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Nostalgia trip
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:44 pm    Post subject: Nostalgia trip Reply with quote

Going through some old photos I found these pictures of past favourite layouts.


Stoney End (009) was built back in the 1970s, and this view shows almost all the visible part of the layout. To the right there were hills hiding the rear of the continuous run and the fiddle yard.

A passenger train is arriving, hauled by a kitbuilt Baldwin 0-6-0T which was shortened from the original 4-6-0T as the front bogie refused to stay on the track. Waiting to depart is a quarry train headed by a Peco Varikit loco; its wagons are shortened Liliput and Eggerbahn opens, one of which has been rebuilt with a peaked roof as a Gunpowder Wagon.

Equally nostalgic is the Matchbox Yesteryear traction engine, whose driver was a metal figure from, I think, Hornby Dublo.
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Next are some shots of Alcudia, which was a model of an imaginary station of the once real Majorca Railways. I spent a couple of holidays in the early 1980s exploring the remains of this system and doing other research. The result was a layout in 0-16.5 which captured the Balearic flavour, but eventually was felt to have too many scale/gauge compromises. The original was a 3ft line, here modelled six inches too narrow. I should perhaps have gone for 5mm scale for greater accuracy.

Alcudia appeared in the January 1990 edition of Scale Model Trains, and was built in a paste table, a method described by the Editor in an earlier edition. Eventually I added a second table which provided a fiddle yard hidden by a harbour-side scene backed by some traditional Balearic architecture masking the fiddle yard.

This picture shows one of the Nasmyth Wilson 4-4-0Ts, a model based on a Hornby Midland Compound chassis on which was mounted a scratchbuilt styrene body. Luckily in those days it was still easy to find white metal castings for boiler mountings etc. in the shops. The coaches were from a Japanese kit and while not exactly prototypical certainly captured the feel of the Brown Marshall-built prototypes, with the advantage, for a small layout, of being slightly shorter. The brake van was scratch-built on a Hornby wagon chassis and was copied from a good broadside photo by Michael Andress, who visited the island shortly before 1964, the end of the steam era.

The ancient lorry started life as a Matchbox Crossley, I think, but was adapted to resemble one of the railway's road vehicles, which lingered derelict in the unused steam sheds at Palma until about 1970, when it was scrapped.



Majorca introduced internal combustion in the mid 1920s and some of the early railcars survived for half a century. Here's a De Dion railcar arriving at Alcudia. The model was built on a Piko chassis that was a brilliant runner. The styrene body was painted pale blue and white, the island's pre-nationalisation livery. The round-ended open wagon is a Brown Marshall design that was later copied by Palma Works when they started building their own freight vehicles.



The railcars could also haul a tail load. This was particularly useful on the Felanitx branch where some original light section rail prohibited the later heavier rolling stock. The usual passenger train was a railcar and a Postal/2nd class coach, and this combination is seen arriving at Alcudia. The water tower in the background used an Airfix tank on a card base scribed to represent stonework. On the right is the local farmers' co-op, and tucked in behind, a little builders' merchants - a feature copied from a corner of the former station at Palma.



In the 1950s freight traffic was dwindling though still important. A goods train hauled by "Salinas" a Palma-built 4-4-0T arrives from Palma, and comprises a Brown Marshall drop-side open wagon, a cattle truck and a typical brake van. These were found on both goods and passenger trains. I discovered the last survivor in 1982 and luckily measured it. By the time of my next visit it had been destroyed by fire.



After WWI the Majorca Railways patronised Spanish locomotive builders, and here we see a 2-6-0T from La Maquinista heading a goods train out of the station. The model was built from photographs on a Hornby mogul chassis, but I did not manage to obtain any dimensions until long after it was finished; it then turned out to be rather on the short side. In the foreground is "la Inglesita" , a little Nasmyth-built 0-4-0T that was actually used on the harbour branch at Palma. but seems to have become the station pilot at Alcudia, a not too unlikely scenario as after the tunnel to the harbour was built in the 1930s there was no longer the need for small engines to haul goods trains through the streets of central Palma during the siesta hours.



