There's an interesting section in the EM Gauge Society manual looking at prototypical railway goods handling in the 1950s. I read it with interest as I'm keen to find out as much as possible about prototype operating practise - both to inform the way I construct the model and also, later, the way I operate it.
Currently my plan, as the track plan shows, is to have a simple two-road goods yard adjacent to the station platform. My initial thoughts were that I would incorporate a goods shed, some coal stacks, and a cattle dock, with a yard crane for general unloading. The question is where to position these things in a way that allows for prototypically correct operation.
I had sketched in on my plans to have the coal stacks adjacent to the goods shed road, but I'm wondering how realistic this is - I don't know how long coal wagons would be left here for unloading comparative to vans in the goods shed, or on the other hand whether goods sheds were still used for unloading of railway vehicles by this stage?
Is the positioning of the cattle dock adjacent to the loop spur a realistic location? I have seen similar positionings on prototype track plans of terminus stations. Were cattle still being transported by rail in the 50s/60s?
Basically, there are a lot of details I still need to find out about before I start attacking the model. One thing I am aware of is that the yard sidings need to be spaced far enough apart to allow vehicle access between them for loading and unloading. I need to take this into account when laying the track.
I'm also still concerned that the goods yard may look a little cramped as laid out on the track plan. Ideally I'd like the yard entrance to be moved further back along the approach line, but this also means pushing back the engine shed, and so on, which encroaches on the second basebaord, means more tracks crossing the baseboard join, and also reduces the perceived lenth of running line from the fiddle yard to the station throat. I know it's got to be a compromise - I don't want the entire layout to just be station without any 'run-in' but at the same time I don't want things to look artificially cramped. (Mind you, compared to the initial ideas I had of squeezing all this onto a 12" wide baseboard this is already spacious!!)