Giving a presentation

While rearranging the garage shelving to create a clear space for the new layout, I’ve been giving some thought to how to present it. Although it’s not intended for exhibiting I do like the idea of everything ending up fairly neat and well contained, so thoughts have been turning to the enclosed style espoused by Iain Rice in his recent book Creating Cameo Layouts.

Fortunately with a robust set of shelves as a base I have a fair amount of the groundwork done for me.

Basic shelving

This is the basic setup (although simplified to omit the other shelves, not to mention the clutter) and represents the state things are in now – ready to start.

Backscene and insulation board base

Next, I’ll add a fixed backscene board attached the uprights and cut the insulation board that will form the scenic base to size to fit into each module. I’m intending that the actual layout parts will be removable to be able to work on them in more accessible surroundings.

Upper shelf and fascia

Finally with the addition of the upper shelf and a fascia board the ‘cameo’ effect will be complete.

Of course there are going to be two scenic modules plus a central fiddle yard, so the full configuration might look something like this.

Full banana

The left-hand end is left open as viewing will be possible from this angle – at the other end the layout is close to the front garage door so will likely be closed off with another bit of backscene.

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Fairlight wagon works grinds into action

009 Society RNAD flat wagons

The first completed wagons built for Fairlight 2.0 – actually if you look back through the archives of this blog you’ll find they’re probably the first completed anything for some time. I would say that I am not one of nature’s “finishers”, but the renewed enthusiasm that has led to this project will hopefully create some momentum for some time to come…

009 Society RNAD flat wagon

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Sussex Downs 009 Group open day 2017

Well it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts.

Saturday was the (by my count) sixth members’/open day run by the Sussex Downs group of the 009 Society – held at Lancing parish hall this was a great example of the small, friendly events that Society groups around the country put on.

And the quality of the layouts was great, too. Probably best demonstrated through some photos!

Vale Quarry in 009 by John Bruce
Vale Quarry in 009 by John Bruce

Souk el Khemis in 009 by Andrew Walters
Souk el Khemis in 009 by Andrew Walters

Thakeham Tiles in O14 by Michael Campbell
Thakeham Tiles in O14 by Michael Campbell

Creag Dubh Summit in 009 by Ted Polet
Creag Dubh Summit in 009 by Ted Polet

Compass Point in 009 by Chris O'Donoghue
Compass Point in 009 by Chris O’Donoghue, awarded Best in Show

Talynog in 009 by Phil Savage
Talynog in 009 by Phil Savage

Beta Cables in 4mm:ft scale, 14mm gauge by Stuart Brewer
Beta Cables in 4mm:ft scale, 14mm gauge by Stuart Brewer

Pentre Uchaf in 009 by Tony Peart
Pentre Uchaf in 009 by Tony Peart

St Marys in O16.5 by Julian Evison
St Marys in O16.5 by Julian Evison

Portable folding test track in 009 by Simon Hargraves
Portable folding test track in 009 by Simon Hargraves

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So where is it?

Now I know roughly what the new layout is going to be, the next question is: where is it?

The original concept of the HWLR was for it to run north from Rye on the Sussex coast to Tenterden, where it would assume the route of the Kent & Sussex Railway as built to Headcorn and then on along the authorised extension to Maidstone. Branches to Hawkhurst and Cranbrook provided the settings for Dave Holman’s O16.5 layouts.

HWLR overview

My interpretation of this extended the Hawkhurst branch further – west to Hurst Green and then down to Etchingham for a connection with the Hastings-Tonbridge line (rather than the K&ESR which took the flatter route via Northiam to Robertsbridge) and further to Burwash with an eventual target of Heathfield in mind. Ambitious, certainly, but in the slightly parallel realities our model railways tend to inhabit we can assume that it was made to be.

From all of this, which section is a candidate for a preservation project (that also suits my track plans)?

Phase 2

Phase 2 is fairly easy – Burwash is a very attractive village and the buildings of the high street would make a good setting for the simple terminus planned here. If we say that the last part of the HWLR to operate pre-preservation was the gypsum mine branch to the south east, running to an interchange at Etchingham on the Hastings line we can probably drag it’s survival out to the late 1950s or early 60s when it was replaced by a conveyer belt system (in reality this runs down to Mountfield sidings between Robertsbridge and Battle). If the initial focus of restoration was east towards Hurst Green and Hawkhurst (perhaps another fictional gypsum mine in that direction kept that section going as well) then Burwash can be a fairly recent re-opening with ‘basic railway’ infrastructure.

Location - Burwash

The main village high street is on a ridge, climbing east to west, and School Hill from the south rises sharply to meet it. At the junction itself is a war memorial and a pub across the road. So far so good.

Having the railway bridge over School Hill would send the trackbed through a church yard on the east approach but I’m sure we can massage geography a little to suit.

Moved carriage siding

The Phase 1 end I’m not so sure about. I have a fairly clear idea that the setting is going to be an ‘edge of town’ location where further progress along the original trackbed is no longer available – so which town?

Location - Hawkhurst

My first option is Hawkhurst, where on my fictional map there were small halts on both sides of the A268 just as the Cranbrook branch diverged to the north. The southern halt has become the natural limit of the railway and grown into a substantial preservation era terminus.

This would give an approximately 7.5 mile railway in preservation.

Location - Rye Foreign

The second option is to go all the way to the edge of Rye, which via Hawkhurst makes for a 20-21 mile railway and a very different proposition in terms of resources and rolling stock needed to operate. Between Peasmarsh and Rye on the A268 is the delightfully named Rye Foreign which would be a brilliant station nameboard.

The scenery here is much flatter and more rural so would be as much a contrast with Burwash as the slightly grander surroundings of Hawkhurst.

While I would love to pretend that there was a 20 mile long 2’6″ gauge railway up the road from my house, the shorter version feels more plausible. There is also the point that “Fairlight” in this version of reality is a fictional town with attributes of Rye and Hastings old town – roughly midway between the two. So the final option is make the Phase 1 terminus Fairlight “Something” and invent an equally fictional identity for a town in place of Burwash.

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Tiny tar tank

While planning and preparation for the new layout is underway, I actually have a “here’s one I made earlier” up my sleeve to fill an otherwise empty space.

Over Christmas I decided to get some soldering practice in and build a Glyn Valley Railway tar tank by N Brass Locos. It’s a tiny little thing, the chassis is around the size of a penny and so while assembly is quite intricate there is the advantage of not needing a load of heat to get the solder flowing.

N Brass GVT tar tank (009)

N Brass GVT tar tank (009)

I hadn’t soldered a kit together for quite a while, so it was nice to pick something up that could be completed with a couple of evenings’ effort. Well, almost completed. It still needs a filler cap and tap fitting, couplings and painting.

N Brass GVT tar tank wagon (009)

I’m not sure if it has a role on Fairlight 2.0 – it would be a good contender for the ‘to be restored’ siding if weathered heavily, but it’s also a nice little item in it’s own right.

It would also be interesting to compare it size-wise to the Mercian / Knightswork water tank that Phil Parker built recently.

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