Springfield and Ponderlaw by Stan Moug

A 4 mm Scale, OO gauge layout that will never be seen on the exhibition circuit.

The Idea.

Having modelled the British Railways steam and green diesel era for all of my time interested in model railways, this layout follows the same theme and is quite a big undertaking for a solo project. However, there is of course no pressure to meet an exhibition deadline and therefore the pace can be dictated by mood and other distractions. This means that different facets of the hobby can be worked on as I please and depends on inspiration and availability of funds or materials. Of course this layout is not finished but I hope to describe what has been achieved so far.

The basic requirements of the layout were listed before any wood was cut:

Continuous running with trains of a reasonable length - in practice this means up to 12 coach or 40 wagon trains which is very satisfying and rarely found on home layouts.

A terminus station to accommodate such trains with freight handling facilities.

A steam shed.

A diesel depot.

A through passenger station with passing loops on the main running line.

A branch line.

A 12 track fiddle yard, each track splits to take 2 or 3 trains.

To achieve this, the space used is around 34 feet x 10 feet with a central operating well. The continuous running line, through station and fiddle yard is on an upper level and the mainline descends on a gradient of no more than 1 in 60 via a junction through another station to enter the terminus station. The branch line is located on an intermediate level and terminates at another small station. A track plan will appear here soon.

This photo shows construction at a fairly early stage. The fiddleyard is off stage on the right and the upper level station on the left with the timber frames of the lower station under construction,  baseboards being conventional 2 x 1 timber, topped with ply and 3 mm cork sheet where the track PECO Streamline Code 100 is located.


Track laying initially concentrated on getting the upper lines and fiddle yard done in order to have somewhere to run an ever-expanding collection of locomotives and stock. Also, these lines are at the furthest point from the operating well therefore it was better to test thoroughly (any excuse for a running session!) and construct the platforms and buildings at the through station of Ponderlaw. Also, working signals were installed at this stage, the choice being Ratio connected to point motors and these were later replaced with colour lights to ease maintenance.

The buildings are mainly Metcalfe kits and the platforms are built from balsa wood. Track is painted with Railmatch weathered sleeper spray paint and the rails rust colour and ballasted with Carrs materials. (More about ballast later). The backscenes are Townscene with dark skies meaning its going to rain soon! The photograps below were taken as this stage was completed.


Brush Type 2 enters Ponderlaw with a slow stopping train.


Granny explains to young Stanley that it is indeed possible to build an Alexander Models Clayton as big as this!

Also at this stage, it was decided to illuminate the interiors of some of the buildings, namely the two signal boxes at either end of Ponderlaw station which both have levers and instruments installed and the station buildings. Platform lighting was also required and period lamps were positioned. The result of this is that when the room lights are dimmed a warm glow of light radiates from the station and when illuminated passenger trains pass through the effect adds another dimension to daylight operation. The lighting can be switched off when dawn comes!


"The train to Diglis Hill should be here soon. The nights are getting darker!"

The station occupies much of the upper level scenic section but as can be seen below, the approaches at either end of the station are modelled; the north end of the station passes by an industrial area before heading into a more rural scene, while the south end approaches are on a raised embankment separating the steam shed from the diesel depot. This area is still under construction and is at an early stage. Also planned is a townscape, again featuring some illuminated buildings and detailed street scenes, hopefully showing life in the 1950's and 60's.


A4 Class 60031 Golden Plover heads north from Ponderlaw avoiding the junction for Springfield while a "Teddy Bear" waits for the off with an engineering train from Diglis Hill.


Black 5 44781 approaches Ponderlaw on the embankment from the south. 

In a slightly more recent shot illustrating some of the developments at Diglis Hill including the construction of a viaduct carrying a road above the station and the sudden growth of some vegetation two recent acquisitions to the rolling stock fleet can be seen. Firstly a Brush Type 4 and also a Diesel Brake Tender, both slightly weathered.


To be continued....... developments at Diglis Hill