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Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 3:04:00 AST.)

On30 SCALE: Gowrie Colliery Tramway (No Turnout Layout)

I'm in the process of writing an article for my blog that highlights and explains some different types of micro and small layouts and how they are operated. I plan to start with a very simple layout, and then increase the complexity as the article progresses. I will try to go into detail on how I see each one being operated, and the options that can be added to further enhance operations.

For the first part of the article, I started with a track plan that doesn't have any turnouts, and is completely self contained (no additional staging required). I have heard the label "Single Line Terminus (SLT)" being used to describe this type of track plan, but I will just label this a "No Turnout Layout" since I feel that is much more descriptive.

Most self-contained "no turnout layouts" that I have seen are very limited when it comes to operations, and most of the ones I have looked at, simply involve shuttling a single self-propelled passenger car between two station (such as an RDC or a Doodlebug). While there is nothing wrong with that (and I also plan to include that type of operation in my article as well) I think much more can be done with the space, using a little imagination.

To demonstrate my point, I decided to go with On30 scale in a space that is only 1x8-foot. I wanted to depict a coal mine, with both an export wharf, and an interchange with a standard gauge railway. What is important on this layout is not the length of the run, but rather the scenes that are included. While operations are possible, it is the detailing of the scenes and rolling stock (and maybe some animation) that should take center stage. (Some may consider this simply a diorama or display layout, but it is much more than that, trust me.)

The industrial mining railway has been compressed into four main scenes: the export wharf with a small schooner (and yes, I do know the schooner shouldn't be in full sail while in port), a screening plant, the coal mine with mine head, and the transfer track with standard gauge track included. While all the operations of a coal hauling railway are included, the distance between them has been just about eliminated and reduced to only a few inches.

The sequences of operations for moving coal is as follows: The raw coal is dropped into hoppers or gondolas under the mine tipple; it is then moved the few inches to the screening plant where it is unloaded at the raw coal dump; the raw coal in crushed and screened and discharged into the hoppers or gondolas under the screened coal shoot; the screened coal is then moved to the export wharf. (the ore cars I show in the plan are only stand-ins)

The other end of the line is where materials and supplied are introduced to the layout via the transfer platform. Pit props, drums of kerosene, lumber, mining supplies and materials, etc. come in via the standard gauge line. Damaged equipment may also go out for repair over the standard gauge lines as well, and there is also an overhead crane on the wharf for anything coming in by water.

So, while there is less than 8-feet of track and no turn-outs, there is still a lot of cargo being moved on the line. If the modeler adds the cars actually being loaded and unloaded with coal, the action on this little line will keep an operator interested, and the level detail that could be injected into the space will keep a modeler busy for a long time too.

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TAGS: Design Feature: 0 - No Turnout Layout, Theme: Industrial Railway, Layout Size: Micro Layouts, Theme: Mining, Theme: Narrow Gauge Railway, Design Feature: No Run-Around Track, Theme: Waterfront, Types of Industries: Coal Mines, Types of Industries: Wharves

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