Despite being an island of tank engines, Majorca's trains always ran chimney first and so all termini were provided with turntables. Once the layout's second baseboard was built, there was room to include this feature, and also a typical coaling shed. The rear track is a siding leading to the harbour, the nearer one is the main line to Palma.

In the foreground is the Bar El Pescador, where the crossing keeper spends much of his time between trains. In typical style the track is merely protected by a couple of chains hung between posts on either side of the road. The rear wall of the bar is open to allow access to point levers inside, and this view pre-dates the back-scene that was eventually fiited to the layout.




--------------------------
Here is a selection of the Midd Valley Railway, an 00n3 layout built c. 1965 -1971. In those pre-Eggerbahn days one chopped up Triang TT models for easy narrow gauge models. The MVR was sold on and went through three other owners until it was eventally scrapped when the white-metal turnout frogs started to disintegrate with age! Apologies for the slightly foggy prints - a product of their age; hopefully the content will compensate.

The layout appeared in MTI-39 and pictures showed the harbour station at Midhaven. Across from that was the town, a mixture of Bilteezi, Superquick and scratch-built structures:- the Pride o' Bristol Hotel was a copy of the Great Western Hotel in St Helier, Jersey, while Perks and Perks, Solicitors was a copy of a John Ahern design with a name pinched from a contemporary Giles cartoon.

The strange locomotive was based on an idea from the Tralee & Dingle (long before I became acquainted with french bi-cabines). It used the boiler of a Kitmaster Italian tank engine sandwiched between two Pug cabs from the same source, and sat on a K's motor bogie, which it shared with another tram loco. (ah! the days when kits were 2/- or 3/6d; 10 to 17.5p in later money)



Just outside the station limits, the MVR crossed Bridge Street on the level. These two Superquick shops were meant to be temporary, but in the end were never replaced. Vollmer cardboard cobbles are much in evidence, with a card and balsa hump-backed bridge over the river providing the location's name.



After the level crossing came a 90 degree bend and the line entered Midford station. Here's no. 2 "Onyx" arriving with a train bound for the branchline to Fallowfield. Onyx is a classic Pug/Jinty cross, but I managed to add the Pug's cylinders and motion, which gives her a chunky narrow gauge appearance.

Jusy out of view in the foreground the river passed through a lock, and some excavations to install point control rodding after the scenery was finished led to a "Road Up" scene being incorporated. The station building was from an earlier layout based on the SE&CR - again it was scheduled for replacement, but survived to the end. In the background is "The Swan", a pub copied from one in Windsor, with on the right some structures from a Bilteezi background sheet cut out and made into low-relief buildings.



On leaving Midford the main line headed uphill and passed Kingswood Halt with its factory siding. Here a Down Goods is passing the halt, hauled by "Douglas" another Jinty adaptation rather influenced by Isle of man design, hence the name.



Meanwhile, after Midford, the branch curved round and crossed the river to arrive at Fallowfield - here part of the goods yard is visible. Behind this the main line crossed a waterfall on a trestle bridge which led into Lamberstock station. In this shot we see 2-6-0T "Lady Constance" (yes, I listened to THAT radio show!) who had a mixture of features - a bit of L&B Manning Wardle about the body, crossed with some NCC Compound, all fitted on top of a TT Castle chassis; this made the driving wheels a bit large and if I'd had the confidence to quarter a new set, some Jinty driving wheels would have looked better. The train has some Tralee & Dingle inspired stock - a 1st/2nd compo and a balcony-ended brake van. MVR coaching stock was painted in the then new CIE livery, tan lower panels, black above the waist with a white stripe along the cantrail.



