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Torre Station - Western Region in the 1950's in P4


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Torre was, and still is, one of the main stations on the GWR's Kingswear branch. In its heyday, it was the mains goods depot for Torquay, today it is a shadow of its former self, but retains many of its original buildings (which have been listed Grade II) and is served by many trains daily.

The layout that will be described in this thread has taken an extremely long time to get to its current & very incomplete state, but although sometimes progress has been glacially slow, I have continued to work on it on & off since its last show appearance as a work-in-progress at RailWells in 2013. 

With another show appearance potentially in the offing for next year, the pace has stepped up somewhat over the last few months, so i thought that I would share some of its history and more recent development.



As a teenager, I built a 6x4 OO gauge layout, but the advent of Model Railway Journal led me astray, so at university, what little modelling I did was in preparation for a future 18.83 layout - I converted a Lima Class 33 with ultrascales, built a few wagons, and got an etched Manor chassis working reasonably well on a yard of C&L. 

A couple of abortive attempts to build a layout followed, but didn't result in anything getting finished or even fully operational. I did, however complete my first etched kits - a Churchward small prairie and a Martin Finney 1854 pannier before getting married in 1998.

Later, after the children were born, I joined the Scalefour Society, and when the 18.83 Challenge was being promoted, I decided to cut down the abandoned baseboards from the previous attempt at this project and finally get on and build a layout.


i was very much influenced by Iain Rice's layout design books for Wild Swan, particularly the plans that had "bitsa" stations, so I started to consider options for mainline stations - I wanted to build and run the largest mainline locomotives, even if the space I had available would preclude anything much more than loco plus 3 coaches.


In the end I decided to go for Torre, which with its short platforms and constrained setting offered an opportunity for a very compact, but richly detailed  layout. On the Kingswear branch, even the severe train length limitation was not completely unrealistic, as there were a number of very short Torbay portions with Castle haulage. 

I settled on  8 feet total length, 21 inch width and started to sketch...





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A pair of scenic baseboards were built, from good quality ply, which was cut to size for me by Jewsons in Newton Abbot. The boards are solid topped throughout and were completely covered in cork - I did not need any surfaces below track level. The framing was made from a 4 inch deep double layer of 4mm ply, spaced with 12mm MDF. Two diagonal braces per board were fitted to increase the torsional rigidity (the track plan had previously been drawn out to scale, so I knew where the point controls would need to be!) The whole lot was assembled with Resin W woodworking glue, each joint being clamped until the adhesive was dry. 

All the surfaces, especially any visible MDF, were then sealed with varnish. 


These days, I would go straight to Tim Horn baseboards  and save a lot of time!


i am fortunate to have a spare room big enough to keep the main boards up all the time - we bought a matching pair of sets of drawers  & the layout sits on top of them. I put off building the fiddle yards and supports for exhibition use until much later - the main boards now sit on three Screwfix trestles when they are on their travels. 


I was now finally ready to start construction of the railway.

I had previously obtained an old OS map of the Torre area, which I enlarged and used to set out the track centres pretty much to scale. There were no length compromises at all, only the rearmost siding on the up side was squeezed inwards due to lack of width, an accommodation I still regret making and which will yet cause further issues when I eventually add a backscene.

C&L plain track and turnout templates were then sliced up and glued down with PVA to the cork, with care being taken to ensure alignment of centres.


The next decision was on track construction. I made up the test length pictured below and came to three conclusions:

1) I don't like the colour of nickel silver rail

2) I thought the ballast I had chosen was a little on the coarse side

3) The sample I built was half ply sleepers with 2-bolt chairs, half C&L flexi with three bolt chairs. Can you tell the difference from normal viewing distances? 


So, after a brief struggle with my conscience (during which I laid the up side sidings with ply and two bolt chairs) i switched to C&L flexi track. I still sleep nights and nobody has noticed (until now). I did however remove all the webs between sleepers to improve the appearance and make ballasting easier. 


I also prepared each length of (steel) rail thoroughly before laying it - a hole was drilled through the web at each end, directly above a sleeper position, and several strands of fine copper wire were threaded through and soldered in place.

