After an intense couple of months working on the layout in almost all my spare time (in fact so intense I haven’t had a chance to update the blog since March) we have now reached the point where Bottom Works Sidings will be making its exhibition debut at Railex this weekend, at Stoke Mandeville Stadium just outside Aylesbury.
Although I’d put the same amount of effort into any show, and expect the same standard of operation, there is something a bit scary about debuting at what is probably the countries highest quality show, alongside some layouts and modellers that probably put my standards to shame… I’ve got Mark and Andy helping me for the weekend though and while Mark thinks he thinks he can sell the layout on the merits of his signals my plan is just to blame him for anything that goes wrong!
I’ve found it surprising the amount of time that has been consumed just on small bits and pieces around the layout, those that aren’t essential but help make the scene. I’d also not factored in much time to work on any rolling stock in my last post, one of the reasons I’ve been so busy recently and not cool as a cucumber like I dreamt may be the case.
Anyway, to get any readers who are interested in the mood, here are a few photos of the layout now things are ‘complete’:
It’s a cold January morning in 1973 and Stan has just arrived in the yard to relieve the night shunt turn. His plan for the day involves staying in the warmth of the crew room with a brew and avoiding going out into the bitter cold as much as possible. The remnants of a light snowfall a couple of days ago still lie on the ground.
A view through the trees past the buffer stops in the sidings towards the 3 loops during a quiet moment with no traffic in evidence. The sidings in the foreground are primarily utilised as overflow capacity for the coke works, either empties waiting their turn under the loading bunker or fulls awaiting their next departure slot.
Over in the coal yard, the majority of the snow has melted away. The driver of the JCB has gone into the office to check some paperwork before continuing his duties stocking the site.
The road leading to the train crew room drops away to the exit gate out onto a narrow lane that runs this far, and presents a semi-rural scene despite being so close to heVy industry. About 100 yards beyond the hedge, another fence line will cross the landscape protecting the quadruple track Barnsley to Mexborough main line.
If you are attending Railex at the weekend please do come and say hello and we will do our best to have a chat providing the layout isn’t having a meltdown!