Dudley Heath Track Layout – but there’s a change afoot!

The Dudley Heath track plan continues to be a source of interest for those wishing to adapt parts of it in a compact layout scheme and I must confess that I have never drawn it out to a standard suitable for publishing either in BRM or on the web. However, I have this helicopter view of the layout taken before scenery was applied showing exactly how the track formations are placed. It was the building of the NR New Measurement Train (NMT) which has made me consider a small revision. The train consists of two power cars and five trailers. I thought that it might be too long for the layout until the train made its exhibition debut recently. A five plus two formation did fit two of the four end fiddle yard roads! Just…

To the top left of the track formation picture, there’s a pocket to accommodate Class 156s and 150s working ‘local services’ on the layout. It’s three cars in length, too short for a Class 350 and certainly too short the NMT. It was provided as part of the track plan for a future extension of the layout. There is a cross-over on the main line to provide a single lead into it enabling local services to turn back, so almost any scenic extension could be made to work. I have decided to add a two-road staging yard to the layout using this pocket as the starting point. Another turnout can be added to provide two roads. It will be long enough for the NMT and Class 350s too and will open up operations and balance out the three staging roads towards the middle of the layout which are all long enough for the NMT. The new construction will be narrow, low cost and optional should it not be required for certain operating situations such as my proposed Rail Blue era where the longest train required to use it will be a Class 304 or three car Class 310/312 – they should fit the pocket track as it stands today. So, where is my mitre saw…?

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