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Coastguard Creek - New layout | New Forest coast


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The Location

 

Those who saw my previous entry know that I've been planning a new layout for a couple of months! I've finally settled on an idea that I think is very promising (and has already been approved by the "domestic authorities"!). And what better place to base it on than the New Forest, where I live. More specifically, on the coast (where I don't live, sadly!). The New Forest coast is very pretty, stretching from Ashlett Creek (Southampton Waterside), around Calshot Spit, to Lepe, Lymington, and finally Hurst Spit. Remarkably, Ashlett Creek remains relatively untouched, sandwiched between the monstrous Fawley Oil Refinery to the north, and the power station (now in the process of being dismantled) just to the south!

 

The rest of the New Forest coastline also features some remarkable and historic locations; from the D-Day preparations just northeast of Lepe, to the RAF base at Calshot. Heading up the Beaulieu River a short distance we come to Exbury and of course the well known Buckler's Hard; a historic shipbuilding settlement remarkably still intact to this day. With so much history and beautiful coastline to choose from, I decided against my original idea of an alternate history of Lepe, instead choosing to build an entirely fictional location, albeit taking recognisable elements from all over the New Forest coast.

 

I've also taken a few elements from places far and wide; including the crane from Queenborough, Kent, and the wooden halt from Medina Wharf, IoW.

 

As to the name, well, I settled on Coastguard Creek as an amalgamation of the coastguard cottages at Lepe, and of course Ashlett Creek. I thought the alliteration was rather nice, in any case!

 

A quick note before I get started properly; this plan is subject to change, especially during the mock-up stage. The track plan has also not yet been tested, although I'm hoping that short wheelbase stock will allow a bit more freedom to use tighter radii curves. I am in the process of modifying the fiddle yard design, and have already made other adjustments since these screenshots/renders were taken, and I expect many more changes will come. More on those later...

 

Welcome to Coastguard Creek!

 

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Above: A front view shows how effective the large pub building and trees are at blocking the scenic exit; something I really struggled with on Sandy Shores due to its remote nature. Note how the rear coastguard cottages are each stepped up by 5mm to provide a bit of interest; this goes against the prototype, but you'll be amazed how much of a positive impact this subtle change has on the overall scene.

 

Coastguard Creek can sort of be looked as the standard gauge version of Sandy Shores; indeed there are a number of similarities. They both have lighthouses, they both feature a flat crossing, they both feature a quay and slipway, a similar setting, and finally a few quirky elements (in this case, a standard gauge dockside crane inspired by Queenborough Ship Breaker's and Chatham Historic Dockyard!). That said, there's a lot here that varies, including the addition of a ship breaker's yard (it was going to be a shipbuilding yard as a nod to Buckler's Hard, but setting the layout in the 40s/50s/60s persuaded me that a breaker's yard may be more suitable), as well as, unusually for me, a more or less rectangular baseboard! Also somewhat surprisingly is that the layout (in its current guise at least) is pure OO gauge; no narrow gauge. As much as I'd love to include a siding or two, I think it's really asking too much of the space available. Let's take a look at the plan!

 

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Above: The track plan isn't too complex, and only features four points and a crossing, and I think allows for a lot of shunting possibilities, with some limitations on headshunt lengths that will provide additional challenge! The focus is obviously on freight, with only a tiny platform for the coastguard cottages. Note that although there is no run-around loop, there is half of one; the other half provided by the sector plate. 1400mm is perhaps a little long for a single board, but not totally unmanageable, although I'm not sure it'll fit in my car without going over the front passenger seat (testing required). Perhaps part of the shipbuilder's yard will be a separate small board so that I can keep it more compact. The 600mm width is ideal, although I have already made plans to angle the fiddle yard forward by 15 degrees (as well as other alterations).

 

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Above: The ship-breaker's yard on the left sits on it's own island, in effect creating a separate scene entirely; this is another way to help divert attention away from the scenic exit. I also plan to have a lot of scrap parts from boats lying around, and many other details in this area to keep the eyes busy! I'd also like to add a path on the river side of the pub so that patrons don't need to walk across the railway quayside. The pub itself is of course "The Jolly Sailor", to be found at Ashlett Creek.

 

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Above: The ship breaker's yard is a work in progress, but is inspired a clip I fondly remember of a steam loco exiting such a building at I think Chatham Historic Dockyard. Something tells me that wouldn't fly in today's world! Knowing nothing about ships, let alone ship breaker's yards, I'm very much open to suggestions for this area.

