When a micro layout track plan meets reality, the plan must change to meet the actual constraints of that reality! But progress can still result from those constraints.

In many areas of life we make plans. When planning a model railroad, we make track plans, plans for scenery. But sometimes they don’t work out quite as we planned. This is what happened with the HO scale Brazilian micro layout I have been working on. Before I purchased the Frateschi G22 locomotive for this layout I calculated that it would be around 6 inches long. When it arrived and I checked it’s length, it was a bit over 7 inches long. I thought I had a track plan all figured out, but when the Peco short radius Y turnouts arrived, and I tested the G22 locomotive and 2 of the longest cars I purchased, I realised that that a locomotive and 2 cars wouldn’t fit on all the switchback spurs. Part of this is my mis-calculation of the length of the locomotive, and possibly a second mis-calculation on my part regarding the geometry of the Peco Y turnouts I purchased.

Hmmm! What to do? I thought about it for a bit. After a bit of testing with the rollingstock and locomotive I realised that I could still have 2 cars on one of the switchback spurs, have slightly longer yard tracks, and have the other 2 switchback spurs able to hold 1 car + locomotive. This would allow for some interesting switching movements, while only limiting capacity to a locomotive and 1 car on one of the switchback spurs.

As a cost cutting measure, that is, so I could use as much of my recycled track as possible (including one of the turnouts), I also flipped the track plan. This is the plan before the changes:

Initial Brazilian Micro Layout Track Plan

In this plan, it was hoped that the Cold Storage and Sugar Mill & Storage switchback spurs could hold a locomotive and 2 cars. But after adjustment, and re-arranging the industries, this is the revised plan:

Revised Brazilian Micro Layout Track Plan

In this plan, the yard is on the top right hand side, the Coffee & Cocoa Warehouse switchback spur will hold the locomotive + 1 car, and the Cold Storage switchback spur will hold the locomotive + 2 cars. But I figured that would still be workable. It wasn’t long before I had the track arrangement more or less sorted out, and so as I was creating the track arrangement, I was checking clearances to see how much would fit on each switchback spur.

Over the next few days and once I was happy with the track arrangement I managed to build I got the track base (thin plywood) cut and laid down, and laid the track. Then the extremely simple wiring was done. This was very basic and involved 2 wires being added from the power track to the controller, and a jumper wire between the power track and one of the tracks near the corresponding track furthest from the power track to allow for power when the insulfrog turnouts insulate various sections when they are thrown. And voila! It was ready for a test.

I put all the cars and the locomotive on the track, and ran the loco back and forth, moving carriages between the yard and the various spurs. And it worked really well. So now the layout is fully operational.

Next: the scenery. But that’s for a future blog post.


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