Ideas 11 & 12, Refinement of the Paper Clip

Categories: Club Layout and Layouts.

Idea 11. Part A

Well this is a variation of the folded oval seen in idea 8. It involves the use of grades to get train up and over without any crossovers. the grades are in one of the staging yards, and hidden in the bridge scene. You can clearly see I have put the staging right in the middle. The staging is on 30 inch wide baseboards, the same width as the existing Murranbilla. I would plan to use the existing trailer to carry the staging and non-scenic section if needed. Not I have not shown any join in this plan.

Again this construct has two separate scenes, the bridge and the coal siding. The triangle allows for very interesting train movements, as you can see. To fit in the construct, we have the Wodonga part of the triangle curving the wrong way, a decision to make it easier. The layout still has a bit of non-scenic area on one side that could be hidden by a low barrier painted he fascia colour.

It is not a good layout for duck unders. One ‘pit” is for operating the coal sidings. The other ‘pit’ for staging yard manipulation & driving. I would mean no one needs to be outside.

This construct that places the coal siding on the inside of the layout.This would allow easier shunting for our member behind the layout. In this orientation, the back scenes can be mainly country. The other way some townscape is required. there is however, a fair bit of back scene needed.

This should not be as big as the paper plan many members have seen. I’d guess about 33ft long by 16ft wide

Member’s Responses


 by email adds to the planning thoughts: 5/09/2007 11:03 am


obviously the Idea 11 bridge scene could be longer to fill the top right corner of your diagram.

Which end of the bridge is Albury? Is the staging between the bridge and coal sidings?

I like the “staging down the middle” idea, what about having a reversing loop at the end of the staging and a junction going three ways on the other end. Three are Albury (staging) to north end of bridge, Wodonga (staging) to triangle and coal sidings and Cudgewa (staging) to Bandiana and triangle.

Bandiana works best in my doodles with the coal sidings on the outside because of the orientation of the triangle legs (Bandiana on outside). Bandiana is on the same side of the main line as the coal sidings. But there are some members who particularly want the sidings on the inside.

Mark Laidlay


Murray river as shown on idea 11 has Wodonga on the right, and Albury on the left. The construct is a big figure 8, now that I think about it.

Yes the construct has issues in getting the yard on the inside. also The track on the right is mainly BG, since the SG only has one leg of the triangle, in terms of real track it is a passing loop to the mainline. It is the BG that has the best choice, since the Wodonga-Bandiana leg of the triangle is a reversing section. One ends another reversing section to get train back on the same direction. You could tack on Cudgewa as an additional module or two making the whole construct more rectangular, in the future….. 

Roger Lloyd

Wednesday, 5 September 2007 11:09 AM

David, Mark
By George, you’ve got it! I think this is quite workable. It uses less space than earlier plans and this is an important consideration due to limited space in some venues. The only problem I see is that you have the Bandiana BG and mainline SG trains crossing on the level which means a bit of safe working will need to be built in. Also, some shunting of Bandiana trains will be required as they will need to reverse direction to go back on scene. One idea you can use here is the long cassette, say about 6 feet long. This is used in many UK layouts and because of the lack of frequency of Bandiana trains compared with the mainline, would be quite feasible. The general shortness of Bandiana trains compared with the mainline also helps. If you go with this, you can eliminate the grade crossing. The entry to the cassettes would be on the inside running directly off the triangle. The main problem with the cassette idea is that when it comes time to turn a cassette, there is a danger of bashing another operators head!

An alternative would be to have a loop running on the inside from about where the staging bends to behind the backdrop at the Murray bridge but this would severely impact on freedom of movement.

I would also reduce the scenic ed area at the north end of the bridge because the sharp curve is unprototypical in this location. Perhaps you should also have your covered track idea there as well. If you match the two curved ends to the same radius, this will ease transport problems as each end loop can be bolted face to face. I would suggest that each end loop is cut in half so you have a total of 4 end curved sections which, because there is no scenery, can be stacked 4 high and not take up much space. I would also extend the BG/SG lines south of the triangle about 300mm past the triangle points as this is an area of potential derailments and it is best to have the trains going straight as they enter the southern most turnout.

Roger Lloyd 


British modellers have also been using a cassette system that has separate loco cassettes. What really needs to happen is just get the engine (and van) to the other end of the train (or the new train), not turn the train. Maybe the loco can be turned otherwise the components of the train are just shuffled around the board and several cassettes are joining together onto the branch line.

