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I've been thinking about building a model railway for around 45 years.


I started one back then (meaning c1969) - in OOO, nowadays N - and got as far as glued-down & ballasted track with one kit-built loco and a few kit-built wagons & a coach but then......


Within two years or so I'd sold all the bits I had.


About 1993 I started attending NEAG, the 2mm group near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I watched as people by now legendary in the field built 2mm pointwork, brass loco kits, brass chassis kits, even straight 2mm track. And tiny trees. Lovely people, nice tea & cakes after every meeting.


At home I began designing layouts, which was a novelty as my 1969 layout was simply 'built' straight off - I never actually designed it.


I worked out many designs and settled upon one and drew it out full-sized, 2m long x 550mm wide.


In 1995 with tools and backyard 'borrowed' from a Geordie pal I built the baseboard for that, still in N. I bought all the track I'd need, two locos, assorted rolling stock - and then had to move to live 200 miles north, on the Isle of Skye. No, it doesn't have a model railway shop, nor a railway. Kyle of Lochalsh station is the closest and is often modelled in all scales. It often saw me.


In 2012 I again seemed to have time on my hands so I resumed scribbling layout designs, but this time for one half the 1995 size, yet using all the 1995 sets of points and as much of the track & rolling stock as possible.


Near the end of 2012 I set out the track & rolling stock on a card of the right size just as a 'mockup'.


At the start of 2013 I dared to set out the same track & rolling stock on the baseboard I'd built back in 1995, which had lain in backrooms and later an outbuilding ever since.


Both of these 'rough drafts' were photographed.


Finally, in 2013 I really bit the bullet and decided there is a VAST difference between watching/operating built layouts and building one, so I got ruthless and pruned the design even smaller. This version has only two sets of points and tiny sidings, but it works as a classic 'Inglenook' shunting puzzle.


As before, I set out track & rolling stock and took photos.


This one is now being built, and it will be known as SLEEPY COVE, a term which usefully covers both its looks and my rate of progress.

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Hello and welcome Serious7,


I smiled at your opening post as it described a few of us here (substitute various dates and scales though).






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  • 3 weeks later...

Fingers crossed, if I've got things right, below will be the photos of the 1st-built mockup, which was the version 'half the 1995 size', meaning 800mm x 540mm, simply because I owned that size sheet of thick card.


The idea with this version was that a passenger train would be left running on the loop whilst a diesel shunted freight in the yard. In my mind the passengers would be going long-distance instead of getting dizzy and the yard is arranged to enable the shunters to run-around to exit, meaning they must return loco-hauled to where they came from.....


The passenger train could range from a single-unit or two-coach diesel railcar up to two loco-hauled coaches. The layout is of course TINY.


The straight at the back was going to be a 3-track traverser.


The yard would have a few small buildings and a hillside would cover the back half of the loop + the traverser.


I do have plans drawn and even perspectives of the intended look but right now I can't scan those. Maybe later.....


CRAIGIEVAR CASTLE is around the right scale but was plonked down in the last frame only to help visualisation tasks.


The grain hopper is the wrong model for me - it will be sold off and replaced by the Dapol one, which looks quite different. The Dapol one was a frequent sight in my youth as a farm tractor fitted with railway sleeper buffers dragged it over the road into BALLANTINE'S Distillery in my native Dumbarton.


The distillery is no longer there, despite what they write on the whisky bottles. It moved years ago and the site today is abandoned wasteland; the distillery which dominated the skyline is gone.....post-18681-0-01521600-1364821985_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-54163200-1364822008_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-70954300-1364822033_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-63218200-1364822051_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-51402200-1364822072_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-98857900-1364822087_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-51974500-1364822106_thumb.jpg 





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SORRY this doesn't have a new headline of its own but I can't yet work out how to do those - guidance on that required!!! Feel free to type away.


Anyway ...and this is the mockup of the 1995 design - alert minds will see at a glance why I'm not building this whopper right now.


The work required to complete it would take three years.


It's on two levels linked by a ramp which is in part curved at 9" radius; only SHORT freight can get up or down that.


The concept - again, I have proper drawings but cannot scan them today..... So, the idea was that the foredge is a long quayside with a passenger carferry and some sort of 3-island freighter tied up alongside.


At the base end of the rising ramp there's a busy bakery (Mr Kipling, close rival...) and 'under the arches' are sundry small industries. At the other end at dock level is a fuel dump and an 8-storey passenger ferry terminal which also houses a vast empire of witty lawyers trading under the name 'NO LAW', the 'NO' part being the principal, one Norman Osmond (or whatever - I hadn't really chosen his exact name. Or hers, it was that vague.)


Since the docks had got too busy, it had been necessary to re-lay & re-open the yard 'over the arches', from which an old tunnel leads up to the distant main lines - a bizarre linkage copied from a feature which existed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I doubt the Geordie one has been revitalised. In this model, the tunnel led originally to a sector plate, but when I built the mockup I saw that a small turntable would fit instead, and be more useful. It could carry three through tracks and two dead-end stubs. (Yup, I've drawn out how to build this gadget. I may be building TWO of them, one for each end of SLEEPY COVE.) 


To enable shunting of this over-the-arches 'top yard', a bridge linking it to another long-derelict high yard at the fuel-dump end has been restored with bit of track relaid over the bridge. The rest of the tracks in the second high-level yard haven't been relaid and the patterned ballast they sat in is quite overgrown.


In this mockup tracks & even some plywood overhang the ends of their respective yards at both ends of the board. There was no point in cutting the stuff but when I build it 'for real' I will trim everything.


As with the half-size 2012 layout, the plot was that a passenger train would loop on the outer oval whilst shunting went on in either the 'top yard' or along the roadside by the docks.


I bought all the arches in 1995 but they remain white plastic and I only placed one for the photos - four that size would run along that yard edge, with access doors & windows & rooflights between some tracks above.


The huge NO LAW office block building was going to be a copy of the DFDS ferry terminal building in Hamburg - so the real one is dockside.....  All scratchbuilt as a model; nobody sells a kit of that.


All this will become much clearer when I manage to add the drawn track plans.post-18681-0-90762700-1364823599_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-82716400-1364823618_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-17974400-1364823637_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-01614700-1364823654_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-74614100-1364823670_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-50828200-1364823691_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-02254600-1364823709_thumb.jpgpost-18681-0-98553600-1364823727_thumb.jpg

Lastly, for the truly curious only, here's the baseboard from 1995's current resting-place (awaiting its own Easter resurrection).



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