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Gresty Bridge

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It is with great excitement that I share my latest project with you, Gresty Bridge Depot in 00 scale!


Gresty Bridge is located in Crewe, Cheshire. The depot originally opened around 1905 as a GWR wagon works, DRS moved in to the depot in 2007 and it serves as one of two main servicing depots for the company (the other being Carlisle Kingmoor). The idea for me to build this model was originally conceived in 2016, during that time I had my previous layout Elveden Road and regular followers of mine may recall I was getting fed up with it. I was already looking for a replacement. The idea was bought to me by my friend Simon (Psiborg VIP of this parish), he was come up with a 12ft 'Grestyish' track plan called 'Greasy Bridge' but unfortunately had nowhere to put it, I however did have the space and because I looking to replace Eleveden Road and expanding my collection of DRS Locos it seemed perfect. One thing that stood out to me was how simple but interesting the track plan would be, and another was that I haven't seen it done before. I had to build it! Once settled on the idea I kept it a secret from most people in the modeling community, only telling a few people about the idea. To keep it under wraps we actually referred to it as 'Project X'!


I took the plan and compared it with the actual depot on Google Earth, I played about with it a bit and noticed it wasn't far off and I could probably get a proper scaled version of it in the space I had. During a visit to the 2016 DRS open day at the site I went 'camera mad' and took a photo of every detail I could around the depot to aid planning. I was soon ready to start construction, but in early 2017 I fell back in love with Elveden Road so the idea was shelved. However, that new love affair was not meant to be and in December 2017 I scrapped Elevden Road and was once again looking for a replacement. I toyed with a few ideas however Gresty Bridge once again stood out to me. I went back to planning and soon came up with a plan scaled plan that measures 13ft x 31inches. The plan is of the depot itself, I did play with the idea of adding the sidings and running lines next to the depot but I couldn't fit it in the space I had. The plan is accurately scaled (or as accurate as you can be with the measuring tool on Google Earth) right down to correct track lengths, building sizes and spacing.




April 2018 - February 2019, Slow Starts


Construction of the layout actually started in April last year, and over a period of two weeks I built three of the four boards. However due to other hobbies, work and personal life the layout and indeed my model railway hobby was put onto the back-burner. Fast forward to the end of January 2019 and I was back on the layout, I soon finished the baseboards and started track laying.




The baseboards all ready to go. I built them using the 'ply framed' method by creating a sandwich of plywood sheets with a timber filling - Mmmmm, sounds quite tasty.




Track laying has started, here you see the fiddle yard or single track for loco lifts feeding into the five points of the depot.


Thats all for now, I'll be back soon after I have completed track laying and wiring!





Edited by Heinz57
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As a Crewe lad (and an Alex fan to boot) Gresty Bridge has always appealed to me. Lots of cracking traction to be modelled and a great mix of buildings. You could even get the Mornflake factory in in low relief on the backscene.



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  • 2 weeks later...

26/02/2019 - Start Your Engines!


Thanks for your comments chaps, I'm looking forward to seeing this project progress. Its going to pose a significant challenge to me as it is the first time I've ever attempted to model a real location.


* * * *


Since my last post I've finally managed to get track laying done. Progress was a little slow due to fitting it around work and other commitments, but there's no rush anyway!






I was then able to get the layout wired up. Now, normally I'd wire the DCC bus, give it all a test and then move onto fitting and wiring point motors etc. However, this time I had to do it a bit different. I'm using Cobalt motors (first time using slow action points), therefore requiring the springs to be removed from the points, so I wouldn't be able to test the layout without having the motors fitted. I am also using the 'built-in' polarity switches for the points which would require them to be fully operational before testing. But there's only five of them on the layout so it's no biggy! Below you can see an example of my nice and tidy wiring!




After wiring I was then able to have the layout finally running under its own power! For Gresty Bridge, the honour of 'First Loco to Run on the Layout' fell to one of my DRS 37s (37402). Here is the solitary loco trundling around...




I'm pleased to say it all worked SPOT on first time too! I had to do some minor mechanical tweaks to a couple of the point motors to get them to throw perfectly, but that's nothing to write home about. They were soon sorted, so it's all perfect now! After the delays I detailed in my first post it feels like a huge milestone has been reached now the layouts up and running, and to work perfectly first time is an achievement for me personally too!

