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About this blog

In 2023 members of Horsham Model Railway Club will be starting on a new venture building a 00 layout to finescale standards, not just in track but also in fidelity to prototype. The project aims to be a fusion between modelling a specific railway and a creative approach to using models of real buildings that can be seen in and around Horsham. Inspirations for this layout go back to some classics like John Ahern's Madder Valley (now in Pendon Museum) and Peter Denny's  Buckingham.


The name Chesworth comes from Chesworth House, now a social event and wedding venue just south of Horsham, but once, in an earlier form, the home of Katherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife. Chesworth is thus the name of the fictitious Sussex town that is the focus of the railway.


This blog will share plans and record progress. It is a club layout so anyone local(ish) who is interested in joining this project should contact the club via the club website or Facebook page or contact me through the messaging feature here.

Entries in this blog

Reflections from back at base

The Dorking show was an interesting experience, and back at base we had time to reflect. One surprising area of interest for visitors was our timber work. The Club chairman had offered us a curtain to modestly cover the baseboard legs but we turned it down, thinking that the "layout under construction" tag was better met by having everything open. It turned out to be a good decision. Many people asked about our designs.   The baseboards were discussed in an earlier blog, but as a remin


whart57 in Monthly Reports

First encounter with the general public

"Is it EM?"   That question, asked two or three times, was the least expected one. Our layout isn't but the question is a ringing endorsement of PECO's Code 75 bullhead track and how that is a major advance on what was offered before for 00 gauge modellers. The gauge may be wrong, but nearly everything else about this track is right. The result is that the trackwork of a steam era branchline can be reproduced effectively.   Good track means that it is worth getting the ballas

Decision time on priorities

August was a productive month, but there is still much to do to get the layout ready for the Dorking show, even as a work in progress job. We're hoping that some of the things we are trying to do are of interest to visitors, there will be plenty of other layouts with trains running on them through completed scenery. We can't escape from the fact though that making models of real buildings is a lot more time-consuming than throwing together a Metcalfe kit or that making trees from thin wire takes


whart57 in Monthly Reports

We have five Long Wednesdays left .............

The club chairman spoke to our team this week. There are going to be 22 layouts at the joint show with Dorking club on 30 Sept/1 October. We did say that we could make that 21 but were firmly told "no way". So over the next two months we will concentrate on making our efforts as interesting as possible as completion to exhibition standards is totally not feasible. If it ever was.   One of the issues we have had since the beginning is that Horsham club do not have a dedicated club room.

Melting in the heat, but we still make progress

June was a hot month, but we still got quite a bit done on the two "long Wednesdays". The first Wednesday, a short one, was a distraction night. No work was done on Chesworth - or the other layouts - while club members headed out in the fine evening air to play with live steam.     Unfortunately the footpath was the only surface smooth enough to get a decent run on. To be fair to the little Mamods though, the gravel on the car park was scale boulders. Maybe play with model ta

May's Progress

The vagaries of the calendar meant that the month of May had five Wednesdays, and as a result three of them were so-called Long Wednesdays when the club meets from 2.30 in the afternoon through to 9.30 in the evening. The work this month was pretty heavy on the carpentry front, which can really only be done on the meeting days when there are enough hours to make it worthwhile setting up.   Our carpenter, Lee, delivered the third baseboard frame at the start of the month meaning we now

From All Fools to Mayday - the April Report

After the Club's Open Day appearance, our target for April was to wire up the two baseboards we had. Additionally we had to do some prep work on scenic features.   The wiring was done on the two "Long Wednesdays" in the month. The layout is to be wired for DCC operation so the first task was to lay in the track bus. This was created using thick power cabling salvaged from an office rewiring many years ago. The cable was originally intended to carry 60+ amps so is a little bit overkill

A busy March

Well the Chesworth team took their place in the hall at the Horsham club's Open Day and despite it being April 1st did not make fools of themselves. The Wednesday before there had barely been any track laid, but after an extra "long Wednesday" (March 29, being the fifth Wednesday of the month, was supposed to be just an evening session) all the rail was down on the two baseboards so far constructed. This meant we had something to show for our work since January even if we couldn't actually run a

February progress

It's been a busy month for the still small team working on this layout. The first two baseboards have been built and the trackbeds cut out. As these tasks were done by two people and the pieces only came within touching distance on club nights, the process of fitting track bases to the open frames will happen in March. The construction of the baseboard frames using the sandwich technique has delivered light and strong baseboards. However some modification had to be made to the design to achieve

A start is made

Wednesday 18 January became the official start date of Horsham MRC's Chesworth project. That night there was a presentation - a complete Powerpoint jobbie beamed onto the wall with one of those computer driven projectors - to the whole club membership, and the following Wednesday work started in earnest.   (Horsham club meet on what are called "short Wednesdays" and "long Wednesdays" in St Leonard's Church Hall in Horsham. Short Wednesday meetings are from 7pm to 10pm (clear up starts

The concept behind Chesworth

The concepts behind the Chesworth layout are in two groups. For the club, the raison d'etre is to have a project that any interested member can join to learn, develop or show off their skills. Those skills can lie in baseboard building, track laying, scenery, kit building or even scratch building. All those are required for Chesworth. The club is also embarking on something new in that in its fifteen year existence it has not yet built a 00 finescale layout. For that reason the project is phased


whart57 in Plans and Concept

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