Jump to content

St. Simon

Collingwood - A Privatisation Era Southern Region Layout

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)





Having decided to retire Norwood Road at the end of this year, I have decided to move onto something new, and much bigger!


Like Norwood Road, Collingwood is based on a real location, Fareham in Hampshire. The reason why is that when I joined Network Rail 6 (!) years ago, I started as an Apprentice living on HMS Collingwood (hence the layout name) whilst working on HMS Sultan. When I returned home at the weekends, I passed through Fareham Station and it has come to dawn on me that it would make a great layout.


The Prototype


Fareham is on the ‘West Coastway’ Line between Portsmouth & Southampton / Eastleigh.


The Station was opened by the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) in 1841 as part of the Eastleigh to Gosport Line, although this line was only in operation for four days due to instability north of Fareham. The line towards Portsmouth was opened by the LSWR seven years later in 1848. It wasn’t until 1889 that the junction on the Southampton side of the station was installed as part of a single line from Netley. Finally a line from Alton via the Meon Valley was commissioned in 1903.


This lasted until 1953 when the Gosport Branch was closed to traffic, followed by the Alton Branch in 1955. Third Rail Electrification came to the area in May 1990 as part of the West Coastway Electrification.




The Station currently has 3 platforms, with the centre platform, number 2, being a little used bay platform. The line from Portsmouth sweeps around a tight bend at the end of the station (which imposes a 20mph speed limit throughout the station). It then runs through the station, and then branches out with a pair of lines going to Southampton and a single line (initially double track, but reduces to a single line before Fareham No. 2 Tunnel) heading towards Eastleigh. On the Town side of the area is a set of sidings for Stone Trains from Acton & Westbury.




Nowadays Fareham is quite an important junction and has a number of TOC’s serving it.


South West Trains:


  • Half-hourly Portsmouth – Southampton service (formed of Class 450’s)
  • Hourly Portsmouth – London Waterloo via Basingstoke service (formed of Class 444’s)




  • Hourly Southampton – Brighton service (formed of Class 377’s)
  • Hourly Southampton – London Victoria service (formed of Class 377’s)


Great Western Railway:


  • Hourly Portsmouth to Cardiff / Great Malvern service (formed of either Class 158’s or Class 150’s)


Freight is not rare, but not common, with engineering trains and stone trains being the most common. There has also been sightings of Cross Country Voyagers at Fareham, presumably on diversions, with the odd charter being seen as well.


The Layout




The layout is much larger than anything I have built or owned before, with Norwood Road being 11ft x 5ft and Hythe Parkway being 14ft x 8ft. I’ve designed the layout to fit on standard baseboard sizes, I plan to use Tim Horn Lasercut Baseboards, so there is one 6ft x 2ft, two 4ft x 2ft and three 5ft x 2ft. The reason for the different board sizes to ensure that the baseboards joints are in convenient places, so all but two points are on the same board and the entire platform is one board (so I don’t have joins in the platform that are pain to conceal).


I know that the ‘L’ shape, particularly sticking out towards the audience isn’t the best for exhibitions, but the layout will also be a home layout and, assuming I get a house or shed large enough to cope with a layout one day, it will be easier to fit in a room to operate from the front if the layout sweeps forwards not backwards (I don't really want to have two separate end boards for exhibitions and home). Also, this is how Fareham actually is laid out


The biggest difference from the real Fareham, is the that it is compressed, for instance, the platforms at Fareham can handle between 7 and 9 coaches (depending on the Platform), where as Collingwood will only be able to hold up to 5 coaches (going on a max length of 1ft) in the Island Platforms and up to 4 coaches on the Station Building Platform. Compression is also true of the distance between the junction and the single line, in reality this is at least 12 coach lengths, on Collingwood it is only going to ~3.


The track plan is also slightly different, with a crossover missing,  this was to enable me to fit all the points on one board and to simply reduce costs a bit, it does restrict operations slightly, but that’s part of the fun. The most significance between Fareham and Collingwood is that the aggregates terminal is several rationed, going from 3 through sidings to 2 dead end sidings and a severely reduced headshunt. This is actually to maximise the space available, as making through sidings would reduce space too much.


There are several features to the layout, I’ll go through these from Left to Right:


Harbour and Viaduct – Between Fareham and Porchester, they are several low brick built viaducts that go over the various harbours in the area.  My viaduct will be on a fairly tight 4th radius curve, but I’m sure I can do it as  I like the idea of the view of a train rounding a curved brick viaduct with a small harbor below!

NR Delivery Unit – Network Rail has a maintenance depot behind the station at Fareham, and seen as I not only work for them but also have lots of NR vehicles, would be stupid not to include it!


Station – I’ve already discussed the station further up, other than the platform length, I’m going to try to replicate the station buildings as well both the old and new footbridges at the station.


Container Store – The real Fareham has some sort of container store and I think a scrap dealer, but the container store will be a good scenic break.


Signal Box with full interior – This is something I really want to do, although Fareham doesn’t have a signal box (the area is controlled from the Area Signalling Centre at Eastleigh), I added one in! The building will be built on the edge of the baseboard and the rear wall won’t be built, so the full Relay Room and Operating Floor will be visible.


Aggregate Terminal – This will be served by GBRF, Freightliner and DB Cargo. The terminal will be controlled by a Ground Frame and will be operated by a separate operator sitting out front. I’m undecided whether to just make it a terminal with a grabber and tractors or have a proper hopper house.


The layout ‘story’ will be that it is modelled on a day that the Eastleigh or Southampton line via Southampton Airport Parkway for engineering works, so that Cross Country services have to reverse at Fareham, whilst Weymouth / Bournemouth services as well as Car, Container and Oil Tank Trains are diverted via Fareham, Guildford and Havant. Also, I have imagined that the single line between Fareham and Eastleigh has been renewed to take into account the extra traffic, but an ESR / TSR is still in place, just to make this more interesting.


