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South Tawton. A (smaller) phoenix rises


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Like many others on here this is a bit of a lockdown project. Working for the NHS things have been interesting and challenging to say the least. So whilst at home (and unable to go out!) modelling has been a great stress relief. 
When I got back into modelling I discovered the North Devon line to Barnstaple and some fantastic photos of it in the 1980s. I started building a layout (South Tawton) based on Crediton. Unfortunately it was too big and ambitious and was plagued Ruth beginners errors I couldn’t iron out. And it was on the garage - too hot or cold. The final straw was dropping a bed head on it! It was left to rot then eventually the boards stripped down and saved for a future project. 

But the idea never went away and I always fancied a small layout based on the line. The eureka moment was seeing Lymebrook yard (sf315) and Trinity Road (nharding99) on here. These were small N gauge layouts with a track plan similar to Lapford. The main difference is a yard headshunt - which allows the yard to be shunted. independently of the loop. So during lockdown I’ve got the old board down and restored some of the buildings. The plan is a mix of several locations on the line - the freight from Lapford, the passing loop from Eggersford and the buildings from Crediton. Now ready for track laying I’ve been playing with off cuts of track and points to get the layout right. 

Here’s a few photos 


The overall view with fiddle yard on the left and station on the right. Should be able to manage four coach trains - the platform will hold 3+loco which is about right 


The station building and shelter is from Crediton. Canopies needed!


As is the signal box. These were rescued from the old layoutEF40859B-838C-48EA-84D3-6874801EDDD1.jpeg.391ff5423ed194dcbb7b02642aa2ca44.jpeg
Finally for now an old Kestrel farmhouse kit adapted into a thatched pub. 

I’ll put more photos up when there’s progress - next big job is track laying 

Edited by TomJ
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  • RMweb Gold

Nice to see another North Devon layout. Always liked the look of your buildings :)
We all seem to be nicking Eggesford's loop and Lapford's freight ;)

Is it time to resurrect R.A.N.D.O.M. - the Rmweb Association of North DevOn Modellers? :D

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Thanks for the kind comments - buildings are my favourite part of the hobby. I’m a frustrated architect at heart!


i did wonder about whether to include a passing loop or not. I considered Lapford in its later state but I wanted to use my signal box - so by the 80s it had to be a passing place to justify the box. Then I considered modelling it in its earlier state with the down island platform beyond the bridge off scene. But I thought if I did that it might just look like I’d forgotten the platform. 

I reckon there’s enough North Devon layouts for at least a small show. I’m never exhibited but this one is small enough to fit easily in my car....

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Little bit of progress today. Made a start on the track laying. Track is a mix of code 55 in the scenic areas, with code 80 in the fiddle yard (using setrack for the curves. Managed to use second radius (10.5inch) in all areas, with nothing below 12inch on view. The newish curved points really help with these minimum space layouts. Hopefully it’ll run ok.....


Sadly I totally misread the packet on the cork and brought a 3ft length, not a 3m!! So need to get a couple more roles to get the fiddle yard complete. Then my least favourite part can start - wiring. At least it’s DCC and smallish! Part of the aim was to use up leftovers and not buy too much so for such a small layout I was thinking of using wire in tube for the points. But I’ve just found a load of Peco point motors so it’ll make sense to use those. Still deciding whether to control these from switches or the DCC handset 


Here’s where I’m up to. The main loops and platform lines are laid and will easily fit a 31/33 and 3 coaches, which is about right. The layout will fit 4 coach trains in the fiddle yard







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  • 3 weeks later...

A strange sight today at South Tawton as two HST mk3 coaches were repeatedly pulled and pushed through the station



Turns out the engineers were conducting gauging trials on the new bridge. They’ve passed it (just) but banned any rail tours for fear of strange people sticking their heads out the window!
The bridge was actually rescued from the old layout - both sides were removed then rebuilt in a slew fashion with lots of trial and error to fit. Still need to put the arches in

Whilst they were there the team confirmed a loco + 3mk1 coaches would fit in the down platform (as per specifications) and checked the station building for clearance before platform construction



Electrics running. Next job to wire up point motors then I can start on the scenery 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Far to hot to think about any heavy engineering so I’ve been working on the platforms and buildings - based on Crediton. The waiting shelters were rescued from the old layout and the station was a rebuild





The aim of this project has been to use up left overs and scraps wherever possible. So the platforms are a mix of half used Metcalfe kits and Scalescenes printing with Ratio concrete fencing for that Southern feel. I need to stick the canopy on before the passengers complain about the liquid Devon sunshine!

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  • 6 months later...

What to do with a week off in wet March than work on the layout! And reflect on what a totally bonkers twelve months it’s been! Inspired by Cowley 47512 recent postings - and the amazing help he’s given me - I thought it was time to post a bit more progress 




All track and wiring done. Testing starting. Some buildings posed to see how they’ll look. Here’s an overview of the station and the yard. The white paper is the footprint of the old dairy which is next to be built. The layout using buildings from my old layout so it’s a bit of a mash up of Crediton, Lapford and Eggesford




The other end with a Scalescenes girder bridge hiding the exit. The station house is a modified Kestrel kit - hopefully the colour has the north Devon look




A close up of Crediton station and the three arch bridge. With a lot of trial and error I’ve made it skew. AND a Mark 3 ‘just’ fits through!




Crediton signal box. Before anyone comments the roof is just balanced on!


So time to start painting and ballasting track. A just a bit of playing trains.....



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It’s a very wet day here so what better way to treat MrsJ on Mother’s Day by staying out her way! Instead I’ve made a start on the old Ambrosia dairy  to go behind the station


Construction is my now standard way - Scalescenes brick or stone papers printed onto card and then mounted on foam board. Basically as a kit to be assembled. Here is it taking shape




Windows are old Ratio brass ones I’ve salvaged from the spares box and repainted. Next job to add them

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