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.

Saturday 31 August 2019

Cow Field Part 2

Cow field grassed.

Cows added.

It is not evident in the photo but the daisies has worked as I had hoped, there is just a hint of them, you have to look very closely though!


Cow Field Part 1

Back on track today. Yesterday I took the bus into Daventry to buy a new 12v vacuum cleaner to replace the broken one, so I am now able to continue with the static grass.

This is an experiment, I have glued down some patches of hopefully what will represent daisies in the cow field before applying the static grass. Will be interesting to see if this works.


Wednesday 21 August 2019

Seated Passengers Part 2

This morning I completed fixing the newly painted seated passengers in the toast rack carriages.


Tuesday 20 August 2019

Seated Passengers.

It is difficult to see them, but I have fixed some of the seated passengers I have been painting over the last couple of days inside these carriages, but I know they are in there.


Monday 19 August 2019

People Painting

This is the seated passengers that I started painting yesterday.

The completed passengers ready to go into some of the railway carriages.


Jo and I Part 2

Jo and I on Hadar.


Jo and I

Yesterday and this morning I have been painting mostly seated passengers for the railway carriages .

This will be Jo and I standing by the model of Hadar.


Saturday 17 August 2019

Small Details Part 4

Small bunch of reeds behind the road bridge.


Small Details Part 3

This is as much of the static grass I can do now until we return to our mooring as my 12v vacuum cleaner has packed up and I need it to vacuum up the excess grass after application.

Grassy verge in front of the long cottage.

Some weeds at the end of the canal wharf.

Grassy bank of one of the canal-side cottages.

Grassy verges on the road bridge.


Thursday 15 August 2019

Orange Canal Water

 Today I took this photo on the north Oxford canal.

Very similar to the colour of Hadarford's canal.


Wednesday 14 August 2019

Small Details Part 2

More detailing on the canal lock ramp with some grass/weeds added.


Sunday 11 August 2019

Small Details Part 1

It is the small details that make a model railway.
A small bush growing at the base of the road bridge on the canal lock ramp.

Some small bushes the other side of the bridge on the roadside.

And the other side of the wall.


Lawns Part 5

Yesterday I realised that I hadn't created the lawns for the long cottage, so this morning I rectified that.


Friday 9 August 2019


Brambles growing between the wall and fence at the level crossing.


Footpath Improvements

This morning I neatened up the footpath from the level crossing to the canal wharf.
I filled in the bare patches and removed the grass that was overgrowing the path.


Thursday 8 August 2019

Gorse Bushes

This afternoon I dressed the bank between the canal lock and the railway with gorse and other bushes.


Wednesday 7 August 2019

Static Grass Part 12

This afternoon I completed the static grass on the bank between the 2 bridge 'oles and refitted the trees.

This now completes the static grass on half the layout and as far as I am going for the present until we return to our mooring in November.


Static Grass Part 11

The bank has had a covering of 2mm grass, just got to let the glue set, then I can vacuum up the excess, then add some 4mm & 6mm grass in patches.


Static Grass Part 10

With time on our mooring running short, we are setting off on our Autumn cruise on Monday 12th August, I am trying to get as much of the static grass done.
Next section done, which is the very narrow strip between the canal wall and towpath between the 2 bridge 'oles.

The trees on the bank have been removed and matchsticks placed in the holes to mark where they go, in preparation for grassing the bank, which I should be able to do after lunch.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Static Grass Part 9

Just after lunch my order of extra 2mm static grass arrived so I was able to get back to grassing Hadarford.
1st I did the section between the railway and the canal wharf.

Then I did either side of the footpath from the level crossing to the canal wharf.


Monday 5 August 2019

Static Grass Part 8

This morning I grassed another section of the layout.
I now have to wait for a delivery of more 2mm static grass as I have used up what I already had.
The 2mm is used as a base layer, and the 4mm & 6mm are added on top of the 2mm.

This is a close-up of some of the 4mm grass.

This is a close-up of the 6mm grass.


Sunday 4 August 2019

Static Grass Part 7

This morning I completed this third of Hadarford with the static grass. Many thanks to Peco, who on their website have suggestions to improve model railway photography. For these photos I have used my camera set to "Aperture Priority" (A or AV, etc. dependant on camera manufacturer) and wound the F stop to its maximum F number, in this case F22. Usually, with indoor lighting, this might be anything between 1/10 of a second to 15 seconds, depending on the amount of illumination. Obviously, as it is impossible to hold a camera steady for these exposure times, the camera must be mounted on a tripod during the exposure and I also used a remote trigger to avoid further camera shake by depressing the camera shutter button (this bit I added). This method improves the depth of field so that distant objects are also in focus.


Saturday 3 August 2019

Static Grass Part 6

Today I decided to have another go at the static grass. 
1st I filled in the bare patches in between the canal lock and the railway.

Then I filled the bare patches alongside Hadarford wood.

Lastly I did either side of the railway track around the top end curve and part of the hill.
Depending how the hill works out I may leave the remaining bare patches as they will not be seen underneath the trees once I fill in the gaps with undergrowth. Fingers crossed for tomorrow morning when I vacuum up the excess.


Friday 2 August 2019

Level Crossing Repair.

Patience is a virtue when building a model railway. Back in November I ballasted the track, but unfortunately when it came to the level crossing, the diluted PVA glue ran down the holes where the rods, which operate the gates, from the servos came through the baseboard, and glued up the servos! I have left it till now to mull it over as to how to fix it. over the last 3 days I removed the gates from the operating rods, took out the glued up servos, removed the operating rods from the old servos and super-glued them into the new servos. Refitted the new servos, super-glued one of the gates to its operating rod, set up the electronic control board to move the gate accurately between the open and closed positions, then super-glued the other gate to its operating rod. All working perfectly now, just needs the gates repainting over the new glue.


Thursday 1 August 2019

Creating Leaky Lock Gates Part 4

I have added some ripples below the leak in the lock gates, but they do not show up very well in the photo, but they are there.