East Sussex Finescale
(building a 4mm finescale layout)
by Colin Watts
N-class no.31848 in its mid-fifties guise without smoke deflectors ©
Fellow Finescale Modellers,
This page is being updated as layout construction progresses!
Moving house in 2013 brought an end to my 4mm layout Apothecary Street (named after a short-lived London junction outside Holborn Viaduct station) but provided the opportunity for a new layout, Ewhurst Green.
With my modelling deeply rooted in British Rail’s Southern Region, I needed a design that would permit operation of full-length trains at location that could encompass traffic from at least two of the Southern Region’s divisions. Furthermore, the layout needed to be operated by just one person (if required) – mindful there is a limit to the number of trains that can be controlled at any moment in time. A tall order!
Some layout descriptions commence with baseboard construction but before this happens it is important to decide exactly what one is intending to model and how reasonably prototypical operation could be achieved. In this respect it is necessary to consider the model, not in isolation but as part of the network within which it is located including its services; even a reasonably viable timetable.
However, I’ve started this article with the simple test circuit as it provided a good reason for East Sussex Finescale group (ESF) social gatherings and some relaxation away from layout construction. With Up and Down Main Lines now operational, these ‘Ewhurst Green running sessions’ are proving extremely popular – particularly following lunch at ‘our’ local beachfront café!
The latest running session on Ewhurst Green can be found here.
the test circuit is Terry’s ‘The Rigger’ Metro-Vick no.D5714 hauling 14 bogies
this is believed to be the only Co-Bo to 0perate on BR(S) doing so from 4th to 7th April 1960 ©
Unfortunately, the studio’s daylight simulation lighting isn’t particularly conducive to photography
Starting in 2015 a simple test circuit utilised the storage loop /fiddle yard area before entering the station side (still on Peco® track) but laid out of the way initially at the rear of the baseboards. Providing a circular run just over one scale mile, it had been a useful addition as well as the centre of a number of social gatherings with ESF members.
The storage loops were all laid first before scenic ‘station’ tracklaying commenced. With the scenic Up Main connected in June 2017 the test circuit was disconnected in August 2017 to allow the Country-end Down Main to be laid; it was lifted early September 2017 to enable the London-end Down Main to be connected.
The test circuit introduced a variety of rolling stock onto the layout ranging from models of elderly external framed copper-topped green kettles (of dubious parentage) through Hampshire units (an eight-car DEMU formation has been run) to modern diesels in post-privatisation livery. It has also seen ESF member Kevin’s pre-First World War Prussian steam (very impressive) along with a modern German articulated multiple unit!
This has given other ESF members (who are still building their own substantial layouts) the opportunity to let their models ‘stretch their legs’ including several that haven’t been out of their boxes for several decades (leading to several ad-hoc overhauls) including some whose wheelsets were incompatible with the scenic-side scale track.
For the majority of this period there was a steadily-growing rake of East Sussex Finescale (ESF) group member Rod’s Metro-Cammell Pullmans providing the load for numerous locomotives; most of the TOPs diesel classes having now been run including double heading and top-and-tails.
The use of Rod’s DCC controller brought sound to the layout; although limited by speaker size /technology the most realistic versions being the Rail Exclusive /Sutton Locomotive Works (SLW) Sulzer type-2 (class 24). Fitted with two speakers these are a long way ahead of all other offerings; Charley Petty’s (DC Kits) class 26 /33 /3H sound units follow with other makes further behind. However, DC Kits are now developing high quality stereo sound units so it may be a case of watch this space!
The SLW Sulzer type-2 (class 24) have set a new standard for ready-to-run and (in my opinion) are well worth the outlay; these being a significant advance on Bachmann’s Sulzer type-2 (class 24) model particularly in respect of the underframe detailing. Bachmann’s Sulzer type-2 (class 24) remains a nice model; SLW have simply taken ready-to-run locomotives to a new level and like Hornby with its Railroad range there is space in the marketplace for both versions.
Kernow’s Beattie Well tanks and O2 classes run very nicely as does Model Rail’s USA tanks and Hornby’s Radial tanks. In terms of emu stock 2 BIL /2 HAL units (including a 12-car formation) have been run along MLV /4 CEP stock and a blue /grey 5 BEL. Interestingly Hornby have not sought to provide any fittings to enable a pair of 5 BEL units to be coupled together (a small job for winter). Now, if only somebody would produce a 4 LAV in r-t-r!
Ironically to-date (2015 to 2019) I have run very little of my own stock!
E4 class no.32503 hauling some Crimson Lake non-corridor stock. ©
As a railwayman who followed his grandfather onto the Southern (in my case British Rail’s Southern Region rather than the Southern Railway) my modelling interests are fairly well cast-in-stone. My previous (terminal layout) Apothecary Street had been constructed as a parody of Holborn Viaduct with cross-London freights via Snow Hill tunnel and I had thought about expanding this concept. However, since then Bachmann had brought out its marvellous model of Thomas Myers’ 1880-1883 LBSCR station buildings and I was keen to utilise one of these.
Thomas Myers was first asked to design the replacement station building at Hassocks, thence those required for the ‘secondary’ railway lines built in East and West Sussex. This would set my layout in Central Division territory with very limited scope for any South Western or South Eastern Division workings. However, ‘historical design’ along with a sprinkling of ‘modeller’s licence’ can push the ‘bounds’ whilst still remaining reasonably credible.
Certainly, in recent years the range of Southern models that have become available make modelling of the Southern Region’s divisions relatively straightforward even before the many offerings by kit manufacturers is considered.
The next stage was to identify a reasonably ‘credible’ location for the station and the potential services that could exist. Obviously, this isn’t an essential step but it does assist in terms of what type of services could have run and the rolling stock required. This assists in developing the layout and its design towards providing a layout that will ‘look the part’.
However, this station and the services it saw would have to be operationally manageable by myself; there is no point it building a layout that takes a team of operators to run it.
On that basis the favourite option was for a junction station where trains (circulating) on the Up and Down main line essentially form the backdrop for the branch line’s operating sequences
In terms of appearance parts of the overall concept were for none of the scenic track to remain parallel to the track-room’s rear wall and that a less-is-more approach was intended.
afternoon friend Rod Stewart bought across his Kernow
2H ‘Hastings’ unit no.1122 across
to have its first run; seen here passing through part of the (then incomplete) fiddle yard.
No.1122 has run with other ‘Hastings’ and ‘Hampshire’ units of varying liveries! ©
As a model ‘Hastings’ unit no.1122
needs its roof-mounted lighting conduit removed; no.1121 did
have roof-mounted lighting conduit post-May 1974 when its identity was swapped with unitno.1108.
There are in two locations called Ewhurst Green – one in Surrey (near Cranleigh), the other in East Sussex (near Bodium); thus providing the opportunity to be slightly indistinct with the location if required. Certainly Ewhurst (and Ewhurst Green) in Surrey could have fitted in with real 1884 plans to build a railway through Cranleigh down to Midhurst.
Whilst both Ewhurst Green locations provide opportunity for Central & South Eastern Division services, Surrey would also link directly to the South Western Division as well as forming an alternative route to a number of important locations, thus opening up the traffic passing through the station.
Ewhurst Green (Surrey)
In terms of routes to Midhurst, 1845 saw consideration to build a line from Guildford through Godalming, Haslemere amd Midhurst to Chichester. However, LSWR’s Midhurst - Petersfield did open in 1864, LB&SCR’s Midhurst - Pulborough (Hardham Junction) in 1866 and Midhurst – Chichester in 1881 (the first sod of the latter having been cut back in 1865 – passenger traffic ceasing in 1935). Passengers had to wait until 1925 for a combined Midhurst station. Passenger services to Midhurst were withdrawn in 1955.
Accordingly, Ewhurst Green would have been a junction station on a thirty-seven-mile route between the existing railways at Holmwood and Westbourne.
Mixing historical proposals with
imagination it is conceivable such a railway line could have left the Dorking
to Horsham Railway at Holmwood passing through stations at Ockley* and Forest Green
to reach Ewhurst Green. In terms of
railway construction this would have been built ‘late in the day’.
* Ockley & Capel station being renamed Capel at this time.
There would have been a junction at the Country end of Ewhurst Green taking a double-tracked branch-connection across to the 1865 Horsham to Guildford railway and into station at Cranleigh (itself having become a passing loop in 1880 as those at Bramley and Baynards were proving insufficient).
From Ewhurst Green (crossing the Horsham to Guildford railway) this main line may have passed through Loxwood thence Gennets Viaduct across the valley (both Wey & Arun Navigation and the River Arun) to Plaistow station (actually sited close to Ifold). In order to avoid tunnelling immediately north of Midhurst the line had to approach from the north-east so serving the villages of Kirdford and Lodsworth.
Midhurst to Chichester would have been under construction at this time but with this new line now laid as double track through Cocking tunnel and Cocking station to Singleton (with its four platforms and nearby Goodwood racecourse) to a junction just west of East Dean. However, Singleton to Chichester was probably still laid as a single track providing a useful route towards Worthing, Hove [actually] and Brighton.
West from Singleton the line may have entered two further tunnels (under Heathbarn Down thence Stoughton Down) necessary to provide a fast alignment into Havant. This could have given rise two further stations (Stoughton & Walderton thence on a falling grade to Westbourne). The Brighton to Portsmouth Railway was joined just east of Warblington.
The possible route is described in detail here at the bottom of this article.
Local Development due to the Railway
As a junction with the spur onto the non-electrified 1865 line to Guildford via Cranleigh (thence onto Reading via the SER route) Ewhust Green could have grown significantly through being served by (in time) an electrified railway. So, it eventually became a starting point for suburban services into London (along with some freight handling).
Nearby Cranleigh doubled in size in the first forty years after the building of the Guildford to Horsham railway line and it is probable that Cranleigh would have grown much further had it been on a direct railway line /service to London (thus being attractive to commuters). With rail congestion in the Guildford approaches and alternative route via Dorking might have been an attractive proposition post-grouping.
However, villages such as Ockley and Capel did not grow as significantly; perhaps their respective distances from their station and the slow low-frequency rail service made a significant contribution to this lack of growth.
Midhurst could also have grown significantly from having faster direct routes to London and Portsmouth, it is also probably that a few of the villages with stations along the line would have experienced some increase in size. However, it must be noted that it was only in recent years did many places served by the Mid-Sussex line (a.k.a Arun Valley line) south of Horsham undertake significant development.