The one loco on bare track looks kind of lost doesn't it? I think I might have to put a few more locos on to keep it company, it would be rude not to! I'm going to give the track a good clean before this running session and I'll be back soon with an update.


Now, where did I put my track rubber?...



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Thanks for your kind comments chaps. Glad you like it!


Constructive criticism is more than welcome, I want to make the layout as accurate as possible!


20 hours ago, rob D2 said:

Good start...can I ask what the little black things are keeping your wires in check under the boards please ?


Hi Rob, I used these self adhesive cable mounts from ScrewFix, they come in packs of 100 and the sticky is very strong. The cables are held in place with 4.5mm wide cable ties.







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Glad to see the swift progress you are making.


Keep up the Good work, and if you do hit a snag, think it through and remain positive.


It will be well worth it in the end !!!


Looking forward to seeing your progress.


Best regards,


Edited by Perfect Paul
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05/03/2019 - Locos and Coaches!


Thanks Paul, I'm determined to stay positive in the face of any adversity during this project. I've learnt the hard way what getting frustrated can do to a project!


* * * * * * *


Hi all,


After completing wiring and first tests on the layout last week, I gave the track a good clean and had a couple of running sessions. I filled the layout with all my DCC chipped DRS locos and coaches and had a few enjoyable hours in the garage 'playing trains'. As promised here are a few photos from last week's running sessions...




57007 and classmate 57309 sit side by side in what will be the main shed building. Note the inspection pit below '007'




Further back in the shed tracks is 66407. Again this track has an inspection pit, which - if my photo research is correct - is slightly smaller than the pit on the neighbouring track. Both of these pits are fitted with lights.




The Beast! 37402 is on 'track 4' which is what will be the fuel point track...




68008 sits first in a line of three 68s on 'track 2'.




An overview of the layout. Note the coaches in tracks 1 and 2. My research suggests that in reality coaches probably would not be shunted into these tracks, they seem to always be on two sidings 'line side' the other side of the shed (which are omitted on my model for space reasons). However, I'm using a bit of modellers licence and will shunt them around the main depot for a bit more operational interest. By the way, that is a Class 25 at the back!...


...Which leads me onto my next photo. I've always worked on the principle of 'I built the layout so I'll run whatever I want (within reason)'. So, as a special treat for all the rivet counters out there, here is a set of East Midlands Trains power cars on track 1!




My 'modelling mojo' has well and truly returned now, I'm starting to press on with the layout. I have started work on the first of the buildings (no photos yet) and will soon be 'attacking' the layout with the first scenic work. I can't wait to see this project progress!





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Morning Matt


    Nice idea , as for running what you want , every two years they have there open day ,so anything is feasible . working in Crewe pass the depot most days , always look up to see what is there .


  Looking forward to seeing it progress .

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07/03/2019 Latest Additions


On 06/03/2019 at 07:20, Perfect Paul said:

Hi Matt,


If you like the colourful EMT HST on scene, have you considered the Dapol "Trans" class 68 ???


Not sure if DRS service them though ???


Like this one Paul? :D




68019 in Trans Pennine livery is the latest addition to my DRS stock, purchased on Sunday at the Mansfield Show, when I was operating Shaun's (Scooby71) Drabford. It is pictured here having a quick test at the show on the Kirkby Stephens layout, it caused quite a stir having one of the most modern locos running around on a steam era layout! I'm not sure if any of those guys are lurking on here but thanks again for testing the loco on your layout, most appreciated!


Thanks to all for your kind comments on the layout, glad you like it!



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  • 2 months later...

Here But Not Here


Hi followers. Just a quick update to say I've not forgotten about the layout! It's just on hold whilst I focus on other things.


I am 'bitting and bobbing' on the layout when I can. Below is the small amount of work I have completed over the past few months...






The main driveway into the depot was created using 3mm ply, and the bank was created using an interesting mixture of polystyrene cut and moulded to shape, no more nails, polyfiller to fill some smaller areas and all covered in plaster sheet or 'mod-rock' (I do love messy modeling!) Its all untidy and a bit of a mess at the moment so it just needs 'polishing up' and it'll look good.


