Layouts 2018

Melton Mowbray (North)

The following layouts are expected to be at our 2018 exhibition:

Avyn-A-Llyin (009).  The layout has Welsh origins, hence the name. The grounds of the ruined castle now belong to the golf club. Most of the buildings are scratch built, two of the roofs have genuine hand cut welsh slate, and three are thatched with plumbers hemp. The sea is dozens of coats of varnish on a mixture of sand and ballast. The track is Peco crazy track with Seep electrics and ballasted with a mix of granite, limestone, and sand.

Battledown (N).  The layout depicts Worting Junction and Battledown flyover, on the mainline past Basingstoke. The 4 track mainline from Basingstoke was opened in 1897, the tracks being Up Southampton, Up Salisbury, Down Salisbury and Down Southampton. The flyover carries the Southampton up line over the Salisbury tracks and gets its name from the local farm.

Bottle Kiln Lane (009).  Set in the 1930s running though English countryside serving a small canal and pottery. The pottery is based on the Coalport factory in Ironbridge. It uses Peco crazy track, with a mix of scratch built and modified Hornby buildings. Most of the locos and stock are scratch built.

Greenfield Sidings (OO). Greenfield Sidings is the F & D MRC’s OO gauge layout. It represents an area on the outskirts of a town where the lines of two different railway companies run alongside one another to a common station ( now disused ) in the town centre. The layout was originally designed to be non area specific but we have installed third rail electrification to the inner lines of the layout, thus moving the area to somewhere in or around Southern territory.

Guglingen (HO).   A German branch line terminus set around 1900. A variety of stock is used covering Barvarian, Prussian, and Wurttemberg State railways.

Harlyn Pier (7mm FS)  depicts the terminus of an imaginary (ex LSWR) branch line on the north coast of Cornwall not far from Padstow in the BR period circa 1960. The station is set on a quayside that connects to a ferry service from the adjacent dock, similar to the arrangement at Lymington Pier, which was the inspiration for the layout. The owner is one of the team that constructed “Harlyn Road” which has been successfully exhibited for more than 10 years. Harlyn Pier is in fact the often discussed harbour extension! The trackwork is all hand built from TimberTracks/C&L/Exactoscale components with the majority of the buildings being scratch built and based on examples from the Cornwall or Devon area. The signals and level crossing gates are all operational and interlocked with the point

The layout is run to a sequence which represents a busy summer Saturday but is in reality much busier than would have been the case in order to keep the public (and operators) entertained.

Helmthwaite and Chapel Lane (O).  Helmthwaite is a fictitious setting at the end of a short branch of the LMS in industrial West Yorkshire. There was once a through connection to the ex-LNWR line at Staincliffe, but economics forced the closure of the through connection in the early 1930s. What survives now, in the dark days just before the war, is a single platform passenger station notable for its elegant stairway descending from the booking office on Station Road, and a busy little goods yard which serves the needs of the still thriving industries of the West Riding. The same limited geographical space is shared with a high level LNER (ex-GNR) coal yard, Chapel Lane. Because there was no space in the cramped town to provide a gradient route between the two levels, an inclined hydraulic wagon hoist was built to facilitate the movement of coal wagons from the LNER’s high level sidings to the LMS goods facility below.

The dominating features are the two large industrial buildings, Osborn Engineering and Helmthwaite Mills at the Helmthwaite end of the layout, and the fully operational wagon hoist at the Chapel Lane end. The whole is backed by stonework arches typical of the area. Passenger traffic into Helmthwaite is the workforce coming and going to and from the industries and a few local residents; for some reason the LMS continues a high intensity service throughout the day. The LMS good yard is always busy with general merchandise and the materials consumed or produced by the local industry, while thirty feet above bustling LNER locos haul full coal wagons into Chapel Lane yard.

Hobbs Row Halt (009) is a classic English country micro-layout, complete with thatched cottage and “chocolate box” garden. It started out as a simple circular piece of track on an MDF “Wobble Board”, obtained from the local charity shop, that I used for running in new locos. But after placing a couple of surplus buildings from my Tansey Bank layout inside the loop to check on coach clearances, I realised that a bit of scenery would not go amiss, and Hobbs Row Halt is the end result. The cottage is from the Bachmann Pendon Little Chapel Cottage resin model and the magnificent trees are from the Realistic Modelling Materials range of ready to plant foliage.

James St (N) is an N gauge exhibition layout on a grand scale, supposedly located somewhere in the Midlands, mainly served by Midland and Eastern trains but with Western and Southern Region specials at times. It is set in early BR period and consists of a large terminus and dockyard coupled to a mid-level two track main line and a high level four track main line, and a single track branch line (which is used to reverse trains). All these are continuous, between which are large yards for freight and passenger stock. There is no hidden fiddle yard, so all trains can be seen at all times . The layout can be best viewed on all four sides and could be compared to having four separate layouts ! There can be 8 to 12 trains running at any one time providing lots of entertainment for the viewing public.

