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Jamestown Junction - A starter layout for an 8 year old.


Craig Watson

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Hi all,

 

As an aside from my main modelling projects of my Canadian HO work in progress and my Park Road TMD layout myself and my now 9 year old son James started work on this last summer (2013), the plan being to give James a small layout which could easily be set up in our lounge to let him run his trains on his own layout.

 

The result was Jamestown Junction, a 5'x3.5' roundy layout on two levels with a two road fiddle yard and plenty of scope for James to shunt wagons and store a few locos.

 

The track is a mixture of PECO and Hornby flexi track which we mostly already had from a few train sets that James had, the main change during building was that the original Hornby curved points were replaced with PECO equivalents as we seemed to get lots of derailments on the Hornby ones.

 

When planning the layout it was pretty clear that we wouldn't fit much on the size of board, we then came up with the plan to add a branch to an upper level, the gradient is pretty steep but with the length of train James runs most locos can get a train to the top without much slipping!

 

The buildings are a mixture of Hornby and Metcalf, James had a few Hornby buildings but we didn't really like the way they come in plain plastic with sticker alternatives for brick or stone finishes as these had started to peel off after a while, the upper station building and signal box were originally mine from when I was James' age and he liked the way the brick was simply printed on, we've recently replaced the loco shed and water tower from the newer versions to original 1980's Hornby versions as per the upper station and we'll be doing the same with the bottom signalbox soon.

 

The points are worked by PECO point motors, someone kindly handed in a box to our club who then provided enough for the layout, theres a small probe and stud control panel on the rear of the backscene, power comes from a Gaugemaster combi controller.

 

The layout was never really intended to be exhibited, however our club exhibition manager saw some early pics of the board being built and asked us if we could have it ready for our club show last October (2013), we did manage to get it ready and it ran perfectly all weekend, the result was an invitation to Model Rail Scotland where again it has had a successful outing, it seems to be very popular with parents as it show what can be fitted into a small space.

 

It has also been invited to Falkirk MRC's exhibition in November as well as an approach from another Scottish exhibition which is being followed up this week!

 

Anyway, thats the story of the layout so far, here are some pics, unfortunately the ones of the board being built have somehow been deleted from my phone!

 

The front of the layout with buildings in place and work ongoing with pavements and painting of the road.

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The level crossing.

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The Hornby engine shed and water tower, these were replaced before the Glasgow show with earlier Hornby versions.

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The goods yard, this now has more clutter with pallets and coal sacks etc.

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An aerial overview of the layout.

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Ready to go on the Friday night at Bonnybridge!

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Entertaining the crowds at Model Rail Scotland 2014!

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Cheers

 

Craig

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Thanks for the comments, I let James see them before he went to bed (clutching his copy of BRM!) and he's really pleased, he pointed out that most of the pics above were taken while we were still working on the layout as bits and bobs such as chimney pots hadn't been fitted!

 

We're planning on setting the layout up for a running session next week so will get some better pics then, it was designed to fit easily into our lounge by moving our dining room table a bit, luckily the females of the house can manage to put up with it for a few days at a time so it gets plenty of use!!

 

James also wants to go down the DCC path, with my two main layouts being DCC he has had plenty of experience using my prodigy express and advance systems, I also have a Hornby select unit which I use for basic testing when fitting decoders for my local model shop so could also use this on the layout, given that it only has one power connection to the track it would be pretty easy to convert the layout using the small Hornby point clips.

 

Cheers

 

Craig

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest 40-something

Another wee update on the layout.

 

The layout is now going to be exhibited at Kyle MRC's exhibition at Stevenston on the 17th & 18th May 2014.

 

Hopefully we'll see you there!

 

Craig

See you there Craig, I'll be there with my own layout, Rockvilla Goods

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  • 2 months later...
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Thanks for all the kind comments above!

 

The layout is now set up at the Kyle MRC exhibition for the weekend, it's being operated for us tomorrow morning by one of our club members as James also plays football and has a lunchtime match, we'll be there in the afternoon and all day Sunday.

 

We're both looking forward to the weekend, a fault popped up on the engine shed point tonight which means James can only use one of the tracks, a replacement point will need to be fitted as the blade has came away from the plastic tiebar which has broke, a peco setrack point will be fitted instead once we get home from this weekends show!

 

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Cheers

 

Craig

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We had an enjoyable weekend at the Kyle MRC exhibition, thanks to the club for inviting us and in particular Dougie Martin for helping to operate the layout and helping us get it back home after the show!

The next outing for James is the Falkirk exhibition in November, he's identified some changes he wants to the layout, in particular an isolating section at the lower station to allow him to hold a train there while another can access the branch, he also wants another line in the fiddle yard to give a bit more variety in the trains he can run as well as replacing the faulty point in the engine shed so it looks like we might have a busy summer!!!

 

James also managed to get another earlier Hornby signalbox to replace the peeling later style one, it matches the brickwork of the engine sheds and only cost £5.

Here are some pics from the weekend.
 

The happy owner! (just noticed the Hornby controller in the pic, it was from the Thomas layout next door!)
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Shunting the goods shed.
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The level crossing.
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The Cravens unit at Jamestown Junction.
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Street scene.
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DMU at the upper station
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Goods and engine sheds
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Goods and engine sheds
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Upper station and yard.
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The new Jamestown Junction signal box
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Engine shed
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Cheers

Craig

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in particular an isolating section at the lower station to allow him to hold a train there while another can access the branch,

Come on Dad it would be easier just to convert it to DCC :D

 

What a lovely layout. Just how many of us could do the same - ok it is not a purist finescale layout but so what? So much fun to be had in the building and operation. Of course there is always something that could be done better or perhaps added and always a what if there could be more space (6x4 being the more typical board) But it is an important start and job well done.

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Thanks Kenton!

 

It has been great fun to build as well as sharing the experience with my son which has developed into him taking a more active role in helping me along with my serious modelling projects, the main aim was to give him a layout which could occasionally be set up in the lounge, the board also had to fit in my car (although it now doesn't!! hence the size, it was when our club's exhibition manager saw some pics of our progress he asked if we could bring it to our show and exhibit it!

 

Cheers

 

Craig

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