New ventures – Bramble Way
Morning modellers! How is everyone? I hope you managed to dodge the worst of Denis last weekend!
A few weeks ago I attended Doncaster Model Railway Show 2020 with Iain and some friends and I came away with some goodies in a slightly larger scale than I usual buy… O Gauge! I found a nice Dapol 57xx in GWR Green and a Dapol Autocoach in GWR Chocolate and Cream for a nice bargain, kick starting my love for O gauge. These models are incredible, featuring tonnes of detail, capturing the real thing perfectly. The 57xx is especially nice, with loads of detail on every angle, with loads of cab detail (including firebox flicker). What really impresses me about this model is the space and provisions provided for installation of sound and lights/smoke into the loco. Full review and guide on installing sound coming in the near future!
I’ve always been attracted to O gauge, I’ve always thought the detailing is (generally) much better than what’s found on OO gauge, but I think the presence of the model is much greater in O. The models feel much more powerful, grand and majestic than in OO. And of course, because of the larger size you notice a lot more details that you would normally not see in OO, or aren’t included because they’ll be too small to realistically represent.
But of course, now I need an O gauge layout…
In the summer I’m installing a new shed, which will allow me to have a permanent O gauge layout called Bramble Way. The approximate size of this layout will be 16x8ft. I’ve been doing plenty of preparation work, talking to established O Gauge modellers to see what I can fit in a shed this size, I’ve been taking a lot of inspiration from Marc Monbank’s layout Courtybella Road. Looking in BRM’s Guide to Trackplans and Layout Design Volume two, there’s a lovely article on a 14x2ft O gauge GWR Terminus layout called Swyncombe. This layout looks to be the perfect template for Bramble Way, as it’s well within my allotted space and provides enough scope for passenger movements and loads of potential for freight movements. The station is large enough to allow for 2 coach trains (Autocoach’s, Suburban and Standard Mk1’s), with provisions for larger, non-auto trains to run around (E.g. a 43xx, maybe even something larger like a Warship, 20 or even a 37/47?) Freight movements can also provide further interest, I can already see a 43xx lead a large freight train into the platform, then a Gronk or a Pannier breaks the train up and shunts the wagons into the correct sidings.
Room for growth…
The track plan above is is 13x2ft, but that leaves me room for a loop round to the other side of the shed and have a second side to the layout. That gives me a lot more potential to effectively double the size of this layout. But it also doubles the amount of planning, designing and changing my mind! At this point I have no idea if I’m going to go for just a basic fiddle yard/traverser, or a second scenic section. If I did build a second scenic section, it’ll have to be pretty similar to the other side, to allow all departing trains a destination and area to turn around and send the train back to the other side. In short, that’s a terminus station with a goods shed and run around. Exactly the same as the original plan! This means it may not be that appealing as it’ll be pretty much the same layout mirrored twice. This means I may go for a fiddle yard/traverses to avoid repetition. It’ll be nice to have two scenic sections, but I’m struggling to think of what I can implement to keep it both varied and practical. Definitely open to suggestions on this matter!
Another factor that attracted me to the world is that it is a lot less ‘off the shelf’ and ‘customisable’. The amount of RTR stock is growing, but it dwarfed in comparison to the amount of RTR stock for OO Gauge. This means that a lot more of your stock is going to be kit build, and since they’re kit built, you decide exactly how you build the kit, what prototype you base it off, what running number you give it and what livery it’s finished in. This means that your model railway is very much your model railway, with you building stock exactly how you want it, rather than how it’s provided by the manufacturer.
I’ve bought myself a Parkside O Gauge 12 Ton Covered Goods Wagon (Diagram 33) GWR kit to have a go at, being my first wagon kit I’m not too sure how I’ll get along, but I’ll record my progress and write up an article for you on how I get along.
That’s it for this update, if you have any suggestions, questions or comments feel free to get in touch! Next update will be me starting the Parkside kit, plus what ever goodies I can find at Glasgow this weekend! If any of you are going to Model Rail Scotland 2020 then please do come and say hello!