Ewhurst and Ewhurst Green would have similarly expanded, particularly around the well-served station.
The building of such a route (including its subsequent 1930’s-era electrification) could have led to interesting connotations in respect of railway service patterns although in reality Ewhurst Green would probably never have grown to sufficient size to be as busy as portrayed by the model!
Imagination could reasonably assume this route was reasonably well-engineered being intended to provide a faster alternative (to the Mid-Sussex line) between London and Portsmouth as well as competing with the LSWR’s Pompey Direct (the 1858-built privately constructed curvaceous and graded line south from Farncombe that was offered for sale to both the LSWR & LBSCR).
In terms of distance this route would have been around ten miles shorter from Victoria to Havant than via Ford and only around three miles longer than Waterloo to Havant via Guildford.
In Southern days this imaginary line could have also provided a potentially viable route to Fareham with trains terminating at either Southampton Terminus or Southampton Central. Post-grouping this also opened up limited services into Waterloo via Raynes Park (including as a useful diversionary route). Although quickly DC electrified, like many places in Sussex its branches were not.
However, with this line it is questionable as to how long Midhurst – Pulborough and Midhurst – Petersfield would have survived; probably closing earlier that they really did. Midhurst – Chichester would have probably survived having strategic use as an east-facing connection onto the Havant to Brighton line.
There was a spur linking Deepdene and Holmwood (closed 1900 /reopened 1941-47). One theory that it was intended to provide a route for freight traffic passing through Guildford to /from places such as Shoreham and Brighton via Steyning this without need for the reversal would have been contradicted by the more-direct spur at Christ’s Hospital whih closed relatively early.
With sections of single between Cranleigh and Guildford and an already busy Guildford station there were times when pathways on this route would have been at a premium. Was it therefore plausible that this spur may have been retained to create a loop for light engine movements to Guildford shed and a means of diverting freight traffic? Probably rather unlikely given regular freight use would be restricted by the steep grades away from Deepdene up to Gomshall thence down to Shalford (each around 1 in 100); particularly with more practical routes being available.
Early railway proposals included a line diverging from the Redhill to Reading railway across to Cranleigh. However, there was never a connection linking Betchworth to Holmwood as traffic would have travelled via Three Bridges. The question is would such a spur been useful to connect to Ewhurst Green (etc) and the answer would have probably been not (let along finding a viable route that would have satisfactorily served Dorking).
Even from Croydon passenger trains would have been routed via Sutton /Epsom /Dorking and the design of such a connection would have struggled to serve Dorking’s existing stations. Freight from (say) Norwood Yard would just have easily reached Ewhurst Green via West Croydon. However, had there been direct connection ‘across the top to Tonbridge’ at Redhill then the situation may have been very different for freight into Kent.
The Guildford – Cranleigh – Horsham railway provided a cross-country rural railway with onward connections to London (and other destinations) at both Guildford and Horsham. However, with the building of and connection to Ewhurst Green would bring changes including potentially splitting the services from Guildford and Cranleigh between Ewhurst Green and Horsham. Furthermore, any though traffic from Reading (and beyond) to Brighton via Horsham is constrained by the need for a reversal at Horsham (else inconveniently changing at Christ’s Hospital) to continue on to Brighton via Henfield.
Although there was a spur at Christ’s Hospital enabling trains to travel directly from Cranleigh to Ichingfield Junction then Brighton via Henfield this appears to have been taken out of use before WW1. In addition, that spur could not serve Horsham or provide any passenger interchange onto the Horsham to Arundel railway which no-doubt contributed to its demise.
There were three stations between Cranleigh and Christ’s Hospital; Baynards, Rudgwick and Slinfold. In terms of Baynards Park estate this is located equidistant between Baynards and Ewhurst Green stations and there would probably have been minimal case for Baynards station.
It is therefore possible that two options that may have occurred:
1. The railway would have provided a spur off the Ewhurst Green – Alfold railway down to join the Cranleigh – Horsham railway close to Baynards station. This option would have meant Cranleigh to Horsham trains could call at Ewhurst Green (albeit with a reversal) thence at Rudgwick and Slinford. However, the viability of such a spur was probably questionable both operationally and in terms of journey times for passengers to /from Horsham.
2. A longer connection would have been provided north of Ewhurst Green (near Ockley village) round onto a junction onto the Dorking to Horsham railway south of Capel station. This would have meant some services would still be needed to serve Rudgwick and Slinfold. However, there would now be a direct route (without reversal) from Reading - Guildford – Cranleigh via Ewhurst Green through Horsham and onto Brighton. That the Christ’s Hospital spur was taken out very early on the viability of such a connection was probably highly unlikely.
Built in 1942 by the First Canadian Army (mainly the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Engineers), it is conceivable that Dunsfold Airfield was served by a lightly-laid spur from the well-connected main line (in reality no such facility was ever provided on the nearby Horsham to Cranleigh branch line). Accessed via a ground frame off the double-tracked Ewhurst Green to Cranleigh line, the branch curved significantly to follow the land (in order to speed construction and reduce cost) crossing Vachery Lane to pass under the Cranleigh – Horsham railway, thence across the Alfold by-pass (itself built to accommodate the airfield) and into the airfield.
Given the nature of this spur and the reduction in post-war freight traffic, trainloads were inevitable short with suitable motive power limited to short-wheelbase locomotives. However, becoming a MoD rail-served facility proved useful for many years, particularly given its relative accessibility from large MoD sites such as Bicester, Marchwood and Shoeburyness; the latter being via the East London Line (which saw limited freight through to 1966).
Merchant Navy no. 35012 ‘United States Lines’ on an Up Pullman train ©
(Passenger Journey Times & Possible Services)
For any credible train operation and timetable the journey times to destinations served need to be understood so Ewhurst Green would need to be considered in terms of the traffic that could be routed through it including realistic journey times.
Back in the real world, for many years some of Victoria’s services to Bognor Regis and Portsmouth were routed via Dorking North (some 2hr 15min to Portsmouth Harbour compared to 1hr 35min from Waterloo) until they included the stops at East Croydon and Gatwick Airport.
A faster route by Ewhurst Green might have reduced this 2hr 15min Victoria time by some 10 minutes or slightly more. Certainly, some of the ‘fast’ trains to Horsham (and beyond) that used to run via Mitcham Junction (non-stop) and Dorking were around 10 minutes faster than the present services routed via Gatwick Airport.
It is therefore presumed that this imaginary ‘new line’ via Ewhurst Green might have just managed Portsmouth Harbour in around 2hrs. The ‘stopping’ journey time of around 2hr 25mins being some 50mins longer than the ‘fast’ train from Waterloo (today’s services via Eastleigh and Fareham taking around 2hr 10mins).
Fareham & Southampton
Modern ‘Victoria’ services are more about intermediate trips (serving Gatwick Airport in particular) rather than end-to-end journeys (for example, there are trains from Victoria right though to Southampton being routed via East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Horsham).
Until the advent of electrification from Farlington Jcn to St Denys (in May 1990) very few trains ran direct from Havant to Fareham; this line would have provided a regular through service without the need to travel to Portsmouth & Southsea to change (the Waterloo fasts did not stop at Fratton). Operating a service via Ewhurst Green would improve this connection, give Fareham a London service but not at the expense of capacity between Basingstoke and Eastleigh.
In terms to London to Fareham, a route through Ewhurst Green would have probably been achieved in 2hrs; being far quicker than changing at Eastleigh and marginally quicker than changing at Portsmouth & Southsea (today’s direct electric service via Eastleigh take 1hr 35mins). Accordingly, on this model there are regular steam services from London direct to Fareham thence onto Southampton; these also serve the Cosham, Netley and Woolston which were (then) comparatively large compared to other station-communities along this section of line.
Would such a service have saved the branch to Fort Brockhurst and Gosport? - probably not.
London Commuter Traffic & Cranleigh
Dorking North services took around 37 minutes from Victoria (limited stops), 46 minutes from Waterloo and 53 minutes from London Bridge.
From London’s Victoria station, Ewhurst Green would probably have been 3-5 minutes shorter than the 53 minutes to Horsham (which only stopped at Dorking North); 50 minutes from Victoria could have been achievable. This could have placed Cranleigh at just under an hour from London on the through service (50 minutes was just achievable on selected services from Waterloo changing at Guildford although this was often closer to an hour). Given the how busy Guildford station was (and still is) it is conceivable that Cranleigh – London services were routed through Ewhurst Green; including the peak-hours.
Diversity of Rolling Stock
Ewhurst Green (Surrey) could also provide a rare opportunity outside of London for the mixing of rolling stock of the Southern Region’s three divisions (SED, CED & SWD); some SED services coming down from Reading.
Although the LBSCR loading gauge was reasonably generous we will assume this route was out-gauged (along with Three Bridges - Redhill- Reading) during the First World War providing the LSWR with an alternative route to Havant via Raynes Park and Epsom. Accordingly, with fewer curves and gradients than the Pompey Direct, this route offered a viable route to Southampton and Bournemouth; particularly for diversionary workings if (say) Winchester – St. Denys or Woking was blocked.
5. Station Operation of the Model
The larger the layout the more there is to control and one can only realistically hope to control one or two trains at any given time. The station layout comprises Up and Down Main lines with an Up Loop (for steam services off the branch and the start of suburban electric trains into London) and a Down Bay essentially for starting steam services on the branch to Cranleigh and beyond.
In terms of signalling home signals are normally situated 440yards out from the station; this would place those for Ewhurst Green in the fiddle yard /storage loops effectively meaning there is only scope for having one train running on each circuit at a time. With the branch operating from the Up Passenger Loop there is scope for a further train operating. However, such complexity would require multiple operators.
In essence the main line (with its through trains) provide the ‘window dressing’ for the main operational side to the layout; steam services off the branch and the suburban services. A modest up-side freight yard also provides for a diversion of interest.
Furthermore, I anticipate the option of operating the layout to time rather than a sequence necessary to entertain at exhibitions (neither my cats nor I get bored with the gaps between trains).
JA no.E6003 hauling a freight around the test circuit.