One good aspect of idea 11 is that it could be built in stages, the bridge and staging could be operated on it’s own while the rest is built.

Mark Laidlay 

My reply back to them:

Lots of possibilities aren’t there ! The mind boggles as to the SG/BG lines. MY aim is to only combine them at ONE point for “gauge conversion” use only. So what is SG, what is BG isn’t shown, and I know you are all thinking about it.

I would ensure the BG off the Bandiana branch has interlocking. I would not expect it to get a lot of use though. It will be a “feature”.

As to build sequence, the plan 11 as is allows for coal siding & staging first. As I said at the clubroom beware a layout with nothing to do. When my group had Somerton, it became boring, and that’s why it didn’t last long – it just had nothing to do. No shunting, no ops. You were reduced to just selecting a track, running it around, selecting another track and so on. That could be automated. The issue is why build a layout to have fun if you cannot hae fun. Why bother really building it at all – after all Murranbilla gives us plenty of operations now. If this new layout is supposed to be better than the original, then it better be!

Idea 11 part B

Here is a variation to the plan, still 11, just twigged a little.

After studying the BG & SG more there was a lot of track not needed or working right – I had SG into BG etc.

I have’t mentioned that the Bandiana branch in the visible side is Gauntlet track, not a point. Keep the gauges seperate as they should be !

So I redid that end a little.

thinking about it the SG on the Bandiana branch is OK, it just heads back into staging. The BG leg is a pest as for mainline it has to recross the SG tracks in the staging yard. I would still have that, but take a lateral view like Roger & Mark have hinted is that the BG traffic will be little, small and thus allow a small passing siding and long siding on the inside of the SG yard. Loco lift cradle could be used, but I suspect the small passing loop will handle run arounds easy enough. the long siding allows serial staging if using a loco lift to help out ! that serial siding may conned to the SG to allow “gauge conversion” moves out of sight of the public.


As I said I rechecked the BG side and that triangle etc at the top and concluded that they were  were not needed; a good chance to simplify the design. I allowed me to extend the river side to the full length of the layout, giving us a longer bridge. I’d prefer to have scenery here as this wasn’t supposed to be two dioramas like say “Maryborough” is to be. We get the chance to have more small stub ended staging in that point as well.

As Mark alluded to, the layout could be constructed to either allow the River scene+staging, or coal siding + staging, the track at the right side there could be temporary to allow this to occur. As I have drawn the plan the best way would be the coal siding as it is all level. However one would simply have to reverse the grade from one side to another to allow the coal siding+staging to be built first (though it would be boring to operate!)

At the back of Murranbilla we have 16 tracks across the board in 2ft 6 inches. So if the staging was this width I would allocate: (from top to bottom as seen on the plan)

  • 1 Staging express road BG
  • 5 Staging BG
  • 1 Express SG
  • 1 Express BG
  • 5 Staging SG
  • 1 Staging express road SG
  • 1 Bandiana serial staging BG

I know that comes to 15 tracks, but I have to allow side wall tolerance for the edges and the whole staging yard on a ramp thing.

The SG would have 3 extra single ended staging, the BG would have 7 extra single ended staging as well – in two places one for the Wodonga railmotor as such…. That in total would give us the possibility of 21 trains on the layout. I do think that is more than enough ! Murranbilla has 19 places at the moment.

Going to do this construct on paper to see how it goes in reality. << half drawn last night 

Idea 12

This grew out of plan 11B.

This will be alot simpler than plan 11. Still has the issue of the BG crossing but we explained that will be seldom used. I has the same total trackage as well, if anything slightly more. It is in face about the same as plan 7, just folded inside itself to achieve an external rectangle shape. This is more of the paperclip approach with a internal peninsular. this layout would be about 20ft x 36ft in size. It has more on scene trackage than plan 11 A or B and keeps the scenes in order.

This construct allows a BYPASS of the staging ! This means you can keep train running around when changing trains and means little time without a train on scene.

The peninsular would be several modules in size. Capacity about the same as plan11 is aimed for. Operator access is a lot better.

Three operators can handle the layout when quiet but we can allow for:

  1. SG Yard
  2. BG Yard
  3. BG Mainline 1
  4. BG Mainline 2
  5. SG Mainline 1
  6. SG Mainline 2 


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