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The Layout
Westford model railway exhibition layout

The layout, all 51 foot of it, well almost.

The layout, now Extended to 59ft!
Click here for more info:
Branch Junction

Pictured at Soutwold model railway exhibition in August 2003.

  Location and history:

The location Westford is a fictitious holiday town set somewhere in the southwest of England. Its station, once owned by the Great Western Railway, is now part of British Railways Western Region operation. Main line services connect to the main Penzance/London line at Acreston Jnc. fifteen miles away.

Westford also provides various local services to Gunnispond and Plymouth. The Gunnispond trains operate on a single line branch that runs for thirty seven miles along the coast. Local Plymouth trains provide a service that runs over the main line connecting all intermediate rural stations.

The station itself has six platforms, a large goods/parcels handling shed and engine shed. The goods/parcels shed has one external and two internal tracks which provide facilities for the loading and unloading of wagons and vans. The main freight yard is situated three miles out from the station, thus only light freight workings can be seen within the station area. The loco shed provides coaling, watering, turning and staging facilities for approximately twenty locos.

During busy summer Saturdays, the station handles a multitude of long distance express and heavy passenger trains from all regions of the country. On arrival many passengers change for trains to local rural and coastal towns. Additionally, parcels, light goods and loco coal trains may be seen within the station area.

Period modelled:

The time is early summer 1962 and British Railway's modernisation programme is well under way. This is evident from the number of diesel hydraulic and diesel electric locomotives now timetabled on the old steam workings. This though creates problems, as the Westford shed is yet to be equipped with diesel loco fuelling or maintenance facilities. Therefore the main services to Gunnispond are still steam only hauled, although trains to Plymouth are worked by DMU as these can be serviced at Plymouth.

The Layout:

The layout was extended in 2002 by adding a further baseboard, increasing the number of boards from six to seven. The new board includes the Branch junction to Gunnispond. Follow this link for details: Branch Junction

The layout has been designed and built to enable full length trains (nine coaches or more) to be operated. Built up from seven, eight feet (2.438m) long by three feet (0.914m) wide baseboards, with a three foot (0.914m) extension to the fiddle yard, the layout totals fifty nine feet (17.983m)in length when assembled. This size of layout does present some difficulties with storage ( the layout only gets put up at exhibitions) and transportation, but is designed to fit in a long wheelbase, high roof Ford Transit van, and can be operated by three operators.( although a forth operator is brought along to give some cover for meal breaks etc.).

Trackwork is mainly SMP with the point work hand built from SMP materials using the copper clad and solder method. The points and semaphore signals are all worked by slow action point motors, and some are interlocked.

Rolling stock is a mixture of proprietary and kit built, with the proprietary stock gradually being super detailed, refurbished or replaced with kit built models. There are approximately forty locomotives and 80-100 coaches & vans used on the layout during the exhibition.

Buildings are, with one exception, all scratch built from plasticard with fittings and details added from proprietary ranges such as Langley Models, Springside and Dart Castings. Road vehicles are mostly from kits.

For a more detailed list of ingredients used in the making of this layout, please follow the Ingredients link.

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