Czech micro switching layout

Czech micro switching layout

Postby JBr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:15 am

It's been quite few years since my last post here. I've been on model train hiatus more or less the whole time. The layout I started in 2010 was left unfinished and packed in my garage until about 3 weeks ago, when I finally took it and tore it apart, salvaging all the usable parts (it was actually meant to be temporary, so most of the tracks, switches, signals or DCC electronic modules were placed in a way to be easily removed).

I was not out of contact with the model railroading world entirely, as I cooperate with guys from the SDV Model (who produce TT scale kits of the Czechoslovak/Czech rolling stock), and from time to time I had an urge to build something, but I resisted until now. By a coincidence I came across this video from the Budget Model Railways YouTube channel -- Track scheme of the switching layout from the video was finally something that was close to our locale (British/American stations usually used in micro layouts are very far from what we are used to in CZ). That was about two weeks ago and everything went wild at that moment... :D

Over the period of 5 days (mostly using some free moments kids gave me during the day and in the evening/early night) I made my own version of the micro switching layout from the video. Of course, I changed the scale to TT and made it look "local".

The final size of the layout is 100 x 20 centimeters and it portrays a small branch line terminus somewhere in the Czech Republic. Given the size I had to make some compromises, but I tried to get it as close to the real life as possible. Including creating a backstory for all the layout features...

A long time ago, there was a small loco shed housing a small steam engine in the station, but it was eventually torn down, leaving just a siding with an ash pit. The siding was disconnected from the station and partially removed some time later, leaving just the switch forever locked in one direction. The switch was finally removed not long ago and replaced by a regular piece of track (that's why part of the main track is ballasted with fresh grey stone -- the switch used to be there). The old disconnected siding is still there but it is now rusty and slowly disappearing in the vegetation. The water crane next to the station's headshunt is now the only remainder of the steam era, used only when a pleasure steam train comes to the station from time to time. The old manual departure semaphore was replaced by the light signal at the same time as the loco shed switch was removed. Its remains are patiently waiting for some railway museum to take them.

Passenger trains are serviced by class 810 railbuses, with the exception of weekends when some of the trains are serviced by a loco with a double-decker coach. Loading track at the station is used to load freight cars with wood. The cars are then taken by the freight train to the main station at the other end of the branch line. Occasionally the freight train brings in a loaded coal car.

I intentionally made the layout epoch universal, so it can be used with multiple epoch rolling stock (basically any time between late 1980s and today). So, with the rolling stock I own, I can create multiple fleets for various time frames. Late 1990s/early 2000s fleet with the red Czech Railways (ČD) class 810 railbus(es) and (in my case) any of the Goggles 750/754 or Grumpy 749 for both freight and passenger trains. 2010s fleet can use both red and corporate scheme 810 railbuses, ČD Goggles or Grumpy for passenger trains and ČD Cargo Goggles/class 742 for freight trains. And If I had some ČSD cars/locos I could even make a 1980s fleet.

The minimalistic version of the rolling stock fleet just needs a ČSD/ČD railbus and two freight cars. In such case some of the trains are run as mixed passenger/freight trains (which was a regular practise at some branch lines in the Czech Republic even in early 2000s).

For operation purposes I attach approx. 60 cm long two track fiddle yard, which allows me to keep both railbus and freight train on tracks at the same time and also switching operations when the trains needs to drive outside the station.

Construction of the station module itself is very simple, switches are operated manually using rods under the base and the only wiring is from the connector to the tracks and from a 9V battery hidden inside the module to the station lights, LEDs in the station building and the light signal. I only had to buy the tunnel portal and the switches, all the other material comes from my old reserves or was salvaged from my old layout.
Two 810s meet at the station.
Grumpy shunts the loaded car.
Grumpy with the weekend train.
With the fiddle yard extension module.
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Re: Czech micro switching layout

Postby tomvanhoy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:58 pm

Thanks for posting! Looks great!
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Re: Czech micro switching layout

Postby AstroGoat760 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:30 pm

Bravo! That layout looks really great!
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Re: Czech micro switching layout

Postby Arseny » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:34 am

Very nice small layout
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Re: Czech micro switching layout

Postby MacG » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:58 am

A really tiny layout. It looks great. - we send worldwide :wink:
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Re: Czech micro switching layout

Postby TiTan downunder » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:58 am

Great looking layout.
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Re: Czech micro switching layout

Postby JBr » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:26 pm

Thanks guys. It is full of compromises, +50 cm would make the station look more real, but this size fits the switching puzzle/layout theme more.

I am planning a bit larger and more complex L-shaped layout, consisting of 2 110cm long modules (one 30cm and the other 20cm wide) and a corner module. But since I want this to be fully PC ready, which means lots of wiring and DCC stuff, I doubt I will start any time soon. So, at least I built this small layout I can play with and run some of my locos on. Some more pics are there:

But... while i was cleaning up the garage, I found a cardboard box in which my ukulele was packed when I bought it. And somehow I am tempted to build a small switching layout inside it. Now, that would be a challenge (the usable length inside the box is just 53cm)...
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Re: Czech micro switching layout

Postby RodTT » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:55 pm

That would be an interesting complement to the GuiTTar Case layout!
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