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In October, 1978, The Railway Modeller published an article by Roy Link called 'The art of compromise.'  The article suggested that a blend of diorama and a working layout could provide the answer to lack of space and inertia brought about by an 'undecorated expanse of baseboard.' The author provided a plan of a small country terminus with a single short platform with run round loop and two sidings.  One siding housed a goods shed and the other coal bins.  There was also a small ground frame and a weighbridge and office.  This was all achieved (in theory) on a baseboard measuring just six feet by one foot.  The article suggested that, although it would be possible to shunt the yard using the single line in front of the station platform, the layout would be enhanced by the addition of a small fiddle yard.  I filed away the article with a view to building the layout sometime...  I often thought about the magazine article and often got it out for another read through but never actually got around to starting it. 

 

The years rolled by and various articles appeared in the model railway press by other people who had also got the 'art of compromise bug'.  But they all had the same thing in common.  In planning and attempting to build the suggested layout, they found it was not possible!  The author had simply shoe-horned too much detail into the width of the baseboard beyond the end of the platform.  The author had also placed a turnout exactly halfway along the six feet baseboard making it impossible to divide the baseboard into two three foot lengths for storage and transportation. 

 

The latest published attempt at 'the art of compromise' appeared in the October 2018 Railway Modeller by Chris Ford.  Part of the original article was re-produced along with the original track plan.  I was sufficiently intrigued to buy the magazine and decided at long last to slay this particular dragon and attempt to build it at last.

 

Terry

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I decided to use Peco code 75 turnouts together with C&L track as I already had these to hand.  First off I decided to alter the plan slightly and move the turnout away from the centre of the baseboard to allow it to be divided in half.  I also decided to include two catch points in the sidings where they meet the 'main line.'  I had plenty of wood to hand retrieved from previous layouts.  I also had some lengths of 5mm thick plywood which I decided to use as the baseboard surface.  The plywood had previously been cut to fourteen inches wide so I decided to utilize those extra two inches to try and achieve something akin to the original plan.  The scenic baseboard measures six feet by fourteen inches with a small board for the fiddle yard, thirty inches long.  Nothing remarkable about the baseboards although I have for the first time used catches to join the boards together with metal dowels for alignment.  I also fitted adjustable feet as my shed floor is as level as the North Sea on a stormy day!   My basic woodworking skills, or lack of them,  are evident from this rather poor photo.

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Gaugemaster Seep PM1 point motors were chosen to throw the four points.  They are mounted onto small blocks of wood containing a slot for the operating rod to pass through.  It's the first time I have used point motors - always been a wire in tube man!  The blocks of wood were simply glued under the baseboard with the poundshop version of 'No Nails' and haven't come adrift yet.

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Terry

 

 

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That RM article did intrigue me, the plan is high on my list of future possibles. I shall follow with interest, looking good so far. 

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This photo shows the track plan.  The area nearest the camera is the fiddle yard.  The scenic area begins just past the Y point.  The platform will be situated to the right of the straight section.  Coal siding off to the right, goods shed straight ahead, run-round loop on left.  The C&L track has card placed underneath to bring it up to the same height as the Peco points which have thicker sleepers.  Joining the C&L code 75 bullhead rail to the flat bottomed Peco rail as used on the points, has not proved to be a problem.

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Terry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My intention is to fit all stock with the Kirby coupling.  Of course, after I had laid the track I realised that I had forgotten to fix the magnets underneath.  Rather than lift the track I resorted to cutting through the sleepers just inside the chairs.  A hole was made in the ply baseboard surface and a larger piece of ply stuck beneath the hole.  The magnets were stuck on this and the sleepers glued back on top of the magnets. 

