My First 1/64th Layout

STROUDLEY GREEN.

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At the Exeter exhibition in 2007.

This was my first attempt to build a layout in 1/64th Scale. Initial construction was carried out in a relatively short period of about eight weeks before the Exe Model Railway Society’s exhibition in 2006. This work was characterised by a considerable amount of over-engineering, both of the based boards and the carrying trestles. Many useful lessons were learnt from the project. After several years on the modelling circuit the layout was disposed off to a fellow 1/64th modeller, the turntable removed and later, under its third ownership in as many years, the boards were stripped for new track work to be laid… I am not sure of its present condition or location.

However, the layout served its purpose for me. It got me back into layout building, acted as a testbed for various ideas that had been read about over several decades. Hopefully it also gave some pleasure to those who saw it at exhibitions and even to those who made the later alterations.

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The layout in its nearly finished state, with the late Norman Pattenden’s train of LSWR six wheelers, a train that was too long for the fiddle yard.

The name “Stroudley Green” originated in my youthful interest in the LB&SCR. In the mid-60s I made some drawings of the old LB&SCR and LSWR joint station at Ashtead, shortly before it was replaced by a “Clasp” building. Instead of these drawings carrying the name of my home station on the running in board, it was inscribed with “Stroudley Green”, being part of the preparation for a proposed ‘00’ Southern layout. This project was scrapped after laying a considerable amount of 16.5mm fine scale track made from components obtained from Kings Cross Models. These involved bullhead rail carried by stamped brass chairs soldered to brass pins in wooden sleepers. While the construction method was good this track really did not stand up to visual scrutiny when compared to the developments in EM and later P4. The gauge was too narrow. With limited skills for gauge conversion, loss of heart and lack of time, my early career in railway modelling was abandoned.

The name “Stroudley Green” came back to mind as I was looking for a small experimental piece to work on before starting on a bigger project, Mellstock Intrinseca. The old drawings were found, but station buildings at Ashtead were too big for this Stroudley Green; so only an adaptation of the cycle shed was included on the layout. With the arrival of a number of items of Great Eastern rolling stock on loan for the early exhibitions, perhaps the layout should have been named “Holden’s Green”. Indeed a second name board was printed for use at St Albans in January 2007 as can been seen in one of the pictures on the exhibition website.

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The early stages of  construction showing my first curved sided baseboards.  The hole for the turntable is already in place.

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The same board with the curved back added and the beginnings of track building.  Note the wiring is already in place, a method that was replaced on later projects with droppers from each rail section. There were probably too many types of baseboard construction pushed into this limited space… Some not really suitable for a such a small layout. The quality and thickness of wood used (mostly out of the scrap box) was also not up to my later standards.

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The main baseboard with the trackwork completed, including an experiment with a short section on blue foam, as per Iain Rice, rather than cork.  This method did not survive very long on this layout, but may be used on my future home layout to reduce noise transmission from the trains to the baseboard ‘drum’.

The track plan for this small layout has it origins in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. It includes the defining feature of that little terminal station, the small turntable that provided the locomotive release. The plan has been altered by the inclusion of a kickback siding from the loop crossing the original siding by way of a diamond crossing. This made for more operational interest, be it the need to run round wagons during shunting or to use the chains for pulling wagons into the sidings. The latter is rather more fun!

The track was built in situ, with some code 75 flat bottom rail I had in stock from a possible 4mm light railway layout, the rail being soldered to 4mm cooper clad point timbers cut to sleeper length.

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In the early days Trevor Nunn kindly loaned some rolling stock to avoid attending exhibitions with just one loco.  Here we seem to have an all GER scene.

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Sometimes the transfer of stock was rather complicated.  After an exhibition with Trevor’s East Lynn in Berlin the E40 travelled home via Dresden and a trip that included travelling on several DB -ICs and as seen here, Eurostar.  Not too many GER locos have travelled across Europe at 180mph.

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The resultant layout was 2340mm (7’8”) long, 510mm (1’8”) wide, with the board top at 1020mm (3’4”) when mounted on its exhibition trestles. The trestles and the stock are all that I have  left of the layout.

The name “Stroudley Green” may live again as I have plans for a 2mmFS layout that will more closely follow the original Bembridge track plan, but be small enough to fit into one of my carrying boxes.

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I find these little weights made out of bullhead rail clips mounted on a small piece of wood very useful for weighing down bits of trackwork while it is under construction. Note the rather ancient switch block from H&M (the model firm not the high street store).

 

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