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Why, who and what

Steve Stubbs


Yeovil Pen Mill as it was in 1939 and in 'finescale 00' is a project started by the members of the Taunton Finescale Group (TFG). We felt the need for a high quality, as close to scale as possible layout, that could be exhiited around the South with a small number of operators. So initially four of us, while still remaining members of the Taunton Model Railway Group, have deviated away from Bath Green Park and the S&D, to create it.


To give us an identity seperate from TMRG who have no connection with this layout other than common membership, we selected TFG as a name. Rather than go to EM or P4 we decided that to ensure reasonably quick progress on what will be a larger than normal layout we would remain '00' but with with reduced flangeway and checkrail gaps and a back to back wheel measurerment of 14.7mm, so that the wheel dropping, so obvious and prevelent in 00, would not occur.


The period we have selected is circa 1939, just after the re-signalling of Pen Mill and the construction of a single signal box to replace the two previous. With significant freight operation as well as exprerss passenger through traffic such as the Weymouth Boat trains, plus the Evershot Bankers based at Pen Mill, Taunton branch traffic coming through Yeovil town, local services and even Southern excursion traffic coming though from Yeovil Junction to reverse at Pen Mill on its way to Weymouth; the scope for varied and interesting operation is high.


Trackwork is all being handbuilt with C&L components, based on GWR prototypical trackwork, and incorporating full point rodding. Trackwork plans have been generated with Templot, and 8 of the 13 projected baseboards have been constructed so far. Tracklaying is underway. Boards are ply, based on the 'two-skin with softwood separators' girder arrangement which has been around for some time now, with a ply sub-base / cork underlay for the trackwork.


Using cassette based fiddle yards at either end, we plan the layout to be L shaped with overall dimensions of 38 ft by 18 ft in full configuration, although several sub-sets of the main layout will be able to be shown as stand alone layouts where size is a problem.


We gratefully acknowledge the great assistance given in terms of research plans and sketches by the Weymouth Club, who have a roundy-roundy version of Pen Mill as one of their club layouts.


More to follow including track plans and photos as we progress.

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