Fastleigh - reflecting 1970s "Blue" Era.
Can Perth & District Model Railway Club provide a small layout to show at the centenary of Arbroath Railway Station? So said the email and of course, we would be pleased to... but limited to 6 feet long, we did not possess a layout less than 12 feet long. Ah! Stan Moug, a member of our club and a native of Arbroath (well, not since 1981) decided to rise to the challenge and build a layout in only 2 weeks, almost from scratch...well there were two exhibitions to attend as well! It needed to be built fastly!!
The baseboard frame already existed, having been built for another forthcoming project, built using mainly 9 mm plywood, another plywood top was fitted. To build a OO gauge layout in such a small space (it had to fit into the waiting room on Platform 2 along with other exhibits!) is tricky and therefore a shunting layout was planned and further interest would be created by incorporating modern digital technology and providing sound and lights on the locomotives. The builder best remembers Arbroath station in the late 1970s, memories of blue diesels and Class 26's shunting the coal yard. Therefore, this era was selected and Fastleigh was born.
Time being a constraint, it was decided to use bits from the spares box to build the original layout ; the points were salvaged from a previous layout as were the buildings. The only "new" items were the scenic materials used to create the ground cover. That was the first board....the goods yard.
The enthusiasm was kindled and an extension was built to improve the operating flexibility and interest. The ethos remained the same though - building reasonably quickly using as much from the scrap box as possible! An air of dereliction prevails and the limited goods facilities and parcels depot cling on, avoiding closure thus far. Some siding space is now used for carriage storage and the disused shed has been taken over by the Engineers. The signal box has long closed so much of the former through line operates on the "one engine in steam principle" - the sealed tunnel mouth the only indication that this line once went somewhere else but alas Dr Beeching signed its fate.
26027 seen through the goods shed.
Although in decline, there is still some significant activity around Fastleigh. The local brewery Abbey Ales generates some van traffic as its products are much in demand throughout the country and domestic coal is still off-loaded in the yard. The remaining sidings in the goods yard are used mainly for storing wagons which are used further along the branch and trains are occasionally sent along simply to re-sort the wagons. Fastleigh never had much in the way of passenger facilities and the terminus end has always been used for handling parcels and mail. The volume of traffic is now much reduced and some of the sidings are now used for passenger stock storage. Such trains can be seen regularly. The former engine shed and coaling dock have been taken over by S&T and various deliveries are made as well as storage of ballast wagons. Track is PECO Code 100 which when painted, ballasted with a mixture of ballast and ash and weathered looks the part and points are operated using SEEP point motors located under the boards. Each board has its own control panel but of course, being DCC, an operator can drive a loco on any section of track. Most of the stock is fitted with Kaydee couplings which allows hands-free uncoupling. The couplings are released by passing over magnets hidden under the tracks at various locations.
The DCC control system used is the Gaugemaster Prodigy package which is fairly easy to operate and flexible enough to cope with the requirements of this layout. Some of the locomotives are fitted with sound and combined with working lights the operation is enhanced for both driver and viewer. Operation is deliberately from the front to make it easier to interact with you - the viewer. Please feel free to ask any questions but beware - you may even end up driving the trains!
I hope you enjoy FASTleigh.
Derrick Burrows Memorial Trophy - St Andrews Exhibition 2012
Space (including barriers) 20 feet x 8 feet
Power: 1 x 13 A socket (consumption 400W maximum)
Insurance value: Layout £800; stock £1500
Operators required: 3
Transportation: Transit van
Barriers: can be provided if required