Pictured straight out of the box this is a nice model although there is one
glaring error in the form of the incorrectly parked secondman’s wiper! ©
In designing a layout, it is important to consider how it could operate in a reasonably realistic but interesting manner. Certainly most of the Southern Region’s electric services operated on a half-hourly clockface pattern; this in part being down to the economics of DC third rail operation.
About 50 minutes from Victoria, Ewhurst Green would sit upon a basic half-hourly semi-fast electric service from Portsmouth Harbour to Victoria; services serving Midhurst, Havant, Fratton and Portsmouth & Southsea. Calling all stations between Ewhurst Green and Westbourne, these services alternate each half-hour calling either at Cocking or Stoughton & Walderton.
Set atop of this basic half-hour electric service was an hourly fast electric service Victoria – Portsmouth Harbour via Havant, Fratton and Portsmouth & Southsea (which did not stop at Ewhurst Green). The platforms are configured to enable the splitting /coupling of electric units should the service pattern alter at some future date.
Warblington was served by the Chichester to Havant services.
Fareham & Southampton
There would have been an hourly steam-hauled Victoria – Southampton fast service passing through Ewhurst Green running via Havant to serve Fareham; a significantly-sized town which (following the opening of the Pompey-direct) did not enjoy a regular direct service to London. Additional peak-hour services ran from Waterloo. It is envisaged these Fareham /Southampton services would (at set times) contain dining facilities /Pullman car.
London Commuter Traffic
Situated at the end of suburban services there was just an hourly off-peak stopping service to London Bridge (the other half-hourly suburban service terminating at Dorking North). With the exception of the London Bridge stoppers, rush-hour fast services travelling north would just call at Dorking; semi-fast additionally at Leatherhead, Sutton and Clapham Junction.
Forest Green and Ockley would only be served by the hourly London Bridge suburban service; Holmwood by Dorking to Horsham trains.
Guildford & Reading
On the Guildford branch there would be a half-hourly service; one loco-hauled each hour from Victoria through to Cranleigh (thence continuing through to Reading albeit not advertised as such until Ewhurst Green) the other rail motor (pull-push) terminating at Guildford; prior to 1957 this having continued to Wanborough, Ash, Aldershot, Bentley and Bordon. Additionally, there was a rush-hour service (loco-hauled) from Cranleigh into London Bridge.
With the Ewhurst Green trains providing an excellent connection to Dorking, Sutton and London, it is entirely possible that the Horsham to Guildford service frequency was significantly reduced to peak-hours only with a single rail motor (pull-push) set just operating between Horsham and Cranleigh.
All this is of course concocted simply to make interesting railway operations rather than any probable commercially viable service!
Arrival from Guildford.
Terminating here formed rail motor (pull-push) set (arr Platform 1 shunts to Platform 4 Down Bay)
Portsmouth Harbour calling at:
Semi-fast train formed 4 no. 2-car emus (Platform3)
Victoria calling at:
Semi-fast train from Portsmouth Harbour formed 4 no. 2-car emus (Platform 2)
Reading (Southern) calling at:
From Victoria (advertised to Cranleigh) formed 3-car loco-hauled set.
Fast train from Southampton Central formed 2 no. 3-car loco-hauled sets (Platform 2)
Some of these services additionally include a restaurant car or Pullman dining car.
Arrival from London Bridge
Suburban stopping train terminating here formed 4-car emu(s) (Platform 1).
Victoria calling at:
Semi-fast train from Cranleigh (service started at Reading South) formed of 3-car loco-hauled set ((Platform 1).
Portsmouth Harbour calling at:
Semi-fast train formed 4 no. 2-car emus (Platform3)
Victoria calling at:
Semi-fast train from Portsmouth Harbour formed 2 no. 4-car emus
Guildford calling at:
Stopping train starting here formed rail motor (pull-push) set (Platform 4 Down Bay)
London Bridge calling at:
Suburban stopping train starting
Fast train formed 2 no. 4-car emus
Fast train from Portsmouth Harbour formed 4 no. 2-car emus (Platform 2)
Fast train formed 2 no. 3-car loco-hauled sets.
Some of these services additionally include a restaurant car or Pullman dining car.
of the framing for the station ©
In order to achieve these services all of the through platforms would be able to handle 8-car trains (usually 2 BIL /2 HAL formations). Used mainly for departing pull-push services, the Down Bay handles just 4-coach lengths (i.e. locomotive and 2-car pull-push set augmented).
4 SUB (inc. augmented units), 2 NOL, and 2/4 EPB (BR & SR types) units all operate the stopping services up to London Bridge and the Portsmouth Harbour services utilise 4 COR /4 CEP /2 HAP units on the fast (non-stop) services with 2 BIL /2 HAL combinations on the semi-fasts. An 8 LAV (2 x 4-car) formation will inevitable creep in at some stage. Southampton services variously use Maunsell, Bulleid 59’ /64’ or BR Mk1 corridor stock with one each hour stopping at Ewhurst Green; the other hour at Midhurst.
Set 904 was redeployed from the Oxted lines to operate one of the (Guildford) /Cranleigh /Ewhurst Green peak hour services into London Bridge. Weekdays this would be kept overnight at Ewhurst Green (along with a suburban emu formation) running ecs to Guildford (reverse) ready for one of the two morning peak services from Cranleigh to Ewhurst Green thence on to London Bridge (starting as a local train at Guildford thence calling at Bramley & Wonersh this essentially changed into a peak-hour London-service from Cranleigh). Several peak-hour suburban electric services ran into Waterloo from Ewhurst Green joining the South Western main line at Raynes Park.
In terms of Reading services ex.SECR Birdcage and ex.SR Maunsell sets were used along with Mk1 non-corridor 3-car sets displaced from Exmouth Junction services. Both the Reading and Guildford services also used 2-car rail motor (pull-push) sets; some augmented with an additional Maunsell SO. However, all were now under threat from the new 2H Hastings 2H /3H Hampshire units on services through to Reading.
Race days at Goodwood would see special trains down from London to Singleton with strengthened connecting services from /to Reading.
The layout easily manages 10-car non-stop trains (for example Portsmouth Harbour train of 8 CEP plus MLV and TLV carrying mail – yes, I know the MLVs & TLVs essentially operated on SED and the latter is outside my era but in 1968 number S68203 did enter service in maroon livery) as well as a 10 BEL formation on a special to Portsmouth Harbour. However, visually eight coaches maximum appears to work best whether this be an electric train or a locomotive hauling two number BR(S) three-car coach sets with space for a buffet /Pullman car or van(s).
the London end scale track mainline S&C in place a train of visiting
Metro-Cammell Pullman cars rattle past on the temporary test circuit. ©
I’ve never worked out why Ewhurst Green was a useful location for freight although is saw a degree of goods and container traffic. This line could also have remained useful route for through freight between places such as Temple Mills (ER) and Holloway Yards (ER), Hoo Junction (SED), Norwood Yard (CED) and Southampton (SWD) as well as North Camp, Chichester and Shoreham (CED) along the West Coastway (via Lavant).
Limited MoD traffic is envisaged to service Dunsfold’s wartime-built airfield (delivering aviation spirit in particular). Little is written about the sidings serving Dunsfold airfield; via a ground frame accessed siding coming off the Ewhurst Green to Cranleigh line. From this siding the curved line crossing Vachery Lane to pass under the Cranleigh – Horsham railway thence the wartime-built Alfold by-pass and into the airfield. Given the nature of the spur and the reduction in post-war freight traffic, trainloads were inevitable short with suitable motive power limited to short-wheelbase locomotives (my excuse for a USA tank).
Local freight facilities are provided at Ewhurst Green, although their use is on the decline. Engineer’s wagons (mainly Grampus, Whales and Dogfish) will also be kept overnight there. Whilst Bachmann’s Wickham’s inspection trolley might appeal these only normally ran during engineering possessions so I’ve passed on one of these otherwise delightful models.
Apart from the needs of the yard’s shunting locomotives, servicing facilities were basic (water and coal for the Reading /freight services). Any locomotives that would need turning would have to trip through to Guildford shed. However, it is barely plausible that the Deepdene – Holmwood spur (closed 1900 /reopened 1941-47) may have been retained to create a loop for freight traffic in order to reduce the need for (say) locomotive turning upon termination (from the Guildford direction).
Z-class no.30951 on shunting duty ©
In just a few years the route was reduced to a basic half-hourly service to Portsmouth Harbour; stations such as Cocking and Stoughton & Walderton being closed with others (for example) Singleton being reduced to rush-hour and race days only.
The line through Ewhurst Green would have probably hastened the 1955 closures of Midhurst to Petersfield and Pulborough to pre-war (WW1), the route to Guildford closed in 1965 along with the Midhurst to Chichester passenger services (which had survived because the sturdier embankment near Cocking hadn’t collapsed).
The through Fareham /Southampton services were gone; even the London Bridge service was reduced to just two trains each morning /evening peak-hour as an extension from Dorking North (now being the only services to call at Forest Green). The only freight left was through traffic; this still being a useful route to Portsmouth and Southampton taking the pressure of the curving steeply graded Pompey-direct and the SW main line.
Eventually the line succumbed to closure. ☹
end of the layout after construction
and laying of the (temporary) test circuit ©
Layout sizes can sometimes be physical too small in terms of the station being modelled and a degree of compression is (usually) inevitable. So, I’d considered basing my model on stations such as Groombridge /Barnham /Ford /Horsted Keynes /Lingfield /Dorking North (etc). That is two through platforms (2 & 3) and an Up Passenger Loop (platform 1). Alongside the Up Passenger Loop would be freight loop similar to Redhill plus a shunting road. On the Down side (country-end) was a short bay (platform 4) and adjacent dock served from a headshunt.
Groombridge, Barnham, Ford and Horsted Keynes stations have a similar layout and sit on or close to junctions, which can lead to much operational interest. Essentially the mainline will operate as Up and Down circuits (with the possible splitting /joining of electric trains in the through platforms) but it is would be the branch (with its through and terminating services) that will see the main operating interest of the layout.
Essentially platforms 2 & 3 would see the through services (both Branch and Main) with suburban services from London and Branch services terminating in platform 1. Local Branch services would shunt across to platform 4 to restart their journey (similar operational moves took place at locations such as Eridge).
It was decided to place the main station building towards the rear of the baseboards. Besides placing the platform-side of the building on view this also left uninterrupted space along the front of the baseboards for the Up Passenger Loop (where branch trains would be terminating) and the goods sidings (i.e. all within easy reach). According the model’s operator looks south-east towards the station.
