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SER station


pete_mcfarlane

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I've not had a layout for 7 years, due to living in a fairly small rented flat. So I'm planning on using the challenge to kick start my next layout by building part of one station. This can then be incorporated in to the layout when it's started (in 2030 or whenver that is!)

 

This will be a fictitious South Eastern Railway station somewhere on the south coast of Kent. The SER had a knack for building railways through bits of marshland that really didn't warrant a railway (normally as part of some scheme to outfox their arch rivals the LC&DR), so the aim is to capture the spirit of these lines. The blame for this can mostly be laid at the door of Brian Hart and Wild Swan for their series of books on lines like the Hundred of Hoo, Elham Valley and the Hythe and Sandgate.

 

I've had a suitable station building in my box of half finished projects for about 10 years now.

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It's based on a drawing of Westerham as built, but with a curved cast iron canopy rather than the less common flat type, and is a typical SER clapboard station building. It's built out of plasticard and apart from one chimney has shown now signs of warping. The canopy was formed around a watertight spaghetti tin of the right diameter - tape the Slater's corrugated sheet to the outside and fill the tin with hot water!

 

I'm currently thinking about including the station, part of the platform and possibly a signal box or part of the goods yard. Some more planning is called for before I start work of the baseboard. For now I'm finishing off the station building.

 

Oh and it's 4mm scale, with 16.5mm gauge track.

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I spent the afternoon looking at track plans of SER branch stations, and came up with a rough general outline. post-1187-0-59843500-1306007128_thumb.jpgNot very hi-tech, but I like pencils and paper. The track layout is roughly based on Sharnall Street on the Hundred of Hoo line as originally built. This originally had a goods loop signalled to allow a freight to pass a passenger train before being upgraded to a full passing place with two platform. This is the bit I'm going to be modelling:post-1187-0-73136800-1305999870_thumb.jpg I had hoped to include a signal box, but there isn't really enough room. I'm not sure if there is enough room for the loading dock in the goods yard so this will need some experimentation when I start building. Building this will need a few firsts for me:

- Finescale track (if you can call it finescale in OO). My previous layout was code 100 Peco so this will be a definite improvement.

- A (hopefully) working signal for the end of the platform. This will be a MSE Southern rail built signal, as I bought one of these a few years back to see what they were like. I still haven't built it so now is the chance.

- I'm planning to build the baseboard out of foamboard. I have a test track sitting on a foamboard baseboard, which I built 4-5 years ago and have been deliberately abusing every since. It seems to have stood up well to this, so I'm going to try it on the diorama.

The next challenge is to think up a name.

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I spent the afternoon looking at track plans of SER branch stations, and came up with a rough general outline. post-1187-0-59843500-1306007128_thumb.jpgNot very hi-tech, but I like pencils and paper. The track layout is roughly based on Sharnall Street on the Hundred of Hoo line as originally built. This originally had a goods loop signalled to allow a freight to pass a passenger train before being upgraded to a full passing place with two platform. This is the bit I'm going to be modelling:post-1187-0-73136800-1305999870_thumb.jpg I had hoped to include a signal box, but there isn't really enough room. I'm not sure if there is enough room for the loading dock in the goods yard so this will need some experimentation when I start building. Building this will need a few firsts for me:

- Finescale track (if you can call it finescale in OO). My previous layout was code 100 Peco so this will be a definite improvement.

- A (hopefully) working signal for the end of the platform. This will be a MSE Southern rail built signal, as I bought one of these a few years back to see what they were like. I still haven't built it so now is the chance.

- I'm planning to build the baseboard out of foamboard. I have a test track sitting on a foamboard baseboard, which I built 4-5 years ago and have been deliberately abusing every since. It seems to have stood up well to this, so I'm going to try it on the diorama.

The next challenge is to think up a name.

Look closely at a map. The Hundred of Hoo, Isle of Grain, all that stuff. How about "Cooling (Castle)"? There really is one!

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Look closely at a map. The Hundred of Hoo, Isle of Grain, all that stuff. How about "Cooling (Castle)"? There really is one!

There's almost too many to choose from on the Hoo peninsula:

  • Hoo St Werburgh (apparently she was a 7th Century Abbess)
  • Swigshole
  • St Mary Hoo
  • Cockleshell Beach

Other possibilities:

  • St Mary in the Marsh (Romney Marsh)
  • Botolph's Bridge (ditto)
  • Saltmarshe (nowhere near Kent but the name sounds right)

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My main inspiration has come from Sharnal Street station on the Hundred of Hoo railway. There's a brief Wikipedia page on the station with this rather nice (public domain) photo of the station as first built. It has a rather lovely collection of signals.Sharnal_Street_Station.JPGProgress over the last few days has centred around sourcing the bits I need - luckily Langley do some gas lamps which appear to be almost right for the distinctive SER ones. I've also covered the station roof in Wills slate sheet. There's not much I can add to what's already been published about this stuff. It looks good, is a pain to cut and comes in tiny sheets so you spend ages hiding the joins between them.post-1187-0-79629400-1306277841_thumb.jpg

 

The chimneys aren't wonky - I've just glued oversized bits of plasticard to their tops (which I'll cut down to size when set).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Slow but steady progress with the station building. The roof now has ridge tiles and flashing (both from Evergreen strip) and the chimneys are complete.

