaves again as an up Glenview, which is in the opposite order to how Ievers trains go through Glenview (the up one comes first, then the down one). So it is mathematically impossible to get an even spacing of times between the Glenview and Ievers trains in both directions, hence why you get an alternating frequency (e.g. 10 min., then 20 min., then 10 min. again, etc.).

As far as possible I have tried to maintain connections between services, hence why you will find short shuttle services on the timetable.

7 Future possibilities

I would be reluctant to do anything that requires messing up the timetable, as it took a while to develop. But:

  • get some box diagrams happening (I’ve already got hand-drawn ones on the backs of old envelopes… obviously that’s not any good to anyone but me!)
  • could extend any of the three termini and introduce a longer distance service, perhaps operated by different rollingstock
  • maybe another platform at Glenview
  • scenery, including some more level crossings
  • put a passing loop between Huntly and Ievers, or at Huntly itself