This station concept provided the basis of the baseboard design.
Ivatt no.41250 passes pull-push set 610 (being propelled by no.31518) ©
The storage loops and fiddle yard have six distinct sections (1) Down Main storage loops (total 5+4 no.), (2) Up Main storage loops (total 5+4 no.), (3) Up and Down Branch storage loops (one each), (4) Branch Terminating (two 6-car tracks), (5) Branch Terminating (two 5-car tracks) & (6) Locomotive Depot. These are designed to permit realistic operation of the station with a combination of through and terminating services.
The Down Main storage loops comprise total nine loops; five loops to start with then two further loops each off roads one and five.
These are capable of taking full-length trains although some are electrically subdivided to accommodate eight and six-car (equivalent) lengths (say eight-car emu formation or locomotive plus two three-sets and luggage van or buffet car.
The Up Main storage loops replicates the Down Main albeit for travel in the opposite (anti-clockwise) direction.
Up and Down Branch storage loops
The Up and Down Branch storage loops are just double track split into sections each being five-car (equivalent) lengths (say locomotive, three-car set and luggage van).
Alternatively, two loops together could accommodate a train of ten-car lengths.
Branch Terminating (6-car fiddle yard) accommodates five number trains up to six-car (equivalent) lengths. Although intended to terminate /return stock into the south end of Ewhurst Green it is capable of terminating trains from the north end of Ewhurst Green.
It also includes a four-car length loop for electric trains terminating from the north end of Ewhurst Green.
Branch Terminating (5-car fiddle yard) accommodates six number trains up to five-car (equivalent) lengths terminating /returning stock into the south end of Ewhurst Green.
It also has two storage sidings of three-car (equivalent) lengths for the storage of Pull-Push formations or diesel electric multiple units.
The Locomotive Depot comprises a turntable serving both of the Branch Terminating fiddle yard with storage for locomotives.
‘HA’ E5001 on the test circuit, USA tank no.30069 tries the (then)
recently laid Down Main through what will become the platform area. ©
The layout is housed in a dedicated purpose-built and well-insulated studio; the temperature running at a constant temperature from an inverter proving air-con /heating (well worth the investment and surprisingly cheap to run).
The layout’s baseboard was built at a height of 52” using 3” by 2” timber with the top made from 12mm high-quality exterior plywood (as supplied by an excellent local timber merchant). In other words, strong enough to rest or even sit on!
After much musing with good friend and ESF member Ian, this figure of 52” high had been derived from a number of factors; the main one being able to look at the railway from a more realistic sideways viewpoint rather than looking down from a great height onto train roofs. Ian uses a similar height on both his Oxted and Redhill P4 layouts. It is also a convenient height to duck-under when the drop-down door flap is in use.
The height of 52” still places the rear of the layout within practical reach whilst enabling tasks such as wiring and the fitting of turnout motors (etc) to be undertaken from the relative comfort of a swivel chair (until such time that I can obtain a chaise-longue on raised legs with castors).
Nominally 30” wide (the furthest one can realistically reach and work) each corner has a triangular pop-up hole where one can stand up to work.
Baseboard construction was undertaken by good friend and fellow ESF member Terry (a.k.a. the Rigger) who flew in from his mountain retreat in the Algarve to construct the baseboards – the lure of tea, biscuits and Cornflakes being simply too irresistible!
Having constructed the boards for his own layout thence Ian’s P4 Redhill 1938, Terry has since gone on to construct Rod’s baseboards for his 4mm take on the interesting arrangements at Inverness.
Ewhurst Green’s fiddle yard boards were built in March 2015 and the station boards completed October 2015. During the latter visit the simple test circuit was also installed.
part of his inspection Moser (my tomcat)
undertook a static load test of the baseboard ©
to be outdone by Moser, Terry undertook
the same static load test of the baseboard ©
However, on the station side the 30” baseboards widen to around 50” at each end, which would ordinarily leave the rear out of reach. The solution was simple in the form of two drop-down sections being provided (similar to the entrance door flap) to provide access-reach; it is this flap that is demonstrated in the static load testing photographs rather than just the permanent (fixed) baseboard!
In order to protect the scenery on these flaps their design enables them to be swung through 180o and secured upside down out of the way by means of a fixed cord operated on pulleys. Track only passes onto the boards at the ‘inner’ ends at 90o so there wasn’t to be any skewed rail joints.
Once secured up into place by a simple sprung (brass window) latch at the far end the inner end is drawn tightly into alignment by use of a brass sash window screw latch; this system also being utilised on the drop-down entrance flap.
A credit to Terry’s engineering skill; the baseboard top-framing is shimmed to provide a maximum deviation of less than 2mm between opposite ends of the layout. This top framing was also designed so as not to interfere with the future positioning of turnout motors and the positioning of the legs to optimise storage; the legs being screwed to the (insulated) floor.
the static load tests were completed Terry demonstrates how
this section of baseboard folds away in order to provide access ©
end of the layout’s boards with its own folding section;
pulley and cord are just visible between baseboard and floor ©
In 2017 end-protection boards were built for the drop-down entrance flap (using 9mm plywood recovered from my former layout). Not only do these protect the rail ends at the doorway they prevent rolling stock from inadvertently descending into the abyss!
Across Easter 2018 further baseboard work took place in the form of the green painted baseboard edging; besides providing a neat appearance it also prevents anything falling off!
Modelling in 4mm I have always used 00 although have thought long and hard about EM or P4. With so much available in P4 these days I could see little reason to change to EM even though on the majority of my rolling stock it would have been relatively simple to ease out the back-to-backs of their finescale wheels. However, the change to either would necessitate a significant amount of additional work including starting again with all the trackwork instead of recovery from my previous layout.
Storage loops & Fiddle yard Trackwork
The minimum radius used on non-scenic sections is 36” and for the fiddle yard Peco® code 75 ‘HO’ track is employed being cheap, practical, of standard dimensions and simply laid onto 1.5mm cork. Unfortunately, the 36” minimum precluded the use of Peco® single /double slips in the fiddle yard which are only 24” radius.
The branch fiddle yard is designed for five and six-car equivalent lengths. For example, a five-car length provides for locomotive, van and three-car coaching set. Longer trains can be accommodated through the doubling up on bays. It comprises Up and Down Branch (through lines for trains undertaking a circuit) thence four sets of roads for terminating services.
Both Exactoscale® (C&L Finescale Modelling Ltd) and SMP® track is employed in the scenic sections being laid on 3mm cork and paired to Marcway® turnouts. However, although I had a small existing stock of SMP® track left over from ‘Apothecary Street’ I decided to move forward using Exactoscale® as the track has a considerable edge including crisper sleeper mouldings. Accordingly, the remaining stock of SMP® track was used up on the less visible sections of the layout.
The new Peco® 4mm bullhead track was examined and whilst its sleeper sizes /spacing look good the overall rail /sleeper height differs from Exactoscale® / SMP® /Marcway® track (it also differs from Peco® code 75 track) so was not considered for use.
There is a small transition in height between the scenic track (Exactoscale®) and fiddle yard (Peco® code 75 track); this being achieved through the use of graduated shims made from card.
The choice of Marcway® turnouts was a relatively simple one; for although they are of copper-clad construction (which many would suggest is dated, even crude by today’s standards) from a distance they still look reasonable and all of Apothecary Street’s Marcway® turnouts were recovered for possible reuse; these being stripped, cleaned and repainted. In addition, Marcway® turnouts are simple to repair and adjust in-situ. On an operational model railway (on fixed-boards) sheer practicality in terms of ongoing maintenance has to be a significant (if not an over-riding) consideration.
3mm cork and centreline pins in place on the Up Line the
alignment of the S&C is drawn ready for the cork to be laid. ©
the S&C now laid, part ballasted, motored,
wired it is tested with a Hornby HA (71 012). ©
The track centrelines of Ewhurst Green were set out by means of both chalk-line and laser technology with the centrelines marked then delineated using track pins. Mounted on 3mm cork the scenic track is held in place before light gluing, painting thence ballasting the four-foot to fully secure it.
Rather than the 50mm used by (say) Peco® the track centres are set at 45mm in order to give a scale sixfoot (although the distance measured between adjacent running rails is actually slightly wider due to the 16.5mm 00 track gauge). However, to enable sufficient clearance between passing trains clearance on curves tighter than five feet radius the dimension is increased up to 50mm; this being used on the layout’s three-foot minimum radius curves. The storage loops and fiddle yard simply use the 50mm spacing throughout.
Switches and Crossings
Where needed a number of the scenic turnouts were carefully rebuilt to incorporate the required long timbers therein; particularly required as a scale six-foot dimension had been adopted (45mm centres instead of the standard 50mm more usually adopted by many modellers and Peco® - a necessary compromise by manufacturers to accommodate the sharp radii without varying this distance).
Tortoise® turnout motors were used throughout albeit with 0.9mm wire drive for the mechanically stiffer Marcway® turnouts. Even then this wire size is only just strong enough for the short switches on the double slips; each double slip requiring four motors – one per pair of switchblades!
Not only did this choice of turnout motor enable standardisation across the layout (I fitted each motor with a lead and plug of standard configuration) the two sets of contacts thereon enabled switching; one set being used for the polarity of each turnout’s common crossings.
- Up Line (plat. 2) is complete with the Down Line (plat. 3)
awaiting removal of the test circuit. In the foreground is the Up Loop No.1,
Up Passenger Loop (platform 1) thence the Up and Down Main lines. Note
the use of staggered baseboard joints to reduce the bracing underneath. ©
S&C with entry into five goods sidings (middle
foreground), two carriage sidings, Up reversible, Up and Down
Main thence the entry into the Down Bay /headshunt (rear). ©
Looking towards ‘London’ from above the Main /Branch junction,
Goods /Passenger Loops (left), Up and Down Main (centre),
test track (right - now removed) . ©
Some of the Marcway trackwork does need fine adjustment to enable fault-free running; particularly a few tight-to-gauge areas in the middle of the slips /double slips. This included tightening of the check-rails. With copper-clad track this is a relatively straightforward exercise using a Vernier gauge, fine soldering iron and patience. It is well worth spending time on doing this as the results are very effective.
