Here’s the first in a new series on Model Railway Engineer, reader layouts. where readers of the blog share their layouts, construction tips and how they overcame challenges they faced.
Starting the series, Andy Richardson and his first time layout: Project Kingsley.
Project Kingsley is a delightful, fully featured, OO gauge, DC, twin loop with two crossovers, a terminus station and turntable leading to an engine shed. A branch line leads off to a coal yard and goods shed and is parallel to a road with working recycled track entrance gates & weigh bridge with lolly stick barrier.
It’s an impressive feat given that it’s Andy’s first layout and has only been under construction for under a year (starting in December 2015). It is however, like all good model railways, “still under development”.
The scenic elements around the layout are “a mix of Skaledale buildings, Superquick card kits, a couple of self built/designed diorama scenes, scratch built corner tunnel and a scratch built twin fishing pond with a fish tank jetty”. All the buildings are lit with 12v LEDs.
On the subject of electrics, it’s all controlled by a 3 track controller designed & built by a retired engineer, a unique design utilising Pulse Wave technology which Andy reports has given superb reliability.
For the the points he used Insulfrog type powered by Hornby R8243 solenoids via a double CDU. Getting these working was his favourite aspect of the build as they eased operation and made the layout more enjoyable use when running trains. Although he says that if doing it again he’d choose Electo-type points as the Insulfrog versions “aren’t the greatest, especially with smaller goods engines”.
The biggest challenge Andy found, and one I concur with, is clambering around under the boards making up the 9ft x 3ft layout for the wiring.
And this leads gently into another tip for other modellers starting out. Namely, build the layout so you can reach it from all sides or at least have access to all sides. As can be seen from the picture, Project Kingsley is built against a solid wall so any work on the rear elements results in Andy having to “delicately lean over everything”.
Top Take Away Tips From Project Kingsley
- To take your time & do as much research & homework before permanently installing anything
- Always design a layout that you can get to from every angle.
- Test track 100% before ballasting & gluing (I had a point fail on me & no amount of in situ diagnostics cured it so I ended up replacing with a spare. Needless to say it wasn’t easy after having been set in place)
- And, always try to see what others have done before doing it yourself, you may find an easier way.
His last tip is why I set this blog up, to share railway modelling ideas and tips, so what better way to finish than to say if you have a layout and tips you’d like to share please get in touch via the contact page or reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook.