A firm foundation on well-built baseboards is essential for a reliable model railway. I had an additional challenge which was to store an existing layout in the same room; my solution was to make double brackets that could hold the old railway beneath the new one. One day I hope that both will be available on the exhibition circuit, as the old one used to be forty years ago! See the video below for details …
How it all began
I first visited Switzerland when my wife discovered that her family history went back many generations ago to a family in Neuchatel Canton – you can read about it in my travel blog if you are interested – and then we visited the Alps on a Great Railway Journeys holiday to celebrate my sixtieth birthday and it was then that we began to think that perhaps a model railway based on our experience there might help us to relive what then seemed the holiday of a lifetime. We returned to the Alps a couple of times since then, and once more to Neuchatel, and then once I was retired and was in a position to start building we went to have a proper look at the Rhaetian Railway which I had decided would be the best railway on which to base the model.
Meanwhile I had been scouring eBay for equipment: locomotives, coaches and buildings so that I would be ready to start. I acquired a length of HOm gauge track and fixed it to a small piece of board so that I had a test track on which to try out the locomotives I was acquiring from eBay, and all was ready as soon as we moved into our retirement house, in which a room has been set aside for the purpose.
I have been publishing my photographs on Flickr for many years, although since starting the new model railway layout I have become a little behind with posting photographs … I must catch up one day, but it is still worth a look as photographs are ageless anyway! There are some digitised images from the seventies among them.
The art deco layout
At my last home I built a fantasy layout full of art deco and streamline moderne design: LMS and LNER streamlined trains, deco and moderne buildings. It was very much a quick project but although all the trains and track were ready-made, most of the the buildings were designed and built from scratch (except for some real classic Airfix buildings and a couple of card kits by Kingsway – no point in redoing what someone else has already done). See the video to watch the layout grow, then scroll down to the picture gallery of street scenes!
Many years ago I helped a friend build an exhibition layout based on a plan in the Railway Modeller. I took it over when he moved on to another project and I provided all the locomotives and rolling stock and continued to exhibit it for a few years. It is no longer fit to show but I hope to restore it one day and exhibit it again.
The layout is now called Kingsgate and it is based on a small London terminus in the late fifties or early sixties, just as diesel traction was becoming common but while there was still much steam operation.