I used Carrs green label to ensure good wetting and then doused the joint in flux neutraliser solution before washing and drying.

Ply sleepers were fitted at these strategic positions and then drilled so that the copper wires could be fed down through to the underside of the baseboard, where they were soldered to strips of copper-clad board. I used Exactoscale scale insulating fishplates to align rail joints.


This wiring approach does not rely on the mechanical strength of the soldered joint to the rail - none have failed to date.


The turnouts, all of which were B8, with some curvature introduced, were made from hand filed steel rail, C&L plastic sleepers (this time with 2bolt chairs) & generally following the advice in Iain Rices's finescale track book. 


Actuation was with Exactoscale TOUs, to which I fitted Cobalt point motors later on.









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A few pictures from back in 2004, when digital cameras were low resolution and the track was unballasted...

second 006.jpg



early 2004 101.jpg


After each section was tested, the sleepers were painted with Humbrol enamels. This was during the period when "track colour" wasn't available, so I mixed up an approximation and carefully brushed it on. The rail sides were painted a much lighter shade, but I used very little orange in the mix - this was a well maintained and busy railway, and dark browns and oily blacks dominate - likewise the sleepers were much darker than slightly used rural light railway  would be.

Finally, the ballast was applied - I used an "N" gauge limestone, glued down sleeper by sleeper  with PVA carefully brushed in first.

It was a very tedious task and surface tension occasionally won! 

Every time I have done running repairs or enhancements, I go back and improve the worst bits.

Once it was done it all seemed worthwhile though...


2785 on the down main


... and again, this time with a Collett BCK

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The track work was relatively straightforward, it was driven from OS mapping data and track layout detail from CR Potts' book on the Kingswear branch, similarly the platforms were straightforward to add, but to be able to go much further forward, I needed to properly survey the buildings so that I could start the process of modelling them.

Running from south to north we have:

Footbridge - still in place, but modified (view blocker)

Downside main station building - still in place

Downside canopy - still in place, but with breeze block infill enclosing much of the former platform

Upside waiting room - demolished in winter 62/63. I have never seen a complete photograph of it.

Upside signal box - still in place, but not in the condition it was in the 1990s!

Downside lock-up - still in place, but with a roof that must have been replaced in 1957 -58

Downside goods office - still in place, but slightly extended.

Upside concrete hut - standard hut, long gone, but I have photos and a Swindon drawing (of which more in a future post)

Downside goods canopy - removed in the late 1990s

Downside goods shed (first bay only) - heavily modified in the late 1990s, but photographed during the process. Also a view blocker


I'll go through the process I undertook, building by building, over the next few posts, but for the extant buildings, I visited Torre many years ago with (film) camera, tape measure and an A4 drawing board, spending a couple of hours photographing, drawing and generally trying to look inconspicuous.


Many years  later, I spent a year working occasionally from one of the buildings on the site - it was during this period that I photographed 60007 "Sir Nigel Gresley" on a Cathedrals Express excursion to Kingswear - 10th April 2014.






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Main Station Building

Designed by Brunel and originally paired with a train shed, this timber structure on a stone base is listed Grade 2. It is basically a chalet type, but with extensions either end. 


Forecourt view in the late 1990s, when an antiques business was renting the building.


Platform view, showing the block built wall that enclosed much of the platform - the building inside was not greatly altered, with a few of the former external doors being removed.

I was fortunate to find two further primary sources to help. The first was an excerpt from Brunel's own logbook, reproduced in an early BRJ, which showed leading dimensions and the interior layout; the second was drawings of the very similar Dorchester station in GWRJ.

From these, I was able to create sketch drawings of each of the key views.


An overall outline then followed, which I tested by making a mock-up of the building from mount board.

I used this to mark and cut out a much larger piece of 1.5mm mount board which became the forecourt and platform area. This was then fully assembled in place - the final building was then  adjusted to fit as it was built.


Mockup of building being tested on final platform surface.


Dxf of walls, with markers for carcase and cladding layers in blue and red sketched on.


The building was constructed entirely from styrene sheet. 

The first step was to complete a fully featured scale drawing showing each wall section, one by one.