Once across the trestle bridge, the houses and shops of Lamberstock apeared on the left of the train. Some of them were my first attempt at styrene construction, in particular "The Old Ship", a pub borrowed from Richmond, Surrey, and Fuller's tea-rooms, taken from Windsor. Also visible are some hand-painted back-scene shops - after the style of John Ahern, whose book on scenic construction provided so much of the inspiration for this layout.



Last edited by giles b on Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:42 pm; edited 11 times in total
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shortliner2001



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 836

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

....and Alcudia was always one of my favorite NG layouts - it had that indefinable "something".....
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack - I've added some more pictures of Alcudia, and may have some colour pics in the loft, which I'll seach for next week.

I also hope to put up some pictures of Mettrick Yard, a small US style N gauge layout. One photo may be nostalgic for you; if I say that one car carries the initials GM..........................?

Giles
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shortliner2001



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

....Ah, the Greenbrier Midland, of hallowed renown!

And am I right in thinking that the multi-level roofed building, behind the loco shed in the last but one of Alcudia, was a ceramics factory?
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the 1990s I dabbled with American N gauge, the result being Mettrick yard. This was based on a Chris Ellis 4ft by 1ft 00 design, but used N scale in roughly the same space to gain some room for scenery. I also dropped the centre of the baseboard to provide a road underpass, which added some interestingly different levels. Indeed I would probably have called the road to the depot Hill Street and added some police cars if I'd been watching a certain TV series in those days.

Here's a general view of most of the layout. The original fiddle yard was in the brick canyon in the background, but later I added a small fiddle yard at each end and made operations much better.


At the left hand end of the layout were a couple of sidings, one serving some large warehouses, the other Ewing Coal and a team track. The coal silos were made from small plastic spice containers, wrapped in cartridge paper with a small structure on top and a staircase suggested by covering the gap between the silos with a planked wall and some windows. The waffle-sided truck started out as a container-hauling rig to which a box-shaped body was added. The container was parked in the yard.



Another view, with a "Little Joe" switcher placing a reefer in front of the C-Cure Storage warehouse. This and Betta Blankets, next door, were made from several Bakery and Printing Press kits, which share the same wall mouldings.



Later in the day, the switcher returns to collect the reefer. Note also the flat car positioned below the overhead crane on the team track.


A view of the team track looking the other way. This time an 0-6-0 switcher is working the yard.


"Little Joe" leaves for the main yard.


After a while the switcher returns with a cut of hoppers destined for the Ewing Coal Co.


The Plymouth diesel switches the depot at the eastern end of the layout.
The orange ball is the end of one of the point control rods.


Today a Fairbanks-Morse is in charge of the coal switching duties.


Mettrick also had a commuter passenger service, provided by this Doodlebug. The model was made by stretching the chassis of an FA-1 and fitting the body of a steel combine, with suitable detailing above the motor compartment to represent the radiators, exhaust pipes and switch-gear.



Mettrick wasn't my first attempt in American N scale. Earlier there was a modular line that supposedly ran northwards from a junction with the C&O at Alderson, W.Va. When pictures of the layout appeared I was contacted by Jack Trollope who coincidentally had an N gauge layout, the Greenbrier Midland, running south from Alderson. Although his layout was set in a later era than my AD&N, his letter carried a very nice logo for his line - far too good to ignore. I made up a boxcar and gondola in GM livery so as to be able to run transfer traffic. You can see the result - the green car being moved by the switcher in this view.


Last edited by giles b on Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:18 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Jordan



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall the Midd Valley in MTI39, and how much it reminded me of P.D.Hancock's Craig & Mertonford, and of course the Madder Valley (itself the inspiration for the C&M)... I've always wanted to ask; were those layouts an influence on the Midd Valley, Giles?

Mettrick Yard was also very good- at that time I was just getting into US N scale myself, but I never achieved anything as good and convincing as that.

Nice pictures, thanks for posting them!
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Genetk44



Joined: 23 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giles..thats a lovely layout...do you still have it???