 

post-1187-0-79915300-1307313678_thumb.jpg

 

I then sprayed it with a coat of grey undercoat, which showed up where I'd not filled the gaps between the roof panels properly. Out with the filler on Monday night!

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In my sightly non-standard way of doing things I'm planning on finishing the station building before I start on the baseboard itself.

 

It will be finished in Southern colours and enamel signs, which should suit a period from the 1930s to 1970ish (when the last Southern green signs gave way to BR corporate image). Luckily Precision paints do all of the correct Southern building colours, so I've ordered the ones I need. I should be able to start painting the building itself later this week.

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I've added the canopy over the station entrance. The valence is from Slater's and is sold as a Midland Railway design, but is close enough to the pattern used on a few SER stations. These stations may be to a standard design, but there are endless variations in things like the valences and windows.

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There's quite a lot of variation in the entrance canopies, even on stations on the same line (judging by pictures of the ones on the Hoo line) so it's possible they were later additions.

 

Having finished the canopy, I started to paint the station. This is after a couple of coats of Precision slate paint on the roof, and one of their Southern Dark Stone (Stone 1a on the SR paint scheme) on the woodwork. The Jan 2005 issue of BRM has copies of the Southern Paint diagrams and there are poor quality scans on the SEMG website.

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I had some head scratching over this "Stone 1a", as it seems to vary a lot in photos (even allowing for the usual variance in 1950s and 60s colour film). However this seems to be down to fading - in some cases to a very pale cream colour. It's probably worth remembering that a lot of the colour photos of Southern branch lines were taken just before closure to passengers and so the buildings may be a bit run down .

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Paint continues at my usual painfully slow pace. In the meantime I've started work on the grounded van body.

 

Most of the commercial models of grounded bodies are of designs that wouldn't have been grounded until the very late 1960s - for example the recent Bachmann model is of a BR design. These look very out of place on a layout set in the 1930s or 1950s.

 

So I'm scratchbuilding a suitable grounded van that will be in keeping with my chosen timescale. It's an example of the SER design that became SR diagram 1419. Drawings and a photo of a grounded example are in Southern wagons volume 3. There's also a photo of an ex-LCDR van grounded on the Hundred of Hoo still in SECR livery in the 1950s so I might do it in SECR livery - if nothing else it uses up the transfers that come on the HMRS Southern wagon sheet biggrin.gif

 

Construction so far has consisted of making a basic box out of 40thou plastic sheet (complete with holes to let the solvent vapour out), and then overlaying it with Slater's planked 20thou, which has almost the right spacing.

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I've now left it for the solvent to harden.

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Great modelling and a very appealing prototype, Pete.

 

I agree that the Will's sheets are frustratingly short. I've always wondered why they don't make it in larger sizes. Perhaps the thickness of the material (as opposed to Plastikard) plays a role, or perhaps it's just one of those things that they decided on years ago.

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I agree that the Will's sheets are frustratingly short. I've always wondered why they don't make it in larger sizes. Perhaps the thickness of the material (as opposed to Plastikard) plays a role, or perhaps it's just one of those things that they decided on years ago.

I suspect it may be down to the capacity of their injection moulding machine. It is a shame, as it makes the sheets harder to use unless you are producing very small buildings. Luckily the Evergreen planked sheet I used for the walls comes in normal sized sheets.

 

After much cursing, some filler and several coats of paint the joins now hardly show.

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post-1187-0-85474300-1308003292_thumb.jpg

The station after several coats of Precision dark stone (which like all light colours doesn't cover very well). The roof has had a wash of black over the Precision Slate, as this came out a little on the light side.

 

Meanwhile I'm slowly adding the framing to the grounded van body. This will take a week or two of five to ten minutes each evening, as I add a few bits at a time and then let the solvent set.

post-1187-0-22456500-1308003615_thumb.jpg

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I've made a start on the interior walls. These are made from 15 thou plasticard, pre-painted with green (up to 4' from the floor) and cream as per the Southern building painting instructions.

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I then stuck them in place inside the shell of the building, using double sided tape as I didn't want to risk distorting them by using vast quantities of solvent. I've cut the window openings a couple of millimetres smaller than the openings in the walls. This gives a rebate in to which the glazing a window frames will go later on.

