While reading Andy's ideas on the operational concept, once again, I had one of those
And my idea is: Ommit the dock and make the ship the whole layout!
First the "track plan". I'm thinking about something like a gniffyfied RAILSHIP III (->
). The RAILSHIP III has five parallel tracks per deck and uses "swivel platforms", that's what we would call a sector plate, to distribute the waggons (oh please, don't even think about the elevators!). The sector plates are situated in the bow which already is conveniently wedge shaped.
The model would be three tracks wide, with two shorter side tracks and a longer middle track. Two funnels near the stern could provide an excuse why the side tracks can't have the full length. A stern ramp would provide the connection to the outer world, i.e., casset storages. An onboard switcher would be mandatory, because any problem with the landbased locos would immedeately ruin the ferrie's tight schedule.
This is the "track plan" for a 3-2-2 Inglenook ferry:
I have a ship looking somwhat like, e.g., the Sjøveg ex. Harøy (->http://www.bilauksjon.no/nma.dll/Boat?ID=34
) on my mind (which would nicely corespond with Andy's background story), or maybe something more like Macduff's inter island ferry (->http://www.macduffshipdesign.com/ferries/5.htm
). The latter has the advantage of having next to none shelter deck, thus providing open access and an unblocked view on the railway action. With a shelter deck covering most of the tracks you'd have to make either the deck or the hull sides removable.
Well, that's it, just a weird idea, but maybe someone likes it.