Gene
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

F-UnitMad wrote:
I recall the Midd Valley in MTI39, and how much it reminded me of P.D.Hancock's Craig & Mertonford, and of course the Madder Valley (itself the inspiration for the C&M)... I've always wanted to ask; were those layouts an influence on the Midd Valley, Giles?!


I grew up reading about the C&M, but in those days I wasn't a scratchbuilder and 9mm gauge was out of the question. It was only the advent of TT and reading Mike Bryant in a Model Railway Constructor annual that got me going in 00n3. The Madder Valley was my main inspiration and I must have obtained almost all of Ahern's MRN articles plus his scenery book. There was also a little of Derek Naylor's Aire Valley Rly in there somewhere, which featured in the Railway Modeller. I just hope I managed to put a bit of a twist on all this and didn''t just copy.

Gene - no I don't have Mettrick any more. In the end I decided N gauge is a bit too small for my taste.

I believe one reason the layout worked well visually was that I don't think there was one structure on the layout that was built as the manufacturer intended - I leaned a lot about kitbashing, mostly from reading Art Curren's articles in Model Railroader, and put his methods to work on other kits.

The layout plan worked well, too, particularly when I added a fiddle yard at each end so as to allow through trains to run. The story behind the layout was that it was a branch of a big company that instead of closure had been sold to a local consortium, Mettrick Transit, who wanted to continue to serve the local industries. They brought in surplus stock from elsewhere, which "explained " why the steam locos were lettered for the AD&N, a previous N gauge layout of mine from some years before.

In fact all the layouts featured in this post have passed on to others, some many years ago.

Giles
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twilight



Joined: 17 Jan 2008
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Location: Heading back 'oop North' somewhere

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just catching up with this. All our Yesterdays - excellent . Thanks for posting Very Happy
Still think "Layouts What I Have Built" by G.Barnabe Esq would be a best-seller!
Another one which always impressed me was the light railway, Wittering-on-Sea - superb character in, I think, 8ft x 1ft. Do you have any pics of that one Giles?
Regards,
Julian
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mog



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing these Giles. Inspiring as ever. No nostalgia for me, being relative 'young blood' but no less interesting.
I second the suggestion - I think I said before that you ought to 'do' a book of layout plans..illustrated with pictures of layouts you've built would be even better!
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: London

PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

twilight wrote:
one which always impressed me was the light railway, Wittering-on-Sea - superb character in, I think, 8ft x 1ft. Do you have any pics of that one Giles?
Regards,
Julian


Yes I have, somewhere, but not brilliant quality as I was using another camera back in the late 1970s when I think the layout was around. Will try to post, but probably not until next week-end.

Thanks to those who've suggested a book. Wonder who'd publish it? Food for thought, but no promises!

Giles


Last edited by giles b on Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the late arrival of these pictures - early December turned out to be rather hectic.

Not many pictures of Wittering were ever taken, so I've had to post these. They were taken nearly 30 years ago, before I got a better camera, so apologies for their quality.

The layout was constructed in about 1979/80 and was based on the story that during the First World War a submarine depot was established near Birdham, south of Chichester. This needed a rail connection, which branched off the Selsey Tramway a little way south of Hunston, running past Sidlesham Common, where a brick-works was served, to reach the RN establishment. The line then continued to reack a jetty at Itchenor. After the war the line was extended to a spot, in true Col. Stephens style, roughly mid-way between East and West Wittering - hence the name Wittering-on-Sea.

First off is a view of the station at Wittering; the building was based on a John Ahern design. The train arriving from Chichester comprises an Anglicised Fleischmann "Black Anna" (loosely based on the Wantage Tramway's "Jane"), while the first and last coaches are four-wheelers cut down from Triang clerestories, here in their third incarnation. The sides had already been used for SE&CR "Birdcage" stock and then 00n3 bogie coaches. The middle coach is a Tyco 1860s era American coach trying to look like one of the real WSR's Falcon-built carriages. In the background is a scratchbuilt freelance parcels (or possibly fish) van, belonging to the Tramway.