I then produced a plan view of the walls of the building to the same scale, the carcass was 1.5mm thick, the cladding layer 0.5mm, thick, with other layers being added in 0.25mm as required. Interlocking of the pieces was planned at this point.


Two or three  copies of each wall section drawing were made, one for each layer, with inset lines marked where required depending on the planned interlocking.

These were then printed out, actual size on self-adhesive A4 label paper, cut roughly to size with scissors and stuck down to the styrene.


Each top layer piece was then scribed lightly for surface relief, cut out to correct size, and the label paper removed (usually with enamel thinners) to reveal the surface detail. I then used a scrawker and steel rule to obtain the correct depth of detail.


The complete set of 1.5mm parts was then assembled to form a rigid shell, which was progressively clad with the detail layers. A solid flat roof was fitted, plus a lot of internal bracing.


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A few more images showing progress up to Torre's first appearance at Railwells 2013.


As ever, most of the key work was done in a rush in the last few months before the show. As the previous posts have shown, I had most of the key buildings at least recognisable, although none were finished, let alone painted or weathered.

i drew the remaining structures up in Autocad, printed them on self-adhesive paper, then used 1.5mm mount board to make mockups.

I did have time to complete a model of the up waiting room in styrene, but this is the least well-founded of all the buildings, I have views of the ends and canopy, but nothing showing the platform elevation. The door and window arrangements are purely invented - if anyone has a photograph of this building, I'd love to see it.

Chris Challis, who has been extremely supportive throughout this project, suggested a simple wiring scheme and I implemented this in a RS project box, with 25 pin D-SUB connectors to each board.

I similarly cased up an open frame Gaugemaster to power the layout, this was properly earthed, fused and inspected by a qualified colleague .


Control panel, with12V DC connections in on the left (banana sockets) , and out on the right (D-SUBS).

the panel sits on a shelf in front of the down fiddle yard- the 240V AC box is at floor level. All the points are powered with DCC Cobalt motors, driving Exactoscale TOUs.



Set up fully for the first time in the dining room..


i was then able to fully test the layout for the first time in its show form, with full length cassette fiddle yards and the trestle supports. I ran out of time to make a proper backscene and lighting rig - this was a significant omission and will need to be addressed before the layout goes out again.



I also needed some more P4 rolling stock, so a Heljan Hymek was quickly converted with a set of Ultrascales that I had previously laid by.



Three  Bachmann Mk 1's were also quickly converted with P4 wheelsets swapped directly in, I added coupling hooks at each end of the rake, but retained the NEM coupling boxes, and used the bar couplings provided by Bachmann.

Lastly, I dismantled and packed everything in its shipping boxes, and checked to see if it fitted in the car. It did, but only just. 

The stack of boxes was then stored while we went on our summer holiday. Returning home the day before the show, I only had a couple of hours to repack the car and drive up to Wells.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looking forward to watching Torre develop. An area I can relate to. We had a couple of holidays at Paignton in 1966/67 when I was 12/13 or so. Warships and Westerns then of course. I spent hours around the station at Paignton. What sticks in my mind most are the huge Saturday queues to get on to the station, this at a time when rail travel was past it peak.

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First time I have seen this thread, and it is certainly worth a careful read/look at the pictures - It ticks most of my preference boxes for a layout and its somewhere I knew pretty well around the turn of this century .

As they say Will follow with interest!

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Not a huge amount to show for my modelling efforts over the last couple of weeks so far - but that is about to change.

I decided to make a determined effort to complete the signal box.


Torre box in 2014, in a rather sad state 



Current state of the model, not much better, certainly less water-tight.


The main tasks are:

1) Obtain 5-pane windows to the same standard as the existing Churchward Models etched brass windows on front and rear elevations for the side elevations (they are slightly narrower)

2) Obtain 6 pane lock room windows

3) Make the decorative eave supports

4) Reduce the width of the ridge tiles

5) Shape and fit the wall tie-rod end plates

6) Paint and fit the Narrow Planet-supplied custom-etched nameplate.

7) Complete the interior fit (lock room floors, block instrument shelf and layout diagram)

8) Fit the chimneys, guttering, down pipes and window bars.

