Monday, 26 May 2008

Narrow Gauge Intermodal Operations

If narrow gauge lines in the UK had survived as freight carriers it seems likely that they would have either adopted intermodal operations or made wider use of piggybacking standard gauge wagons. Intermodal operations are going to be easier to model so I've been thinking about what advantages they have over piggy backing. One advantage (which will also be an advantage in model form) is that require a smaller loading gauge. I would expect them to be cheaper too as piggybacking wagons would be more complex than intermodal wagons.

The earliest use intermodal on narrow gauge which I've found is on the White Pass & Yukon. In 1955 they started using 8'x8'x7' containers and modified narrow gauge flat cars to carry them (3 per car). They switched to 25' containers in 1965.

Modern Intermodal containers are 8' wide x 8' 6" high and come in various lengths. In the UK 20', 40' and 45' are used. A 20' container in 4mm scale that is 80mm x 32mm x 34mm. The Lyd2 approximately 29mm wide and 43mm high in 4mm scale so I reckon intermodal operations with 20' containers should fit into a loading gauge similar to the modern WHR.

A number of modern narrow gauge railways do use intermodal containers. All these lines have two things in common. Firstly they are the standard gauge for the area they serve and secondly they are all medium gauge railways such as 3' or metre gauge lines. I've not found a single 2' gauge line which handles intermodal traffic. The question is whether this is because carrying intermodal containers becomes impractical at that gauge or whether it is because there are no 2' gauge lines where was a demand.

After doing a bit of my own research I realised that looking at Andy's intermodal category which was partly responsible for me thinking about morden narrow gauge in the first place. His postings confirmed my thoughts on the advantages of intermodal over piggybacking. They also provided a good video of piggybacking in operation on a Polish NG railway.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A mock up


On the pizza layout I've added some more bits of cardboard to for the base of the hill and built a mock up of the cottage. It's not got a roof but it gives a better idea of what the finished layout will look like and has helped me think about how the cottage should look. I'm still thinking about how to model flint. I don't think the Wills cobblestone walling sheet it going to work after comparing the size and density of the pattern to some real flint walls.

Wills sheets:


A flint wall:

Flint Wall

So I need a new plan. Does anyone have any suggestions?