I won’t lie, it’s been a seriously long time since I last completed a layout for myself. By that, I mean, in the best OTCM fashion, I was the principle builder, aided at various points and nagged constantly by Oly. In other words what happened with Six Quarters but with the boot on the other foot.
Stoating Bank was a completely joint effort, so tracing back, the last layout I could claim to be mine was built back in the early-mid 2000’s, when I was definitely still at school! There’s been plenty of false starts between then and now, some of which progressed further than others, but the lack of any layout production has been on my mind for a long time (and created further nagging from Oly!) even though in the most part there has been a good reason not to build anything…
Anyway, last year, when Model Railway Journal and the Titfield Thunderbolt bookshop announced their Cameo Layout Competition, I thought this would provide the ideal incentive to build something compact but with a deadline to keep things moving. I’m sure most readers don’t need any introduction to the competition, needless to say the formula is layed out in some detail in Ian Rice’s book ‘Creating Cameo Layouts’ (funny that…)
So, originally entered as ‘Bottom Works’, and now having gained the ‘Sidings’ suffix, this layout had a bit of a troublesome start, with the original plans simply not working in the available space, resulting in a significant amount of replanning to come up with the present scenario – I see no need to hide this fact, it is proof if ever it’s needed that even with full size plans drawn, you can’t really be sure on the final ‘picture’ until it is actually on the baseboard proper…
The original concept had been for a small set of interchange Sidings within a steelworks internal network, with a number of rail served buildings around the running lines. I did a fair bit of planning on this and the intention was for something like this:
As you can see, quite an ambitious project!
Having decided there was simply not enough space to fit in the desired buildings without making them look ridiculously small, there was a significant pause while I attempted to come up with an alternative scheme – many different ideas were played with, none of which ‘clicked’ in the way I wanted – everything felt too much of a compromise, and would offer far to Little in the way of operational potential.
It may not seem logical, but, while this was ongoing, we decided to put saw to wood and actually get the baseboards built – the size and shape of these were a given so a free weekend was chosen in November and Oly and me put together one layout ‘box’ and two fiddle yards… I think seeing this completed this spurred things on somewhat!
The rather high lower facia board will be cut down to the correct profile once this is confirmed – similarly holes in the end to allow trains in and out (quite important I find) will follow suit.
Work is now well underway on the next stages, with pointwork being constructed for the final plan. I’ll explain more on this in the next post on the subject!
And as for the name – I wanted something suitably generic but still giving a sense of area… as the layout will be set in South Yorkshire, I felt the locals description for the laser part of a Works would almost certainly be ‘Bottom Works’ and this just clicked instantly!
Next time out we will have a history lesson to give the context for the layout, as well as confirming the final plan!