A simple reorganisation of the layout cabin made space available for a new ‘east end’ staging yard for my N scale (1:160 scale) Montana Rail Link 4th Sub layout – on a narrow shelf. A sofa for visitors was swung round to go against a different wall and a different entrance door (the cabin has two) put into use. The sofa now crosses over the original door and the resulting change in space usage has made it possible to run a long staging yard down that particular wall, over my work bench, the back of the sofa and across the original but now sealed up door. Previously, the use of the door made that wall useless for a staging yard as it would not be long enough for 10-12ft.long trains without crossing the door and making access impossible. The picture below shows the connection from the new yard to the reverse loop at the east end of the layout. Note the small gap between the wall, window and the inner fascia allowing the window blind to drop neatly behind it.
The new shelf means I could look at removing five partially hidden (but accessible) but unsatisfactory storage and staging tracks from behind what would be Missoula Yard’s back scene. They are reorientated so east bound trains headed for the 3rd Sub can run straight down the main through the modelled portion of Missoula yard and straight into the staging. This removes the need for managing the original staging with a camera to help operators see what they were doing and has simplified the track work too.
The new yard is a narrow shelf, 6 inches wide, accommodating five staging tracks which will hold 12ft. long trains. It is stub ended and had to be long enough to put locos on both ends of the train to simplify re-staging for the next operating session. It shows that a rethink of how to use layout room space can open up new opportunities in layout design. In this case, it solved an awkward part of my layout design which would have worked but something I was not comfortable with. Also, layouts do not need to be wide and I like narrow shelf layout concepts where there is full operational potential, yet minimal impact on the room. It shows that a bedroom can be used for a layout if baseboards are placed high up the wall away from furniture and consists of narrow shelves. When working at the workbench or relaxing on the sofa, the new staging yard shelf has no impact on room use at all. But what a difference it has made to the layout’s operations!