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 am now building the layout. This will be an ongoing record of the building of this layout.

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

Saturday, 4 February 2017

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.


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