I've always been interested in the East Coast Main Line, particularly in the late 1930s but I've never really had a proper layout. I've had two roundy-roundies in the past but these used setrack curves and points and had no proper electrics. They were both fictional and were started before I knew enough about the real railway to make them look realistic. With the lockdown and having left school this year, I decided that this would be the best time to start a proper layout; Peco streamline points, gentler curves and a fiddle yard.
Originally I'd been designing layouts based on real locations but with fictional stations. My first design was based on the Brunswick Park area in North London as there was a tunnel at the north end and a road bridge at the south. As this section of track was (and still is) quadrupled I decided that I didn't have the space to model it. The room where the layout will be kept is 2.7 x 2m with a chimney breast restricting it to more like 2.3 x 2m.
The next location I considered was Welwyn North. It had a tunnel at the north end but no obvious scenic break at the south end. I managed to make a passable track plan but I decided that, in the end, it was too cramped with 2 loops either side of the main lines. I'd also had to compromise the length of the platforms severly.
With Welwyn North discarded, I looked further north. Tuxford North was a location that had always taken my fancy. A double track mainline with a smallish station (the platforms were only about 100m long, according to OS maps from the National Library of Scotland website) and two goods yards. There was a road bridge at the south end but nothing at the north end. The section of the ECML between Peterborough and York has always been my favourite part of the line, probably from travelling along it so many times going to York and back. The locos and rolling stock were quite varied in this area as NER locos occasionally worked as far south as Grantham and GCR engines would have come from Retford and possibly off the ex- LDECR line which crossed the ECML almost immediately south of Tuxford North at Dukeries Junction. GNR locos would of course be abundant. Coaches were more interesting than in the London suburbs with coaches from several different companies and of varying age, whereas it would appear from looking through carriage working books that most of the London suburban services were twin- or quad-art sets.
So I drew up Tuxford North on Anyrail and I manged to satisfactorily fit the southern half of the site into the space I had available. I also manged to fit an 8-road fiddle yard with two kickbacks on the Up side. This is fine for me as I don't have many fixed rakes and passenger trains will be made up from loose stock to allow coaches to be reused. This does mean that some train formations will be inaccurate but it will be better than what I had before. The maximum length of passenger trains will be 8 bogies.
This is my track plan and a map from the NLS website as well as some pictures of the real site, albeit in BR days.
Copyright for the prototype pictures goes to oldtuxford.com
As you might have seen from the track plan, the diamond crossing doesn't quite line up properly. I knew you can bend Peco crossings and points so that is what I've done. I'm glad it was the only bending I needed to do as it wasn't easy!
With regard to the actual layout, I've got as far as laying down cork for the two mainlines on the scenic section.
From left to right here we have: Goods yard loop 1, Goods yard loop 2, Down main, Up main. The siding coming off the Up main is the Up lay-by; used once, as far as I can see, in the 1938 WTT to allow the West Riding Ltd and Scarborough Flier, amongst other expresses, to pass an Up Parly service.
The layout will be DC and the points are all code 100 electrofrog (other than the crossing and double slip). I chose code 100 because it's slightly cheaper and I already have lots of code 100 track. I will be re-spacing the sleepers, however, and adding super-elevation where there appeared to be some at the real station.
Thanks for reading this. I realise it's a very long post but I thought that some people might find my ramblings at least semi-interesting.