15. Layout Electrics
As an old-school modeller I have not sought to ‘embrace’ DCC. However, there is no ‘luddite’ here – the current choice is out of practicalities and the desire to achieve realistic railway operation in a simple cost-effective manner; DCC only offering limited benefits in this area. As on Apothecary Street, the control of the station will be undertaken by means of an electric lever frame with conditional locking; I considered this would be best achieved through the straightforward use of switches and relays.
It is regularly stated that DCC makes layout wiring simpler. In some ways that statement is true as it makes the modeller’s wiring much simpler; the hugely complex wiring of the DCC controller (and possibly an operating computer) has already been undertaken for the modeller. In other words, the starting point of ‘your’ layout construction is relative. To mis-quote Carl Sagan “If you wish to make a model railway from scratch, you must first invent the universe”.
Ewhurst Green uses a number of essentially repetitive but simple electrical circuits, each wired the same way. However, it must be acknowledged that (particularly given the length of just over a scale mile cabling is ordered at 1.1km at a time.
Controlling the Layout
Apothecary Street was controlled through the signalling by means of an electric lever frame (with conditional locking) for the scenic section; route setting for the fiddle yard. As this obviated the need for ‘traditional’ cab-control switches and proved to be very effective I decided to operate Ewhurst Green in the same way.
The lever frame is quite straightforward employing high-quality former MoD DPDT switches mounted on robust plastic trunking (those were recovered from Apothecary Street were augmented by the lucky purchase of some more). Apparently, each switch cost around £60 new some fifty years ago!
In general (but not always) signal boxes have one lever per each signal arm. However, as many of Ewhurst Green’s multi-armed signals (such as the three home signals) are located off scene the decision was made to use one lever per signal location; the actuating of the correct arm (where applicable) being determined by the route set.
There is a lever for each of the three home signals (but not the distant signals) as operation of these provides the track feeds. Similarly, the advanced starting signals enable the feeds into the storage loops /fiddle yard.
The shunting signals are non-operational but the levers still need to be present; when actuated they prove the route and provide the track feeds. Turnouts are activated is the usual way with ends paired as per prototypical practice.
Hand points are not of course on the main lever frame and here route setting switches are quietly employed at each end of the station’s goods yard.
Storage loops and fiddle yard
In the Up & Down storage loops and Branch storage loops and Branch fiddle yard simple route setting is used.
As there are few instances of (say) a train entering on the Down Line (perhaps crossing into platform 1) whilst another departs (say from bay platform 4) it was decided that two trains would not be running on the same circuit; apart from shunting-forward in the fiddle yards.
Each storage loop /fiddle yard track is capable of storing more than one train on each; this being dependent upon the train length and loops is designed to accommodate multiples of different length trains. For example, one loop will accommodate 4 or 8-car emu stock whereas another is designed for two 10-car trains. When the first train out of a loop is travelling round through the station the second train parked in the loop needs to be shunted-forward to create space for the arrival of the returning first train.
Isolation of tracks the storage loop /fiddle yard tracks is undertaken through the route setting in order to do away with the vast arrays of switches so often seen on layouts. Instead, each of the isolating switches only refer to the tracks upon which each route is set. The wiring is simple and straightforward if not time-consuming (particularly as fishplates are not relied upon for conductivity).
Along the length of the storage loops there is a maximum of six isolating sections with a five-way rotary switch route-selecting the five loops on each of the Up and Down track. There is no common return in these loops; for by using one set of the turnout motor’s switch-contacts only the return rail of the selected track is connected to the layout’s common return. This means power can provided through each isolating section on /off switch across five roads; but a train can only move on the storage loop selected and connected to the layout’s common return. Simple but effective.
Ultimately some storage loops may be fully automated using infrared detectors.
Conditional Locking (Signalling)
It would have been nice to have employed full interlocking. However, I accepted that this would be unnecessarily complex for a model railway and that conditional locking would suffice. This still requires the correct turnouts to be set to allow the signals to be pulled off (thus enabling the required electrical track feeds). Instead of preventing a conflicting route from being set conditional locking simply cuts the electrical track feed which in turn halts the trains.
I shall not attempt to describe the circuitry involved save to say that with a basic knowledge of relays the underlying principle is ridiculously simple and highly effective; coming up with such circuitry just needed a degree of lateral thinking.....
S&C with the main crossover (mainly single & double slips)
(turnout motors and wiring now installed). ©
the double junction is just visible in
the distance with locomotives on the Up Main
and Down Branch respectively. A single crimson-lake van marks the end of the Down
Bay Headshunt. The Up Passenger Loop (centre) feeds directly into the electric siding.
a BSK marks the non-electrified carriage
siding; just beyond a 2 BIL DTC sits on
the electric siding - a carriage walkway will eventually separate these two sidings.
Track Feeds & Relays
As stated I no longer employ cab-control; instead arranging track feeds through the signalling with a smattering of isolating sections in the scenic sections. Route setting is employed in the storage loops /fiddle yard with just a handful of isolating /move-up switches controlling all tracks. Essentially it is a case of just set the road and drive the train!
Notwithstanding this the layout is being wired with the potential to use DCC at a later date; certainly, I recognise the are benefits from a constant 16v around the track rather than the slow starting voltages associated with DC.
Some can find the use of relays complex. However, it requires a significant amount of wiring design and copious amounts of relays (mostly ex.GPO). The circuitry involved is essentially simplistic in terms of its repetitive design. Some might view the task as Herculean, but really it just needs time and patience!
I like to use GPO relay carriers as it gets quite tedious if you have to build your own mounts. However, many of these carriers contain ten relays; each with two pairs of changeover contacts along with two pairs of coil feeds resulting in ten wire-terminations per relay (eighty in total). These two pairs of coil feeds get really useful when two separate circuits need to activate a relay - this can be achieved without the need for selection switching.
GPO relays rarely fail but any design does need to have a means to enable replacement without behaving like a contortionist hot soldering iron in hand! Accordingly, their mounting has to provide reasonable means of access.
Telephone relay circuitry usually ran on 50v (I believe some providers now use lower voltages). Whilst many of the lower-resistance former GPO relays work well on 12v I have a number of 50v circuits using higher-resistance relays; the two voltages being separated isolated from each other and are clearly identifiable. However, I would not advocate the use of 50v circuits unless you have sufficient knowledge and experience to design and undertake this safely.
All of the ninety-nine Tortoise® turnout motors are powered from two-transformer sources running at around 7v to 8v. One side of all the turnout motors are connected to each other. The other side goes back to the operating lever switch (relay contacts in the storage loops /fiddle yard); this either connects to transformer 1 (positive) or transformer 2 (negative).
At the end of its movement the Tortoise® turnout motor simply enters a (designed) stall with power still present. I use old Hammant & Morgan transformer-controllers (etc) for this purpose as the voltage can be simply adjusted to an appropriate speed. Marcway® double slips each require four Tortoise® motors. It is possible to install all four motors on a double slip between the two pairs of stretcher bars (motors mounted side-by-side in pairs placed back to back) although this can be fiddly.
Turnout motors have been installed with the motors at the London-end goods yard and branch fiddle yard awaiting fitment. Standard designs of wiring circuits are used to make work easier on both the turnout motors and associated relays.
One pair of contacts on each Tortoise® motor switches the polarity of the common crossing on both Marcway® and Peco® turnouts; this provides reliable electrical switching. On crossovers the second pair of contacts on one of the motors makes the electrical connection between the two tracks. Spare Tortoise® motor switches are used in the conditional locking circuitry.
Although each turnout or crossover is numbered the Tortoise® motors also carry a simple colour code using coloured cable ties (tags). A single motor has one coloured tag, a simple two-motor crossover has two and where three motors are employed three tags are used. Working underneath the baseboard can be disorientating and these tags provide a rapid but simple means of identifying motors.
Furthermore, each motor is placed in the ‘normal’ position and a bright yellow tag added to one of the made contact wires (either yellow or blue) as a useful reminder when installing wiring. This is particularly useful on crossovers where motors may be reversed so one end normal is ‘yellow wire’ the other end it is blue.
Where route setting is employed the turnouts are switched through relays. A total of four of these panels are required for the storage loops and fiddle yard. Each relay panel comprises twenty relays /three-amp termination blocks and two-hundred eyelets to secure the wiring!
The 12mm boards are from an 8x4 sheet accurately cut into nine by the timber supplier. Fixed to the board with 2BA bolts, each relay rack can be detached lest relay replacement is required. However, each relay was cleaned and tested before fitting and wiring; the circuits were tested again before mounting under the layout.
These relays are former GPO type 600 dating back to the 1950s; today it is unusual to find them with their protective aluminium covers. Whilst the Tortoise motors are powered from a centre-tap +12v /ov /-12v supply these relays obtain 24v of power from across the +12v /-12v connections.
and Down Country-end relay bank wired up ready for installation
This relay bank is now in-situ, fully wired and operational controlling the Up and Down Country-end main-line storage loops along with the Up and Down Branch storage loops and fiddle yard. All the contacts on all these relays are used. The second (identical) relay bank is currently being fabricated and the third in preparation.
Storage Loops and Fiddle Yard Controls
Personal preference is for controls to be simple, intuitive and quick to operate. In addition, the risk of operating failures including train collisions should be designed-out as far as possible.
There are eighteen main-line storage loops into total, arranged in a staggered formation. At the Country-end this comprises five up and five down loops. However, the staggered arrangement provides four up and four down additional loops that can only be accessed (two at a time) off each or the Up and Down pairs of outside loops. In other words, the Down Line has loops numbered 1 to 5; from loop 1 the staggered additional loops nos.1A & 1B can be accessed. Similarly, from loop 5 the staggered additional loops nos.5A & 5B can be accessed. Loops nos. 2, 3 & 4 cannot access these additional loops. [I know, a diagram is needed].
Entry into each are switched by two rotary switches controlling the turnouts at either end of each set of loops (i.e. into and out of the loops). While there are turnouts mid-way down each of the storage loops which give entry into four additional loops, these turnouts operate automatically relative to the position of the two sets of rotary switches.
The five-position rotary switch on the left control entry into the five-number Down storage loops; the five positions on the right-hand rotary switch control the exit from these Down storage loops along with the four additional Down loops (two off no.1 loop; two off no.5 loop). In addition, the rotary switch on the right has a sixth position which operates the training crossover between Up and Down tracks.
