Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Onto track plans now. After years of deliberation, I have resolved to attack this project bit by bit, so that I might be able to exhibit any one of my envisaged modules as individual, self efficient sections. They would be able to link up via a series of small 'off stage' fiddle yard/scenic breaks, as the areas to be modelled are all a mile or so apart from each prior section. I got this idea from John Thorne's legendary 009 layout, the 'Ditton Railway Company'. This was also aided by many chats with my fellow Sussex Downs NG modelling group member, & friend Michael Campbell. He assured me this would be the best way to keep interest sustained & get something complete sooner rather than later. This was of huge appeal.

My main concern with this layout was not to get trapped by over enthusiastic attention to the prototype line. Rather, to just establish in model form, hopefully the very essence of this grimy industrial concern. 
With this module, I wish to depict the former Sittingbourne end, quay side area, where the loco shed was situated. I propose some artistic licence by running the infamous viaduct behind it. Of course, in real life, the viaduct was up & away from here. Several hundred feet away at least, & its orientation was that it actually ran in a 90 degree angle to how I'm intending. I decided on this as I feel this layout is good for another two modules after this one, & none of those could incorperate the viaduct. I aim to represent Kemsley mill in some form & Ridham Dock. I have already perhaps cemented what to depict, but wish to reveal those ideas when I'm ready to undertake them.
Please excuse the poor diagram. Its a functional, yet ugly hotch potch of photoshop & of the  baseboard itself (in striking gloss blue, as its recycled ply). At least you'll be able to see what is intended.

As you can see above, the line runs off the board on both sides, including the viaduct. My intention is to have a fiddle yard either side. That will also necessitate a raised section to both yards, due to the viaduct obviously being a scale 15 feet above the ground. I haven't yet resolved this. I dare-say this should be a simple enough concept to attempt. I wish to be able to shuffle trains back & forth across the viaduct, whilst shunting duties  occur down on the flat ground. My considerations were based on observations of what constitutes a 'crowd pleaser' layout when at exhibition. My findings were simply, that people want to see stuff moving all the time.
Next, I'd like to just mention, the handy dandy recently published book on this railway system. 'A Bowaters Album' by David Hammersley (Roxey Mouldings proprieter & long time fan & model builder of the railway itself).
I had the lucky fortune of finding out about this quite a while before it was released, so I decided to await its arrival before I committed to a final plan for my model. I'm glad I did as there were so many photos of areas I had never seen before. I'm happy patience prevailed. Its taken 5 years to get the courage up to take the steps to build this!
I managed to get my copy directly from David's hands at Expo Narrow Gauge at Swanley, Kent back in late october 09. As I had reason to be there before opening time, I was informed by David that mine was the first copy he had sold! Needless to say that I got him to sign the inside cover as such.


  1. Really looking forward to seeing this one day Rob, the idea of using modules is one that has appealed to me in the past, and I'm sure i'll use it one day.

    For the viaduct could you create a high level return loop in each fiddle yard that you could then leave something running continuously running round whilst shunting on the lower levels? I guess the size of the fiddle yards would dictate if that is possible or not, just a thought.


  2. A good point Tom. But I couldnt get a 12inch radius curve doing that. It needs to be at least that to accomodate my Garratt.

  3. Shame, didn't think it would be do-able. I'm sure you'll come up with something cunning though.

    Looking forward to seeing some industrial grot appear!

  4. Looking good anychance of you emailing me ref your painting and weathering service...
    email is s134wheldaleAThotmail.co.uk

    Remove the AT and add @

  5. Hi there - any images of the 'The Tank' loco in that book? I'm planning to base a freelance 18" gauge loco in 7mm scale in a similar style.

  6. Bert, any progress on Chevalier? I'm pondering a kit but haven't found anyone who has built and finished one yet! http://www.ngrm-online.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7091