I designed NSLBF15 to incorporate two separate branch line stations within one traditional oval type N gauge layout. The design was intended to enable prototypical pick up goods and light passenger services in a very small space. This compact model railway layout measures just 122cm x 63cm.
This N gauge layout was intended for very simple analogue use, an ideal first layout for a beginner. The branch line oval allows continuous run so that the operator can simply sit and watch a train travelling through the model countryside. The track arrangement on this branch line oval also allows lots of other typical rural branch line movements, three sidings for shunting rolling stock and a passing loop to allow a locomotive to run around its train to take it back along the branch line in the opposite direction.
The long siding running from the passing loop has a removable buffer stop. By simply removing the buffer stop it would be possible to extend the layout with additional scenic boards or a fiddle yard.
All track components were lightly pinned in place so that they could be lifted if required, for example to make it easier to convert the item to DCC control.
I designed the model railway stations to appear similar in some ways to suggest the same region, but also made them suitably different to give each its own identity.
One station was modelled as a simple small halt with poplar trees at the rear, a level crossing on one side and a small goods yard on the other. The level crossing with movable gates allows road vehicles to pass over the track to access various parts of the layout. The goods yard was designed with large yard areas around the two sidings where model railway accessories could be placed such as a goods shed, storage buildings, vehicles etc.
The other branch line station was created with a longer and deeper platform and a larger tarmac area at the rear. The track arrangement alongside the larger station was designed with a passing loop and a long siding. The long siding was built into the track plan to allow a full train or diesel multiple unit to be stored when out of use. A goods loading platform was constructed at the end of the siding which could alternatively be detailed as a locomotive servicing point, both a good use of corner space.
The flat tarmac areas at the rear of both stations were provided for car parking or to allow buses and commercial vehicles to collect/drop off passengers and goods.
The model scenery on this N gauge railway layout was designed with my usual rural theme but also to separate the branch line stations and railway features. When viewed close to track level from either long edge of the baseboard the station opposite is completely hidden by the elevated scenery in the middle of the layout. Most of the model countryside scenery was modelled with imitation rock formations, scratch-built trees, bushes and weeds.
Water features are a very attractive addition to a model landscape which I like to include where possible, so I added a large ripple effect imitation pond to this layout as a focal point.
I left one corner of the layout as a simple field where model livestock could be added but enhanced the other corners as fully modelled gardens featuring a vegetable patch, flower beds, ornamental trees, conifers and topiary. Both gardens were designed with a flat square of imitation concrete where any model house of appropriate size could be placed.