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About this blog

I usually prefer to work from a prototype, but for this layout I really wanted to create a "dream" scenario. So although geographically it is fairly close to prototypes that I've built in the past, this layout is what I would imagine as my dream location. Basically, this layout is a fictional fantasy that I really wish existed! Somewhere on a spit on the South Coast where nothing is done with a sense of hurry, and a narrow gauge railway trundles slowly across beautiful sand dunes to a rudimentary, slightly tatty, but charming station. A lighthouse completes the sea view with a converted railway carriage that I call home!

Entries in this blog

Sandy Shores - Trestle, Groyne & Jetty

Sandy Shores - Trestle, Groyne & Jetty

Space is limited on the spit, hence the lack of a run-around loop; but the more pressing issue was the lack of room for a headshunt. Due to the soft foundations at this end of the spit, it was felt that a wooden trestle would be the best option; with long piles driven down into the sand until they hit a firm foundation. In the lines original guise as a construction railway for the lighthouse in the early 1850s, a temporary short line was built from the little harbour to the foreshore. Once the h
Sandy Shores - Scratchbuilt Grounded Carriage

Sandy Shores - Scratchbuilt Grounded Carriage

Being my dream scenario, there were certain things that I was super keen on including on the layout (aside from the general seaside theme). One of these was the lighthouse, another was a grounded railway carriage. To understand why, indulge me for just a second whilst I show a plan I once had for a garden office for myself:     Above: Those who know me know that I love to design garden offices and tiny houses in my spare time. I had originally planned to try turning an old r
Sandy Shores - Distressing Wood

Sandy Shores - Distressing Wood

There are a number of wooden structures on Sandy Shores, some of which we'll look at in this entry. Almost all of these are made entirely out of lollipop sticks; as shown in the last entry (the platform shelter).  The first we'll be looking at is the water tower. Originally it looked like this:   Above: I was originally happy with how it looked, but people were right to point out that it looked a little on the large size; especially for such a small line in a limited space! As it
Sandy Shores - Wooden Platform Shelter

Sandy Shores - Wooden Platform Shelter

A tiny freelance platform shelter for Sandy Shores Even on the blissful fictional spit of Sandy Shores, where it's seemingly sunny year-round, the passengers of the SSLR still need a roof over their heads. As would be expected from such a fledgling line run by volunteers, there simply isn't the money to build anything grand; so all buildings are built on a shoestring budget. When it was proposed that the tiny halt at the end of the spit would need a small waiting shelter, a local carpenter
Sandy Shores - The Loco Shed

Sandy Shores - The Loco Shed

I hope everyone is having a nice festive break; I've finally got a quiet hour or so to write up another entry, so here goes!   A railway isn't complete without a loco shed, and even Sandy Shores needed one to house one of its engines. Indeed, at the time of building, there was only one steam loco at the SSLR, and that wasn't (and still isn't!) in operational condition. Anyway, the beginning of this build was actually in March of 2015; some 8 months before the layout was even conceived.

SouthernRegionSteam

SouthernRegionSteam

Sandy Shores - The Lighthouse

Sandy Shores - The Lighthouse

My usual apologies for the ridiculously sporadic nature of these blog entries; unfortunately updating this is not very high on my priority list as it takes a long time! That said, as it's the festive season and soon to be the start of a new year, I thought it would be good to start to tie up a few loose ends! I'm afraid the photos are a bit out of sequence, but I've hopefully layed it out in a more logical progression than I had actually done it at the time! Back in February of 2016 (was it

SouthernRegionSteam

SouthernRegionSteam

The Importance of Mock-Ups!

The Importance of Mock-Ups!

With apologies for the substantial delay, welcome back to the SSLR! Before we focus on the construction of the scenery of the layout, I felt it important to dedicate a blog entry to a crucial step in building layouts; mock-ups! For those that have seen the video on the Taunton SWAG event, whilst I talked about how important sight lines are, I neglected to mention the use of paper/cardboard mock-ups (as well as 2D and even 3D drawings) during the planning stage; hence why I thought I
Sandy Shores - Scratchbuilt Crossing & Wiring

Sandy Shores - Scratchbuilt Crossing & Wiring

Welcome to the latest instalment of the SSLR! Last time I explained the construction of the baseboards, and talked about presentation; today it's all about trackwork and wiring.  And be prepared, it's a long entry!   Before we get started, I think it'll help to remind you all of the track plan. As you may remember, the lack of space for a run around led to an interesting track layout. As the headshunt for the locomotive shed crosses the throat for the sidings. a crossing would be n

SouthernRegionSteam

SouthernRegionSteam

Sandy Shores - Board Design & Construction

Sandy Shores - Board Design & Construction

Welcome back to the SSLR! Last blog entry, we looked at the fictional history of the SSLR, and how it came into being. This time, we'll be taking a more factual look at the layouts design and construction.   We've already touched upon the fact that I wanted the layout to take up only as much space as was necessary in order to include the features I wanted to. As a result of this, and given that I seem to love curved boards, the shape of the layout is somewhat... unconventional. That

SouthernRegionSteam

SouthernRegionSteam

Sandy Shores - A History of the Line

Sandy Shores - A History of the Line

In my fictional world, the imaginary spit of Sandy Shores would outwardly appear as a very laid-back and relatively tranquil place. And indeed at the time this layout depicts (1952 ish), it probably is! But history has not always been so kind. The sand bars just offshore have long been a hazard for shipping; numerous ships have met their fate here. Meanwhile, the weather, whilst delightful in summer, turns to a bleak and windy wilderness come winter. So how and why did the Sandy Shores Light Rai

SouthernRegionSteam

SouthernRegionSteam


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