the construction of County Gate
County Gate goods yard. Westmacotte coal merchants lease a small site
alongside. A Langley AEC Majestic, operated by Porlock Haulage, is loading
empty milk churns outside.
Work began on the layout in September 2005.
A great deal of planning had taken place over a number of years although
inevitably, several changes were necessary as the build process continued.
The layout was to be a 'railway in a
landscape' as our prime interest is in the construction of scenery. The
concept was very simple: a typical Lynton and Barnstaple station with
passing loop and goods shed, a viaduct scene and a branch line running
down to a harbour. The engine sheds of the branch line would also be at
the station. The map below is how we think the area would have developed
had the railway been built.
County Gate and environs - plan by Rhys
click on image to enlarge
We drew out the baseboards and developed the
backdrop, which was to be quite high and an important feature of the
layout. Care was taken that the diorama remained credible from all normal
The first things built were the buildings for
the station module. These were constructed using Ratio plastic building
sheets and foam board. The signal cabin was a Ratio ground level cabin,
somewhat modified and fully fitted inside. All the buildings were attached
to foam board sub boards which allowed me to detail the surroundings, such
as the allotment belonging to the signal cabins. The station building
included the platform.
Photo taken before installation onto the baseboard. The interior is fully
detailed with machine tools and inspection pit. - click on image to
some arc welding is going on under the
the goods shed - click on image to enlarge
the signal box, fully detailed interior - click on image to enlarge
signalman keeps a good allotment! Ladies loo to left
The buildings were then laid out on the floor
and the trackwork roughly laid out to check that it all went together
Always easiest to lay it out on the floor!
The station and main line was laid out at an angle across the board. We
felt that this made the presentation more dynamic.
The baseboard was then
constructed and it was time to lay the trackbed and get some rails down.
At the time, I was
concerned that the hours taken to hand build my own track would result in
too long a completion date. In 20/20 hindsight, I did the worst thing I
could have done; I used Peco Crazy track. Apart from the limitations of
12" radius pointwork, they have required a lot of tuning and are still not
what I would hope them to be. At the very least I should have gone for
Tillig pointwork. I also started off fitting Peco point motors. They
lasted for 18 months before being replaced by Tortoise.
the baseboard fully wired up
with the original Peco motors. A temporary folding stand system can be
seen. This was used until we had developed and build our exhibition
Once the trackwork was
completed and ballasted, the topography was added using Modrock and
The track and basic structures are installed
and scenery is under way.
The module was finished in
about three months and a temporary backdrop was in place as the support
for the proper one was still being manufactured. Signals had not yet been
installed when the photo below was taken.
more or less complete with a temporary
This module has undergone a major refit with
a new trackplan and replacement of points with 18" radius Peco Mainline