From MD's last post comes this photo from the Fatherland:
I've got to admit this sort of layout has always got the juices flowing....a meandering, free form layout with lots of operating potential and the ability for someone to perform a job before meeting back up with someone else at a main station and tying up for the night.
Some of you will have heard of Lance Mindheim from the states....he currently is featured in a lot of hobby publications making exquisite models of the industrial trackage in the Miami area.
He has some really interesting ideas about how to make a layout larger via operation....I can recommend you read his blog at http://www.lancemindheim.com/blog.htm
Anyway, these two things got me thinking about how we can do this in a NZ prototype....and found just thing: The Wanganui Castlecliff branch.
I wont go into the history too deeply, but it was essentially built as a private railway before being taken over by the NZR. It was closed under TOLL but reopened when a diary plant and inland "port" were opened at the end, so today the line is run by DC or DBR powered shunts.
However, wouldnt it be fun to model the line as it used to be but set in todays timeframe? Just look at all these private industrial sidings!
Each one could be rejigged to handle ZH or ZA traffic, and some of the buildings are just crackers. Take for example this warehouse from the NMACo:
And just to show how simple the track layout is.....
Right at the end of the line was the Harbour Board wharf and sidings which would include some real interest as far as modelling and shunting is concerned. Hidden over the back where depots for Shell and Golden Bay cement as well, so there is the chance to run UC tankers to make life really exciting.
Okay, so what have we got? Roughly about 6km of actual trackage with about 10 industries to shunt, a long narrow right of way that suits the MMW modules and lots of photos on the Interweb with lots of support from streetview in Google Earth.
If I was doing it, I would look to support 3 crews of 2 people each. You would have 2 "shunt crews" equipped with DSC/DSG locomotives who would maybe have "zones" they would shunt from the main yard at the wharf. A third crew would take a couple of DC's (or DBR's for the adventurous) with main line traffic to and from the wharf out to staging.
I've got lots of industry track plans for anyone interested....its a fascinating wee line well worth a look, I feel.