Southern Nouveau

With Shelfie out on loan, the space it occupied has been filled with another project. This one has been on the back burner for a while, and is very firmly influenced by Ian Futers.

Ian’s layouts have consistently provided inspiration, particularly his Northumbrian layouts, and perhaps the one that really caught my attention the 4mm P4 layout ‘Lochside’. It was one that stood out, it was a finescale layout, using converted and detailed ready to run diesels it looked good and had a plausible back story to it.

From then his Scottish urban layouts have always caught my imagination, and using his ‘three point’ terminus concept I’ve added a fourth point to add a little more operational interest, and brought this south of the river.

A week or so ago I was at the Ally Pally show helping, or rather hindering Alan Whitehouse and Mick Simpson running Alan’s 2FS Halam Town. This is Alan’s take on Cyril Freezers classic ‘Minories’ design, based in urban Yorkshire in the 1970’s. The layout captures the essence of the era and with the use of appropriate stock, make the most of Freezers design. Catch the layout at railex in May.

On the journey into town I retraced my old commuting days on the Great Northern, snatching a few shots of embankments, bridges and tunnels for reference to get a feel for the civil engineering I’m likely to have to get my head round with this layout.

The board for this layout is seen below, a 6ft x 18 rectangular asteroid. The chassis is high quality ply, and a track bed of 9mm MDF topped with Woodland Scenics HO foam underlay. The ground is built up with Balsa wood so I don’t have significant ballast shoulders to contend with. The track is a mix of three types, new Peco OO bullhead, C&L OO bullhead track and Peco Code75 streamline points. Despite such a variety of track it works really well, and to further annoy the foaming purists I’ve glued it down with superglue!

Being Southern Region I’ve added third rail, using the Peco components and suggestions and assistance from Oly And Chris otcm, and Mike Cubberley. Any errors however or implausibility is all my own work!

Despite the layout being at such an advanced stage, the chassis and track bed are not yet permanently joined. The layout is designed for DC so there are a good number of section switches to give variety of train positions in the platforms. Keeping chassis and track bed apart made wiring the loom much easier. The design also allows DCC operation, with the limited locomotives and units I’ll be using, I’m seriously considering ‘Touchcab’ as an operating system. I’ve used it with both Simon Thompsons Aberbeeg (S7), and Pete Kirmonds ‘ Laramie ‘, and it’s a user friendly operating system. The other reason for the bare structure is I’m still working the topography of the layout in my head, current idea is based in a cutting, but putting it on an embankment would be more unusual, and a real challenge containing it scenically. Presentation is eye level or thereabouts with view blocking and tightly controlled viewing angles. Once the topography is determined, then the layouts superstructure and lighting rig will be easy to formulate, and then there’s the fiddle yard to build too! I can’t design the fiddle yard until I’ve decided cutting or embankment.

Common sense tells me cutting, heart tells me embankment! Ho hum…

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13 Responses to Southern Nouveau

  1. otcm says:

    Cheers for the mention mate… Bromley North is a bit of both, just to add more indecision!

    I have always fancied really brutal filthy chalk cuttings which I agree is not that urban but not that modelled really? Especially grim as chalk gets in the darker months.

    • bawdsey says:

      It’s keeping it all in the existing footprint too. Messing about with insulation foam this afternoon, got to find a glue that sticks it to each other, and other stuff.

  2. geoff52 says:

    Nice one Paul, I would be tempted to model the station, and its approach on a mix of viaduct and plate girder bridges. I have always fancied the idea of modelling roof tops and streets below track level. It would certainly be different, don’t know if you ever saw the old MMRS Cornbrook layout, which was based on the approach to Manchester Oxford Road? We are talking late 60’s early 70’s here. I have some photos somewhere if you are interested?

    Geoff

    • bawdsey says:

      Yes please Geoff, I’ve tried mocking up a embankment/viaduct and it’s not ‘happening’, possibly because the platform split is too wide. I’m not sure sawing it down the middle is a good idea, but it’s not off the table!

  3. Jamie Wood says:

    I like your take on the Futers track plan concept – it flows nicely to the eye.

    His modern image 4mm “Newcastle Haymarket”, which I saw in a 1990s RM really caught my eye as a kid. More so than his Scottish layouts in fact.

    • bawdsey says:

      Thanks Jamie, Newcastle Haymarket was one that caught my imagination too, and if I can get a similar effect, in a cutting or embankment top, I’ll be well pleased!

  4. geoff52 says:

    I will have to own up and admit that I’ve got my layouts crossed Paul, the one I was thinking of was Jim Edgars ‘London Road’, and not ‘Cornbrook’.

    Jim’s layout first appeared at the Manchester show in 1950, and was light years ahead of its time! Anyway I’ve managed to find a couple of poor quality photos for you Paul, which will at least give you food for though, if not some interesting ideas, so keep an eye on your inbox.

    As for Ian’s Haymarket, it had the same effect on me, as did his various West Highland themes. I even went as far as snapping up a Minitrix Class 27, for a brief adventure in ‘N’ gauge. Then some old Lima Class 33’s came my way, and grand ideas of converting them to Classes 26/27 entered my head!
    Geoff

  5. Richard P says:

    You may find this site of use with the live rails – http://www.clag.org.uk/3rd-4th.html

    Richard

  6. I see the attraction of an embankment Paul, however I think it should have been incorporated in the design at an earlier phase. Keep going with the cutting idea, I think it will look awesome.

    • bawdsey says:

      Hi Chris, the cutting is almost certainly going to ‘win’. Geoff sent me some images that really inspire me to do another similar project, the current track base is too wide. It could be cut of course but remedial work to the loom and possibly track work would be a pain in the bum, so quit while I’m ahead. The potential in an embankment project does really light a fire though!

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