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Somerton - N Gauge


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I've been thinking for a while that it is about time I create a thread for my layout. - Firstly apologies if my pictures are formatted wrong! I've resized all to 1500px wide but some seem to be inverting when uploading!


Somerton is a 12’ x 3’ and a bit N Gauge layout based on the Western Region roughly in the 60/70s somewhere on the Welsh/English border. Rule 1 does apply to the stock as I like to buy things...well that I like! 😀


Hopefully i'll keep this up to date, however I make no promises!


Somerton is DCC operated with a Z21, is wired for block detection (later down the line) and will feature a fully operational mimic panel for all signals and points on the scenic side, along with route setting of the rear fiddle yard.


Scenic points are controlled via DCC concepts IP Digital Motors,  with the rear storage being solenoid with DCC concepts ADS decoders powering and controlling them.


Track is all code 55, i've built Finetrax in the past and really enjoyed it, but this time I just wanted to have track that was robust as my 6 & 8 year olds enjoy playing trains too!


So far the baseboards have been constructed, track laid (with the final two sidings laid today) and is 75% wired up underneath.


Below is the track plan - scenery not yet decided but I have ideas in my head of what I want.


Anyrail Plan - Keen eyes will pick up on the resmblance of features from the Vale of Oxbury, one of my favourite layouts! Also the kickback storage has not been built..simply due to cost and the likely hood of me actually using it!


Mimic Panel drawn up in InkScape and printed on 3mm aluminum faced sign board (only cost approx £15!) being populated with various components - with just the LEDs left to add.IMG_0935.jpg.07bc892329884f4ebc76abe761548d08.jpg


The mimic panel will be fed from this board which hinges up under the layout when not being worked on, 8 of the 16 6-core cables have been run in from the fiddle yard points on this image with an additional 19 4-core cables to run from the scenic!



Anyway here is some images of the layout so far!





Edited by sammmm
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56 minutes ago, Davexoc said:

Impressive panel there. Vale of Oxbury was one of my favourites too.

I'm guessing 12 x 3 looking at the plan, unless its metric....

Thank you :) 


Yes roughly 12x3 with a bit added on when I realised I wanted a bit more scenery in front of  the track 


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Well the last few evenings have proven productive.


The layout is now 100% wired from a track/accessories perspective. 


PlayingTesting has commenced and immeidetly flagged some issues with the cobalt point motors.


They would just keep throwing back and forward...bit of digging on the internet suggested some diode fitted inline at the motor for the PSB ports. This was duly done with some 1N14001 diodes as shown below.




It cured it instanly and now all points throw correctly!


This now leaves just a few cables to terminate ready for building up the control panel when my additional diodes and resistors turn up.




After all of this I though i'd get some stock out, so heres a few snaps of various stock out(did say rule 1 applies to stock!)20230520_202850648_iOS.jpg.160e22820fbd8df7641033c312346bec.jpg20230520_190410467_iOS.jpg.c289160557cd7f339fd8e60f944d55f9.jpg



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Another small update.


I noticed when running some trains the otherday I needed some way of seeing what was going on in the storage yard without having to squeeze round the back every time.


On ebay I found a revesing kit for a van that was cheap enough and came with 2 cameras which works well for what I wanted. 



Video link is only 720p but to be honest all I want to know from the feed is where the trains are etc so quality isnt top priority!


So heres the view from either end of the storage yard now I may move the first one a bit so it covers the whole branchline sidings rather than the front portion.


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Hi Sammmm

Good to see your reversing camera solution in action as I've been looking at the same thing for my own fiddle yard. I'm more encouraged to adopt it now I've seen your's working.


Apart from being able to accurately place a train in a FY loop I think one other advantage is to confirm its moving once power is applied. I'm sure that'll save me clambering over the layout to figure out what's happening! 

