Back in 2010, John, one of our group members had the idea of building a layout with the aim of presenting it at exhibitions. Bob, Mike and later Graham were recruited into the idea and the business of planning the layout commenced.
The initial concept of a simple layout was soon discarded and with Johnís insistence that the layout must embrace generous curves we finished up with a plan that incorporated eight boards, including the fiddle yard and measuring 12 foot by 6 foot 6 inches in area.
A consensus was reached to model something typical of the joint GWR/GC line and in this way it would be possible to run our groups existing locomotives and rolling stock embracing BR Western, LMS and LNER traffic, circa 1960. The name Hadderton was chosen as an amalgam of some of the old stations which existed on the joint line.
The plan was to build a layout with two main running lines with loops on either side through the station (typical of GWR/GC design), a branch line with a bay platform and sidings with a goods shed. One end of the scenic area has a small industrial area whilst behind the station there is housing and at the other end we open up into the countryside.
At this time our club did not have itís own premises and so much of the early work in terms of building the layout was carried out in Johnís conservatory with Clare, the lady of the house supplying copious amounts of sustenance for the workers.
Later with the acquisition of club premises in Trimley the layout was transferred to the club room where the majority of the electrical and scenic work has been carried out.
The layout has been exhibited at a number of group events during its construction and now complete has started makes appearances on the exhibition circuit.
The layout is now essentially complete, although detailed scenic work continues. The main missing feature is the provision of signals, about which we are still arguing. The Dapol ones are expensive, don't look all that good, stick out too far below the baseboard, and have a stupid sequential press method of operation. However, how else do we achieve working signals? We have installed the Dapol magnetic coupling system into the goods yard. This works fairly well but with the usual Dapol design flaws. The push after uncoupling without recoupling feature only works with coaches and not with trucks (due to the inflexibility of the coupling mount on the trucks) so not a lot of use for shunting which is where we really need it, and the tiny springs in the couplings are only secured at one end, so tend to fly off into the netherworld never to be seen again.
Hadderton was exhibited at the Felixstowe Lions Model Railway event on 13th October, where we achieved a new record set-up time of 40 minutes. This year, the layout has also been exhibited at the Bressingham Steam Museum on 1st September, Needham Market on 17th August, and our own annual exhibition at Felixstowe on 15th June.
John has aspirations to get us into the N Gauge Show at Warwick in 2014. Surprisingly they are still seeking layouts, and we have now submitted an application. Interest has also been expressed by the organisers of the show at Southwold. We look forward to another busy year.
Since the last update Hadderton has been successfully exhibited at the following exhibitions; Needham Market, Bressingham and Felixstowe Lions event. On each occasion the layout has run well and with practice the time to erect and dismantle the layout has improved significantly. As with any new layout some areas where operation / running can be improved have been identified so next task is to loo at these.
Hadderton is finally beginning to look finished. The scenery along the front edge has been reworked with static grass, and detailed vegetables added to the allotments. The station lamps and seats have been fitted, which makes the platforms look surprisingly less bleak. Other details, including a diesel refuelling point and yard crane, have been added. A nasty bump in the road system has been eliminated. We intend to fit non-working signals before our June exhibition, and to investigate working signals at a later date (there are complications in using those from Dapol). Legs are currently being fitted to replace the existing trestle and bearer system, in order to reduce the amount of wood that we have to carry about. We will add additional details to complete the layout before our first "away" exhibition at Bressingham on 1st September 2013.
A printed back-scene is in process of being fixed. Future work will then concentrate on adding detail, including platform lamps, water cranes, vehicles etc. Transparent protective panels at the front are also required.
At the most recent open day at the start of November the layout ran well with the exception of one point with a broken spring.
It is planned to use the Dapol uncoupling system in the goods yard area and work is underway to install the magnets and convert some of the stock.
Further work is ongoing to add more scenic detail and printed back-scenes to bring the layout up to exhibitions standard.