ESP – Estacion San Pedro

9th January 2017, the beginnings of something small.

The former junction at Cumbre is modelled with the San Pedro branch as a dismantled line, having closed a few years previously. However, the Model Railway Layouts forum’s 2017 challenge is to build something in a box, anything, diorama, layout, whatever.


My original idea was to model a little bit of Crewe station but I then realised that I’ve not got any suitable trains for such a scene in N scale, and I prefer working in larger scales anyway, and a challenge should be a challenge so the small box deserves a large scale to make it challenging!

And that’s how Estacion San Pedro came into being.

San Pedro is a small market town, when the railway was built the only location available for a town centre station was closely hemmed in by buildings on all sides. In theory there is a yard on the outskirts of town and the station is at the end of a long siding, running in a narrow alley between buildings, served by occasional shunting trips to the goods shed and the twice daily passenger train is turned an a wye at the yard before backing slowly, and noisily, into town.


A crucial part of the design is that the track, shown in red, is separated from the immediate foreground by garden walls to disguise the join between the track bed and the rest of the diorama, thus allowing the track to be loose and easily swapped between active, disused and totally overgrown versions. Three dioramas for the price of one.

ESP, Estacion San Pedro or Extra-Sensory Perception, the ability to see the future?

13th January 2017, making tracks.

As mentioned above a key feature of San Pedro is in the track. There are three options.


 1956 – Tourist “Could I catch a train to Cuarto de Pulgada from here?” Local “Yes, the next one is due in an hour.”


1966 – Tourist “Could I catch a train to Cuarto de Pulgada from here?” Local “Yes, you could, but not any more.”


1976 – Tourist “Could I catch a train to Cuarto de Pulgada from here?” Local “You’re lost, aren’t you?”

In addition to the interchangeable track a modern industrial building will be made to fit over the station, leaving just the goods shed as evidence that there was once a railway here.

18th January 2017, finescale modellers should look away now.

As can be seen in the photos above, the station utilises an offcut from an HO scale model. This building was obtained second or third hand many years ago and originally used as the depot at Gladstone on my Norfolk, Union and Gladstone shortline, the three places being names of streets between my two favourite pubs in Glossop. It was renamed as South Cheshire when I moved to Sandbach in 1995 and went into the scrapbox when the American HO layout was dismantled shortly before I got married. More recently the building was cut lengthways and altered to suit O scale, to be partially used in low relief as the station at Puerto del Sastre then finally incorporated into the station at Centrales as part of the FCPyF’s 2016 rebuild.


The slice that was removed when Puerto del Sastre was built is now also being converted to O scale for use as the station at San Pedro. The photo shows work in progress, he upper and lower wall sections have yet to be merged together. The inset shows Centrales, also as yet unfinished, for comparison. I quite like the way there is a definite company style recognisable in both stations, even though they are on separate layouts this similarity ties them together as part of the FCPyF.

26th January 2017, up against a brick wall.

OK, up against a brickpaper wall then! The station building is now glued in place and the rendering blended in to that on the goods shed. A start has been made on paving the platform, the “tarmac” is sand sprinkled onto wet paint and still needs touching up in places or, more likely, the provision of a few weeds here and there.


The buildings hemming the railway in have been clad in brickpaper. I may go over this with rendering on one or more of them, with the brickwork showing through in places as if the rendering is breaking away.


I think the “disused” track probably gives the diorama its best look, it also explains why there are no trains running, but a thought occurred to me during the week that a fourth track option could be used. If history changes a bit, and the station doesn’t get swallowed up by industrial development in the 1970s, there is the possibility of a preservation society re-opening part of the San Pedro branch as a tourist attraction. By the late 1980s, some thirty odd years after the last FCPyF train ran on the line, the 2’6″ gauge track will be virtually useless. The sleepers will all have rotted due to the drainage system having clogged up so the disused railway will need complete renewal.

If the misguided enthusiasts opt to use N gauge track instead of OO then San Pedro will become home to On18 as well as On30. From the 2’6″ gauge FCPyF branch in the 1950s, to a disused railway in the 1960s, completely overgrown by the 1970s and then back to life again as an 18 inch gauge tourist attraction in the 1980s… How much fun can you get out of a little MDF box that most people would throw away after they’ve eaten the oranges?

27th March 2017, job done.

More or less complete, the diorama has been photographed again, along with some comparative shots of an unaltered box.

Obviously there’s limited use for models of disused stations but the subjects do hold a morbid fascination and it has been an interesting exercise.

ESP will be used with Primrose Valley as a pair of bookends.