Ought to draw a diagram to visually express all this as the reality is quite straightforward!
Down Main controls (nine storage loops in total)
There is an identical set of controls
for the Up Main storage loops,
thence a similar pair for the Up and Down Branch storage loops.
Each storage loop is split into isolating sections; these sections differ in length so some loops have six isolating sections (for short trains); others just two (for longer trains). Rather than have large banks of switches there is just one row of isolating switches which relates to the storage loop selected by the rotary switches. LED lights illuminate in order to identify which isolating switches apply to the selected storage loop.
For example, all six LEDs will illuminate for the six (short-length) isolating-sections in storage loop no.1 and additional loop 1A /1B combined. However, just two LEDs will illuminate for the switches which control the two (long-length) isolating-sections in (say) storage loop no.2.
Not only does this arrangement provide for simple route-setting operation (reducing the margin of error) it both reduces the size of control panel required along with the number of switches needed from 28 to 8 when compared to ‘traditional’ switching arrangements!
The white operating panel is simple and robust being made from robust 50mm square section UPVC electrical trunking; the front removes for maintenance access.
On my previous layout (Apothecary Street) old H&M /Triang /GPO 12v power units were utilised along with 50v GPO power supply units (PSUs); the latter being purpose-built and metal-encased. As a temporary measure these old 12v power units are being reused on Ewhurst Green. However, going forward modern PSUs with a higher output were always envisaged; these are currently awaiting mounting in a protected enclosure.
Ewhurst Green uses five voltages with 12-14v DC being the most common. However, the signals run at 9v DC, the turntable operates at 16v AC, the storage loops /fiddle yard type 600 relays at 24v DC and the type 3000 GPO relays in the station’s conditional locking use 50v DC.
Excluding some of the controllers which have an internal power supply unit (PSU), six number DIN-rail mounted PSUs are employed in pairs; each with a smoothed ten-amp DC output. Four of these are linked to provide +12v /0v /-12v for the ninety-nine relay-operated Tortoise turnout motors. In addition, power is taken from across the +12v /-12v taps to give 24v for the type 600 relays used in the turnout-motor controls. Although the type 600 relays will operate on 12v their operation is much improved with 24v.
These transformers are fed through a surge protected supply taken off one of the ‘isolating’ ring mains. In other words, these ring mains can be powered down when leaving the track room.
The 50v supply comes from purpose-made ex-GPO encased power supply units.
After much consideration a simple painted sky back scene was opted for; this being very effective on fellow ESF member Ian’s P4 layouts Oxted and Redhill. It also enables the future use of trompe-l'œil behind the trees in order to provide the effect of depth. Furthermore, Ian’s adept and creative wife Wendy had offered to paint it!
Along the length of the scenic side of the layout is a continuous support beam intended to provide a firm rest if any of the strip light mechanisms need to be replaced (the tubes are easily accessed). The 16” height of this beam was determined by using the 8’ long 12mm plywood off-cuts from the 32”-wide baseboards. These 16” by 8’ long off-cuts were used to form the back scene; the top of which is held in place by the support beam.
Each scenic board was numbered and painted matt-white ready for Wendy to undertake her magic with sponges and various acrylic paints; the sky effect being carried across each board joint (completed March 2017).
Unfortunately, the room’s daylight simulation lighting means the photographs simply do not do the final sky-effect effect justice. However, they look excellent in-person and I’m extremely grateful for Wendy’s creative time and work.
Since these photographs were taken the daylight fluorescent tubes have been replaced with daylight LED tubes.
direction in the distance D6580 is sitting on the Down Main.
Left to right - Up Loop no.1, Up Passenger Loop, Up Main, Down Main
(with the realigned temporary test circuit alongside) ©
end S&C. Six sidings can be seen starting to curve away to the right;
beyond is the junction where the non-electrified double-track branch will
curve away to the right from the electrified main line. ©
At the same time as this scenic-backboard work was undertaken the opportunity was taken to add some room decor in the form of split-flaps from former Solari indicator boards (obtained during my days on BR’s Southern Region). These provide a selection of destinations and types of indications displayed including some no longer seen.
Towards each end of the scenic section the scenic track curves around towards the fiddle yard. The intention here is to place suitably positioned bridges at the start of these curves with the scenery designed to give a visual impression of the track continuing straight on; the curves being hidden from view.
Further Easter 2018 work included installing removable curved scenic boards especially constructed for either ends of the scenic section. When these are painted (sky-background) the scenery (including trees) can be added. The intended effect (trompe l’oeil) is to allow trains to disappear from view without resorting to ‘artificial’ tunnels.
At the London-end of the layout there will be a concrete footbridge and level crossing; the Country-end will comprise of a road-overbridge crossing both main and branch lines.
curve (with the scenic access flap folded). ©
The ends of the non-scenic turntable are visible on the left.
London-end removable scenic corner board. ©
‘sky-painted’ this train will be disappearing under the footbridge and
through trees. The locomotive is ‘sitting’ across the (to be) level crossing. ©
I have covered my decision to remain with 00 instead of moving to EM or P4 – had I been starting from scratch then I would probably have considered 3mm Southern Electric or even LBSCR overhead electrics in P4!
Most of my rolling stock has had its wheelsets replaced using wheels from Jackson (now Romford manufactured by Markits) or Alan Gibson; these having a 14.6mm back-to-back dimension. Even though there are no plastic wheelsets in use on my test circuit it is still surprising just how dirty the track gets after a day’s running.
Some ready-to-run and all the kit-built steam locomotives use Romford wheelsets as manufactured by Markits. Previously sold under the Jackson brand, these are simple and straightforward to use giving excellent running.
However, the diesel locomotives such as Heljan’s KA & KA-1A (class 33/0 & 33/2) and Hornby JA (class 73/0) use Ultrascale conversion sets. Whilst Ultrascale orders can have a long lead time in production it must be remembered that this is a high-quality bespoke specialist engineering service and the final high-quality product is well worth the wait.
The superb Hornby HA electric locomotives (class 71 in modern parlance) are having their driving wheels replaced as their Hornby wheels appear to quickly attract the dirt; this is quick and simple to do. The Hornby models are excellent runners with a considerable haulage capacity in excess of a competing model.
In building my previous layout I spent considerable time looking into the subject of couplings; eventually settling on the current mini-coupling as used by today’s manufacturers. These are is simple, easy to fit (a wire bar is compatible) and today’s standard coupling. However, in terms of the many coupling types out there my favourite was the Winterley automatic coupling although I always liked the operation of the Hornby-Dublo pseudo buckeye.
In my opinion simple and reliable couplings are prerequisites for a reliable operating layout. It is acknowledged that the mini-couplings have their faults and limitations; they are certainly not pretty but are practical and for the most, already fitted to proprietary stock. The only significant fault with the mini-couplings is the difference in height that sometimes occurs; particularly when some makes droop.
The exception to the use of mini-couplings is on buckeye fitted stock where Kadee® buckeye couplers were an obvious choice; a choice that works well with buckeye fitted multiple units although in terms of sheer practicality their use might be extended to other multiple-units where the prototype had screw-couplings (for example 2 BIL, 2 HAL, 4 SUB & 4 LAV units) if experiments with other NEM-fitment couplings aren’t successful.
The potential compromise of using Kadee® buckeyes with these Southern Railway-built units would enable closer coupling and an auto uncoupling capability. For example, the Down Main, Up Passenger Loop and electric siding have been equipped with a Kadee® magnet to enable the division of electric trains if the service pattered required it. These magnets can be removed from underneath the baseboard if needed.
It is worth noting a 2 BIL uses a Kadee® no.19 whereas a 2 HAL uses no.20; the limiting factor being buffer-locking on the Peco® turnouts. Had the layout used Marcway® 3’ radius turnouts in the fiddle yard then one size lower could have been employed. In terms of BR-design MU stock Kadee® buckeyes are used for all end couplers (2/4 EPB, 2/3H, 4 CEP, MLV & TLV).
Kadee® buckeyes are also used for the intermediate couplings in corridor stock; again sheer practicality along with close-coupling being the deciding factor along with the ease of lifting coaches off the track. The gangway air-gaps are closed and on Hornby’s Maunsell corridor stock the opportunity is taken to retract the buffers enabling a mix of Kadee® No.17 and No.18. On non-corridor stock such as sets 152, 153, 154 and 904 Bill Bedford couplings have been employed within sets; these really do look the part although currently appear to be unobtainable.
One of my bugbears is the air-gap between corridor coaches and I’ve always sought to close these. Initially I made my own gangway in-fill bellows using folded black card fashioned in a scissors to expand and compress. Latterly I found Modeller’s Mecca of Kingswinford supplied these ready-made to fit a wide range of coaches at a price that meant home-production simply wasn’t viable.
Recently I’ve started trialling Keen floating end plates on Bachmann Mk1 stock. These do work although need to be fitted carefully if precision is wanted; that is without sideways wobble. When fitting these 20-thou plastic strips were glued to the inside of the coach’s gangways reducing sideways play in the end-plate. In terms of springing the fixing plate (this also serves as a drilling jig) is placed external to the moulded end-door of the coach to serve as a spacer thus giving the spring greater compression.
Modifying Heljan Locomotive-couplings
It is unfortunate that many Heljan couplings have a tendency to droop with coupling engagement being poor and the bottom of the hook-assembly catch the stock rail on S&C; leading to derailments. Having tried (with limited success) gluing the hook and bar assemblies onto the bogie frame a simpiler solution was found through the use of Bachman straight (rather than cranked couplings). It is worth saying on 36” minimum radii curves the fixed (glued) coupling really didn’t create any problems.
Modifying Bachmann Mk1 Coach-couplings
In using No.20 Kadee® buckeyes within sets using Bachmann Mk1 stock, two easily corrected faults were found. The shorter shanks on no.19 Kadee® buckeyes foul the coach buffer beam and when propelling the buffers come into contact. As these buffers are fixed, they are difficult to retract (unlike Hornby’s Maunsell stock).
On longer trains in particular (say twelve bogies) certain coaches kept derailing as they entered the straight leg of Peco® turnouts off 36” curves. After some investigation the causes was found to be on the underside of the coaches with no turnout fault. The two issues being:
(i) The NEM-style pockets are mounted on a yoke which surrounds the bogie pivot being held back by a small spring. My replacement wheelsets have much finer flanges and so had an increased propensity to derail if the bogie rubs against the plastic hook that retained this small spring to the underside of the coach. Careful paring down of the hook eradicates the problem.