 

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Above: The gate to the ship breaker's is perhaps not in the most convenient place for locos using the quay siding, but either way I hope that it will be operable from the control panel via a servo. I've never had animations on any layout, so this will be new territory for me!

 

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Above: The halt is inspired by Medina Wharf Halt on the IoW. I've added a nameboard for two reasons; first, because I wanted one, and secondly, because much of the land along the New Forest coast is owned by wealthy landowners. I'd bet that even if they couldn't convince the railway to pay for a proper platform, they would at least demand on a smart nameboard! In any case, rule 1 of course applies...

...coaching stock will likely be a sole 4 wheeled brake coach (one of the gorgeous upcoming Hattons Genesis coaches!) that will form the leading portion of a mixed train.

 

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Above: A well-known structure I wanted to include was the Watch House at Lepe. As mentioned in the last post, this was originally used to check for smugglers going up the Beaulieu River. The coastguard cottages in the background and sloped concrete sea defences either side of the watch house are also from Lepe. As mentioned earlier, despite having so many inspired elements, in the end I chose not to call the layout Lepe; I learnt from building Calshot that giving a layout a real life name will immediately draw in unfair comparisons! I've gone through a number of names, including Coweshot (Cowes & Calshot), Calshot Creek, and Lepe Pier among others, before setting on Coastguard Creek.

 

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Above: A semi-overview shot shows another angle proving the effectiveness of the various view blockers. A lot of foliage will be needed to disguise the proximity to the backscene. I don't think I'll ever manage a working crane, but I'll still need to be wary that no structure gets in the way of its yaw!

 

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Above: A high view of most of the layout shows the curved nature of the track plan and various stepped levels to provide more visual interest. The seemingly random shapes to the left of the watch house (boathouse) will be rock armour. Obviously buffer stops will be needed on both sidings and the headshunt!

 

Final thoughts and adjustments

 

I've already mentioned how there are a few adjustments I'd like to make. The most drastic of which is a redesign of the fiddle yard. The screenshot below shows one idea...

 

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Above:  The fiddle yard redesign from this morning. I can already foresee a few problems; notably that two of the three sector plate tracks (the front two) would ideally need to be kept clear of stock for smooth operation! The orange dictates that only cassettes aligned with the centre road and matching orange/green track will be aligned w/power. As you can see, I'm starting to lean heavily towards a cassette system; Graham Muz shared a photo of his wonderful layout Canute Road Quay on Twitter, and he seems to utilise a cassette system. I'll admit, it's something I never thought I would build, having many times spoken about how I don't trust myself handling stock! Suffering numerous problems with my turnplate on Sandy Shores means I may actually scrap the sector plate entirely and just build a bunch of cassettes; it would certainly make life a lot easier!

 

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Above: The current control panel looks like this, and will be recessed into the fiddle yard board (requiring flying leads to the layout). As you can see, I've tilted it back by a few degrees to give a slightly better line of sight. Note that I've included extra isolation sections on headshunts, and have also included two rotary switches; one to change the polarity of the flat crossing, and one to open/close the gate!

 

Other potential adjustments include removing the rightmost curve in the baseboard, and bringing the backscene around that end at more of an angle so that it's not so obtrusive.

 

And finally...

 

Some may wonder why on earth I've put so much effort into doing an almost complete 3D model. Whilst for some people that may make the act of physically producing the layout pointless, for me, the focus is always on making sure I know the design works before I start wasting materials. I find a lot of fun in the design phase, but I get just as much fun during the construction of the layout. I do not lose any interest in building a project even if I plan almost everything beforehand as seen here. A large percentage of people will likely think the opposite, which is absolutely fine by me; each to their own!

 

As mentioned, there are certainly aspects that could be improved upon, and the track plan will definitely need to be mocked up and tested to check it fits the space; but I feel I'm finally heading in the right direction! Time will tell...

...in any case, as always, I always appreciate thoughts and suggestions; so do pop some in the comments below!

 

For additional screenshots/renders, including a bonus feature showing the designs that led up to this point; see the full entry on my external blog.