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Terry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am a great fan of Scalescenes kits and have been converted to card modelling by their introduction, having scratchbuilt a number of card buildings, in the Scalescenes' style, using brickpapers from Scalescenes' Scratchbuilder's Yard range. Getting high on solvent has become a thing of the past!  Actually, my favourite adhesive for constructing card buildings is a product introduced to me by my crafter wife, called Cosmic Shimmer.  That's the name of the glue, not the wife!  Her name is Darth Vader!  The adhesive is acrylic based and has a thick consistency.  It is particularly useful when fixing windows in place as any excess can be removed easily from glazing with a toothpick, leaving no residue at all.  In fact, I have used Cosmic Shimmer throughout this project to fix down all manner of objects, buildings, platform lamps, platform fencing and lineside fencing, all of which we will come to later.

 

As Scalescenes produce a very nice arched bridge, this seemed an obvious choice to carry the station approach road over the railway.  I am thinking of including the far wing wall in the fiddle yard with some scenery, just to give the impression that the scene continues on the other side of the bridge and to shield the fiddle yard to some extent.

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Terry

 

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I decided to use Scalescenes' platform walls with a top surface of mount board.  I might just add here that all card models are given a coat of matt varnish when finished, to protect the printer inks from moisture.  Even so, some disasters do occur and the platform was one such victim.  Having fixed the platform in place, ballasting was in full swing when the diluted PVA decided to wick up the front of the platform walls leaving big cauliflower shapes on the brickwork.  I ripped it up and started again.  With the second platform I decided not to let the ballast get too close.  I might remedy this by painting neat PVA in place and sprinkling ballast on top, but as I want to run point rodding along the front of the platform, I don't want the ballast to be a hindrance to this.  This is how the platform is construced.

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Terry  

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The surface of the platform was given a coat of french polish, mainly to harden the edges to stop them fraying.  Once dry, I drew the edging stones with a pen and scribed the same. 

The new platform was given a coat of Halford's grey primer, followed by a spray coat of light grey acrylic paint from Humbrol.  I mixed some grey acrylic paint with a dollop of flesh colour to produce a shade akin to concrete and painted the edging stones this colour.  The white line was added later. Here is the platform placed in position.  When glueing in place, It was necessary to locate it slightly further away from the track to ensure clearances for some stock when using the run-round loop.

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Terry

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I had already decided that, in the event that any exhibition manager would be foolhardy enough to want the finished layout in his/her show, I had better surround it with the appropriate woodwork. My amateur efforts are apparent.

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Posted (edited)

I surrounded the layout with ply walls and gave it all a coat of dark grey paint.  A strip of LED's were fitted behind the facia.  Marvellous! Less than a tenner,  no faffing around with neon tubes or bulbs, and they will probably outlast me!  This was the result.  Obviously, it requires a curtain and the layout name attached.

 

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Edited by col.stephens
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Posted (edited)

The station approach road was cut from mount board, given a coat of french polish, and then sprayed with Humbrol light grey acrylic.  The embankments were made with card formers joined by strips of cereal packet.  Hot glue in abundance! The road is not yet glued down in this shot.

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Terry

Edited by col.stephens
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My preferred method of creating scenery is to stick about three layers of newspaper pieces, with neat PVA, over the cereal packet strips.  The cost is virtually negligible and, apart from the glue, everything is recycled.  Even the mount board is scrounged from a picture framer before it is dumped.  So, basically, my model railway is saving the planet! 

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You might have noticed the circular hole , cut at this stage, to take a Dapol signal later down the line.

Terry

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I continued the landscaping along the front of the layout in order to put some colour at the front of the layout and to frame the scene.  Of course, there will be grass/weeds/bushes on this low embankment.

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Apologies to those whom I am 'teaching to suck eggs' at present.  Many of you are probably finding this all very elementary.  I'll continue in the hope that someone is finding it useful or possibly interesting.

The layout was originally supposed to be representing the London Midland Region of British Railways.  That was until Hornby produced this...

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Being a sucker for a good model, I bought one, and hey, ho, the layout suddenly took on a Southern flavour.  Be a shame not to use the loco, wouldn't it?

Terry

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Posted (edited)

Isn't it amazing how fast you can cover the landscape with these applicators?  The fibres used are Summer Mix from WWS.

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At this stage the grass looked better than my front lawn but we'll improve on that later.

