Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Some thoughts about a Car Float Layout

It's no secret then that I am quite taken with that image of the Naksup wayfreight on the car float. Plenty of inspiration to be had in that photograph. Short prototype length trains in a small space. I figured you could fit the design in about four feet in length in HO scale. I also figure that you could probably fit the concept into an APA box in Z scale.
But before I get too carried away with the scheme lets look at what you'd get in your small space layout. The trackplan is as simple as it gets. Two sidings. You don't even really need any switches. That is the root of the problem with the scheme. If you look at the layout from the point of view of a person who has no idea of what the layout is about would see a locomotive push and pull cars on and off the car float. Not terribly exciting, I'm sure you'll agree.
We need something more to lift the layout above the ordinary. To make people want to take a closer look.
How about making the car float move? Not too difficult a task for some clever modellers I'm sure. I bet there's several different ways to go about making the carfloat move. Those who know me will know I believe in operating features to lift the visual appeal of small layouts.
That would really make the layout different. But where would the carfloat go to? It would have to go offstage somewhere like the trains appear from offstage. I'll leave you to think up your own schemes I have my own ideas.
But when it comes down to it you're still only shoving wagons on and off the car float not terribly interesting operation for the operator.
So lets make a bit more of the shoving of the cars on and off the car float. Take a look at this image of the dock at Woodfibre British Columbia, there's a small yard right alongside. This is a promising development. This could be a very interesting way of going about building on the scheme. Operation would be considerably expanded over the original concept. A locomotive brings a cut of cars into the yard where it is sorted prior to being loaded on the car float. A loaded carfloat arrives, the cars on the float are changed out for those on the dock and the carfloat leaves, then the locomotive leaves with train that was on the float. Sounds pretty good doesn't it?
That's just my thoughts, thats how I would approach the idea.


  1. I wonder if you could combine that idea with something from the Shunting Puzzles website?

  2. Quite definitely. The dockidse sidings could be an "inglenook" type plan and the car float a "tuning fork" It would make for a very interesting puzzle...