 

 

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Cassettes every time. I’m curious how you’ll be able to square the carefully placed small buildings, which I approve of wholeheartedly, with the bulk a ship being demolished.261AEB81-73E6-427A-B82F-6824672609AD.jpeg.fda881f96a0b7ac54c56e154f46a5f25.jpeg

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31 minutes ago, Northroader said:

Cassettes every time. I’m curious how you’ll be able to square the carefully placed small buildings, which I approve of wholeheartedly, with the bulk a ship being demolished.

 

That's a remarkable photo; complete with a self-propelled steam crane! Thank you!
And indeed, there's not a whole lot of room there at the front... I suspect it will be a mere suggestion of the works involved; more like the piles of scrap and old chain etc on the left hand side of the photo you've shared. I suppose if I was able to widen the layout I could get a bit of chopped up hull at the front, but it'll still be very tight. This is where the mock-up stage will be handy.

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Lovely concept Jamie. 

 

Looking forward to the build. 

 

 

Rob. 

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Very nice Jamie, the only thing that looks a bit difficult is the angle of the track into the shed as it will clearly hit the side within a few feet. If you angle it a bit less to the adjoining sheds, not necessarily parallel to them, something like the red outline?

 

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This may be of interest - perhaps a better scale - an old barge. Its remains have only been recently towed away. The original contractors gave up on it. I have photos of this vessel from the other side, in various stages of decay, if you are wanting to see the inside structure.

Scrapping_Newhaven_8_7_2014.jpg

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I have to agree, Phil. This in itself would make a lively Cameo. 

 

Rob. 

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6 hours ago, NHY 581 said:

Lovely concept Jamie. 

Looking forward to the build. 

 

Many thanks Rob!
It's going to be a weird change going back to OO after so many years away, but I'm really excited to have a layout to use all my old stock on (as well as some potential new arrivals!).

 

2 hours ago, PaulRhB said:

Very nice Jamie, the only thing that looks a bit difficult is the angle of the track into the shed as it will clearly hit the side within a few feet. If you angle it a bit less to the adjoining sheds, not necessarily parallel to them, something like the red outline?

 

4384FCFC-CF9E-4D4E-9976-BBD69062E0B6.jpeg.0452c4c0320871df8bc6c572560485a5.jpeg

 

Thank you Paul, especially for taking the time to make a few alterations to the plan. As it happens, the shed originally was roughly in that location for that exact reason, but I angled it further to align it to the partial slipway at the front. The redesign of the fiddle yard makes the track curve upwards on the left end, and I agree that it may be necessary to shuffle things around... (see next response below)

 

2 hours ago, phil_sutters said:

This may be of interest - perhaps a better scale - an old barge. Its remains have only been recently towed away. The original contractors gave up on it. I have photos of this vessel from the other side, in various stages of decay, if you are wanting to see the inside structure.

Scrapping_Newhaven_8_7_2014.jpg

 

Phil that is a wonderful montage, thank you! I would love to see a few more photos, it looks a most interesting scene, and as Rob says; very modellable!

 

It's been tough trying to find something smaller that would fit in with the ship breaking theme. Old photos from "Britain from Above" have shown a few possible ideas, including a pile of what I presume to be removed lifeboats, as well as other detritus like large (cast iron?) pipes and such. (If you've never registered with that website, it is absolutely worth doing as you get full res images! 

 

Either way, it's made me think that I'd like to expand upon the ship breaking idea a bit more, and thus allow it a tiny bit more room. Thus the current idea floating around in my head is to increase the width of the layout (only at this end) by 100mm or so. Not a huge amount, but hopefully enough to feature such a scene. I'll have a little play around on Sketchup today and see what happens!

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Rather than ships, and following Phil's photo and suggestion, may I suggest a barge repair/breakers yard. It would be more suited if your location was similar to Ashlett Creek rather than west of Calshot, as it wouldn't be too far to tow barges/lighters from Southampton Docks.  There was a barge repair yard on Quayside Road in Southampton, by Northam Bridge, latterly operated by Tommy Holden.  In later days it scrapped lighters and small ships but also became a car breakers. It has now been redeveloped.  The only structures were of the size you propose.  There was slipway with a winch shed, open fronted, housing an electric winch dating from 1915.  A friend bought an ex-MOD barge to convert to a houseboat and it was slipped there in 1991 to clean, weld and paint the hull and I spent several days helping on that.  I took some photos, mainly of the barge, but I think also of the winch shed.  If I can find them I'll see if there are any that might be useful.  Photos of the yard area on line are hard to find and are mostly of barges on mud.