Cheers. Andy

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Hi sam,

I will be following your layout project with interest, its looking great and top job on that mimic panel. That’s a huge achievement to get the wiring done. I am still tracking laying on my 2 nd board for my new project.  Glad my old layout VOO has helped you with plans.

cheers Carl.

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10 hours ago, carlwooduk said:

Hi sam,

I will be following your layout project with interest, its looking great and top job on that mimic panel. That’s a huge achievement to get the wiring done. I am still tracking laying on my 2 nd board for my new project.  Glad my old layout VOO has helped you with plans.

cheers Carl.

Thanks Carl! 


10 hours ago, osbornsmodels said:

I assume this is a stay at home layout and us mere mortals, (when it comes to electrics), will never be able to see it  at TINGS for example so far.

Shame because it is looking fabulous. keep up the brilliant work and also the updates.


Thank you, it is indeed a stay at home layout. However the boards were constructed in 3 parts so that if a house move is required it can be dismantled....kind off as the electrics & tracklaying would need cutting.

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This weekends been a busy one as far as railway modelling is concerned..Think i've got more done on a model railway the past few weeks than I have the rest of the 28 years i've been on this planet!


Firstly I fitted the backscene, self adhesive type from ID. Unfortuantley one of the rolls was the wrong one in the tube....didn't realise until it was on and I went to line the second up! Completely different scene! Luckily I had just enough from the other rolls to cover over it - no way was it coming off without ruining the hardboard. Unfortunatley this whole kerfuffle led to me getting the first one fitted at a slight angle and led to a nasty joint just where the branch disapears and I got a crease! Lesson learnt when there is issues...go away and come back with a fresh mind rather than pushing on stressed!  Not to worry both will get hidden by something further down the line.20230524_124832572_iOS.jpg.69f955362b0133db38a844842da4e29f.jpg




Next up was wiring up the control panel. Many films were watched to keep me sane along this task, not keen on doing another for a long time! (again apologies its upside down...it's the right way up on my PC but keeps inverting when uploading!)



Once this was complete it was mounting time and wiring up at the distribution board, happy to report that only 1 switch was wired up backwards 😀. Still aways to go with this as the LEDs need prepping into the distribution board but this will wait until the diode matrixes have been fully wired and sited, that way I can run in all the cables at once.




Diode matrices are looking like this at the moment two boards one for each end of the storage yard. It's been very helpful keeping a record of all the more complex wiring on a excel document so that it is easy to refer too when fault finding.



Just to prove the panel LEDs work (promise the switches do too!), albeit controlled from the Tablet this time.



Now i'll leave some more running shots below from testing various stock, especially the reliability of the UP storage yards hence why in one video all the traffic is on the UP. Had an issue with derailments but it turned out to be one of the point motor rods being too long. Happy to report all is good now though after rigorous testing!



Some steam era 


Class 60 Leaving the yard.




Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend! 


Edited by sammmm
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hope you're all enjoying the lovely weather!


Mini update- not much has been going on as i've been avoiding the next task which is just plain boring! Filling in the gaps in the sleepers


However I have got the engine shed to completion, just needs a couple coats of AK Matt Varnish followed by a coat of AK Ultra Matt, then its onto fitting the 0603SMD LEDs internally and one at each end.




Also had a delivery of my hunt couplings for the JHA wagons along with some M3 6x3x0.5mm nylon washers to stop the dreaded drag resulting in a slightly higher ride height, 2 of the 9 need to go back due to the common snapped coupling bar.. its put me off buying more.





Which is a shame as I realised today that 15 wagons would fit in the loop, but given the issues I dont fancy ordering another 7, so instead I managed to get hold of 5 Revoloution trains JNAs in MRL livery so that'll sort the rake out nicely 9 JHA + 5 JNA...like alot of other people this rake is eagerly awaiting the 59s from Revoloution trains 😃


I'm enjoying contsructing buildings at the moment so will likely do some more before starting on the scenery for now.


