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Westown - Heathfield - Members Personal Layouts. - Model Railway Layouts. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed May 29th, 2019 05:49 am
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Colin W
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Joined: Thu May 2nd, 2019
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Westown - Heathfield

I could start with step by step details of how an initial, poorly planned idea grew without much rhyme or reason but five years on it seems better to start with where I’m up to and backfill later as appropriate.
As to my approach, it has been shaped with the help of a modeler who posted on here until he passed away (John Flann). I had been working to build a layout to just “run trains”, explore doing bits of this and that without it having much purpose but then John provided much wise council, was most generous with his time and one day the light went on for me.


To summarise my approach as it has now evolved:

  • I don’t aim for perfection; I want the layout and individual settings to look plausible at a macro level. To paraphrase HeadmasterI do enjoy making a miniature world where trains go to and fro

  • I wanted to capture the sense of place and settings of my home county Somerset; set in the context of the railways I knew and loved as a child.

  • I wanted to engage my 6 grandchildren in the building and operations as much as possible. I’d done this with my 3 children 30 years ago and it was a most rewarding shared experience that I wanted to repeat.

As to prototypicality, I’m not a slave. For example, my desired operations in my confined modeling area demanded track configurations that you’d never see, but I don’t let it worry me. Nor do some of my locations bear more than passing resemblance to real places.

The Setting

I was always going to be confined in space due to the location in our rumpus room, which has lots of positives (tiled, low dust, cool in summer, heated in winter) but it does have other uses as well as being a route to the laundry. This meant that 2.4m x 1.2m (8’ x 4’) was all management would allocate! It seemed impossible to incorporate all the elements I wanted:

Westown – A Somerset town located on a spur off the GWR mainline, bearing some loose resemblance to my hometown of W-s-M. A station setting including goods yards and shed.

Heathfield –very loosely based on the villages in the Quantocks, where we took rail day trips in the 1950s. I wanted to capture three elements, the hills, a village with its tiny branch-line station and finally a small nearby farm. Heathfield was to be the destination for the branch-line trains that I knew well from trips on the Cheddar line as well as to Minehead

My “mission Impossible”, to fit this into the available space without it looking like an implausible mess.



   

The State of progress

Heathfield and the Quantock Hills backdrop are nearing completion. This photo was included in my New Member’s posts



The other areas are partially complete, but progress has been slow while other matters, track, locomotive power etc. were advanced.

Westown station was an early build followed by a double engine shed (both Metcalfe). A removable extension for a goods yard has been built and track laid. This area is also on hold.

The Hardware
After completing a steep learning curve in DCC technology, I’ve settled on using an NCE PowerPro controller, standard DCC chips by DCC Concepts (who have local support here) and Sound DCC by YouChoos based on recommendations from various experienced folk.

As I’d never planned a complex layout, (in Plan A it was to be assembled each time for use) there would be no electrical point control and hence I installed insulfrogs all round. I’m wiser now and might do otherwise next time but I’ll later go into how I’ve managed to achieve perfectly good operations even with the most troublesome of locos, the Hornby 0-4-2 with traction tyres.

The Era
I had started out by buying a boxed set of “The Merchant Venturer”, period circa mid-1950s;, it struck a chord with the time when I first discovered trains. It must have been after discovering the delights of Hintock and the GWR of the mid 1930s that my attention shifted to basing my modelling in that period.
I still retain my 1950s stock; add in a footbridge, swap in my much smaller set of Era 5 locos and rolling stock, some more modern road vehicles and we're propelled forwards 20 years as not much changed in these sleepy places.



Colin



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 Posted: Wed May 29th, 2019 08:57 am
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Headmaster
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An excellent opening Colin and I look forward to seeing more photos and hearing about its history

Michael



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 Posted: Thu May 30th, 2019 03:12 pm
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John Dew
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Hi Colin

As Michael said, an excellent introduction. You have certainly whetted my appetite!

I hadnt realised that you were one of John Flann's "students/disciples". He was a remarkable man, so generous with his time in encouraging and advising those of us lucky to know him. I never go down to the train room without being reminded of him......some rolling stock here, a building there.....and of course his guiding principle which I am afraid I sometimes neglect........."less is more"

Regards

John




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 Posted: Sat Jun 1st, 2019 08:29 am
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Ken
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I lived in Somerset for a while and that photo really brings it back.   Excellent modelling and it's amazing how much you can get into small spaces with the right planning (I managed several elements in my 8' x 1'8" N scale Coombe Hinton branch line layout) and I look forward to more updates.


John Flann's layout was also an inspiration for me and of course everything that John Ahern did!


Ken.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 1st, 2019 06:23 pm
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TeaselBay
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Looks great and home page photo with your first post! 
Can’t wait to see some more



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 Posted: Sun Jun 2nd, 2019 12:18 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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GRRR!

Just when I convince myself and all other interested parties (Mrs M in particular) that I need a shed half the size of the county in which to build a proper model railway, someone comes along and builds a beautiful looking specimen in 8ft x 4ft !!!!

"How big is that?" I get asked by a certain Mrs M.

"Its N gauge - you get lots more in the space" I reply, lying badly.

"Mmmm" is the response.

Nice stuff Colin - I won't hold it against you - honest!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Barry

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 Posted: Sun Jun 9th, 2019 10:11 am
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Colin W
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Thanks everyone for your kind comments and feedback.


Soon after posting, I had one of those terrible “shock – horror” moments when you discover something woefully WRONG. Looking at a fine 1930s GWR layout elsewhere, I noticed for the first time that platforms of that Era did not have a white line at the edge. A quick check at a photo from that time confirmed the bad news, I’ve about 1.8 metres of platform built in Metcalfe default style with white edges. Nothing to do but fix them and given this I’ve shifted plans for my upcoming posts to stick with the village and its development.


In this view we can see two Metcalfe cottages, now extensively reworked from the original kits. The walls and roof tiling have been replaced by overlaying with Scalescenes prints. The garden fittings and plants are all scratch built. This time in late spring Forsythia, lilacs and bulbs brighten the setting while Mr C “Parka” Parker in # 17 has a fine vegetable garden that is the envy of everyone in the area.




 



To compare with the kit build, the next photo shows new alongside original kit from April 2018. Virtually everything in the village has been reworked since this shot,






PS the observant might have spotted that the lychgate of the church has been placed back to front in photo 1. At same time as I found this, I also spotted that the Church tower buttresses had not been attached. They sat patiently waiting in the model pack, built but uninstalled!

Colin

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 Posted: Sun Jun 9th, 2019 11:56 am
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Headmaster
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Hi Colin

I asked a question about when white lines were used.  The knowledgeable here gave loads of examples of white lines used as early as your era.... I think it was agreed that it was standardised in the 40s, but it was definitely in use beforehand. John Dew told me on the GWR it was a local decision and others had examples from early 1900s onwards, so I shouldn't worry....

Regards

Michael



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