the viaduct module

East Lyn Valley near County Gate

Our viaduct module must be one of the photographed baseboards on the exhibition circuit.

We spent a great deal of time discussing the design of this viaduct as it is such an important element of the County Gate layout. Finally, we decided that we did not want to have a 'Chelfham structure' as this had been modelled so often already. The open structure of the lattice girders would allow the trains to be much better seen and we felt that this design had very good visual impact.  A detachable fiddle yard was also built which hid behind scenes and connected with the hidden loop. This was subsequently replaced with a much longer unit.

the plan of the viaduct section including the removable fiddle yard

projected viaduct design - click to enlarge

I am fortunate in having a civil engineer son who did rough calculations to confirm that the full sized structure would be safe and an appropriate design of the period for the prototype loads. The first part of the project was to complete the viaduct itself.

The plastic building sheets produced by Wills are a fantastic aid to scratch building. With these, we are able to build sturdy and realistic piers for the viaduct. The final result is always down to the painting and weathering.

Brickwork picked out with three colours prior to weathering.

The trusses are made from Peco N scale girder bridges. 2 packs are needed for each truss, (8 sides)

Some of the spans are glued together. There are four more to go when this shot was taken.
 - click on image to enlarge

The entire viaduct is built on a sub-base. Here it is ready to be fitted to the base board - click to enlarge

The viaduct includes a deep gorge, so the baseboard had to be a lot deeper. The photos below show some stages of the build, which is very conventional indeed.

All trackbeds and cross members in place along with the East Lyn river bed - click on image to enlarge

Jenny loves applying Modrock

trackwork finished and ballasted and temporary end loop built and installed - click on image to enlarge

The big problem with this section is to create a gorge, valley and viaduct on a baseboard width of 30". The hill profile at the rear cannot be built as one would like as behind it are the hidden tracks of the return loop and the line to the harbour.   The illusion, or 'trompe d'oeil' has be be achieved by using trees of different scales and colours.

The first job was to model the East Lyn River.

here the banks are built up and detailed - click on image to enlarge

The road was then finished, with potholes and all, using a multilayer technique with very fine ballast and weathering powders.

click on image to enlarge

The backdrop was then protected by Clingfilm and mounted into position. This helps with matching the scenery. The far bank of the gorge is covered by very small individual trees (about 550 of them!). These are lightly sprayed with matt black to darken the green and give an impression of distance. The mid distance trees are then added. These are much larger, lighter in colour and more detailed. Only those trees in the foreground had sage brush trunks and were highly detailed.

The photos below show the valley behind the viaduct completed. The road and river now disappear in a most satisfactory way.

 The forest behind the viaduct is finished and the river effects completed. The backdrop is now in place. - click on image to enlarge

The completed section - click on image to enlarge

the three sections on show at Nottingham 2008

Once the three modules and fiddle yard were united and tested, the layout was exhibited in Nottingham 2008, where it won best in show.

'River Avon' hauls a goods to Lynton over the newly completed viaduct section - click to enlarge