More planning and theoretical stuff: I prepared a block plan to scale and it looks like its feasible to fit in a folded 8 plan with a 1m minimum radius in 21mm gauge with two stations and perimeter staging in the available space. The basic reason for adapting a folded 8 design is to improve the illusion of distance between stations on a single track line, by increasing the time it takes a train to clear a section and the loco of a train shunting station A does not have to enter Station B while carrying out a shunting manouvre.
I thought it would be useful to look back at what worked and did not work in the past before, developing the plan further let alone starting track laying. A U shaped N Gauge layout in an 11X11 room came closest in terms of meeting my operating requirements for a CIE secondary main line in the 60s & 70s with a small intermediate junction station open for passenger & seasonal beet traffic and a medium sized terminus open to passenger and freight traffic.
An operating sequence based on the Sligo Line with passenger, goods and mail services with the addition of a goods only branch serving a small port with an oil depot modelled off scene and seasonal beet. There was sufficient distance and visual separation between the two stations to avoid resorting to a "twice round" plan.
My second N gauge iteration was an American looped 8 layout based on the Delaware & Hudson Railroad in the mid 1970s a Class 1 Railroad that acted as a funnel for traffic between Quebec/New England the Mid-West, Eastern & Southern States the center piece was a large yard where trains were re-marshaled and motive power changed a very different kettle of fish from a secondary Irish main line. The layout was designed with perimiter staging with the staging yard immediately behind the main yard and a scenic section with a large steel trestle and a small town with crossing siding and a spur serving a coal fired power station. The illusion of distance was reasonable taking 3-5 minutes for a freight to work at scale speed in either direction between the main yard and staging, but also capable of Scaletric operation by finescale modellers!
In practice the main focus was marshaling and running 6-8 through freights in an operating session, as a consequence there was seldom time or the inclination to switch the local industries or stage "meets" at the crossing siding, though it was used as a refuge for locos on pusher service out of the main yard. A Montreal-Washington express freight or a Buffalo-Newark Intermodal was much more exciting than switching a grain elevator or power station!
My current American Narrow Gauge garden railway is a much more relaxed operation a large oval around the garden with two small and one large town or yard fed by a branch from a storage yard in the garage/garden shed. Separation distance is good except between two of the yards where a loco switching a long train will occupy most of the section. While operation is mainly out and back between storage and the main yard, I am starting to explore the option of operating a trip or turn from the main yard to the two smaller turns, the main limiting factor at the moment is insufficient stock and the chore of working everything back to the garden shed at the end of a Sunday operating session. This Sundays operation session was interesting I ran a through freight behind a 2-8-2 which ran-round and round while I was mowing the lawn and other gardening. Then switched the cars into the yard & turned the loco at lunch time, ran an empty livestock special from storage to the main yard behind a small 2-8-0, picked up some empty gondolas, then worked a turn dropping off the stock cars at one town and the gondolas at a second, before running back with the caboose.
Finished gardening then ran a "caboose hop" with a small 4-6-0 to run a stock special with the stock cars. 2-8-0 then ran out collected the gondolas before marshalling all the cars in the yard into a train to be double headed with the 2-8-2 after tea. Final runs were a bit tricky as it was getting dark and both stock special and freight were too much for the locos on the 4% grade to the shed and I was not in the mood for sending out another loco in pusher service or particularly wanted to "double the hill"
How this will work with a 4mm layout I am not sure, this sort of operating model requires a lot more rolling stock than a simple continuous run layout watching trains run round and round, does the garden railway satisfy my urges for realistic operation and small scale modelling my kit/scratchbuilding urges and may not bother to operating a 21mm gauge model railway if I ever get around to building on which is what has largely happened during the last 15 years with Keadue my Irish narrow gauge layout.
CIE bought a pair of mini-snow ploughs for the 071s following the blizzard & big snow in January 1980.
Dublin was basically cut off from the rest of the country for a week with most of the main roads blocked, though CIE managed to keep most of the main lines open.
On the day following the blizzard CIE ran a special from Cork with emergency food supplies for Dublin. The Sligo line took a week to clear mainly on account of fallen trees.
In the larger scales, if it is there, you are duty bound to model it, especially if it can be seen from a foot away. Hence bigger stuff not really a bonus for the eyes - you can include so much more and it is what gives bigger models more character.
Nice trick with the home made split pins, Eoin. Another one to remember!
As for the loco, it is really coming together and each fresh bit of gingerbread makes it that bit better. Am also drooling again
Nothing, Rangermouse, nor was there ever apart from a handful of small makeshift ploughs to be attached to fronts of locos. We get so little snow it isn't worth the money buying them. Northern Scotland, however, is a different matter with heavy snow virtually every winter.