(ii) As the coach transitions between the curve and straight the yoke moves and one of the two lugs on the yoke slide forward across the underside of the coach. Some coaches (the FK in particular) have a small amount of plastic flash that catches on the yoke interrupting its smooth movement; the resulting ‘jerk’ causing a derailment under load. Simply removing this flash resolves the issue.
works L1 number 31778 hauling an
unfitted freight around the test circuit ©
Interestingly most of the trains that have operated on my layout’s test-tract belong to fellow East Sussex Finescale members and the current record for the slowest lap currently stands at eighteen minutes eight seconds with a visiting pre-First World War Prussian 0-8-0! (This was using an elderly but serviceable H&M controller and could be significantly improved with modern sophistication). When time permits, this may be attempted with a Model Rail (Bachmann) USA tank.
In terms of train length this is currently held by Terry’s no.71000 ‘Duke of Gloucester’ hauling eighteen bogies unassisted comprising eleven Mk1 coaches and seven Mk1 Metro-Cammell Pullman cars.
permanent retaining wall has now been fitted at this location; the
next step being the bridge and factory offices behind the locomotive. ©
It would be boring to provide lists of rolling stock some of which is kit built; others proprietary often with minor modifications or additional detailing that can make a significant difference. For example, it is surprising how many visitors struggle to identify Bachmann’s® N-class 31848 which appears in its short-lived 1954 guise without smoke deflectors!
Few modellers set a specific date for their model although many operate to a period. At present Ewhurst Green is intended to follow the latter; roughly between 1956 and 1961. However, in doing so whilst a Sulzer type 2 (1958-built class 24) might just be seen hauling CLC liveried Maunsell stock a type-KA Crompton (1960-built class 33) would simply look out of place with these CLC liveried coaches (although very rare, they could be seen with CLC liveried Mk1 3-sets).
However, a few models outside of this period have crept in such as Brighton-built Bulleid diesel 10203 and a few BR(S) emus with yellow warning panels (circa 1963-on).
Coaching Stock Overview
Research is often the key to modelling. For example, coaches are correctly formed into the Southern Region’s prototypical sets; something manufacturers are only starting to undertake. I believe this started with Replica’s excellent correctly numbered BR(S) Exmouth branch 3-car non-corridor sets in both Crimson Lake and Green liveries. Replica subsequently went onto to produce a very limited number (just 3) of the remaining Oxted line non-corridor vehicles used in set 904; soon after Hornby produced SWD Maunsell Special Traffic set 273 in BR(S) green paired with Schools-class 30924 Haileybury.
Now the production of SR-coaches in sets is becoming the ‘norm’ with the various pull-push sets, Birdcage sets, 48’ LSWR Maunsell rebuilds and so on…………
Hornby’s Bulleid 59’ multidoor stock sets feature (particularly as some sets worked around Horsham) and Bachmann’ new Bulleid sets are expected to augment some of the earlier coaches (super-detailed and flush-glazed).
Coaching Stock Liveries
Following trials with some LSWR gate-stock for the pull-push services (set no.373 was actually used Guildford – Bordon) Hornby’s converted Maunsell sets were also welcome addition; particularly as they have modelled both variants (with whistle or with air-horns). These were followed by the Maunsell rebuilds of the LSWR 48’ coaches; in BR(S) days these attained Crimson Lake livery with just a few of the seconds receiving BR(S) Green livery. S320S retained Southern Railway green until it was repainted (green) at Lancing; being outshopped 4th October 1956. With Bachmann’s Birdcage stock there is little shortage of coaching stock for local services; deliveries of their new Bulleid 64’ saloon are currently awaited; these should sit well with Hornby’s Bulleid 59’ multidoor stock.
Liveries are also important with the corridor stock (Bulleid, Maunsell and BR Mk1); these all being available in both Crimson Lake & Cream (aka Blood & Custard) and BR(S) stock green. Some SR ‘malachite; liveried stock survived at least until 1956 – indeed there are coaches that missed out crimson lake altogether. A concise history of these liveries is covered here.
In terms of the Southern Region’s Lancing carriage works the last Crimson Lake & Cream (coded CLC) vehicle was outshopped on 17th July 1956 (High Window Maunsell SK) with first repainted from Crimson Lake & Cream into Green livery occurring the next day (Bullied SK). By 25th March 1959 the last Maunsell corridor coach had been repainted into Green livery although some Mk1 coaching sets remained in CLC right into 1963.
Motive Power (Steam)
Bachmann’s E4, C, Standard 4MT ‘bacon-slicers’ and Fairburn tank classes are excellent as are Hornby’s Q1, Black Motors, H and M7 tanks and OO Works H-tanks and Black Motors.
In terms of mainline locomotives Hornby’s WC /BoB /MN (all now made in air-smoothed and rebuilt forms) are also superb along with their V and S15 /N15 variants. Even a LN appears on a (very rare) diversion to Southampton during engineering works at Woking. OO Works L, Black Motors, N15 & H15 classes feature with Roderick’s D15 running off its normal Brighton – Southampton routing. There is even a much-modified Triang L1!
The layout doesn’t stop with extra-detailed ready-to-run; for example South Eastern Finecast make excellent kits of the D, E5, Q & P classes and they supply an excellent chassis to go under the Golden Arrow Productions E-class (in my opinion this having the potential to be more accurate than the DJH kit).
Shunting and short-length train movements down the lightly-laid branch into Dunsfold Aerodrome are at various times undertaken by A1x, P, USA and B4 tank engines.
Motive Power (Diesel)
Following the arrival of the Sulzer type 2 (class 24) locomotives on loan from the LMR, Southern Region type KA ‘Crompton’ diesel engines (class 33) start to appear with a KA-1A (class 33/2 aka ‘Slim Jim’– repainted into plain green) and the pull-push D6580 (forerunner of the class 33/1) although this unique locomotive (trialled on the Central Division) is pushing the boundary of my modelling period.
weathered Heljan no.D6580. ©
Strictly speaking this model shouldn’t be produced by Heljan equipped
with Buckeye couplers and compression bars (now since removed).
Kernow released their models of 10201, 10202 and 10203 although each was slightly before my time period. As each were very similar a compromise was reached with Brighton’built 10203 and a BR ‘peak’ (TOPS class 46) went on to find a career in the Algarve!.
Heljan’s TOPS class 07 is a nice model but a decision was made not to purchase one of these 1962-built locomotives. However, an example can now appear alongside a few other BR(S) diesel shunters.
Diesel Electric Multiple Units
Kernow released the 2H DEMU units (2H ‘Hampshires’ were in number range 1101-1118; 2H ‘Hastings’ 1119-1121) so these cpuldn’t be ignored. Although slightly out-of-era a 3R ‘Tadpole’ is being built in its green livery and without yellow warning panel on the motorcoach. A couple of 3D ‘Oxted’ units – with one to possibly to run with a 6-car Hastings unit (this formation used to run from Tunbridge Wells West into London) - are also envisaged.
Motive Power (Electric)
It has been assumed that the type-HA (class 71) electric locomotives also ventured on this route working freight across to /from the South Eastern Division via Factory Junction and Pouparts Junction; certainly, they worked on the other divisions. On the Central Division this included hauling the Newhaven boat trains with a steam locomotive inserted to ostensibly provide steam heating (although double-heading did on occasions, unofficially occur) and had been seen on the West Coast through Chichester. On the South Western they often reached Eastleigh; sometimes with burst armatures from excessive speed (the figure of 115mph having been bandied about internally within the Southern Region).
Hornby’s ‘plain’ green front with red-stripe version of the type-HA number E5022 in ‘as built’ in plain green front with red-stripe but without cantrail rainstrips also features on freight traffic from the SED. To-date this is appears to be the only current HA model produced in pre-September 1963 guise (i.e. without cantrail rainstrips). Weathering of these will be interesting as they were kept relatively clean albeit getting shabby approaching withdrawal.
In due course Bulleid /Raworth Co-Co electrics will also be making an appearance on the layout
Electric Multiple Units
Bachmann produced its superb model of the 4 CEP unit rapidly followed up by an MLV. Now a 4 BEP is promised; ideal for the fast services although these didn’t usually feature in the boat trains. Their 2 EPB is excellent (conversions into 4-car are in hand) and some green 2 HAP units would sit nicely amongst all these; particularly giving a typical 6-car formation (2 HAP + 4 CEP).
Hornby produced the excellent 2 BIL stock with a 4 COR anticipated before the 2 HAL was released; the latter being ideal for the semi-fast trains. However, that was not to be so there are currently 2 BIL /2HAL units.
Two of Hornby’s 5 BEL units are in store pending the painting out of the yellow warning panel on one and fitment of end-couplers on both to enable ten-car operation. The running gear /underframes of one unit was swapped over so both can use proprietary close-couplers throughout rather than Hornby’s DCC ‘power-coupling’. All that is needed now is an excuse to run a 10 BEL through Ewhurst Green.
Ajay all-steel 2 HAL units also feature having strayed on the Gatwick services /West Coastway. Such ‘straying’ was not improbable for in later years the occasional 4 VEG ‘Gatwick’ unit appeared at Hampton Court when the 4 VEP /4VEG formation became reversed so the 4 VEG picked up an afternoon diagram down to Horsham, up to Waterloo thence out to Hampton Court before returning the same way!
Suburban services use 2 NOL stock and a pair of augmented 4 SUB units. Besides the 2 EPB units (BR-type) and SR-type 2 EPB & 4 EPB units (kit-built) and BR-type 4 EPB units (Bachmann conversions) are in-hand.
Strangers on the Southern
There is always the temptation to have a huge number of one-offs and visiting locomotives; an area where I am actively seeking to prune back past purchases. For example, a Black 5, two 8Fs and WD were reduced to a type 1 NBLs (later class 16) which ran through to the Southern Region (including at least one passenger excursion into Brighton). Equally there is no additional need for the not dissimilar EE type 1 (class 20) and BTH type 1 (class 15) which were intended for Apothecary Street; these being sold on ‘unused’.
