THIS IS A GROUP OF LAYOUTS THAT I MADE BUT SADLY HAVE NO PHOTOGRAPHS OR TRACK PLANS – SO DO NOT WARRANT A SEPARATE SECTION
This was definitely out of my comfort zone – A ‘G Scale’ layout in a space of 8′ x 2′! using two 4′ x 2′ boards. This is quite a long story and it has been covered very well by MODEL RAIL. Sadly, I have no personal photographs of this layout and the only way to see any are in the magazine. I believe the owner had this layout for about four years before selling it on – sadly I have no idea where it is or whether it still exists.
This layout has appeared in MODEL RAIL No 111 December 2007
It has the full story, great photos and track plan
This layout was situated in a loft conversion and was one of the largest I ever made. The layout had a quite unusual brief, Although all OO, it was to be conventional around the outside loops with Hornby Live Steam on the inside loops. I have to admit the combination of live steam, conventional electrics and a rather hot airless loft did give me a lot of concern. Sadly I believe that after I finished the project Brian did suffer some reliability problems, especially with points near the live steam tracks . I also believe that Brian later had a Loft Window put in with some form of temperature control, whether it helped or not I do not know. I have been to Exhibitions in the summer when high temperatures and large crowds have caused very humid conditions that can affect running. I think the popularity of OO live steam has faded but at the time was the thing to have. My conclusion is not to mix the types, and never in confined spaces. Brian was a fantastic chap to work for and we had a great time making the layout.
I was approached by a model shop in Essex and asked if I could help build a large OO layout for Dave. Sadly Dave had been involved in a bad motor cycling accident and was paralyzed, Dave had very little movement in his hands and none in his legs, he was obviously wheelchair bound. The electrics were given to an electronics engineer as the control panel had touch pads and very complicated switches. My job was track laying and the scenic work, Dave with his helper, Mary would build houses and railway structures , Mary being Dave’s hands. We all came up with a track plan and work commenced. I have to say this was some of my happiest and saddest modelling I have ever done, a strange statement but it could be very emotional, but interspersed with much laughing and fun. Dave could be a hard task master and it was difficult to get things over to him from time to time, but it was always managed well by Mary. The layout was 95% finished and looked very good, however there were ongoing problems with the electronics. The electronics were so far ‘above my head’ it was difficult to even suggest anything. At this point I drifted away from the project with the intention of returning to do the last bit of weathering that was required. Sadly, very sadly I was never called back as I believe the electrics could not be sorted. A year afterwards I heard that Dave had died and that all the stock was sold and the layout broken up. The saddest end to any of my projects.
ANGLIA RAILWAYS SIGNALING LAYOUT
This, in some ways was a dream, even when approached by Anglia, I could not believe it. The brief was simple to build an unpowered OO layout to demonstrate all types of signalling currently being used in the franchise area. The signals did not have to be working but had to be placed in the correct positions, in the right order and with the correct options for drivers and guards. There would also need to be stations, platforms, crossings and all other situations that could impact the drivers journey. The loco’s and units had the motors removed so they could be pushed into various scenarios. The system/layout was used successfully for the next few years. Sadly after this I heard that the manager who did the training had died of a heart attack aged just 50. I was led to believe the layout went out of use after Clint’s death and was broken up. The layout was sponsored by Hornby who supplied all the buildings, track and ancillaries. I certainly learned a lot about signalling during this project, which also included a couple of cab rides to see the real thing in operation.
HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE LAYOUTS – RAILWAY INSPECTORATE
I was commissioned to do two OO layouts for the Eastern Region of the HSE (RI). These layouts were to take around schools to show children the danger of railways, with special emphasis on electrification. This was a very enjoyable exercise as I was told to do the people placement on the layouts ‘doing stupid things’ . Well, being stupid comes easy to me so it was easy to invent scenarios. These varied from flying kites under the wires, dangling feet over platform edges, general trespass, trying to retrieve personal items from the track and climbing Catenary. Although they were not named, I unofficially called them ‘Fatality Alley’ no.1 and no.2. If we saved one life or injury then these have to be the best layouts I ever built.
THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE LAYOUTS
Over the years in think I did about five ‘Thomas’ OO layouts, possibly more. They varied from basic baseboards with track to one with full scenic features. I never turned down a Thomas layout as these layouts could inspire the youngsters into the hobby. I also made the layouts at a much reduced cost. It was fantastic listening to the parents on just how much the kids loved Thomas and his friends.
I KNOW I MADE AT LEAST TWO OTHER LAYOUTS, BUT I CAN NOT TRACE WHO THEY WERE FOR OR WHAT THEY WERE. I KNOW ONE WAS FOR A 10th BIRTHDAY AND ANOTHER WAS A THOMAS TYPE LAYOUT BUT FOR MODERN DIESELS.
OVER THE YEARS I HAVE ALSO DONE MANY WHAT I CALLED ‘ASSISTS’ , THIS WAS HELPING PEOPLE WITH THE BITS OF LAYOUTS THEY DID NOT WANT TO DO, HOWEVER I DID NOT DO AN ELECTRICS SERVICE AND PASSED THIS ON TO OTHERS. I THINK I HAVE HAD ABOUT FIFTEEN ASSISTS.