We have learned a lot from our first exhibition layout. We need to learn and ensure we do not repeat any mistakes.
The new layout will be based around the Albury Bridge over the Murray River. This iron lattice girder bridge of two spans carries two lines, one Broad Gauge and one Standard Gauge between Wodonga and Albury. It is a busy bridge but it will be eventually be replaced or bypassed as the eventual need for double stacking of containers will be required in the future.
The area is a interesting area as there are lots of sections. there is the Murray bridge itself, two long spans with a small girder span one side and many spans on the other side to clear the floodplain. Next is the Coal Sidings where Both gauges have a yard for transfer. Next is the triangle into Wodonga or off to Bandiana where here is more Broad and Standard gauge yards. The Broad gauge headed to Cudgewa. Meanwhile the Wodonga yard also boasts the SG loop just out of the station.
Almost any of these areas could be a layout in itself. the task is to combine the elements we wanted. For we had thought a lot about a new layout. On one hand we could do only the bridge, but that would be too boring with no yards to hunt, trains to cross. It would quickly become boring for operators. On the other hand a complex layout may be overwhelming for some.
The very design the layout will be challenging to keep the operators busy and the public entertained. This is because while it will look like a double track and allow two train to circulate without any intervention, the track will be a long one. It will take a long time for one train to do a full circuit. This will have to be considered. The broad gauge is extra hard as there is only one way into the Coal yards. While the standard gauge has two allowing a crossing of sorts.
How to combat that is one of the goals. One is to keep the length down as much as possible, but to do that you have to do a large reduction in size of trains and length of run. The next thing is allowance for two train to follow each other. This could lead to some automation required to manage the railway.
Having a yard to shunt is also ideal - running a train around and around can get tedious ! We have three choices, the Coal sidings, Bandiana & Cudgewa. Of the three the coal sidings is the best chance as we can have both gauges shunting in there. Bandiana & Cudgewa are very optional extras to the core layout.