Monday, 7 September 2015


Aerial view shows the layout arrangement.

Since Model Rail issue 212 appeared in July, a number of readers have been in contact asking for the plans for the track layout of my modern diesel depot. As this layout-cum-diorama was built more or less off the top of my head, I wasn't sufficiently organised to draw up any proper plans, so an assortment of images will have to suffice. 

The baseboard measures exactly 4ftx2ft and the Peco Code75 track enters the scene from a twin track fiddleyard, fanning out to five sidings via two short radius and one long radius points. The two small points are Peco left- and right-hand units, while the larger left-hand turnout was hand-built from a DCC Concepts Legacy kit (see MR206). Spreading the lines out at various angles and staggering the turnouts adds depth to the scene, as well as creating a more organic appearance. It can be tempting to have everything straight and parallel but such an approach, while probably more prototypical, tends to make a layout appear cluttered and lifeless.

As the above image shows, the right hand end of the baseboard has yet to be completed in terms of scenery. My initial idea of a tunnel and hill has fallen by the wayside and I'm now planning for the tracks to disappear beneath a modern concrete road bridge, which will better suit the period and urban setting. 

I hope these images prove useful to those inspired by my layout...

The lined tunnel will have to go, now that I've changed my mind about the scenic break.

Although only 2ft wide, the layout still manages to cram a lot of visual interest into the available space.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


Another unusual diesel class replicated in 4mm.

Heljan has earned a reputation for choosing a number of less-than-mainstream British locomotive classes, such as the Beyer-Garratt, 'Lion', 'Falcon' and Classes 15, 16 and 17. Now, however, the Danes have moved onto smaller fry, with a lovely rendition of the once-numerous Hunslet Class 05 diesel-mechanical 0-6-0. Equipped with the ever-reliable Gardner 8-cylinder engine, the transmissions proved a tad temperamental but it was the dramatic downturn in general goods traffic in the 1960s that put paid to their BR careers, with a number going on to work in industry over the following few decades.

Heljan's 'OO' gauge model is a real winner and this BR blue example is destined for work on my Maudetown Colliery layout, once it's had a coat of NCB blue paint. Performance is tip-top and there's a variety of livery and detail options to choose from across the range. 

You can read my full review of the model in the latest issue of Model Rail magazine (MR213) that is on sale now. One addendum that I should add, though... My review states that only the cab end lamps are illuminated, but in actual fact the nose end lamps should work too. It seems that my sample must have been faulty!