Jump to content

Brighton East - EM Third Rail


Recommended Posts

  • RMweb Gold

On the old RMweb I started a thread about an EM layout I am building. I have finally got around to putting it on the new one so here is a quick summary of what it is about. I was steadily working towards a withered arm late 50s/ early 60s layout with Spamcans. During my sons summer break from Uni a couple of years ago he decides he wants to build the Sandite unit he bought about 5 years ago before wine, women and University took hold. Anyway having built part of it, it was down to me to finish. The finished (but unweathered beast is shown below).


Having finished it we had nothing to run it on being between layouts. So the idea of a quick 00 plank layout 8 ft x 1ft using No 1 sons modern image stock in store in the loft tickled the fancy.

Anyway like topsy the plan grew. It went through a number of iterations until one day a chat with Tim Easter at Expo EM South, convinced me to do what my heart had always wanted to do, build it in EM. This would involve a lot of wheel changes, but what the hell its all fun and a challenge. So with the decision made (I made sure of it by buying all the track components that day from the EMGS trade stand) the really serious design work started.

Basic specification: It had to be 3rd rail and somewhere South of London. It needed to be a terminus and I only had around 10ft of space that I could get away with using in the house, the garage being out of the question because other big boy toys are ‘parked’ there. It had to be quick to pack up as its planned home is my sons bedroom (it will also fit very nicely alone part of a lounge for working on). It had to be interesting to operate.

Period is around 1998 2000 as we had a lot existing stock (in OO not EM) for that period.

The setting.
My son is at university in Brighton and the old Kemp Town branch cropped up, with its terminus setting in a chalk cutting. Following photos show a flavour of the setting:

What if it had retained some passenger services and never been shut. At some time it also had a second tunnel built to allow access to Lewis. This is not a rendition of Kemp Town there is not the space to do that, but it uses some of the scenic features as an excuse for building something!

Initially the plan was developed using Trax 3, but eventually I succumbed to TEMPLOT, best decision I have made, great fun to use and more import the full size plans that can printed off
The photo below shows the full size final plan.


We have a single platform with a two road passenger area fed by an expanded scissors cross over allowing bi-directional running in each tunnel. One road feeds a goods area with a trio of kick back sidings in front of the hidden fiddle yard. The fiddle yard will be using 3ft cassettes which will overhang the end of the layout by about 6 inches, this was the only way I could get it all in with a minimum of B6 points and keep the board lengths down to 5ft each.

Control is by DCC, Xmas supplied an NCE power cab I have already got 90% of the stock available and converted to EM. (it all needs weathering) but I am a little short on Electric stock at the moment.

To keep the intial topic size low I will stop here and add further progress photos on more posts

Sandite 1a.jpg

Edited by kipford
Restoration of images
  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Ok progress photos to date:


Early days:




Checking track plan for for clearance on points etc. I borrowed the dining room for a couple of days!



Track is a mixture of C&L bull head in yard. P4 fast track concrete flatbottom and flatbottom wooden timber using PECO pandrol chairs. The point work took me about 3 months of evenings (12 points plus the diamond)to complete




Boards covered with P4 track company 6mm foam ready for track laying



Point work being trial fitted on the full size track plan




Not quite there yet another post I think

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Uncoupler Magents:

I am using Kadees and their electro magnets, the permanent magnets play havoc with my metal axles and wheels!!!. However I think the way they mount the magnets is pants. This is the way I do mine. Not my idea blatent rip off of an idea from fellow SHMRC club member Ian Buckie whos son built Culm and Great Shefford.


The magnet is epoxied into a light ply base with slots cut to clear metal cheek plates. (base is same thickness as foam or cork track base.




Next cut out clearance hole in either your foam or cork track base and put in template for the hole to clear the magnet



Then cut hole for the magnet



Glue magnet to baseboard and lay track over top




If the magnet fails it can be simply unbolted from the cheek plates and replaced from underneath the board

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

I spent my teens in Burgess Hill, eventually commuting to Brighton for 5 years so I am enjoying to see this develop - nice idea and narrative for the layout - just needs one of those Bachmann 4Ceps now!


Watching with interest - Pete

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Finished track laying last night





The station throat sits right over the base board joint. Not good but it was the best compromise I could achieve. It appears ok though.