I got a Arch Laser kit of the Radley Island platforms and the platform mounted signal box at the Bristol Model RailEx....however it didnt have any instructions in the box and the very helpful gentleman said at the stand to drop a mail about having the custom station boards done that are meant to come with the kit.


Said email was sent on the 30th of April.....and eventually had a reply on May 7th saying they'd be popped in a package to me along with a copy of the instructions.....lots of chaser emails sent and still nothing. I'm not one to rant online about companies but it's 2023 and simple online customer service is not hard, its a shame as they have alot of good stuff on the website especially form their Arch range. Dread to think if I have an issue with the Sound fitted Class 60 I bought at the same time...probably be out of warranty by the time I had a reply.


Anyways mini rant over and back to modelling! 




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  • 5 months later...

Sorry for the long pause in updates, this is mainly because not much has happened since June other than thouroughly 'testing' the layout. Happy to report all is well!


The past week or so has seen me have a sudden urge to get the left hand of the layout landscaped, mainly because the open baseboard was really making me nervous when running trains!


This is what I started with the beginning of last week



Quick trip to grab some polystyrene, I did want PIR (Celotex) but this was all they had, good bottle of Gorrila glue later this was all stuck down and ready for the very...very messy tasks up next




After a good shaping and a nice layer of plaster bandages followed by home made sculpta mold it was looking like a landscape. Also the fascia recieved a quick first coat of black.




Next up I mixed up a watered down brown....what I thought was Umber Brown, but after looking at the bottle was Sienna....didnt want to waste it so found what I had left of Umber and mixed it together. Looks a bit red to me still so will likely follow up with Umber again just to tone it down before scatters/grass etc. The track also recieved its first coat of colour.  




Next job is to work out how to do my road under the railway before progressing with the next scenic layers. 


I'm also in two minds whether to proceed with semaphores or go down the colour light route.


  I've purchased an Elegoo Mars 3 Pro 3D printer. My first tests were some signal heads with feathers to see if I could get them working... took a few revisions but have finally got one that works with 4 aspects + single feather.


Heres one just mounted on some 1/16 brass tube. Will get a video of the working one next time I have time in the garage.



Next up was a wagon I started designing a while ago, a BLA wagon. I live not far from Llanwern Steel Works so see these wagons almost daily. Couldnt find them anywhere so thought id give it a go!


Heres the first prototype print, runs lovely on some farish y25 bogies, albiet about 0.5mm to high. The second prints i've done since sit lower whilst still allowing the coupling full movement. I'm just trying to dial in the supports as the fine detail of the steel beam snaps easily when removing the supports. as you can see in the second version (grey)




First BLA print with loads seperate



BLA wagon mounted on Farish Y25 bogies v1



v2 of the same wagon but as you can see the lower beam detail is distorted due to poor supports



Hopefully my next update is much sooner this time!



Edited by sammmm
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Not much done since last week, however progress none the less.


First off the sleeper grime was given another once over and I'm about 1/3 of the way through painting the rail sides.



I have been making some progress with detailing parts i'll need further down the line though


First up was some cable hangars;



The next one is something i've been putting off for a while but finally got round to doing it


GWR Rail built stops, i've designed them in both all rail and with a 'sleeper' buffer as you can see below, (ignore the options, i'm planning to sell any detail items I design on Ebay to try make some modelling pennies!)



First print of type B has proved sucessfull, havent modelled the dog leg to keep the flangeways clear as it was proving difficult to attatch and not break off. This isnt much of an issue as with the Rapido couplings you cant buffer up to them anyways.





Happy modelling!

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49 minutes ago, jonhinds said:

Really like how this layout is developing! As for rail built buffer stops, I think there’s a potential market for printed alternatives to the generic Peco offering.

Thanks Jon!


I did think the same, the only other offering of the GWR rail built type that I'm aware of is the 2mmAS etched kit. Will likely try and produce other types in time, mainly focusing on detail bits I need myself but if I get any sales on Ebay then happy days as my 'wish list' of future purchases is getting ever longer. 

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