The planning stage is perhaps the most crucial of all. Steve used a map of the area of the town around the course of the railway and enlarged it to the appropriate scale. At 22 feet long, and built on a gentle curve, the layout was divided into four sections including space for the storage of trains at the rear. Each board has its own folding legs and computer cables are utilised to carry electrical current to the tracks from the transformers and switches on the control panel. As can be seen, the boards are formed from plywood which is more lightweight than solid timber, essential when constructing a large layout.
At a scale of 2mm to 1foot, and so called for the 9mm between the rails, N gauge is an ideal scale for modelling in both a limited space and a more panoramic display
as in our layout. This picture (right) shows the size of an N gauge locomotive in comparison with a 50p coin.
What is N gauge?
Planning and Construction
Steve begins the process of laying the track.
Once construction of the baseboards is completed, track laying can begin. Buildings already partly constructed can also be put temporarily in place according to the plan.
This view (left) shows the completed layout with a full complement of stock in place. The trains run around a half trun at each end then along the scenic section, returning to the yard at the rear.
Perhaps the most memorable features of the layout to those familiar
with Melton Mowbray are the station building, sadly long demolished, and the cattle market where many of the buildings still exist today. Steve constructed the platform canopies from rail sections, using over 1,000 pieces on each side of the building!
Front and rear views of the control panel showing the track plans for the front of the layout and the rear up and down line storage yards.
The west end of the layout (below) shows the line crossing over Nottingham Road and looks towards the town. The CF on the sign refers to CF cattle feed available from the vendors at the weekly cattle and produce market. The bridge, Fire Station and old bakery on the left beyond the bridge are gone, a replacement for the Fire station being erected in 2013.
These three pictures were taken by Trevor Jones and featured in Hornby Magazine in January 2012.
A train from Belgrave Road terminus station in Leicester approaches the station on the embankment through the cattle market, this feature also now removed. Summer excursions to east coast resorts such as Skegness and Mablethorpe ran from May to September until the end of the summer season in 1962. The houses at the rear of this view are on Nottingham Road and are among the few areas of the town which remain largely unchanged. This and the following photo's were taken by Steve Flint when the layout featured in Railway Modeller in September 2014.
A particular feature of the goods yard was the signal box (left) which straddled the entry line into the shed. The box itself was of LNWR origin yet the gantry on which it is perched is of LNER design.
This building at the top of North Street (right), next to the station yard, has had many uses in its lifetime, as a brewery and dairy and more recently housing a number of small companies within its walls.
A J5 freight locomotive heads towards the station, passing in between north and south goods yards and then on towards Leicester. The drying sheds at the local wood yard can be seen behind the train as can Spreckley's Farm (bottom right) which still stands to this day.
The completed layout
As seen from the air; the layout in operation at CAMRA Exhibition, St. Albans, January 2014.