So whats next: wiring, point motors (more of that in later post as tese will be servo driven), control panel (although DCC I like conventionl control panels)

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

simply superb - good concept, good plan (I love compact termini) ,good choice of region (I'd admit I'm biased on that one ) and good execution B)




The Sandite Unit is wonderful :good_mini:


Looking forward to seeing the layout populated with more stock as good as that :biggrin_mini:

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

These CAD images show initial thoughts on basic scenery and buildings. The Station building is based on photos of Kemptown and Brighton London Road. The terraced houses are based on the photos in the first post which are on top of the chalk cliffs surrounding the original Kemptown site.The large office type building is going to be based on Royal County Hospital Sussex where my son is a medical student (his request).






THat just about cleans things out for now.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kipford,


I am glad to see another layout based on a South Coast location.


Your layout looks very promising! Excellent trackwork and a well thought out design by the way. I suppose you'll be using some of the finescale components for the third rail sections?


All the best,



Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting layout Kipford. Looking forward to developments.


You might want to have your lighting screen proud of the front of the layout by 6-9", this means that the lighting is on the face of any models to the front, not the tops alone. It also makes viewers stand back very slightly which is rather good!


Keep up the good work!

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold
A Hornby VEP'll look right at home


On advance order from Kernow! Just hope its not too much of a pig to EM.


suppose you'll be using some of the finescale components for the third rail sections?


Yes I have The Scalefour Society components, just trying to persuade my wife to put them together for me!


Track is really impressive, particularly the scissors crossing. Wish had your level of skill, I'm all thumbs!


Please have a go at making your own track, its not difficult providing you have the jigs gauges etc and approach it in a logical manner, there are some great how to threads on RMweb on the subject. I had only made two points for one of our club layouts prior to launching into this. Using Templot I found to be a great help as I built straight onto the relevant section of the plan.



We have met before at SHMRC and I ran the Templot demo for Eastwood project at Southampton show this year. I agree with your comments on the lights. In fact I have been contemplating ditching the light boxes already built for a simple ply front facia with cloth sides and top then using wide angle LED's as the light source (it needs a bit more research)

Link to post
Share on other sites



We have met before at SHMRC and I ran the Templot demo for Eastwood project at Southampton show this year. I agree with your comments on the lights. In fact I have been contemplating ditching the light boxes already built for a simple ply front facia with cloth sides and top then using wide angle LED's as the light source (it needs a bit more research)


Ah ha, sorry, did not realise the connection below the anonymity of RMweb handles! Yes you clearly did get into Templot!




Someone somewhere was telling me that LED’s did not give off enough light. Can’t remember where this was or the provenance of it, so experiment! What I can tell you is that I found that on Portchullin (which is admittedly 24 inches deep) a single band of fluorescent tube to its entire length did not illuminate it enough for my liking – I had to put another 50% in.




If you go to the photographs of my layout at Uckfield – here http://www.uckfieldmrc.co.uk/exhib09/portchullin.html - you can see what I mean about pulling the lighting screen forward.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold

Its been a few weeks since any updates. Work on the layout has been a bit haphazard due to business trips getting the way of modelling. I have started putting in all the droppers and have completed along with the DCC bus one board. I have also been working on the development of my servo point motor and the TOU to drive the switch blades. The first unit is now finished and will shortly be installed on one of the boards.


The basic point motor components are:

1. Exactoscale Tortoise point motor base and a mild steel bracket made by my ever helpful collegues in our manufacturing facility. The bracket was designed and flat patterned using CAD, then CNC laser cut and CNC bent to shape. I had enough made to do the whole layout.


2. The servo itself is micro servo costing £4.50. The servo horn operates a micro switch at a limit yet to be set to switch polarity on the point frog.

3. Lever arms made up from assorted telescopic brass tube tube, 0.7 nickel silver wire, the arms themselves are made from code 75 bull head rail. While putting this lot together I made simple assemly jigs to speed up the assembly of the remaining 11 off.

Front view


Side view


End viewpost-1359-127792735414_thumb.jpg

The arm shown in the view has a number of holes at different pitch spacing to allow some experimentation with lever arm ratio when I set up the first point.


The switch blades will be driven by cranks on an axles passing through the base board top. Again made from assorted telescopic tube, wire and bull head rail. This time however the bottom crank is attached with a 14ba nut and screw soldered into the axle. This allows for some coarse adjustment during intial installation.


Fine adjustment will be by the electronic controller that a club collegue is building - I am told it is very simple to build and does not need programming :D . I will post more details when I get the unit.


I need not have used the tortoise base but I think it looks more elegant and is easier to mount.


Next job is to install this unit and check I have got my sums right.



  • Like 1
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...