Friday, 26 January 2018

Fiddle Yard Planning

As half my fiddle yard for Nystrup Gravel has been swallowed up by progress (being used to build Banke's Bakelite) I'm currently without anywhere to store trains with my modules set up in exhibition mode. Consequently I have been wondering how to design a new yard.
A full fiddle yard showing the very limited facilities. A new one doesn't need to be larger, but I consider adding a bit more protection in the form of a clear vinyl screen towards the viewing side.


My old fiddle yard was two naked 80 cm modules with four tracks fanning out from a set of points - a very primitive affair with trains stored in full view. At exhibitions I have observed that many visitors spent almost as long time at my fiddle yard as at my landscaped modules. While that could be due to my old fashioned landscaping abilities, I choose to think it's because they like to see the stored trains. As I wouldn't dream of hiding trains from viewers I have been playing with the idea of keeping my fiddle yard open for viewing. I have even thought of ballasting the yard to avoid my stock being photographed in the 'bare wastes of plywood'. As I like to have a firm connection to prototype practise, my problem was that I hadn't been able to find a Danish industrial narrow gauge railway with four long parallel tracks arranged like a fiddle yard. Until today.
Aerial photograph of 700 mm gauge holding tracks north of Saxkøbing sugar factory in May 1954.The tracks have an estimated capacity of over 200 bogie wagons, each track having a length of approximately 275 m. The tracks are nearly full as not many wagons were in use outside the beet harvesting season from September to January. This real life fiddle yard was accessed by a triangular track layout allowing easy pick up of wagons from two directions. The sugar factory was located south of the road in the bottom of the image.
With the four track fiddle yard from Saxkøbing in mind I will carry on planning my new semi-landscaped fiddle yard. I consider adding a vinyl screen to provide a mimimum of protection.



The aerial photo above is one of a total of 42.700 taken in May 1954 covering all of Denmark.  The images were captured with the best equipment available to the British RAF from a height of 4500 ft. The complete collection is easily browsable on the internet. Get your own view of Saxkøbing sugar factory here and notice how you can compare with a current air (sattelite) view of the same area.

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