30 May 2009

Solving the branch line conundrum

My layout plan provides for a branch line: it has an approach to the station, and an access point to the storage sidings. But until today I had no clear idea how these two ends were going to join up. At first I thought the branch line should cross over the main line on a bridge. This would look good and add interest to the model; however, the track plan for this required too many over-steep gradients (maybe even a helix, which is not really practical in the available space). So the branch line has instead to cross under the main line and somehow weave between the network of feeder tracks on its way from the station to the storage sidings.

Here is my solution:

The photo shows boards F3 and F4 (as well as my new Hornby 2009 wagon, purchased today!). All of the branch line track in the above photo will be covered by scenery: the line will emerge from a tunnel portal just to the left of the photo, and climb up and round to the station. At the top right there will also be a short section of uncovered branch track - just before it dives under the main station boards - to provide a bit of "watch for the train" interest!

The curves in the "buried" section are tight - all 1st radius - which will limit the rolling stock that can use this line. But for light freight and DMU movements it will be fine. I have cut the track bed but have not fixed it down yet. It winds its way through the main line supports and I will only need to move one support to provide enough clearance.

I am relieved to have solved this. More construction to follow: the last bits of track bed are about to go down.

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