See you next time,





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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

11/09/2019 - Put a cork in it!


After a several month 'hiatus' away from the layout, the past couple of weeks or so I've been back into the layout full swing!


In the last update I shared with you the embankment created from polystyrene and mod-rock, this was the first step of the 'ground work', the next step after this was to create all the concrete, hard standing, car park, road and other landscaped areas. I did this by using a mixture of cork, mounting board, filler, plasticard and anything else I could lay my mits on. Completing this was an intensive task and it took me a lot longer than it should have done. Keeping as honest as I like to in these blogs I'll admit it's getting bored of this task that partly led to my break away from the layout. Anyway, it's all completed now.






The first couple of photos show the completed cork layers blended together with filler. It looks an absolute mess here.




Isn't it amazing what a single coat of paint can do? After giving it a quick 'once over' with grey paint it looks ten times better. The gap between the rails was filled with filler and plasticard, shown here is actually my second go at this, the first was awful so I pulled it up and had another go - hence why here it is the white plastic rather than the grey paint. After completed all of that I had a little experiment with creating a bit of 'crud' ground between the tracks and in other key areas. I did this using a plaster mix (Woodland Scenics Smooth-It to be precise, I had some in the cupboard so decided to use it up) and very fine ballast. Once this was laid I then sprinkled a little more of the fine ballast into it whilst it was still wet, when semi-dry I then sprayed it with glue to hold the gravel in. Now its dried I'm happy enough with it and after its been painted and additional layers and detail built up it'll be fine.


I'm currently working on the ground colour, which will be detailed in my next post. Which should hopefuly be in a week or so rather than six months! Anyhoo, the paints probably dry now so back into the garage I go...



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  • 3 months later...

21/12/2019 - Sir, you're making a (back)scene!


Dear friends and followers,


Once again it has been a while since we last spoke; I've just not found the time to update this blog. However I have been hard at work on the layout and Gresty Bridge is starting to take shape now! I finished the last blog talking about how I will be painting the basecoats on the ground. This is where we pick up the story....


The first basecoats for the ground colours have been completed. This actually took a little longer than anticipated because I just couldn't get the colours right. Originally, I planned to airbrush it. However, this would have used loads of tinlets of paint and wasted time and resources I don't have. Instead, I opted to use a concrete effect spray paint from B&Q, I found this completely by accident when I was in there purchasing something completely unrelated to the layout or paints for that matter! After spraying this on, I liked the texture it gave but I wasn't happy with the colour. I then painted it by hand, using a colour tester pot from B&Q. I used custom colours I had colour matched. Note the different shades of gray in different areas of the layout.








Ignore the black bit, that’s a failed attempt at something else. After painting I then ballasted the layout. I hate this task with a passion so I completed it over three or four short sittings.


After this I then started work on the back scenes, I have isolated the fiddle yard from the viewing public, but created a fold down section so I can access it at home...




I have also started work on buildings. First up comes Gresty Bridge itself, scratch built using plasticard and embossed sheet....




It was then painted...




And weathered, I experimented with new techniques and I'm very happy with the results...




Next up came the office building. Built, painted and fitted with tinted windows but awaiting exterior details...




I have also started the new stores building; this is my current project on the work bench. Here you see it very much unfinished...






And finally we save the best bit until last! The back scene!...


The Mornflake factory overlooks the depot and the layout simply wouldn't look right without it so it had to be included! I took the photos a few years ago at the Gresty Open day I mentioned in my first post. They were 'stitched' together into one image over summer by a friend of mine. It wasn't easy as the photos didn't line up properly, however she is a complete wizard with Photoshop and it looks absolutely amazing, I couldn't be more happy with it!...






Sorry about the long post, I have tried to keep it as brief as possible but quite a bit of work has taken place! As we approach the holiday season work on Gresty Bridge will slow down due to other commitments. However I will continue working on the layout as and when time permits, I'll mostly be working on the buildings in the warmth of the house!


I will be back in the New Year with more updates. In the mean time, please have a very Happy Christmas and a safe New Year!


Thanks for reading,



Edited by Heinz57
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