From when my Parents gave me my first train set for a Christmas present as a child, I have had an interest in model railways. I originally started in "OO" gauge, but have also built in "N" and "O" gauge. The last layout I built was my exhibition layout "Holmehurst" which was in "O" gauge, and I exhibited it around the country. Photos of it can be seen by following this link.

I inherited some "OO9" rolling stock from my late father, including a loco I built from a white metal kit for him, and ever since living on our working narrowboat Hadar I have been thinking about building a "OO9" layout.

For those who do not know, "OO9" is "OO" scale, which is 4mm to 1ft, but the track and rolling stock are narrow gauge, equivalent to 2ft gauge in real life. Modelling-wise this means that I can used standard "OO" scale buildings, people, scenery etc. of which there is a far greater range of ready built items and kits to choose from, but it has the advantage that the reduced size of the track and rolling stock means that curves can be tighter than for standard gauge, without losing a realistic look within a restricted layout size.

I had thought about building a layout in our garden alongside our mooring at the Saltisford Canal Centre, but after much thought decided that this would not be practical. However I built a small layout (now dismantled) which sat on the shelf above the display cabinet, in our saloon, which houses my "O" gauge rolling stock. Having finished it, my wife Jo suggested that when we stop selling coal I could build a layout in the hold. As we stopped selling coal at the end of 2016.

I have now built the layout. This is now a full record of the building of this layout and any new additions along the way.

Please feel free to leave comments, I am always interested in suggestions or questions.

Sunday 26 February 2017

Circus Poster


Every empty property has a poster for a circus on its window.


Saturday 25 February 2017

Shop to Let

I was wondering how I could fit-out the inside of the recently purchased hair salon. My wife suggested having it for let.



Easily solved. All I have to do to finish it is to have a few free local newspapers and other junk mail on the floor inside.


Thursday 23 February 2017

Hair Salon

My final purchase on eBay before we set sail on our Spring/Summer Cruise this year, Busby’s Hair Salon, arrived today.



I purchased it to sit beside the pub as it loosely matches it in style. As modelling the inside of a hair salon isn’t going to be easy, I was thinking of changing it’s usage. Jo has suggested putting a “To Let” sign on it, that way it came remain empty. Something to think about in the meantime. 



I have already cut-in the roof of the pub to accommodate the salon’s chimney.


Wednesday 22 February 2017

Farm Garage

I have built this garage from a kit. It will go on the farm next to the farmhouse.


It is not finished, it needs the window frames and glazing to be fitted. It also needs painting. I do not have the right colours to paint it now. I will wait till we get to Gloucester where there is a Hobbycraft shop close to the docks, where I should be able to purchase the correct colours, providing they have them in stock! I have not fitted the window frames as I want to paint the walls and the window frames before fitting them to get a better result.


Canal Bits

Another combined eBay purchase arrived this morning. A canal bridge and a narrowboat.


The Hornby canal bridge is a good base to start from. The towpath will need some work on it.


The ends would normally have a pair of ramps to complete, but I will build my own to complete it.


The Hornby narrowboat is not the most accurate. The extended cabin forward of the engine room doors is representative of the FMC (Fellows Morton & Clayton Ltd.) steamers which were built between 1894 and 1911. Yet the bow is very much like an Admiral class built for British Waterways very much later between 1959-60. It will need a lot of work on it once I decide what to do with it.


The narrowboat entering the bridge hole. For those who do not canal terminology boatmen always spoke about a bridge hole, not the bridge, as it was the hole underneath that they were interested in, and not the bridge itself, the term is still very much still used today. The term hole was used extensively on narrowboats, the engine hole referred to the engine room, and the boatman’s hole referred to the boatman’s cabin at the rear of the boat.


The newly acquired narrowboat alongside the model of my narrowboat Hadar that my wife and I live on, and in whose hold Hadarford will be built.


Tuesday 14 February 2017

Barn for the Farm

Today I finished building a kit of a barn for the farm on Hadarford. The roof was the final item to be glued in place, and the roof, walls and doors were weathered.




Probably not needed, but I do like to put additional bracing inside kits I build just to reduce any bowing of walls and to keep the corners at right-angles. My experience of constructing buildings is that the thin walls tend to bow very easily, especially the bigger the building. It is always handy when kit manufacturers supply the kits with the parts still attached to their moulding spurs, which is what I used for the bracing for this model. I also added corner braces mad from other scrap plastic parts. I used the new tools I recently bought to hold pieces of wall together at right-angles to form corners.


They certainly work well and definitely makes construction a lot easier.


Hadarford Wharf

Recently I purchased a set of canal lock gates and lock walls. Today I received in the post a further 2 set of lock walls.


Having purchased the 1st set I was rather impressed with them, and decided that they would make very good matching walls for the canal wharf immediately below the lock and road bridge, plus the approach to both top and bottom of the lock.


Saturday 11 February 2017

Canal Side Stores Renamed

I have been struggling this morning to produce new nameplates for the canal side stores.


The final result is not too bad, but the problem has been reaching the capabilities of our printer.

I have had to make the sign on the end of the building only say “Hadarford” as with “Lock” added to it, it will not fit it into the length available between the high level doors and the roof line to the right. If I reduced the length to fit the space, the text became too blurred to be readable and the height left the original sign exposed. I have compensated for this by adding the name plate of the large door.


Friday 10 February 2017

A Useful Tool

A large box of goodies arrived today, the main item being this pair of clamps for holding parts of building kits at right angles ready for gluing,



These 2 coaches were also in the order, along with a level crossing kit, more brick walls for the farm, a pair of tunnel portals, a pair of narrow road bridge sides, 2 pairs of wide road bridge sides, and some matching stone walls to create the underside of the road bridges.



