Gavin and the layouts
After a break of some 25 years I re-found railway modelling and started looking around for something to model. I spent my early years in Dorset and many happy days at Poole and Bournemouth stations watching the trains go by and waiting for the unusual. Nearly everything was blue and grey and 90% of the locomotives were class 33’s. I did do quite a lot of walking as well and managed to walk a long way from Poole towards Blandford and from Blandford both north and south on the old S&D track bed. That was the inspiration and so my journey to model some of the stations in that part of Dorset started.
The first layout of Broadstone started well enough. I had to make a number of compromises with the junction to get the operation as I wanted it but ended up with something I was rather proud of but at 10 by 2 it was larger than I really wanted. I had managed to get most of the features I was looking for included including the golf course. Then disaster struck, the bedroom i had been using was recovered for use by the returning daughter and I had to vacate to my study where the max length feasible was only 8 feet. Off it went into the roof to be recalled when space again became available. Alas something didn’t like the layout and it became mouldy so has now been scrapped, At that point I wasn’t taking many photos so not a lot of evidence but the track plan lives on and keeps appearing as I get new ideas.
I then started work on Sturminster Newton, great location for a smaller layout, single track in and off scene. Two passing loops, a few sidings and a relatively short station area to model. The first version was fine but I was plagued by poor running, derailments and some of the buildings didn’t really look right to me. I finished Crawley Yard at the beginning of 2014 and before starting on Shillingstone made a conscious effort to rebuild Sturminster. I re-laid the Fiddle Yard using Copper strip along the board joins and also re-laid the curves on the end. I replaced the bridge and redid the station buildings. I added the cattle Yard and Dairy and used Static grass, grass clumps and a revisited tree set to reinvigorate the look and feel of the whole layout. The biggest change was perhaps the removal of the photographic backscene which was never a good fit . With a base blue with the clouds sprayed with the airbrush and the outline of Hambledon hill in the distance I’m really pleased with this as it sets off the layout well.
Crawley Yard came about after much thinking, I’d been wanting to build a Modular layout that I could exhibit with the West Sussex N Gauge group for some time but after building Sturminster I really wanted to build based on a prototype rather than a fictitious location. Going past it regularly on the train helped with the decision and it was a perfect fit with the 4 track main line running from North to south for the London to Brighton line and the yard serviced by some access roads and having two main sidings and industries. I regularly posted about the layout on RM Web and seeing this work disappear down the threads became the catalyst for retaining the work on this website.
Crawley Yard was followed by Shillingstone, I was given the buildings for xmas in OO so it seemed wrong not to use them I quickly realised that my 8 foot space was going to have to be compromised even for a relatively short station like Shillingstone. I started off with C&L Finescale track and points but the points are a fair bit longer than the Peco ones so I compromised with those to get the track plan correct. At the time I was building this there was a challenge on RM Web for modular OO layouts so I built two ends for the layout, Lambs Farm Bridge on the north and a run away from the station on the south. This went to one modular meet where it performed as expected but I never manged to get around to making fiddle yards for each end. This is currently in the garage and may be for some time.
The next project was Wealden Cement, I posted about this on the N Gauge Forum as a design but haven’t been inspired to post this into the build forum. I made slow progress but hampered by two class 04 shunters not being very good starters. With the track down, Dapol Magnets in place for uncoupling this is ia shunting festival with exchange sidings, transfer roads and storage an loading sidings for the presflos. The Class 04’s are chipped and when moving fine but getting them started isnt good. The layout is now finished and been to its first two exhibitions and waiting for some new Hunslet 0-6-0 shunters from the N Gauge society to reach full potential
Whilst I’d been prevaricating over Wealden Cement I’ve been allocated a bedroom to use and had installed my first “home Layout” Two Stones, This included an N elevation for the fiddle yard, Models of Shillingstone and Broadstone on each side of the room and a yard at the end based on Templecombe. Alas a house move is underway and this is now all in Storage waiting for the next opportunity to set up.
I regularly exhibit on my own and with the Horsham and West Sussex clubs and you can see the shows planned and attended on the other pages