The layout represents a medium-size branch terminus station and goods yard of a market town in the heart of the English country-side. The model has been designed for the maximum of operating interest with separate run-round loops for passenger and goods handling.
The layout features 2 platforms and end-loading facilities for goods, as well as the parcels bay. To allow reasonable-sized goods trains to be handled the goods headshunt continues under the road bridge and into the fiddle-yard. The main platform has been designed to accommodate 4 coach trains and allow release of the train engine. The majority of the layout occupies two 8' by 2'6" baseboards and with the amount of trackwork little room is available for scenery. The challenge was, therefore, to add sufficient buildings, etc. to create the impression of a working station area in the small space left. Initially, it was thought that this concept of minimal scenery would reduce the amount of work required. In reality it has meant that more effort needs to be expended to achieve the effect! Having had experience of ready-made pointwork, we were keen to experiment with C&L components and the result is pointwork that not only looks good but works extremely well with finescale wheelsets e.g. Slater's. A nominal 6' radius was chosen for the pointwork as this was found to be the minimum radius all stock would happily negotiate. Standard lengths of PECO track hasve been used wherever practical and all sections of track are fed separately and do not rely on the rail joiners for electrical continuity.
With the exception of the lamp hut (Andy Duncan) at the rear of the engine shed, all buildings are scratch-built. The coal office and the engine shed (which is based on Ashburton, Devon) have plywood shells. This scheme worked well for the coal office being of a stone block construction, but led to problems when covering the engine shed with embossed brickwork plastic sheets (Slater's) due to imprecise measurements. An alternative scheme of all plastic sheet construction strengthened by plywood has been successfully used for the signal box (Lambourn, Oxon) and the station building. The station is to the GWR standard design - the dimensions of Abbotsbury, Dorset being used. Our model is in the more interesting red brick and stone finish used by the GWR that matches the engine shed. The coaling stage is based on Watlington's (Oxon) and is built primarily from C&L sleeper timbers and so mimicks the prototype.
West Calydon's theoretical location and the time period are somewhat of an enigma as stock from most of the railway companies may at some-time be seen. Primarily, we alternate between turn of the century, Caledonian Railway Company and mid-thirties Great Western Railway Company.
West Calydon has taken a number of years to build and over this time the owners have undertaken an extensive programme of stock building. Initially, when stock was limited, the layout was operated jointly with representative locos and coaches from both railway companies. Hence the name of the layout formed from Great Western and Caledonian with the subtle change of the e to y. Nowadays sufficient stock is available to allow the layout to be operated as purely CR or GWR. The opportunity is invariably taken to run stock from the SR and LMS together with the GWR to provide additional interest and variety.
A typical summer Saturday sequence of trains is run affording a variety of stock to be employed. Classic branch-line trains feature, occasionally expanded to cater for the holiday-time traffic, along with special summer excursions. An equally busy and wide ranging goods service is also accommodated during the day's operation.
In reality, a branch terminus of this size would have to manage with 2 locomotives. However, modelling license allows a wider variation in motive power. Thus main-line engines make appearances contrary to normal line restrictions, when the local allocation is fully employed, in order to handle the summer traffic.
West Calydon: Vistors
Some of the others (BR exSR) that find their way to West Calydon...................................................
Ex SR class G6 shunting the yard
EX SR (LSWR) class M7 shunting the yard
EX SR (LSWR) class M7 arriving with a fitted goods train
Photos by Rob A. Sept 2000 - spookily of his stock!!!!