Similarly-weathered NBL Type 1 no.D8400. ©
One type of locomotive upon which more research is required is the Baby Deltics which were expected to run onto the Southern although were too heavy for use through Snow Hill. However, a retired driver and friend (sadly now passed) remembered working on one (as a trainee) into Hither Green via the East London Line.
The East London Line was a useful connection from the Great Eastern onto the Southern lines although its gradients the lowest point being Wapping) were a limiting factor, as was the necessity to reverse in Liverpool Street station. These trains were usually headed by J69 (‘Buckjumpers’) 0-6-0T locomotives (often in pairs) thence BTH and NBL Type 1 Bo-Bo diesel locomotives (these becoming class 15 and 16 under TOPS) until the freight traffic ceased in 1966. Of interest on the line, up to 1955 a hoist was used for conveying wagons between Shoreditch station and Bishopsgate Goods Depot.
Even DP1 and Fell diesel 10100 were on SR metals albeit both loco-hauled to Battersea (1957) and Eastbourne (1951) respectively. However, with one exception I’m not venturing to such rarities as I believe a layout needs to concentrate on the regular (if mundane) everyday stock and operations!
There are records shewing a Metro-Vick Co-Bo (D5714) working through to Norwood Yard thence down to Three Bridges in April 1960; this rare visitor to the Southern being an exception simply too interesting to resist on the layout.
21. Layout Construction Progress
Layout planning commenced late in 2014 starting with the design of the layout and its room. Much though was put into what was wanted (in terms of a layout) and how this may be achieved. Such planning included what part of the Southern Region did I wish to portray and the type of models that I’d seek to run.
Track laying is now well under way having been designed using AutoCAD®. The track is lightly glued /held in place by pins before painting in Railmatch™ acrylic sleeper grime and ballasting in the four-foot to keep it firmly in place.
Both the London and Country-end S&C connections into the Up and Down Main Platforms (2 & 3), Up Platform Loop (1) & Up Loop along are laid, motored and ballasted. The Up and Down Main platform roads, Up Platform Loop and Up Loop are all laid; the Up and Down Main lines ‘meeting in the middle’ by means of a large radius curve (this being achieved in August 2016). The current stage is laying the Country-end carriage sidings and freight reception sidings; these being on curves to avoid the visually unappealing rows of linear tracks.
The Up and Down (fiddle yard) main lines were completed in 2016 (equipped with droppers and turnout motors) but it wasn’t until the end of 2017 /start of 2018 when the (fiddle yard) branch lines were installed along with a Fleischmann turntable; this being used strictly on the basis of reliability and functionality in a non-scenic setting.
A decision in the Country End’s scenery meant a realignment of the Down Branch replacing a large radius curved (trailing) turnout with a straight leg to send the branch under a bridge rather than a sharp curve backed by a retaining wall; visually this would be a great improvement. Marcway kindly supplied a 48” turnout without the leg-end rails trimmed enabling a relatively straightforward replacement /realignment.
On the main line all of the turnout motors are in place and the track wired (I always electrically switch the common crossings of turnouts) with the Up Main currently utilised as the test circuit. The test circuit’s track was lifted and stored for later use for the branch section of the fiddle yard.
With the disconnection of the test circuit the Down Main was connected into the fiddle yard August 2017; at the same time a section of the Up Main was relaid (to remove a twist fault) and a trailing crossover added at the start of the fiddle yard’s fan (enabling unscheduled stock reversals and improved storage whilst in use as a test circuit).
Completing the fiddle yard track enabled a start to be made on the scenic boards at either end of the layout. So, plenty of tea, biscuits and Cornflakes were purchased in order to lure Terry back from the Algarve to undertake the work Easter 2018. This also included fabricating the scenic corner boards behind which the railway disappears (see trompe l’oeil).
However, track-laying is relatively quick compared to the under-board wiring which takes time, let alone the relay-operated control system that makes everything work!
In order to provide a break from wiring some scenery work was also started.
Wiring, wiring and more wiring!
The layout’s wiring is undertaken in set cable runs secured via eyelets /cable ties to the underside of the boards. Cables are terminated at one end and connected at the other for testing. After testing, the cables undertake gentle pulling to remove unnecessary slack and give a tidy appearance. The wiring is then retested.
Associated with this was completion of the control panel for the Up and Down Main and Up and Down Branch storage loops. This enabled the Up and Down Main storage loops to be commissioned with function section isolators; albeit as sidings accessed from the ‘London’ end. At the same time the trailing crossover was also brought into use.
The daylight simulation fluorescent lighting was also replaced with daylight simulation LED tubes. Giving a better output and halving the lighting power consumption, the need for electronic ballasts is eradicated. Whilst normally reliable, if a ballast failed its replacement could be difficult being located above scenery. The top of the scenic boards already included a sturdy lip upon which a crawl /protection board could be placed above the layout. However, with the economic case for using LED tubes the change was made.
May 2018 saw the first of the scenery added to the layout. A warm, dry and still day was needed to prepare the retaining wall including weathering it's engineering brick; this being needed to be undertaken outside and over its entire length to ensure a consistent finish throughout. The retaining wall is now fixed in position with the factory set above waiting its turn to be weathered (after all, this is a 1950's steam era layout).
In typical 'before and after' style
first photograph is the timber former in place
alongside the down headshunt. Visiting 75008 hauling a train on the Up Line. ©
With the weathered retaining wall now in place the placement of location
cases, cable runs and
completion of the cess-side ballasting can start. With a visiting BIL /HAL formation on the Down line,
conductor rails will follow later when any minor adjustments to the S&C have been completed. ©
Next on the list will be the pair of cottages that back onto the railway and (in the distance) the girder bridges over main line and branch line (). Just making this small start on the scenery has already started to bring the layout to life.
The layout sees regular running sessions with friends from the East Sussex Finescale group bringing along many different various models to run. Often following lunch in our local beach-front café, many an enjoyable afternoon has been spent!
The latest running session on Ewhurst Green can be found here.
SR-liveried Hornby H-tank no.1324 on the Down Main. ©
2H ‘Hastings’ unit no.1122
and 2H ‘Hampshire’
unit no. 205 012 pass each other in the fiddle yard. ©
German Co-Co no.118 725. ©
37 068 ‘Grainflow’ in sector livery. ©
Personally, I find GWR
outside framed locomotives particularly
elegant so no.9003 is welcomed as a regular visitor! ©
Schools class no.30913 ‘Christ’s Hospital’. ©
the Branch reversible, Somer the cat (12mm/1ft) isn’t fazed by Schools
class no.30913 ‘Christ’s Hospital’ (4mm/1ft) passing by on the Up Line. ©
MN 35026 Lamport & Holt Line is passed by a Down unfitted freight. ©
Hornby class 29 (no.6124) comfortably hauls an 8-car Pullman set. ©
Finally, I have to pass on thanks to The Hobby Box at Uckfield (which sadly closed its doors on 22nd July 2017) for supplying my modelling needs across the decades along with Morris Models - an excellent model shop in Lancing of which great use is now made (in line with my support of independent retailers).
Then there is Replica Railways in Swindon with their BR(S) Mk1 suburban coaches (in particular agreeing to produce and supply the correctly numbered Mk1 suburban coaches for Central Division rush-hour set 904) and Kernow Model Rail Centre with all their superb specials. Rails of Sheffield will also be included following delivery of their excellent SECR covered goods wagon and soon the A1x ‘Terrier’ and finally Hattons’ SECR ‘P’ Class..
by far the best fun came from playing hunt the cat-biscuits with Moser.......
(A game derived from Moser’s hiding Terry’s tea and biscuits)
memory of Moser
A companion dearly missed
I hope this will have been of ongoing interest!
For those diehards who are interested it is possible (but by no means certain) that the railway through Ewhurst Green took the following route from Dorking North to Havant as follows:
1. From Dorking North the line used the existing route through to Holmwood.
2. From Trouts Junction (just south of Holmwood station) the line crossed Broomhill Road travelling down to cross Forest Green Road thence Ockley Station just off Ockley Road (now B2126).
3. Crossing Lake Road and Mole Street Forest Green station was reached at Horsham Road (Forest Green to Mayes Green).
4. Lowerhouse Lane was crossed before the level-crossing on Horsham Road (Ewhurst to Walliswood) and Ewhurst Green station.
5. Passing under Somersbury Lane the main line ran in between Longhurst Hill and Baynard’s Park; the branch to Cranleigh having turned north-west to pass north of Vachery Pond having crossed Horsham Road (Ellens Green to Cranleigh).
6. As the branch to Cranleigh curved north-west a ground frame provided access to the short spur which curved sharply down alongside Vachery Lane thence through Snoxhall Farm and Lion’s Lane to Fast Bridge to the MoD sidings squirreled away on the south-east side of the airfield.
7. After crossing the Guildford to Horsham railway close to the location of Baynards Station, Knowle Lane and Horsham Road the station at Loxwood was reached on a falling grade.
8. Having crossed Loxwood Road there was Gennets brick arch viaduct which took the railway across the Wey and Arun canal thence across Plaistow Road and Foxbridge Road into Plaistow station which was sited closer to the (now) hamlet of Ifold.
9. Continuing across Rickman’s Lane the railway continued to Kirdford station located north of the village off Scratchings Lane at Staples Hill.
10. After Pipers Lane, the (now) A283 at Colhook Common, Hillgrove Lane and River Lane, Lodsworth Station was reached at Halfway Bridge.
11. Crossing the (now) A272 the railway crossed the River Rother before curving round to Midhurst Station which had been relocated between Midhurst and West Lavington.
12. Having crossed the (now) A286 the line travelled south through Cocking station to Singleton station and a junction west of East Dean.
13. At East Dean the railway tunnelled through Heathbarn Down, crossed the B2141 on Kingley Vale viaduct into another tunnel under Stoughton Down to Stoughton & Walderton station (sited midway between the two villages).
14. After crossing the (now) B2147 and crossing /re-crossing Aldsworth Common Road Westbourne station (off Monk’s Hill) is reached.
15. Long Copse Lane, Southleigh Road and Horndean Road are crossed before Denville Junction with the Chichester to Havant railway is reached.
This may be viewed as excessive detail. However, it demonstrates such a railway route was feasible and in technical terms, could have been built. It was also quite fun to research. Notwithstanding this, despite extensive searches the remains of this route cannot be located!
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