A small layout built to test multiple era ideas.

See also Multiple Eras

On many layout projects, I can’t decide what period to model: steam / green diesels / blue diesels / modern multiple tocs etc. So why not model them all? Well for one reason, it would be difficult with a large layout to have to keep multiple copies of the layout - suppose I spend a couple of hours sorting out the terrain in the steam era model - I really don’t want to have to do it all again on the other era layouts.

So, this little layout was built in order to test some ideas about using scripts to effect era changes.

The layout

The layout consits of about six miles of the Birmingham and Gloucester mainline with the Lickey incline in the middle. I have added the branch to Redditch, although this is just a stub of track and lacks any scenery, terrain or other features. There are fiddle yards at each end of the mainline.

The main purpose of the layout was to test ideas about switching eras (as seen in the picture above) from steam to green diesels to blue diesels (and electrification).

You can download the layout from http://www.rail3d.net/packages/lickey.trp - please note you will need program build #101.5.2 or later to use the new script features.

The track is based on semaphore era track plans in the opc book “Survey of selected lms stations Vol ii” which includes Bromsgrove, Blackwell and Barnt Green. Although there were significant changes to the track (including closure of Blackwell station) between the eras modelled, I have not (yet) implemented these changes in scripts.

I have not added some of the yards and sidings around Bromsgrove (although I have put in most of the connections on the mainline)

More work

If I was going to continue this as a regular project I would be considering

  • Extending the line north/south
  • Adding the missing bits to the Redditch branch, including missing stations, points, loops and signals.
  • Adding scenery such as roads, bridges, station buildings etc
  • Adding some of the lever frames and making them operable

all of which would be intersting things to do (and if anyone wants to take this on, please be my guest!)

However, my main interest in this project was as a small test bed for some ideas with scripting and there are some other areas of development I want to address here. These might include:

  • Using scripts to add/remove/modify track, eg remove some sidings that were closed and lifted by the 1980′s
  • Using scripts to modify routing, stops etc, eg to remove the stop at Blackwell (closed station)
  • Using scripts to add/remove scenery, eg the platforms at Blackwell
  • I’d like to see if I can get banking working on the incline: this would need freight trains to stop at Bromsgrove for a banker to be come onto the rear of the train, assist the train up the hill and then drop off the train at Blackwell - without the train stopping before the banker returns to Bromsgrove.