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My first post on these boards so please go easy....
 

Little Brickhill has been in gestation for many years, finally I ran out of excuses and have started building it. The modelling concept was born out of a good deal of frustration at the delays building a proper U.K. high speed network, and a desire to show what might have been. HS2 as it stands looks like a terrible choice of route (particularly the Chilterns tunnels), instead I have used the network ideas from a campaign group confusingly called HighSpeed UK which uses a lot more of the existing network and established transport corridors, particularly along the M1, to propose a lower cost and far more national High Speed solution. 
 

Little Brickhill is near Bedford and is near where a four track mainline would split to go in both Birmingham and Leicester directions. The section modelled is from a new Bedford West station heading North over a viaduct and into a tunnel around Millbrook. 
 

Current status is all the baseboards, track and electrics are complete, and I’ve just started on the scenery. Rolling stock is currently a bit, er, limited. I’ve long been interested in N gauge, I’ve found Kato product to be superb and not had a great experience with a couple of other brands, so thats going to be a challenge going forwards. FA615CB4-DDB5-4CA4-9A00-73B61E0E3553.jpeg.b05a0c502f04e2021e94d933621ab249.jpeg6A1E53BE-DFD7-48FB-B5AD-A55D52196005.jpeg.b79662e03732d3bef044a98272b986ef.jpegCD1659D6-C947-4982-90A1-B85767186902.jpeg.bdd8a367610a58cb7b7704a1ea0dea7c.jpeg

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I’m scratch building some tunnel portals in the style of TGV Perpignan, prototype pic below, so in the meantime as I wait for the paint to dry I’ve started landscaping the viaduct, using polystyrene and hot wire. 
 

High Speed rail architecture tends not to be as interesting or aesthetic as what Brunel and Co. got up to, in fact for HS2 there’s already been local residents complaints concerning how bland the viaduct proposals look, particularly with noise reduction shielding along the trackbed. I’ve therefore turned to the Kylesku road bridge for inspiration, splayed pillars built on a gentle curve. All of the scenic part of the layout uses super elevated curves of minimum 12 foot radius.
 

 

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I suppose it depends where you’re standing whether 14 miles is near or not.

 

Its a very interesting layout idea, although I can imagine it might raise alarm in Little Brickhill.

 

Good luck with it.

Edited by Nearholmer
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To enable testing to take place a few weeks ago, I knocked up a temporary control panel which shows the basic scheme.

At the moment it is DC cab control, two main cabs with centre off switches for isolation.

There are two extended loops, the scenic section extending sixteen feet before entering hidden return loops at either end. The right hand side is the new Bedford West, the rightmost dotted line is where the platforms will start to be hidden so I can operate it with bay platforms and straight through.  There’s a branch line at the bottom of the panel, which I’m quite keen to make into a modern tramway.D6F91A3A-D71B-4A81-9A89-D4233B8F4B8F.jpeg.292a4e3a6150b871ea97c5b65f5f0f8d.jpeg

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Plaster bandages started on the viaduct and tunnel section, and sizing up the tunnel entrance the other side of Millbrook Quarry. The hillside above the tunnel portals will peak a scale 15m higher, that top section will be removeable “just in case”.52CFB587-7E1D-463E-895E-0C81A69BAD23.jpeg.9c0d96a037035824d4593de6ac6efecc.jpeg28DD2108-FEA4-41A4-B4CC-3B4806344A24.jpeg.5f581f00d43b5fe59447e0c1dbd595a0.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

The baseboards ended up a little complicated, hopefully the drawings below explain the concept. 2” by 1” frames topped with plywood, but the trackbed was then built separately as another set of self supporting “mini” boards. The idea is to avoid any track laid directly onto a flat area. I suppose it’s a hybrid between fully open top baseboards and flat plywood. It’s not the lightest way of building, but it is very solid and with a maximum baseboard length of 4 feet (coach bolts and cabinet dowels) it is still portable. 
 

Deliberately no two boards align In either the horizontal or vertical planes, in order that the layout will look more like a “ribbon” section through the landscape. The blue line on the sketches shows the track routing, Millbrook tunnel at the left hand side, Bedford West on the right:

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Edited by Largechris
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Polystyrene blocks laid out for the small embankment section South of the viaduct. I cut down the land profile height quite a bit here to make viewing easier, ultimately by moving back scenes only I want the layout viewable from either side. 
Also just starting to test some rock formations near the tunnel, plaster moulded rocks given a wash of various greys and browns. 
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Little bit more shaping of the embankment and the summit of the tunnel section. I’ve been fiddling around looking at the best routing for a short section of branch line, and am making a mini single track cutting going quickly underground in the foreground of the embankment section, I think that will help give some definition to the landscape and make the rolling scarp slope more defined. 


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(Not pictured) I’ve just started some experiments with making my own silicone casts for some of the details, including retaining walls (modern concrete blocks) and also some resin options for making the viaduct noise abatement measures. 