The Signalling


Anyone who knows me knows that I have a , perhaps rather unhealthy, obsession with colour light signalling (after all I am a signalling designer and have written a book about the stuff!), therefore Collingwood will have prototypical signalling:


Scheme Plan.pdf


The signalling is based on the real signalling plans for Fareham, adapted to my changes in track layout.


I’ve been talking to Matt at Absolute Aspects about getting him to make the signals, but at the moment the cost for everything is prohibitive, but there will be bits from him.


The signals themselves will be control by two methods, the shunt signals (and points) in the Aggregate Terminal will be controlled by an Interlocked Modratec Lever Frame positioned out front which will be released by this:




Collingwood IECC.


I’ve been developing this over the past month or so using JMRI Panel Pro to create a prototypical IECC workstation with a full interlocking. This will interfaced to the layout with MERG CBUS Modules.


The logic behind it is quite complex, about 100 pages of A4 at the moment, but I’ve tested it and it works pretty much exactly like a real work station (albeit within the confines of a model railway). I’ve also coded it with full train describers and I’m currently in the process of developing an intelligent, but limited, Automatic Route Setting.

The plan is that the layout will be operated as prototypically as a model allows, and within the willingness of my team of operators.


I plan to show the IECC off to the exhibition audience on a couple of computer screens on the front of the layout (or possibly with the signaller out front as well).




Physical construction of the boards will not start until either Christmas or in the New Year, this is so I can concentrate on exhibiting Norwood Road and clear out stuff so I have space for Collingwood.


However in the meantime, I have started building three of the main buildings, the signal box, one of the footbridges and the NR DU. I’ll also buy and make up the MERG modules I need to control the layout.


I’ll try to keep you guys up to date with progress and I’ll write posts on how I’ve created the IECC.

Scheme Plan.pdf

Edited by St. Simon
  • Like 12
  • Agree 1
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)



Whilst I'm waiting for space in which to start building the centre baseboards, I've started to build some of the buildings:


First up is the Modern Footbridge, this comes from a Faller kit, a kit I have always wanted to build as it looked great! It is similar to the one at Southampton Airport Parkway not that far from Fareham, but I found it to be too tall for a British layout (it is design to be stood on low level platforms and be clear of OLE), so I've cut it down to size. This, along with the need to hide wires for internal light meant that I changed the lift shafts to be clad in solid sheets rather than fully glazed units.






The next building is also a Faller kit, this time being their new Workshop Kit, this is going to be a Network Rail Maintenance Depot, and I did want to put a different interior into it, however, the interior that comes with the kit is so nice that I decided to keep it, the building will be at the back of the layout, so hopefully no one will notice the machinery equipment in a NR DU:






I still have it fit interior lighting and then the roof before it is complete (as well as some people)


The final building in this trio is Collingwood Area Signalling Centre. This is made up from three PECO LK-83 Signal Box Kits based together:




For this, I decided on fitting a full interior of both the operating floor and equipment room. So far I have some of the equipment room components:




They are 3D Printed, the NX Panels are printed to my own design, whilst the Workstation came from Shapeways. I have decided that I won't use the NX panels, instead making it an IECC Workstation Signalling Centre, so I will get more Work Stations to fill the operating floor. I did originally want to go for an interior of a relay room downstairs, but I couldn't be bothered designing and drawing all the relays, so I have decided that to get some models of WestLOCK and SMARTLOCK Interlockings printed instead. This will also match the actual signalling control of the layout.


Once I have completed these three, I will either start building all the MERG Modules that I need for the first couple of boards or I will look at building the station buildings.




Edited by St. Simon
  • Like 11
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



A small update in relation to the Signalling / Electronic Side of Things....


Last night I finished the Automatic Route Setting on the panel, this will be able to set routes and prioritise trains based on their headcode, just like the real thing. The layout won't be solely operated by ARS, but it will reduce the need to man it with three people all day at a show so that people can take breaks or talk to the audience. This now means that the interlocking and signalling control side of things is complete, so I can now start building the modules to interface with the layout.


Also, I have commissioned 'Big Train Sounds' to record some custom station announcements, these will be played from underneath the layout (quietly) and correspond with the Train Describers, I believe that this will be the first exhibition layout to do this.



  • Like 1
  • Craftsmanship/clever 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Simon,

Love the sound of the layout, and what your planning with the signalling. Am following along with interest.


The Faller footbridge also has hints of Reading to it, and encasing the lift shaft has made it more British. Cannot think of anywhere, where we have glass lifts onto platforms in the UK?


I am planning to use MERG modules for my new 2mm layout, for controlling a variety of things from point work to section power supplies, so will be interest to see how your building and using them.



Edited by MarshLane
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I am from Fareham, I am looking forward to see how the layout comes on.
Are you planning to use the girder bridge over the road before going on to the viaduct, If you go back far enough there used to be 2 viaduct bridges over the road. One for the 2 lines for Portsmouth traffic and another 2 lines for the Gosport traffic.
They changed the platform layout when they replaced the viaduct bridges for one girder bridge.
There was a signal box roughly in the same place as you are proposing but has been long since removed.

Edited by Guy13
Additional comment

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Simon, As I used to work at Doves Ford opposite HMS Collingwood, this just caught my eye. I used to go up to the Station sometimes in my Lunch Hour for some theropy, haha.:good:

I left the area in 2005 but will be moving back to the Portchester / Portsmouth area soon, so will be watching this with interest. It's a Station plan that I drew out many years ago to build but never got around to it so I hope it all comes out well.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.