Also today the correct sized canal side stores arrived, the name of the lock on the wall will be changed tomorrow.




Wednesday 8 February 2017

Hadarford Lock Sign

Hadarford Lock

I have created the sign which will go alongside the lock. Unfortunately I have not been able to round the corners of the black rim, but I will do this with paint once I print out the sign.



And what will be the station name on the name boards.


Hadarford’s Pub Renamed

This afternoon I put the replacement pub name boards and sign on the new pub I received today in the post. It is no longer the “Boar’s Head” but now “The Boat Inn”, which is a bit more appropriate.




Hadarford’s Pub

The model of a pub that I purchased on eBay arrived this morning.



It is called “The Boar’s Head” but I am renaming it “The Boat Inn”, I have created the new signs for it, tomorrow I will print them to the correct size and fit them.


Boat Inn 4c     Boat Inn 5a


Monday 6 February 2017

Small Buildings

Two more buildings that I purchased over the weekend arrived this morning, a small canal side stores which will be beside the canal lock, and a greenhouse, which will go somewhere.


Jo said the canal stores looked a bit small, so I checked. Unfortunately it were advertised as 00 gauge, but they are in fact N gauge and I have requested to return to the seller. 1st time I have had to return something I have purchased on eBay. The seller has agreed to my returning it, just have to wait for the postage label from eBay to be able to return it, with a full refund for both the purchase price and postage paid.


Saturday 4 February 2017

The Long Awaited Dutch Barn

This morning my delivery of some more bits for “Hadarford” arrived. The main item being the Dutch Barn, which I have been waiting to become available since November. It has been well worth the wait. It can be used either with or without the bales of hay inside, I will decide about this option during construction of the farm.



I also purchased this horsebox and tractor, also for the farm, and some more pavements for the village scene.



I also purchased 3 small coaches, 1 open topped and 2 enclosed. They match the guards van that I purchased some time ago.



Finally a rural wooden bus shelter.




It has Stopped Raining!

At last it has stopped raining long enough and the sky to brighten up for me to be able to get outside and taken some better photos of the latest version model of “Hadarford”.



I do realise that the roads which are in black and the canal which is blue are very straight and square, but that will be changed in the actual layout, this model is just to give me an impression of what it will look like. Once I start placing structures onto the actual layout I will get a better idea of how to alter the road and the canal to suit. One obvious feature which model railway enthusiasts may well spot is that considering the layout size will be 16’x2’, there is very little rail track on the layout especially considering it is “009”. There are a number of reasons for this.


  1. Over the years, and having exhibited my former “0” gauge layout “Holmehurst” at many exhibitions from 1994 to 2004, I noticed that many modellers try to cram too much into their freelance layouts, especially track and buildings, something that only serious modellers seem to avoid very well by modelling an actual scene from real life. This is something I am hoping to avoid with this freelance layout, “keep it simple” has always been my motto in model railways. Just because the layout size is 16’x2’ doesn’t mean to say it has to have every square inch filled with track, just look at any real life railway, apart from major terminus stations and goods yards, most actual railways are very simple, this makes it easier to operate in real life too. “Holmehurst” was also 16’x2’ and despite being “0” gauge, many modellers commented on how, despite it being freelance, it could have almost been an actual location, and in operation it was very simple. When operating it, I used to have one engine standing in front of the engine shed, alongside the coaling stage, 3 wagons in and outside the good shed, and a brake van stored at the end of the short spur at the end of the run round loop. We operated 3 basic manoeuvres, the “B” set into the station, run the engine round the loop and back out again, the same was done with freight trains, occasionally swapping some new wagons for those in the goods shed, and finally the autocoach set or parcels train into the parcels bay. For the duration that most visitors would stand and watch the layout in operation, this was enough to keep the interest, before repeating the procedure.
  2. Regarding the rail track, I want this layout to be one that I can just sit back and watch trains go round it, having modelled mostly end to end layout in the past, in my senior years I just want to sit back and watch, that is after building it. It is a bit like the small layout I built a year ago, which sits on the top of the display cabinet in our saloon (see photo below), since building it and initially running it, I haven’t used it since, it is more of a diorama which can be used if I want. Anyway I have been too busy with other things to actually run it! Well that’s my excuse.
  3. One thing I have learnt over the years is that the more pointwork on a layout, apart from the more complex wiring, and the cost of points, point motors, wiring and switches to operate them, the more opportunity there is for either poor power pickup from the rails across a point and derailments, so by keeping the main layout to just one passing loop and the one siding to run alongside the canal quay should make life easier. I know there will be 14 points in the fiddle yard, but due to how I have planned it, any train running round straight through the fiddleyard will only cross 2 points. Thus any train continually running will only cross either 4 or 5 points per circuit.



In a way this little layout does have a lot in it, but it is very small. there are only 4 points on the layout, probably too many for the size of layout, but this was dictated from it’s origin. The layout was supposed to be in a box, and did start life in a box, but due to the curve being too tight only one of my engines could negotiate it.



The photo above is the original layout which was inside the wooden box. The troublesome curved section of track has been removed and the remaining board cut into the sections ready to create the new layout.



The photo above is the reconstituted layout in it’s present form, minus the scenery to come,which resulted in the predetermined track layout from it’s previous form. The troublesome curve has been replaced by a straight section. In removing the curved track, which was glued to the cork, it was easier to remove the cork with the track. In this photo I had also temporarily fitted the new straight track. After taking this photo I replaced the removed cork with new pieces before continuing further with it’s construction.

I am awaiting another delivery of some more pieces for “Hadarford” which contains 3 new coaches, so I will have to test run these on this layout.