9) Paint and weather the roof.

10) Complete and fit Churchward doors.


I've started by drawing up the artwork for the windows and eaves - this was a first time for me and took some time to bring to an acceptable state.

Once again, I used Draftsight to create the drawing - the top layer was done first  (mostly full thickness) this was then copied and pasted next to the original for the half-etched tabs to be added. Lastly, the fill command was used on all areas planned not to be etched and any residual errors and double lines corrected.

i added three signs to the artwork -  a station nameboard, the sign commanding down goods trains to stop and finally a "passengers must use the footbridge sign." These have been accepted for etching and I am looking forward to delivery!

Thanks for the responses and feedback - I'll update this thread when the etch arrives!







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I've been trying out some of the scenic materials I'm planning to use. First up is the grass - there is a very small strip of scrubby grass at the front of the layout. Noch puffer bottle, PECO 2mm grass onto Resin W and burnt umber base colour. I'll mix it up a bit with the shades and add in some 4mm next time.IMG_4693.JPG.a6eb14151d67274b2505a18cec5876ac.JPG



Also laid onto a bed of PVA, Attwood Aggregates scenic dust - this will be used to add texture and base colour for the non-ballasted areas within the yard and between the main lines.IMG_4684.JPG.cb9f206c1ec3dca63cd199503bacf5e2.JPG

Turning to the signal box, this has now gone off for etching - here is the drawing for the parts , before the tabbing was added and the front and rear separated.IMG_4692.JPG.61706e4d1ca412aeddcbac6981c96476.JPG


These were printed out actual size and tried out in place before I submitted the artwork.IMG_4685.JPG.bbc8461f30caebf37bc116382be79973.JPG

lastly for this week, a start has been made on the point rodding, with a trial length of Modelu 4-roller parts, with 0.4mm square nickel-silver wire. I have some Brassmasters angle cranks to assemble next, they will be placed adjacent to the leading wheel set of 2785.IMG_4690.JPG.2b66654e9f67dbc8e77c6bff1a0bb254.JPG


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Was tipped off about this thread so happy to have found it!


Great project and the trackwork looks superb. Very nice drawings too :good:


Staying tuned for more...



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1 hour ago, The Fatadder said:

What was your source of square wire for the rodding?

Hi Rich, Tim,


the wire was supplied by Wizard Models


LS006/2 for square wire

LS006/3for round wire

They also have point rodding cranks and pulleys (LS006/1) and stools (LS005) listed.

The Modelu components can be found at



I did think about a Silhouette cutter for these parts, but I had already bought and fitted the Churchward windows for front and back and wanted consistency with them. For the next building, I may well try that out!

Best Wishes





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57 minutes ago, The Fatadder said:

what was your source of square wire for the rodding?

Yes, if you don't mind, it would be useful to know that.


I see that you've now sent the windows off for etching, but if you have something similar to do like that in the future, perhaps a silhouette cutter might work, if thin plasticard suffices, such as window frames?


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29 minutes ago, MPR said:



I did think about a Silhouette cutter for these parts, but I had already bought and fitted the Churchward windows for front and back and wanted consistency with them. For the next building, I may well try that out!

Best Wishes



I used the Silhouette cutter to do the windows for Brent station which worked really well. Though I think for the large signal box windows an etch is probably a better bet given how fragile they are. As it’s the one building I have been putting off on Brent it’s a task I haven’t needed to attempt yet...


i use a layer of ten thou for the windows sandwiched between a layer of 20thou for strength and the outer layer of SE Finecast brick.    Eventually (when I finally do some painting) they get backed with clear plastic.


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Is there a thread on the forum about the silhouette cutter? I assume you need the correct PC software first to draw up what is to be cut. Great leaps in technology from the David Rowe architectural modelling days that I am still working to!



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51 minutes ago, vectispete said:

Is there a thread on the forum about the silhouette cutter? I assume you need the correct PC software first to draw up what is to be cut. Great leaps in technology from the David Rowe architectural modelling days that I am still working to!




Yes there is,


Several posts down are links to other related Silhouette topics.



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