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6 minutes ago, petethemole said:

Rather than ships, and following Phil's photo and suggestion, may I suggest a barge repair/breakers yard. It would be more suited if your location was similar to Ashlett Creek rather than west of Calshot, as it wouldn't be too far to tow barges/lighters from Southampton Docks.  There was a barge repair yard on Quayside Road in Southampton, by Northam Bridge, latterly operated by Tommy Holden.  In later days it scrapped lighters and small ships but also became a car breakers. It has now been redeveloped.  The only structures were of the size you propose.  There was slipway with a winch shed, open fronted, housing an electric winch dating from 1915.  A friend bought an ex-MOD barge to convert to a houseboat and it was slipped there in 1991 to clean, weld and paint the hull and I spent several days helping on that.  I took some photos, mainly of the barge, but I think also of the winch shed.  If I can find them I'll see if there are any that might be useful.  Photos of the yard area on line are hard to find and are mostly of barges on mud.

 

Thank you! That's very useful information, and I completely agree that a barge repair/breakers yard would be far better suited given the situation of both prototype and the restraints to the layout size that are present. What you describe sounds absolutely ideal for the area I had planned, and I'm glad that the buildings I made up aren't too dissimilar in scale to what may have existed. If you do find the photos, I would indeed be interested to see any that you think could be useful.

 

I assume this photo as well as this photo both show the site (top) just to the east of Northam Bridge? (Again, well worth making an account on this website to be able to zoom in)

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Right, I found the photos, luckily they weren't in our lock-up.  There are 4 shots of the winch shed, two of the barge on the slipway after painting. and a general view of that part of the yard from the water, showing a second building and part of a steel lighter. The barge sits on a cradle to be pulled up and let down, secured to the vertical (ish) stanchions.  The barge is actually a 70ft ex-MOD ammunition lighter. It had been purchased by Pounds of Portsmouth and offered for sale still lying off Devonport.  When Carol bought it Pounds sent a workboat to fetch it and another one, but they were still fully loaded with Naval ammunition, so she had to wait for it to be unloaded.

barge on slip 1.jpg

barge on slip 2.jpg

Holdens.jpg

winch shed 1.jpg

winch shed 2.jpg

winch shed 3.jpg

winch shed 4.jpg

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7 minutes ago, petethemole said:

Right, I found the photos, luckily they weren't in our lock-up.  There are 4 shots of the winch shed, two of the barge on the slipway after painting. and a general view of that part of the yard from the water, showing a second building and part of a steel lighter. The barge sits on a cradle to be pulled up and let down, secured to the vertical (ish) stanchions.  The barge is actually a 70ft ex-MOD ammunition lighter. It had been purchased by Pounds of Portsmouth and offered for sale still lying off Devonport.  When Carol bought it Pounds sent a workboat to fetch it and another one, but they were still fully loaded with Naval ammunition, so she had to wait for it to be unloaded.

 

Absolutely fantastic! I am really grateful for those photos, thank you so much!
A lot to mull over, and some excellent information to go alongside it. Like I said, it's hard to get any detail shots of the general clutter around such a site, so this is really useful. Allowing a bit more room for this area will be important to get the feel correct; and will also give me space to fit in a winch shed. That said, it looks to be a relatively compact scene all things considered.

I'm wondering if you know anything about the little hut in the 5th photo? It kind of looks like a former wheelhouse in use as an office? Would be a nice little cameo in itself.

Once again, thank you so much!

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It's an office type body off a military truck, probably a '50s radio truck.  You can see the wheel arch.

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If you are looking for a very neat dinghy for your maritime scene you could do worse than buy a 'Medieval Life Boat' by Zvezda. It is a very detailed little 1/72 model, with eight oars and a furled sail. It is 75mm from bow to stern. I have just bought two and converted one to a day fishing boat. The other one will remain as a rowing boat. The rowlocks are a fixed wooden type and the tiller is a bit olde worlde. For modern use replacement with metal slot-in ones would probably look more appropriate. It costs £6.75 from Wonderland Models, but they have a 'standard' postage of £4.50. https://www.wonderlandmodels.com/products/zvezda-172-medieval-life-boat/  Although the cost for one including postage seems a bit steep, it is by far the best detailed model of this type of boat that I have found. I am just a satisfied customer with no connection to WM. When I have finished them I can add a photo.

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