 

I assumed that the Dapol signal would take its power from the Gaugemaster 100M controller.  Wrong!  I was confused when reading the signal installation notes that it had to be operated from a 'smoothed 'power supply.  Didn't have a clue what this meant so I emailed Gaugemaster who quickly replied with a link to the appropriate plug type transformer which they sell and is suitable.  I wired up the signal and the aspect lamp came on.  On pressing the push button switch - nothing!  It transpired that the push button switch on my home made control panel was faulty.  I binned it and quickly wired in another.  Here is the signal installed and working.  These Dapol signals are great, aren't they?  Note the weeds covering the slight gap at the base of the wing walls.  I don't like to see obvious gaps at the base of buildings and structures.

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Terry

Edited by col.stephens
Missing word inserted.
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Time to improve the grass embankments. I teased out some foliage mat, in this case manufactured by WWS, other makes are available.  Using cheap extra hold hairspray, I sprayed the grassy areas and pushed the foliage mat into place.  A light sprinkle with red and white ground foam to represent poppies and daises, followed by another spray and all was done.  Here's the result.

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More soon.

Terry

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Very interesting to see all the layout progress photos in quick succession! The "bridge end" of the layout is certainly looking the part already. I did notice the weeds at the bottom of the wing walls; does this mean you're not planning to add any ground cover between the track and bridge wing walls? And how's the "yard end" of the layout looking?

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I have been wondering what form any ground cover should take. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Not much going on at the other end of the layout just yet. I plan to scratchbuild a small goods shed from a drawing by Edward Beale in his book 'Modelling the Old Time Railways'. More to come regarding the buildings.

Terry

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Hi Terry

I really like what you are doing.

i too remember the original article and Chris Fords article in 2018.
I am a great fan of small layouts (far less to go wrong) . They can provide a lot of interest operationally so more power to your elbow. 
Incidentally I solved the signal problem by not having any and operating on the basis of one engine in steam .

I shall follow your progress with interest.

Stay safe

David

 

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Just returning to signals (or the lack thereof),in the 1930s the Southern designated a number of branch lines for example Hythe (after closure of the extension)and Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppy. 

 If you are looking for some inspiration try the Bishops Waltham branch or Hythe after closure of Sandgate and singleing. Bothe had goods yards beyond the station .

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Posted (edited)

Hello David.  Thanks for your posts.  As you know, in the original Railway Modeller article the layout was depicted as Great Western (or was it Western Region of BR?), based on the models available at that time.  I thought it would be nice to put a Southern spin on it but it would suit any railway or region.  I don't think it was the intention of Roy Link that the layout should be exhibited, more a 'small something to play with at home' idea.  I too am very fond of micro layouts, having previously built two in 0 gauge and two in 00.  I have the Wild Swan book on the Bishops Waltham branch.  I shall have to read it during the current lockdown.  At least the government imposed house arrest is providing the perfect opportunity to get on apace with the layout.  If completed in time there is a good chance that it will appear at my club's annual exhibition next January at Pratt's Bottom, Orpington, Kent.

Regards,

Terry

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Posted (edited)

I mentioned earlier that I was a fan of Scalescenes' kits and of card buildings in general.  Recently, during a wet and soggy day, I decided to stay indoors (in the days when we had a choice), and built Scalescenes' Weighbrige/Coal Office.  I built it as a coal office but may build the other version too.  This model is now offered as a free download so it's a perfect opportunity to give card modelling a try if you are not already a fan.  Here is the completed building in cruel close-up.  Added features: plastic downpipes, cast metal chimney and a track pin door knob. Two pieces of metal rod have been glued to the rear of the roof sign, which pass through corresponding holes in the roof, thus giving a more secure fixing than simply gluing the sign to the roof as advised in the instructions. 
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Terry

Edited by col.stephens
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Posted (edited)

However, I have allowed myself one deviation away from card buildings.  Does anything scream 'Southern Railway' as much as this?  Ratio SR lineside hut.

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I thought it would look good in this location...

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Terry

Edited by col.stephens
Spelling correction.
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