Friday, 17 December 2010

Track layout begins

I have a basic track plan which is based on Beattock, somewhat modified to fit on a practical-length baseboard. I’ve used XtrkCAD as a planning tool, which has been okay to use.

The photos below show Board 1, which involves the southerly approach to the station. I’m checking whether the plan can accommodate one or two Class 439 tanks in the banker siding – great news, as it can actually hold three!

The Class 439 tanks are, of course, hacked Dapol M7s – not accurate but close enough for now and they look the part. Also, there’s only one tank currently, but eventually I’ll have three or four.

Operationally, the sequence goes something like this:

  1. The banker runs down the hill from Summit in reverse (cab first), through the station (Up platform) and over the trailing crossover.
  2. It then pulls forward over the crossover onto the Down line.
  3. It then reverses over another crossover onto the siding.
  4. It then pulls forward past the crossover, where it waits in turn.
  5. When its turn comes, it pulls forward from the siding and drops onto the back of the train waiting in the station.
  6. It remains uncoupled, and gives two crows from the whistle. Two crows are returned by the train engine at the front. A further crow from the banker is sounded, and it begins to push the train from the rear. At the same time, the train engine starts pulling, and the whole train moves off.
  7. After reaching the Summit the banker drops off the tail of the train, while the train carries on, to coast done the other side of the bank. The banker crosses over onto the Up line and coasts down the bank, where the sequence begins again.

I worked this out from a mixture of photos, LMS rule book procedures, deducing tank movements from the track plan, and some relevant articles (which are few and far between on this specific subject). It may not be completely accurate but it’s the best I have at the moment.

The most complete source (though not entirely thorough) is Mullay & Coleford's article on the Moffat branch operations in Railway Bylines (March 2000), which, in a useful digression, explains the role and operational procedures of the bankers.

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