Stowley Loop (Hands on)
Early on in the groups history a hands on layout was built for use at exhibitions to allow children ( and adults is they wished) to have go at running a train.
The layout was used at our early shows but has since been in storage and is now in need of some restoration work.
The layout was build on an internal door. Whilst providing a firm base for the layout, it is difficult to transport and store.
In use there were some issues with reliability of running, so changes will be made to the track layout to minimise these along with improvements to the controllers and electrics.
Chris and Trevor ran the layout as BSE and it ran pretty well. As might be expected a few teaks to improve flexibility and operation were identified and there is still some further detailing work required. One other good point about the layout was the ease of setup / take down. Both being completed in around 30mins. The layout was subsequently run at the open day in November and attracted a good deal of interest, particularly how long a run had been fitted in. Some additional detailing around the oil terminal is underway and work is required to fix and issue with the operation of the points at the front of the layout.
Although rather a rush to complete the layout was shown at our June exhibition and run as a hands on layout. Scenics and operating scope were rather limited but served the intended purpose.
Rather unexpectedly the layout was invited to the Bury St Edmunds show in September (late replacement). This resulted in further work to turn it into a 'proper' layout. Addition scenic work was carried out including the production of numerous trees to for scenic breaks / screens. the upper industrial area has been developed as an oil terminal with a couple of siding and head shut.
BSE also requested the name of the layout for inclusion in the guide. After failing to find a suitable anagram out of the groups name, by using parts from Felixstowe & Trimley, plus the fact the track loops around the board the name Stowley loop was born.
The layout will be appearing at our next open day.
Work is progressing well on the scenics with everything looking very white at the moment (polystyrene and plaster). The layout should be ready for the show, although a couple of areas will have simple scenic / detailing that can be reworked / added to for later.
Since the last report we have been progressing well with the track laying. Most of this is now complete (we are leaving the upper yard section for the moment) and we are now connecting some basic electrics to enable some running tests before commencing with ballasting / scenics.
To save some time further on we have used Gaugemaster foam underlay on the upper section. However we have found great care must be taken when using this to keep the track level. The general build up of hillsides will use polystyrene, which will help support the upper track and reduce overall noise.
As planned the 4 road rear fiddle yard (can be split as well) should give plenty of variety and the visual run will give a decent long run, and hopefully trains under / over bridges and in / out of tunnels should keep youngsters entertained.
The track plan has been decided and has evolved from the initial simple dual loops. It now consists of a rear fiddle yard with a mainly single track looping around the scenic section twice over two levels (see diagram below). The basic trackbed for the levels has been completed ready for track laying.
The original layout has now been stripped down to a bare board. It has also been cut down to a 4' (1220mm) length.
A second door has also been cut down to 4'. Alignment dowels and toggle catches have been fitted to accurately join the boards together.
The next stage is to plan the new track plan. Whilst the intention is to keep this fairly simple, it is also recognised that the layout could also be used to represent the group at other exhibitions, as such the design will need to allow for a small fiddle yard and some additional operational interest.