Newchapel Junction is a modular layout which may be set-up with or without a single-track branch line to either a branch-line terminus station or a large fiddle yard. For detailed views of the actual track layouts see the Track Plans page.
The main layout comprises the main terminus station, Newchapel Junction, which is connected to a double-track main-line circuit via a triangular junction.
Newchapel Junction is a large main-line station with 4 platforms which may accommodate up to 8-coach trains. A semi-automatic turntable and loco yard at the end of the station enables incoming engines to be released, turned and either go “on shed” or to be made available to take up their next duty. A goods loop around the back of the station permits freight trains of 20 wagons to be looped clear of the main line and propelled into the goods yard reception road.
The main running loops include another small station, Newchapel Town, which is located between two of the junctions forming the triangle. There is a connection from the main running loop to the other end of the large goods yard where near continuous shunting of incoming and outgoing freight trains takes place.
A busy sequence of passenger and freight train movements between the operators at the Newchapel Junction and Newchapel Town ends of the layout is controlled by combined train-describer block instruments.
Main Layout with Branch Line Terminus
When the layout is operated with the branch-line terminus attached, additional passenger and freight trains operate to and from Newchapel Junction and have to be slotted in between the main-line trains. Movements on the single-line section are controlled by block instruments and bell codes.
The branch-line terminus station, Sidport Regis, represents a typical Southern Railway station serving a small seaside town which is enjoying a growth in holiday traffic. Whilst the pace of life here is less frantic than on the rest of the layout, there is a frequent service of local passenger and freight trains together with the occasional excursion.
The station itself comprises two platform faces and a small goods yard. The semaphore signals, which are fully lit and motorised, together with the points are all controlled by a mechanically interlocked lever frame.
Main Layout with Fiddle Yard
A long six-road fiddle yard with a turntable at the outer end can be erected in place of the branch-line terminus. This enables a great variety of rolling stock to be displayed and run on the layout. Trains run from the fiddle yard every few minutes to Newchapel Junction where they are run round before departing to the main-line circuit. After circulating for a few minutes, they return to Newchapel Junction to be run round again before returning to the fiddle yard.
Experience shows that the fiddle yard attracts almost as much attention as the main layout as visitors often wish to study and discuss the rolling stock; this being most readily achieved when the trains are stationary and easily visible.