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Ranelagh Street - OO Gauge - 1994

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Hi! Welcome to the thread for our long-planned layout, Ranelagh Street.


It is a project between myself and DavidM and a few others who are helping at our club rooms.


We already have most of the stock for the layout either finished or waiting for finishing touches and the layout has been waiting to be started for at least 18 months as bare boards.  The only thing holding us back was the lack of points to go with the bullhead rails.  This has now been solved with the release of the Peco turnouts and so it was all hands to the pumps this weekend to get the track down.


The layout is based on the site of Liverpool Central station, the story being that in the 1970s it was decided to separate the local and Intercity traffic into Liverpool with Lime Street being the long-distance hub and Central taking the local services with the exception of electrified stoppers via the WCML.  While Lime Street got a full refurbishment, Central itself had to make do with a platform re-arrangement and some work in the throat area.

A spur from the Wapping tunnel, absent in real life but installed when the station was originally constructed in our timeline, handles the majority of traffic.  This was built linking the line from Central to Brunswick and the Wapping tunnels when these tunnels were first constructed but never properly used.  The track has been brought up to passenger standards with full signalling.  

There was also a name change to Ranelagh Street to differentiate it from the newly completed underground station.  It was connected to the electric lines to be used as a terminus whenever it was needed but most electrics still go through the underground platforms.  Due to its proximity to the central post office, some parcels/mail traffic was also diverted to use Ranelagh Street to keep Lime Street clear for the premier services.


Traffic consists of mainly:


  • Local services to Manchester (via Earlestown and Warrington Central), Wigan/Preston, Warrington BQ & Chester

  • Semi-fast services to Manchester, Preston & Chester

  • 'Club Trains' to Barrow, Llandudno, Manchester & Southport

  • Merseyrail services to Hunts Cross and Gateacre.

  • Postal/Parcel services to Willesden, Shieldmuir and York

With the following classes represented:


  • 08

  • 20

  • 31

  • 37

  • 47

  • 142

  • 150

  • 156

  • 158

There will be others as well but I will wait to post images of them as they appear on the layout.


The year is 1994 and 99.9% of the stock is from this era.  Most loco's are renumbered as are the coaches and a lot of the other rolling stock and all will be weathered and detailed.  Nothing 'out-of-the-box'!


I will update this with some images of yesterday's track laying later on but hopefully, this gives you a flavour of the layout so far.

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Great idea, I'm (very slowly) building a layout where Liverpool Central becomes a through station combining high and low levels in one, and the various cross city lines via Gateacre and Tuebrook didn't close. Look forward to seeing this one develop.

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So here is the first post with construction progress.


We started out with laying out the points and getting the junctions somewhere near to where they will be.  As stated above we are using the new Peco Bullhead rail and points with the matching fishplates.  The only exception being the crossover which is a code 75 insulfrog single slip.  We then moved to the plain lines and generally laid everything out.  Next came some stock to check platform lengths and the runaround loop would fit the required trains.






Everything was then marked out and a start made on laying the track.  We started with the crossover as it was the most complex part to get right and everything would work from it.  We cut holes for point motors and dropper wires as we went (every line will have individual feeds for each board) and then glued the track down with Evo-Stick contact adhesive.  Each section being weighted down until solid.




Each section was then checked and the next piece lined up using traksettas and 6ft way gauges.










Once all the track was down, alignment was checked once more then all of the track was cleared to ensure there was nothing to blow the loco or controller up!




[Above] This is looking towards the platforms with the longest line for parcels, the next platform the primary loco-haulage platform and the others for DMUs.  There is also a storage siding between 2 platforms and a loco holding siding for 2 locos next to the long platform.




[Above] This is the other direction.  The lines at the back are the main exit to the station and will disappear under a girder bridge off scene very similar to the original Liverpool Central.  The lines at the front are the run around loop.  this is similar to Southport's operation in the 1990s where a loco-hauled train enters the station, sets down, propels into the loop, runs around, propels back into the station, loads then departs.  It makes it a lot more interesting than just having a release loop in the station and means the platforms can be shorter.  In real life there was a turntable and sidings in this location.


The final thing to do was test it all!  For control we are using a Lenz Set 100 which will eventually be hooked up to a router and Procab on our mobile devices for ease of use but for now we are just using the standard handset.  With the points being the new Peco Unifrog type, there is metal frogs but with no extra wiring and power is automatically wired for the whole point so we only needed to connect a couple of places to make the whole layout live!


The inaugural train was chosen as 975010 "Iris".  A route learning/radio test unit which is a kit built upper on a Bachmann chassis and fitted with sound.  It ran faultlessly from the fiddle yard to the end of the front platform, back to the end of the runaround loop and then back down every platform.  We couldn't have been happier!








Next came the first loco haulage to test the operation of propelling coaches around the points.  37407 (fitted with sound) was chosen with 4 MkIIa coaches and 1 MkI FK, all fitted with Kadee couplings.  Again the operation was perfectly smooth with all coaches gliding around and looking very nice with no space between them.








So at the end of 7 hours work, we packed up very happy with how it all went.


The next step is to copper clad all of the board joints, cut the board joints in the rails and then run the copper strip bus under the layout.  Once this is done, another test will happen and once happy we can start making it look real!






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A nice idea and looking good so far.

Do you have any thoughts/ideas on how you're doing the backscenes as of yet?

I also rather like the flag in the background, very conducive to layout building.

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Looks good the track layout flows well   was it cold in your clubroom?


It was to start off with but we heated up the room before starting any fixing.  Its not too bad, the room is at the top of a factory unit so it had residual heat from below anyway.


A nice idea and looking good so far.

Do you have any thoughts/ideas on how you're doing the backscenes as of yet?

I also rather like the flag in the background, very conducive to layout building.


The backscene will be a retaining wall with the rear of the shops on Bold Street on it behind the station.  Behind the runaround loop there will be a bit more depth with buildings.  There will also be 2 bridges running front to back like the real life station.

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1994 doesn't seem all that long ago but I suppose now this would be considered to be a 'period' layout. Interesting choice with the loco hauled passenger trains, liveries and the mixture of first and second generation DMUs which were around during that time.

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Looks great I’ll be following this one, great location for a layout to.



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