Tweedsmuir Street 001

The archive contains details of some, but by no means all, of the layouts I’ve built but no longer use. Tweedsmuir Street (above) is in long term storage, because I have little interest in British N scale these days, but the rest have either been dismantled, with salvaged bits used in new layouts, or gone to new owners.

Early Layouts (pre-internet access)

The first layout, as opposed to loose tracks on the floor or table, that I can remember building was a 6×4 roundy roundy in OO with a branch intended to reach a high level terminus over part of the main circuit. While the main line was completed the branch wasn’t and the layout proved to big to move around easily. Another early attempt was the classic GW BLT, but again this was abandoned before completion and got converted into a rudimentary narrow gauge affair using roughly 7mm scale. This was home to one of my first loco conversions, a narrow gauge diesel based on the Tri-ang Dock Shunter as detailed in an edition of Railway Modeller from that era.

As I left school and got a job I started building a shelf layout around the bedroom walls, initially in OO but later traded in for N gauge to fit more into the available space. This was the 1970s and British N gauge was a joke so the stock was soon replaced with German trains after which the layout thrived until it stretched around three walls with a main line some forty feet long creating a terminus to return loop and back.

There then followed another brief excusion into British OO with the Pelham Wagonway. This was the first layout I took to an exhibition and was modelled after the rope worked inclines above Seaham in County Durham.

Glossop 002 57th Street

After that I tried American N gauge with “57th Street” (above), Japanese N, British OO9, and back to German N again before discovering American HO and building the Norfolk, Collier and Gladstone RR (named after three of the streets between my to favourite pubs). It was with the NC&GRR that I moved from Glossop to Sandbach in the mid 1990s and this layout remained my main modelling interest for several years.

At the time of moving I also had a partly built British OO industrial layout. This was redeveloped and became a light railway terminus called Cotton Lane which was another long lived layout, as too was Altgarten, an N gauge  German branch terminus that I built in 1999.

Cotton Lane (OO)

Cotton Lane, in common with many light railways, concentrated more on freight than passenger operations.


The passenger station is in the foreground, but hardly noticed in the photo above.


One feature of this layout that I was particularly pleased with was my first experiment with the use of low relief trees. I made these from sponge which was shredded in a blender then mixed with green paint and glued onto the backscene. Since then I’ve used low relief trees on the backscenes of several other layouts.

Earl’s Quay (OO) and Tai-Fu (On30)

Earl’s Quay and Tai-Fu were a pair of matching microlayouts built on small tea trays, hence the puns in their names.

TaiFu and Earls Quay

Not shown in the photo above but at shows I would put some cold tea in the harbour on Earl’s Quay. Little fingers were often dipped in this, as happens when little fingers get near layouts, and quickly withdrawn when their owners discovered that the water was actually wet!

FCPyF (On30)

The original Ferrocarril Consolidado Pampa y Fernandez (not to be confused with the current version) was a combined passenger and freight terminus.

This layout taught me a lot about scratch building structures in O scale as well as alternative materials for the bare dirt ground cover instead of the usual grass found on most layouts.

Green End Quarry (G)

My one and only venture into “proper” G scale modelling, Green End Quarry was a highly successful layout and went to several exhibitions.


The layout showed both ends of a mineral tramway, omitting the middle to save space.


There are times when I regret selling Green End Quarry but it took up a lot of room for a small layout because it was almost as tall as it was long so standing it on end for storage didn’t save a lot of space.


Hayfinch Estate (Gn15)

Hayfinch was my first attempt at the wonderful bodger’s scale/gauge combination that is Gn15. A simple diorama, originally operated conventionally using two-rail power but later converted to my “horizontal puppet strings” (fishing line power).


Hayfinch Treacle Mine (Gn15)

Another Gn15 micro using fishing line power, but this time built in black and white.

Hayfinch mine

An interesting experiment which actually worked quite well though I’m not sure that I would convert anything more expensive to monochrome as it would render the trains as being tied to one layout.

Littlestring Hall (G)

More large scale stuff. This time a mine and its associated plateway, not a subject often modelled, again using fishing line power.

Stringhall 1

Lochside (On18)

Lochside was a narrow gauge version of Port Abel. A simple “tuning fork” type layout set on a pier.


Port Abel (OO)

This was another successful layout which appeared at several exhibitions.


The scene could be used as either a British or an American location by simply changing the trains and road vehicles to suit.


Sand Creek

Overall View

This layout was a run down American freight yard in N scale.

Schlafental (N)

This was my original fishing line powered diorama.


Sutton Road (OO)

This layout showed some promise but eventually failed and was swapped for some O gauge track. The idea was for a passenger version of Jack Trollope’s three track pointless “Shortover Yard” to depict the buffer stop ends of the platforms in a main line station.

Sutton Road

Not only is most of the station off stage but so too are most of the trains with only the loco and first coach of arrivals or the rear two coaches of departures appearing on the visible part of the layout. The project was eventually abandoned because my attempts to create an overall roof out of drip trays failed. Its new owner went on to use more conventional materials and complete the model. My N scale version of this idea is Tweedsmuir Street, as mentioned in the introduction this page.



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