Just a few thoughts on hands-On operation, following the launch of my new layout on Saturday (see posting elsewhere).
The layout was designed to be 'Hands-On' operating, for a number of good reasons:
1) I have previously operated Chris Krupa's "Chirbrook Minerals" layout (OO9) and found that I enjoyed that method of operating - it is a lot more involving on very simple layouts - and I have a simple layout.
2) Speed and ease of construction. Hey it's the first layout I've ever got to a reasonably comple state - by sticking firmly to the KISS principle.
3) The 'real' line would have operated the points using point levers by the track, and used simple link and pin couplings - so it is being proyotypical.
4) Combining the comments above, the more involving operation makes up for the simplicity of the layout.
The result was that points are operated by Caboose Industries 'ground throws' - which look great, and are very satisfying to use. Couplings are those supplied with Steve Bennet's wagons.
The point levers are great, but the couplings.... Well this is a shunting layout, and, er, difficulties were had by both operators
Now I like the look, concept and simplicity of the simple Link and Pin couplings, but operationally they are not 'user friendly' for a shunting layout. I've given this a good deal of thought, and have come to the conclusion that the buffer/couplers are just too small.
There are a number of problems:
a) Wagon spacing. My feeling is that the couplings are actually too short, as the wagon bodies are too close together. Using the Sidelines Mine Tubs (I have a rake of 5 for coal traffic) when buffered up the bodies look too close together - certainly a scale 6 inches or less appart (in 1:24) - which would make coupling by scale hand difficult.
b) The closeness of the wagon couplings makes operation by 'overscale' equipment even more difficult.
c) The links supplied are over long in order to help get around sharp curves - but I have a minimum radius of 24 inches (Peco Y points) and still occasionally had trouble when PROPELLING wagons. The problem appears to be that it is the links and not the buffer faces that carry the load of the train being propelled.
I want to stick with Link and Pin and not go down the automatic route.
What I intend to do is experiment with larger couplings. Dave Cox used link and pin couplings to great success on his 7mm scale Pentre Tramway, but the photo's that I have of the layout show that he was using much larger buffers than I am in the larger scale, thus overcomming the problems I outlined above.
Has anyone else come to the same conclusions? and or achieved a solution?
If I come up with a working alternative, is there any interest in 'mass production'
I am aware that Steve does supply a 'semi-circular' coupling (for locomotive use). Is there any feedback on the use of these?
Awaiting your responses