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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
This article first appeared on yourmodelrailway.net
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