Warren Yard - 1 - Introduction

Discussion in 'Line Side Buildings' started by Jim Freight, Jan 24, 2022.

  1. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    Sep 9, 2019
    Back in 2005 I knew I wanted my layout to be 1960s steam, green diesel freight but how?

    This is often our biggest decision to make regardless of available budget, space or time and took me some time. In fact like many decisions that you feel should be easy but for some reason are not they are often solved by your sub-conscious throwing something at your conscious brain while it is in neutral whether asleep, on the loo, or quite out of the blue doing something completely different.

    By 2011 it was time to start the design properly, the shed was finally ready. Although my thinking pose on the loo, which could be entitled 'Der Finker' offers most solutions this time it was while on holiday in early 2012 with uninspiring weather and I was flicking through YouTube on a poor Wi-Fi connection that it happened. I came across a video of a large OO gauge layout with a significant marshalling yard, although the Wi-Fi connection was too poor to watch much of it there as soon as I got back home with good internet access it hit me with a wow, that is how to do it!

    The video was "North East model railway - Marshalling Yard Part1" by Doug Wilson (Ref 1.1)

    So a level marshalling yard it was to be, although gravity ones were mainstream in my chosen era (Ref 1.2) they are impractical in OO both due to physical dynamics and the huge space they require. No matter it 's my railway (Rule 1 applied), a modest flat horizontal yard it would be.

    I am now going to repeat an extract from "Realising a Dream - 1 - Overview" (Ref 1.3) as it is pertinent to this core component of my railway and the introduction to Warren Yard.

    Incidentally it is pure coincidence that it is geographically sited in the lower north east of England for the reason described below.

    The railway is centred on a marshalling yard out in the sticks attached to a busy trunk line which also sees some passing passenger traffic.

    Geographic location has become set in the north east of England based on the industries portrayed which in turn was dictated by what rolling stock was available RTR.

    Although I did enjoy building wagons in my youth, time and eyesight are no longer on my side to build a large fleet of wagons. These days I only build what I cannot buy RTR or modify from RTR.

    My preferred region is the Midland but most of my smaller freight locos working the branches are J94 with a number of J39 and J11 so coincidentally it has become biased to the Eastern region.


    The marshalling yard is primarily a hub for traffic to and from two branches to connect with the trunk line. The yard has loco servicing facilities for branch and visiting locos, a wagon repair works and a small PW yard.

    The industrial branch has rail interfaces to a motor works, heavy electrical engineers, a colliery, cement works, chemical works and two small scale industries at it's tail end.

    The port branch feeds various docks for general merchandise, concrete works, rail to road oil transfer terminal, grain silos, heavy mineral docks.

    It further leads on to a ferry port for international traffic, a larger colliery and steelworks which are all imagined by a fiddle yard.

    Generally I model just the rail interfaces of these industries and smaller docks.

    Local and Extended World

    As part of developing my railway I have created a local world of industries and docks and an extended world beyond the railway modeled via the modelers best friend the fiddle yard which represents all that cannot be modeled.

    For example a massive steelworks, colliery, international ferry port, national network and mainland Europe!

    The extended world provides customers and suppliers for the local world all of which I will be integrating into a computer based simulation that I am writing which will give the yard operational purpose.

    Version 1 has now been written and requires extensive data to be loaded into it to represent suppliers products, customers requirements and also simulate manufacturing times, wagon loading, wagon unloading and delivery times.

    The output of the program are requests for wagon movements, and these are acknowledged by simple tablets via Wi-Fi. This will be the subject of articles that will be in the Running Your Trains forum as it does not actually control the railway. That's my pleasure.

    How Warren Yard connects the various sections of my railway layout together is shown as a symbolic map, this is rather difficult to display on hand held devices so I have followed up with a second image which shows the details of each of the industries and docks symbols at a larger and hopefully readable size.

    1 Warren Rail Geographic.jpg

    The industry and dock labels enlarged.

    2 Industries Enlarged.jpg

    The Warren Yard

    The railway layout as a whole has become quite a rabbit warren of tracks (and for me with all the baseboard duck unders) as the Realising a Dream series illustrates and hence the name of the yard. It will also have plenty of rabbits in the grass mounds between the yard and the mainline especially as my preferred season is spring.

    The next image shows the overall main board level and the key components of the yard, I will expand on these in subsequent articles, and illustrate with more specific close ups of the track layout of each area as I progress.

    3 Warren Yard.jpg

    Ancillary Services

    Typical services that I have included are.

    Loco Services - coal, water, ash pits, sand, oil lamps, diesel oil, light maintenance and turning for branch locos shedded here and visiting locos passing through.

    Wagon Repair Works - An essential service of the marshalling yard for quick repairs of wagons that arrive faulty and especially those that warrant a a red card.

    PW Yard - a small yard which has a road reserved for a breakdown crane and associated wagons and a transit shed for transferring materials between road and rail. Two roads are supposed to be reserved for seasonal and spare wagons, except the PW crew keep grabbing all the space.


    This railway is pure fiction but attempting to be plausible, to this end I have been rendering the buildings into a common livery, I have endeavoured to make all the brick built buildings around Warren Yard to be of red brick with a yellow mortar and the woodwork painted green. Some structures are shown this way and others part way with the signal cabins in the 'old' livery.

    Why green, I like green and it is sympathetic with green around the railway, in some places there is a stark contrast between the yards and nature trying to cover the black, rust and general grime of industry.

    The water tower has modified brick colouring, green woodwork and the tank tweaked to crimson and cream, half way between the two. The loco shed is being depicted as undergoing a woodwork repaint, a builders truck is already there and some of the roof end boards are shown green while part is still shown ready for painting. I have some scaffolding to put up to aid the builders but still haven't got around to assembling it.


    That sets the scene about my railway as a whole, so next I move on to the describe the various aspects of its core, Warren Yard.


    1.1 Doug Wilson's "North East model railway - Marshalling Yard Part1"

    1.2 The Illustrated history of British Marshalling Yards

    Author: Michael Rhodes,
    Publisher: Haynes Publishing Group, 1988

    1.3 Extract from my "Realising a Dream - 1 - Overview"


    Next, Operation

    Discussion always :welcome:


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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2023
  2. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Dec 5, 2015
    Great read and your layout is well researched. I'm about to watch the attached video now. Thanks for sharing your insight to your amazing layout. :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:

    Cheers, Gary.
    Vinylelpea likes this.
  3. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    Sep 9, 2019
    Thanks again Gary, Jim :)
  4. ianvolvo46

    ianvolvo46 Staff Member Moderator

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    Dec 8, 2015
    :tophat::tophat::tophat::tophat: the video is superb thanks

    Ian vt
    Jim Freight likes this.

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