Next is a view looking towards the buffers, with a Mixed train arriving. This is headed by a sort of Manning Wardle featuring a Kitmaster Pug body mounted on a Triang TT 0-6-0 chassis using the original wheels mounted on 00 axles. Surprisingly it worked quite well, but I cannot remember who pioneered the idea or where I read about it. The first coach is a Triang "toy" carriage, the coal truck was scratch-built from styrene, while the rear vehicle is a scratch-built GCR fish van.




This one shows most of the layout. The loco on the left is a model of "Chichester" which was a real Selsey Tramway prototype. It featured a styrene body on a Graham Farish chassis, which was always something of a disappointment. In the right foreground, opposite the platform, is the cattle dock; one could leave a wagon to be loaded and still fit a small tank locomotive on the headshunt. With the release cross-over set this way round, the platform could serve as a storage road for carriages, without disrupting shunting moves. The bay platform was used for goods traffic, there being no goods shed, merely a parcels office attached to the station's passenger buildings.



A view of the station throat with a departing goods train, headed by an Electrotren Sharp Stewart 2-4-0T. The wagons on view are a mixture - 2 Peco Wonderful wagons PO coal trucks, plus a couple of scratch-built examples and the fish van again. The gray van in the train was built from a Rex kit, which was already old when I found it; I think it dated from the late 1950s or early 1960s and the detail was quite primitive, so it ended up as a Tramway vehicle, as it didn't resemble anything from the Big Four companies. Note the bi-directional signal and the loco shed, hiding behind a tree. The trees made use of Woodland Scenic products that were then very new. I first saw them in a model show in the States and may have brought some foliage packets back with me.



The operator's view of the layout. The line's brake van was a copy of a Midland & Great Northern vehicle, as I recall. I liked the lean-to extension at one end, and the heavy outside framing of the body. Amazingly, that old H & M controller is still soldiering on, powering my more recent layouts.



Beside the loco shed the line divided, the rear line running off into the fiddle yard. The front track became a siding serving the factory belonging to Fogwell's Famous Foods. This was represented by a couple of home-built structures and a bit of an Airfix (Dapol) engine shed with the bottom of its wall cut off to make the arched windows into doorways. The square building on the right was the boiler-house, but it seems to have lost its chimney in this view - I seem to remember making a tapering brick one; shame it didn't get photographed.



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twilight



Joined: 17 Jan 2008
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Location: Heading back 'oop North' somewhere

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for those Giles. The light railway atmosphere is certainly conjured up for me by it and I think the plan has good operating potential as well - short-ish trains obviously necessary.
Those old H & Ms still soldier on don't they! Very Happy
Interesting that you used 3D scenery with a low backscene to mask the fiddle yard and lead -in but no full back-scene e.g behind the station. I know there are various schools (dogmas?) of thought on this but I remain quite open-minded and it seems to work OK here. I wonder what anyone else feels about them.
Regards,
Julian
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Jordan



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No worries about the quality of photos there Giles- it's nice to see "Wittering" in colour !!! I only ever saw it in monochrome when it (or parts of it) were in SMT... certainly captured an "atmosphere" there...
One nice thing about this Forum is seeing layouts in colour that appear in MTI today...

Oh and I wish I still had my old H&M Duette today too... Wink
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wittering was my second exhibition layout, and I can't remember why I never went for a backscene behind the station area. Probably lack of time before its first show, or it may have been something to do with the way it travelled, with screw-on protective sides to make a box. In theory these could have had a backscene on them, so perhaps I thought I wouldn't be able to see over easily from the operating position.

Couplings were automatic (my bent wire version of a tension-lock, as I recall), so the backless condition had nothing to do with unhooking three-link couplings. Come to think of it, the layout may have started with 3-links, so perhaps that is the reason.

Giles
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