James Street terminus has six passenger platforms capable of taking 8 or 9 coach trains, plus three carriage sidings, and, on the opposite side of the platforms, a large coal and general traffic goods yard. A brewery has two private sidings behind a brick boundary wall. Crossing the station throat is an impressive single span girder bridge which effectively separates the two sides of James Street. On the opposite side of the bridge from the platforms there is a large loco depot capable of holding 30 locos with a working turntable, and another large goods yard with four arrival and departure sidings, a bonded elevated warehouse, a large goods warehouse with multiple tracks and platforms for van traffic, and a paved area for container traffic. As the lines curve to the right there is a large dockyard and industrial area, featuring four more arrival and departure sidings, warehouses for various traffic, an oil terminal and a dock where materials are transhipped. On the inside of the main line curve is a dairy, served by two private sidings from the end of the goods yard.

Kinlochlaggen (N).  The layout is based on a rural station somewhere in Scotland. The station has a passing loop and limited freight facilities. Trains frequently pass here and the layout can be operated in the steam/green diesel era, the BR Blue era, Scotrail era or as a preserved line. Buildings on the layout are principally Metcalfe but the aim is to replace them with structures based on actual Scottish station buildings. Kinlochlaggen is operated entirely by DCC control and does not have a control panel.

Laramie Engine Shed (US O) is an O-scale model railway layout depicting a part of the Union Pacific Engine Terminal at Laramie Wyoming as it was in the late 1950s.In the hot summers of 1957 & 58, the Union Pacific’s Big Boys (amongst the largest steam locomotives ever built) were brought out of store for their final moment of glory pulling massive trains from the Californian fruit harvest east over Sherman Hill between Laramie and Cheyenne in Wyoming. This layout aims to capture what it was like fuelling, watering and turning these monster beasts for this 50 mile each way shuttle.

Lower Exbury (P4)  is the terminus of the (fictitious) South Hampshire Light Railway, set in July 1952. Such a line could have been built from Totton to Exbury, with grandiose ideas to extend across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. It is a twig off this branch, serving a river wharf and nearby brickworks (off scene), which became the terminus when the proposed IoW extension was dropped, with only basic passenger and goods facilities being provided. On nationalisation in 1948 the Company became part of the Southern Region of British Railways and by 1952 the future is unclear as the local brickworks is facing almost certain closure and remaining traffic is relatively light. Services are worked by veteran pre-Grouping locomotives, elderly carriages and a typical assortment of wagons appropriate to the period.

Southern Hampshire was used extensively during the run-up to the D-Day landings in 1944. After the war the military quickly departed, although reminders of their presence still remain. Recognising that the whole line was now worn out, it was relaid with second-hand track lifted from wartime yards and sidings, giving the branch better track then it had ever had.

Melton Mowbray (North) (N).  The line through Melton Mowbray was a joint venture between the Great Northern and London and North Western Railway companies, opening for traffic in 1879. The Great Northern Railway built the northern part of the line, from junctions on the Nottingham to Grantham line, where one branch also ran north to their main line at Newark. The southern part of the line, from Market Harborough to Melton Mowbray was built by the LNWR, as an extension to their line from Rugby. In addition, there was a spur, some several miles south of Melton, to a terminus station at Leicester Belgrave Road. Traffic was diverse, coal and ironstone being the two major minerals conveyed by the railway, and, during the hunting season, the aristocracy would send their mounts and later arrive themselves at the rather grand station on the north of the town centre, very near to the cattle market which was also a major source of trade in the town. After WWII, as social conditions changed, the line gradually fell into decline and local passenger trains were terminated in 1953.

Also built as a joint venture, the model is run in two eras. The first is from 1948 to 1953, showing the line as it was with local passenger and freight traffic regularly passing through. However, we also imagine what things might have been like between 1957 and 1962 had the line come under the supervision of the Midland Region of British Railways following the Modernisation plan of 1955 and seen the dawn of the diesel age. In an attempt to revive usage, we imagine through trains were re-introduced from Northampton and Rugby to both Nottingham and Newark, the latter accessing the East Coast Main Line. The layout, like the line itself, was a joint venture.

Netherwood Sidings (O).  This layout represents the Woodhead line in its final years. The layout is based on a set of exchange sidings near Sheffield. The track plan is freelance but based on features taken from Rotherwood and Wath. The bridges, in particular, are based on the real ones in the Rotherwood-Orgreaves area. The layout has taken around ten years to build and features scale overhead line equipment. The stone buildings were made from foamboard covered with ‘no more cracks’ filler, scribed to represent the stonework. Other buildings are plasticard (signal box) or Ten Commandments (pway hut). 

The overhead wiring is the most obvious feature of the layout and was built from brass sections in the same way as we built the masts on Deepcar. Photographs of typical masts were used, taken from various books, and supplemented by measurements of the size of the steelwork which still exists at the Manchester end of the line. The wiring is to scale and consists of 28 gauge nickel silver wire for contact wire and 28 gauge copper wire for the intermediate and catenary wires. It is tensioned by small tension springs on the layout, but the real wiring was not. I found it necessary to tension the model wiring as the layout is kept in the loft where the temperature range is much greater than outdoors. The layout is controlled by a MERG DCC unit and all of the diesels have sound decoders and some have home made smoke units.