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Posted (edited)

A bit more plaster and Sculptamould, building it around a couple of small roadways and a truss bridge to help with the scaling and perspective. I’m building a few rising steps into the valley where there will be rock outcroppings. Quite a lot of drying time is going to be required so in the meantime I’m going to extend the branch line into a small cut and cover tunnel. 78FCFEB3-E41E-4779-9110-67ACA1D92FB3.jpeg.985a5780b3d6362650a5ad5cf136c7f2.jpeg42294422-751F-4C9D-8CA3-EC57D5213971.jpeg.a6b0678ee2756e7db14f487f8dea727f.jpegDD02CB9B-9427-49FE-B0DD-642B329FD452.jpeg.de9771cb1d8dabcccb225d0470e42fd7.jpeg

Edited by Largechris
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Finishing the plaster shaping to prepare for some rock ridges and outcrops stepping up through the valley and up the hill. Trying a slightly green mossy colour for the base around the rocks, lighter brown at the top of the hill (not shown) and darker base for the wetter lower areas. Still a lot of plaster left to dry for a few days so I’m also still working on the Milton Keynes West bound branch.B47BA4F4-277F-4153-93FA-2964918574C8.jpeg.6949a89e904df24ebd0ffe8f708abf77.jpegF1AB2ACB-5E0B-416F-B3C4-76BC35750CD3.jpeg.33c9e09ef385d96ca3db188dae8b9bbf.jpeg

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Managed to finish laying the branch line, I had intended to return loop it under the baseboard but the gradients would have been a bit severe, fortunately I’d left enough space to send it directly under the mainline by removing a small bit of 2x1. The track is now under a lot of paint pots being weighted down to dry (I much prefer gluing all my track) but this is a pic to show the idea:E01C1431-B6EE-44DB-ABFA-55E30510F9E4.jpeg.b2e410e0aa41e74a5140958080793516.jpeg
That took most of the day but also managed to get some rock formations and most of the first two boards base painted:

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Posted (edited)

Your Little Brickhill is rather different to my OO gauge exhibition layout of the same name :)

 

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Edited by 08221
Grammar
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, 08221 said:

Your Little Brickhill is rather different to my OO gauge exhibition layout of the same name :)

 

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You must have inspired me, just an alternate history........ do you have any more details please I can’t find a blog entry for your layout, what was the background of it? 

Edited by Largechris
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Posted (edited)

Been using quite a lot of clay on the tunnel and viaduct sections to add structural details, the road verges/ditches and I’m quite pleased with how the concrete viaduct leg pads look like they will turn out:16CDF546-22C1-4B1F-8ACD-EEF41F7FBB09.jpeg.8411ce9b4c773af8c9bef315fb0eb622.jpegI’ve wanted a modern wind deflector / noise abatement solution, again a road bridge for inspiration, the Millau ViaductF742E4C1-7E53-4E60-B737-ED3071E4D16D.jpeg.65f1a9083478c340badcf055317975c8.jpegI’m trying to workout the best way to build something similar, I don’t want it to look like a railing, so it needs to have some weight, probably 4mm rods. I’m testing out some 1mm plasticard fitted into slotted plastic ducting, but drilling such big holes in so little material.... 6BCB805F-F1A6-436A-AEFF-34DC247B655E.jpeg.beb9701c464afeba44d45c85b3e1387b.jpegMight have to investigate some laser cutting. 

Edited by Largechris
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Posted (edited)

Now onto my third attempt at creating an accurate jig to make the noise abatement barrier, I’ve invested in a new set of drill bits etc etc and hopefully will have something reasonable tomorrow. In the meantime lots more cliff building, it’s got the slight appearance of a drunkenly built rockery at the moment until some more painting and detailing.D1F7BD9A-4F41-448B-B0F0-0B3B5370AB3E.jpeg.55ee29e2e6c1e58b2da62c5471656c1b.jpeg

Edited by Largechris
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Posted (edited)

Thankfully the third attempt at a jig for the noise abatement barrier has turned out ok, deliberate slight offset of the holes to form a gentle curve away from the track. Now on with cutting out 230 of them :mellow:096F3B74-8089-450F-B668-1CC45A929F55.jpeg.eb0465baf996802e61bcea4ad23f55c7.jpeg379AB0E3-A4D9-431E-AE84-1F38F0C331EE.jpeg.ae450f32228496ae977a394fd7f72fa5.jpeg

Edited by Largechris
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It’s not even a big viaduct lol and I’ve acquired some aches and pains just cutting and assembling the parts for one side. I’m using the test piece from the previous post to try some different paint finishes, I’d like to keep to all white providing I can dry brush some suitable slight weathering. I’ve been using loads of these clamps throughout the layout build, fantastically useful.CD88C35D-41CE-4335-B117-0D28DA43347A.jpeg.e6bc8046ba5301c1cc635ab4ec8ae106.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

If I never have to hand cut so many identical plasticard shapes again it will be too soon. Just painting the viaduct facings up with a white primer and very light rust dry brushing.  In the meantime I’ve made the tunnel entrance all mean and moody, grey washes followed by white dry brushing, wouldn’t fancy wandering into one of these portals during a full moon, regardless of a class 373 coming the other way.A223D2AF-4BFF-4017-93BB-0E7767FA8AF2.jpeg.ae36d55e9836052543023942c99da29b.jpegD98AAB6F-F935-4E3F-8808-E280FB2213F3.jpeg.377d13afbaab531646f666f053e9afd1.jpeg

Edited by Largechris
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F7FB1846-AAA6-442D-B776-5F33B27DAEAD.jpeg.de6c9e5d8ca29162928ec6e14f448303.jpegVarious bits of filling and painting the viaduct structure, I now realise I need some extended abutments as well so planning to do that over the weekend. Due to the drying time and the amount of additions (natural and man made) required for the fairly large scenic area I started planting some grass cover, and am just trying to decide on the appropriate ballast shades, the Woodland option seems a little too frantic (white and grey mix) even when weathered, might use some older grey ballast I acquired from goodness knows where.

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