Delving deeper

Having established the location of the prototype station that Grande is modelled after I have been doing a bit more research. The station is Tacna, in the south of Peru, and the railway runs from there to Arica in Chile. This puts it very much in the area of South America that my fictional country of Sierra Oculta is supposed to be located.

The compact station is hemmed in on all sides by buildings and trains depart via a neat gateway and some distance of street running before reaching their own right of way. This street running could be incorporated into the layout by modelling the sides of the cassette as city buildings.

The image above shows the prototype and highlights the key buildings, station (1), carriage shed (2), goods shed (3), loco shed and turntable (4 & 5) and gateway (6). The yellow outline beyond the gateway indicates the cassette for transferring trains to Centrales.

The gateway and the balconied building just inside the station compound at Tacna are almost certainly unique but I’ve noticed when watching videos and looking at photos of South American stations that a walled and gated compound is not an uncommon feature. So, even though Grande is not a replica of Tacna, I would want to incorporate representations of these very distinctive buildings into the model.

The young lady in the second gateway image is Katy, to whom I’m indebted for use of the photos to illustrate the blog entries about Ciudad Grande.

Back to the model, I’ve built the baseboard and had another go at the track plan. As usual dreams on the computer screen don’t quite turn out the same when tried out full size on MDF so there has been some further rationalisation to fit the width of the baseboard. The loco shed has been reduced to two roads and the carriage shed is now a single road with a lean-to over the EOT for overnight stabling of a railcar.

1-Carriage shed and lean-to. 2-Goods shed. 3-Station. 4-Loco shed. 5-Turntable. 6-Gateway.

Even with the much simplified track plan the main features of Tacna have still been retained and this is the design I’m going with when track laying commences. Not shown on the plan, but needed for the FCPyF version of the station are loco fuelling facilities. These will occupy part of the space between the loco shed and the goods shed with the remaining area being used as a team track.

At first glance the station may seem to be a bit dysfunctional but it should be remembered that this is a colonial style long distance narrow gauge railway with only a few trains each day. There’s really no great hurry with the shunting of incoming trains using of a station pilot, coaches being moved to the carriage shed for cleaning and servicing or freight cars being transferred to the goods siding, before the train engine heads for the coaling stage and then to the shed for stabling. Out-bound trains would be made up, again using the pilot loco, an hour or so in advance of departure time. Even incoming railcars need to be unloaded and turned before they’re ready for reloading and heading out again.

Everything happens at an easy pace in Sierra Oculta, Liverpool Street style “Jazz” trains these are not!

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About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food. Divorced, three kids, one dog.
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