Pine Bluffs and Red Dot Mine (HO) is an American HO layout constructed by Alton Model Railway Group. It was designed from the outset as a series of modules each representing a section of the Pine Bluffs and Ceda Falls Railroad, a fictitious line based in Campbell County, Colorado in the 1950s. Exhibited today is currently the maximum extent of that layout with 3 distinct sections: Pine Bluffs Depot, Pine Bluffs Freight Yard and Red Dot Mine. The latter is the newest of the sections and in addition to the mine also features a through truss bridge over the Pacamac River and a truss bridge over the dried up bed of the Sworn Knee River.The Depot section includes a number of local industries to provide operational interest when worked together with the Freight Yard. The Freight Yard Section features a major passing loop on the route from Denver to Colorado Springs; a necessity for the single track main line. The loop was built in 1943 to handle the much increased traffic that was generated by the 2nd World War and the nearby Fort Baxter.

Based in 1956 the visitor will see trains hauled by both steam locomotives and first generation diesels. In addition to PBCFRR traffic you will also see through trains from Santa Fe and Denver & Rio Grande Western who have running rights on the line.

Shelvington and Rydes Hill (P4).  Modelled in P4, it is set in an imaginary location in West Surrey on the Southern Region, late 1970s or early 80s, at the end of an electrified line off the Portsmouth Direct from Worplesdon and a diesel branch back to Guildford completing the third leg of the triangle. Stock ranges from the usual outer suburban EMUs and DEMUs, plus unusual Southern vehicles on railtours or test workings.

South Walton (Photo Continental Modeller)

South Walton (N).  Australian prototype layouts are not that thick on the ground in Australia and here in the UK they are a decided rarity. It represents a small town station on the single track northern main line of the New South Wales Government Railways. The track plan follows prototype NSW  practice, being an amalgam of features from several stations along the line.

The layout is set in the early 1980’s, with the simplified signalling system of the period, featuring locomotives and rolling stock in the distinctive Tuscan Red and Candy paint scheme running on the main line, which passes typical NSWGR line side features – a grain silo, a goods loop with depot and shed siding, the station with loop and a mineral branch. As is the practice on the NSWGR, all tracks are bi-directional. Typical New South Wales features include the distinctive  red-brown rocks, buildings and bridges built in timber, sheep being herded from horseback, (a few) rather washed out looking trees and, of course, the kangaroos and koalas.

Studland (Lego, 37.5 mm gauge). This is a layout to show Lego as a serious railway scale. It features a mix of Lego kits and freestyle, of particular note is the football stadium and the station.

Sydney Gardens (OO) is a 4mm scale, OO layout depicting the double-track Great Western main line through the famous Sydney Gardens in the City of Bath. It has been built by a consortium of experienced modellers associated with Gas Cupboard Models who collectively call themselves The Park Keepers. They have modelled the prototype scene as accurately as possible using traditional and modern scenic techniques, including custom-made papers, lasercut bridge parts and 3D printing. A large fiddle yard enables a constant stream of trains passing through in both directions.

Tansey Bank (009).  In its present form Tansey Bank represents the main terminal station and engine shed on a preserved ex-industrial railway somewhere around Warwickshire in the early 1960’s. All of the rolling stock operating on the layout is either kit-built or a ready-to-run item. The stock has been fitted with Greenwich couplings which have proved reliable and given automatic uncoupling on a layout that is hopefully free from “the hand of God”. Every part of the layout has been weathered with acrylic paint, brown ink and matt varnish to create a uniform work-stained appearance.

Trumper’s Halt (G) depicts a garden layout that any member of the public can build in their home, sadly no British or English stock can be brought off the shelf but live Steam and kit bashed locos are available, there’s plenty of American, German and Swiss stock that can be obtained from the various traders that sell G-Scale stock. We have a Market Square and four of the six houses that cover the fiddler yard are all hand built likewise the Station and public house.

Watt Estate (O9) is built to O9 scale which is 7mm to the foot on 9mm track and represents a fictitious fifteen inch gauge estate railway such as that built for the Duke of Westminister at Eaton Hall by Sir Arthur Heywood in 1895. Estate railways carried all sorts of materials, produce and even passengers around the estate as well as to and from the local main line station. The variety of loads carried makes for an interesting model; look out for milk, potatoes, fruit, coal, timber, bricks, manure and more.

The basic layout consists of two distinct scenes one featuring the estate works yard with office, loco shed and workshop, smithy and stables and the other a bridge over a stream. Optional modules include a farm, a vineyard, a charcoal burners camp, a woodland scene, a halt, a cottage and a vegetable garden. The modules on show at the exhibition are Upson Downs, Soo Ridge Farm, Murlow, Wheal Clamps, Wye Halt and Howt Works.

Shelvington Station