Wednesday, February 24, 2016

APA Micro Layout (Part 11) Operation

After three months of building, my Micro Layout for the contest of the german modelrailroad magazine MIBA is finally finished.

The track arrangement is a so-called Inglenook switching puzzle. More details about building and operating this kind of layout may be found on Adian Wymann's The Model Railways Shunting Puzzles Website.

The photo above shows the entire layout in a space of 70 x 30 cm (2'4" x 1')

The fiddle yard has the same dimensions but is not scenicked .... yet. The rules for the contest only mentioned a fiddle yard, the same size as the layout, attached to one side or half the size on each side. The two tracks through the crossing are the drill tracks.

The advantage of the APA boxes is that they are real boxes with a lid. I used the boxes sideways so there is more height for the layout. The box lids serve a double purpose, dust and damage protection.

 The interior of the boxes are lighted with one fluorescent tube each, attached to the valance.

As for operation, I kept it simple. The minimal Inglenook that I have calls for five cars, placed on random spots on the layout. Three cars are to be switched into a departing train. There are random car generators on the internet to select the cars, but this involves a computer next to the layout. I simply added one car for total of six. I also choose cars in different colors. I painted a wooden dice with the same colors than the cars. This is my random selector. On a sheet of paper I only note the order in which the cars are to be placed behind the locomotive.

At the beginning of an operating session, the six cars are placed randomly on the layout. Now I throw the dice. Then I note the color of the first car. Then the second and the third. Now I switch the cars in the order I have thrown the dice. This implies some challenging switching moves, as the remaining cars must be replaced where they stood initially.

The original Inglenook with a 5-3-3 arrangement generates some 40,000+ configurations. My version still 120. That's enough for some relaxing killing time.

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