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The next step with the interior is to add the remaining partition walls to separate the office, waiting room and ladies from each other. There will be a fair bit of guesswork involved, as I have a floorplan of the building at Westerham but no interior photos of these SER wooden stations bar a few contemporary ones on the Network Rail station guide.

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My quantity surveyor has underestimated the amount of painted 30thou plasticard internal walls that would be needed, so construction of the interior has been delayed whilst another strip is painted. In the meantime, here's the current state of play with the painting. post-1187-0-13049500-1308785945_thumb.jpgpost-1187-0-59178400-1308785991_thumb.jpg

 

The curved iron roof was done (after some experimentation) using several washes of grey acrylic over a dark coloured base, followed by dry brushing in various shades of grey and finished off with some orange to simulate rust. The only colour photo of found of the top of one of these canopies is in the Capital publishing Kent Steam album, so that's all I've had to go on.

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One of the interesting parts of this project is tracking down suitable South Eastern Railway infrastructure. Like most pre-grouping railways they had very distinctive station furniture, railings, signals and so on, and a lot of this survived well in to BR days until the corporate image took hold in the late 1960s. I want to get these details right rather than using the usual generic components from people like Peco and Merit (or whatever Merit is called these days). Luckily I've been able to track suitable models of everything I need - in some cases not exact replicas but close enough.

 

 

The latest parcel of bits came today from Scalelink. They do an etch of Southern station components, including some seats that are very similar to the South Eastern ones.

post-1187-0-25286100-1308950837_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

In the parcel was a key component of the station interior. I'm not sure if these will be seen in the finished model, but I couldn't resist when I discovered that Scalelink did castings.

post-1187-0-12322200-1308951084_thumb.jpg

 

I suspect that these are actually a bit too modern, but modifying them to have separate cisterns mounted higher up the wall is perhaps taking things a little too far help.gif

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest oldlugger

Hello Pete,

 

Your model is of particular interest to me as I am just about to build a P4 layout which draws inspiration from the Hundred of Hoo Railway (St. Mary Hoo - a fictitious station and industrial link line). Your station building is looking very nice already! I shall watch your progress with interest.

 

All the best

Simon

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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress has been been a bit slow of late - I'd better get a move on if I'm to be finished in time.

 

Interior walls are complete and being painted - the walls were cut from pre-painted plasticard, and glued on an inner core. Between these layers is some 10 thou plasticard with the door panelling cut out.

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For the sum of £10 I've bought a suitable plastic box from Wilkos to hold the completed diorama. Not very exciting but very important.

post-1187-0-33231700-1312329300_thumb.jpg

 

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Hi Pete

 

Very nicely done indeed so far I look forward to follwoing further progress. I have taken the liberty of including a link to this thread and your workbench blog in the Southern Railway Group workbench links page, I hope you don't mind.

 

Graham,

 

I don't mind at all - if I'd been paying attention I'd have done it myself.....

 

Pete

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is the current state of affairs. Interiors walls and toilets installed (although there's no door on the gent's cubicle yet!). The urinals were knocked up from plasticard and strip As before there's quite a bit of guesswork.

post-1187-0-58558700-1313191522_thumb.jpgpost-1187-0-40925900-1313191572_thumb.jpg

Hopefully there's a parcel with some C&L track and components waiting for me at the sorting office in the morning.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another update - a simple baseboard has been made out of foamboard, edged with 2mm ply. I built a test track out of foamboard about 5 years back, which has stood up to endless rough handling very well, except for the edges getting damaged. Hopefully the thin ply should protect them. It's quite deep to allow it to be mated up to future boards with Tortoise point motors mounted underneath.

 

I couldn't resist a quick mock up with the station building, some C&L track and a suitable half finished coach.

post-1187-0-40876000-1314051951_thumb.jpg

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This week, I have mosty been working on the baseboard.

 

Platforms and basic ground contours were made out of foamboard. The platforms were set to a scale 30" above rail height. This is way below modern standards but seems about right when compared to contemporary photos.

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This was then covered with several layers of plaster bandage, and then finished with Polyfiller.

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I've swapped the loading dock and siding around compared to the original plan, as that seemed to make the change in height between the platform/forecourt and the ground level sidings work better. Most of the real stations seem to have the loading dock next to the platform. The result is that the siding is just a stub.

 

Track in the siding and dock is being made from C&L components, using the a mix of 34mm long EM sleepers and the normal 32mm OO ones to represent 9' sleepered track that has had the odd sleeper replaced with a new shorter one. Presumably the yards were lightly used and it took a long time for the track to be upgraded to more modern standards.

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