Monday, 25 March 2013

Llangunllo ......The Model

I must admit that I am a builder rather than operator, taking more pleasure in trying to recreate my little slice of countryside than running trains, so a simple sleepy branch line is more than enough to satisfy my needs.  I operated Penhydd to a simple sequence but never all in one go.  Instead I would just walk into my modelling room and run the next train as the mood took me.  At other times I would break up spells on the workbench by doing a little shunting whilst parts set or paint dried.  I found this approach to be hugely satisfying and so designed the new layout to expand on the idea.

Layout design should mean just that and take everything into account not just the track plan.  So I drew up a list of features which I would like to model and the sort of scenery the line would pass through.  Next I took the likely goods traffic into account and apart from the usual general merchandise and coal I decided that both mineral traffic from one of the quarries and a creamery could well be justified but as off stage industries rather than being fully modelled.

A first for me was the decision to model a through station served by two sector plates rather than a terminus served by cassettes.  I had always felt that having two sector plates or storage yards was a waste of space but by rearranging my modelling room I found everything would fit with the visible section being exactly the same size footprint as Penhydd.  Another plus point was that I could use the old layouts baseboard frames meaning only one new frame and another pair of legs would be needed.

So out came a roll of lining paper which I spread out on the floor together with a few point templates and lengths of flexi track.  After much juggling about I came up with a suitable plan which my friend Simon Dunkley ran through templot.  Once he had mailed me the basic plot I set upon adding the detail using "Arcsoft Media Impression" software, the end result can be seen below.

Well I did warn you it was going to be a simple layout, no run round loop, one long siding serving a goods shed, coal merchant, mill and another siding disappearing behind the scenery only to emerge at one of the sector plates.
The latter serves the off stage quarry and creamery of which only the roof line and chimney will be modelled against the back scene.

Trains arriving from Presteigne enter the scenic section from behind a view blocker comprising of trees and a feed store.

This is a slightly larger version of the feed store at Penhydd,  built at the same time but rejected due to it's size.
The end portion of the building will be changed from half to full relief and new handrails fabricated for the stairs.

The line then crosses a bridge very similar in style to the one at Penhydd but over the River Lugg rather than a road.

Imagine if you can a river swinging around to the left rather than the road.   With rough grass embankments and hillside rather than cottages in the background

The signal box and cottages which are currently in build will appear next but with only a single track crossing, the road continuing to the feed store in one direction and behind the cottages to a derelict cattle / loading dock in the other.  I imagine the backscene to be pretty much the same as you see in the photo below but would like to attempt something like Martin Goodalls backdrop to his model of Burfod as seen in MRJ No.220 and 221 for the village section.  If you don't have those magazines then take a peep here..............

Photo reproduced with the kind permission of Andrew Bartlett

I have no photos or sketches of the station and goods yard area yet but if you have seen Woolverstone by Iain Rice  ( MRJ 39 ) then you won't go far wrong as much inspiration has been taken from that lovely little layout.
The station building will look something like this...  and the goods siding will also be on a slightly lower level which is another feature of Woolverstone.  At the other end of the layout the view blocker will be inspired by the scene below,

  © Copyright David Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

At one time a single track railway line was set into the road in the above scene.  For my modelling purposes it will be reinstated and form the tail end of the goods siding.  A coal yard will be situated roughly where the car stands and the line will cross over an unclassified road in the foreground by means of an ungated level crossing. 

Well there you have my ideas laid out before you, I have just got to build it all now.  It will not be a quickie so don't expect rapid progress.  The baseboards need adapting and two sector plate building but it is far two cold in the garage at the moment to get the project moving.  On the plus side most of the track is complete and several buildings including the signal box and cottages are on my modelling bench. 


  1. Using the room diagonal for the longest run of track on a layout like this in a squareish room is a very clever use of space. I've only seen it done once before and that was on one of my own layouts back in the 70s/80s! Worked very well and if the entrance to the room happens to be top right of your plan then you have a useful viewing area for visitors.

  2. Hi David,

    Penhydd was set out diagonally across the same room but in the other direction. The introduction of a curve makes even better use of the space. Entry to the room is from the bottom left centre which gives me plenty of space for a new workbench in the bottom left hand corner,resulting in a nice cosy den.

  3. This is great. It's an inspired use of the space available, and will be more realistic for not being so complicated. I like the feed store very much, and the view blocker with the rather interesting buildings. With a layout this size, you will be able to fine tune it almost to perfection, without being pressured by the scale of work required.
    I like the idea of a cosy den, too. My workshop may be my workplace, but it has that feel, somewhere that feels like mine. I'm looking forward to developments with great anticipation!

  4. Thanks Iain,

    I am pleasantly surprised how many friends both old and new are on the same wavelength in understanding what the new layout is about. If I can recreate the feeling of standing beside the line side and watching the local branch passenger or goods train going about it's business in a convincing and believable setting, which also gives a feeling of place then I will be happy. Simplicity and attention to the detail that matters will be the aim of the whole project.

    As previously mentioned the feed store needs a few tweaks to bring it up to standard and to suit the location. Likewise the row of cottages and pub from Penhydd will be refurbished for use in the background. Using the old models as a base for new ones should in theory give me a head start.

    I find one of the joys of having a small den is that you can just wander in at any time and pick up where you left off. No clearing away or setting up being needed before and after each modelling session.

    Hopefully steady progress will be made over the coming months.


  5. Looking forward to seeing this develop Geoff. You're lucky to have such a space to work in. I absolutely love that feed store model and can't believe you built 2 such perfectly crafted models in tandem.

    1. When it comes to buildings Lee I often used to make several models of the same thing but all slightly different in one way or another. Some would be given to friends, others put to one side or scrapped. The one you see here has been stored under the layout for several years.

      These days I make a series of card mock ups and juggle their proportions about before I build the proper model. But if I am still not happy with the result I am not afraid to bin them and start all over again. You should see my waste bin, mind you I salvage what I can.

  6. Good Grief! If I was building a duplicate of my current project It'd be heading towards Christmas before I was ready to start painting. I've been at it over a month now and still not got a finished outer shell. Your modelling dilligence is admirable

  7. Well what do you expect from a 'Man of Leisure' ? :-)

    I was lucky enough to be able to take an early retirement and apart from the usual chores I no longer have the day job to get in the way of modelling. :-)

  8. Most interesting Geoff! I know this line a little bit and it has loads of wild, lonely atmosphere. A great subject to apply your immense skills to.

    All the best

  9. Cheers Simon,

    You can find more about the area here and here h