Free Track Plans for your Model Railway
 
 
8x6 Midsomer Keepe A
 
Submitted by Gary
 
Introduction

This layout is aimed more at those interested in scenery, and there are plenty of such possibilities in this one. It uses standard Hornby 00 sectional track, however I have not indicated special track sections - eg power feeders, isolating sections etc.

History

The depopulation of Midsomer County should come as no surprise, but it hasn't always been this way. Until recent decades it was a pleasant, safe and healthy place to live, and many people chose to do so, beginning in the late 19th century. In fact the demand for land and housing in the sylvan dales of Midsomer became so popular that what was then the Midland and Western Railway had built a network of lines through the county by the first decade of the 20th century.

One such line ran from the county seat at Causton to Upper Medwell, passing the picture postcard village of Midsomer Keepe. Whence the name? Across the valley from the village is a wooded hill crowned by a half-ruined castle, the main part still standing being the massive square keep.

By 1960, which is how I see the line in my mind's eye, much of the line's traffic had moved to road transport and cars, but there was still enough to keep a regular DMU-based passenger service going with the odd loco-hauled through train to London or wherever. Small Bo-Bo diesels looked after the remaining goods traffic. Or might Class 08 Diesel-electric shunters have had a role here? I readily admit to being far from a full bottle on British trains.

Those who like to look a bit further back can substitute their choice of steam power. If it were my choice I'd have the work done by tank locos, but then I am a fan of that loco format.

Operation

This would be pretty simple, with trains circulating around the line and stopping at Midsomer Keepe. The station also has a goods shed and a siding for…. whatever you'd like to have there.

A total of six semaphore signals are indicated. You could have more or less, depending on your preferences.

Variants

Variant 1 (above) is a simple oval with the station in the middle. Variant 2 adds layover or staging tracks at the sides to increase the number of trains that can be run during an operating session. These could be hidden by some form of scenic block - low hills, woods, houses etc.

Design Considerations

The grades required for the track over the bridge would be about 3.5%, which should be OK - British trains tend to be shorter than US or European equivalents. In any case you really do have to exaggerate grades a bit on a layout to get the visual sense of going up or down hill.

You might notice a slight gap or two between track sections, which is probably due to incorrect geometrical calculation by my planning software (RailModeller - it runs on Macs). No matter how carefully you plan a layout, actual track laying usually requires a bit of "creative alignment".

A board 8' by 6' is quite large and it'd be a challenge to reach the central parts from the sides. The rectangles either side of the station are meant to be access holes rather than operating wells, although you could enlarge them for operation if you wanted by sacrificing some of the scenery space. Depending on your skills these access holes could be covered by removable covers with scenery on them. This idea was explained and demonstrated in a Model Railroader issue in the last year or so.

Features

The numbered features of the layout are as follows:

1. Station building and platform.
2. Station plaza with bus stop, taxi rank, bicycle racks and car parking.
3. Goods shed.
4. Curved Victorian-style iron bridge or arched stone viaduct.
5. Wooded hill with the aforesaid castle keep.
6. Village, with parish church, pub, tea shop, houses, village green with duck pond etc.
7. Siding. 
 
 
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