Broadlands - formally called 'Trimley Four'

The current layout projects within the group are all larger size layouts. Four of our group members (Richard, Peter, Neil and Alan) decided they would like to build a small self contained layout that could be transported in a car, and be quick to set up for exhibiting.

They have decided to document the entire process with a diary and other supporting information so this section of the website will be based on this.

The new layout was originally without a name hence was known as 'Trimley Four', but will now be known as Broadlands. Peter is the scribe for the group and has contributed the following:


January 2014

As can be seen in the heading we have at last decided on a name for our layout. It is a factitious small town somewhere in the Midlands area.We now have all the track laid and pinned in place on cork to soften the running noise. All of the power droppers are now soldered to the track and have been fitted into connector strips  which will be mounted on the underside of the boards (they are temporarily screwed to the board to stop them becoming disconnected when the boards are moved. We are now in the process of producing a track plan which will be needed when final electrical connections are made. We will be continuing with the wiring and the construction of our control panel next.. We would like to have something running for 22nd March Open Day – fingers crossed.


November 2013

We now have our entire track pinned in place with the exception of the short elevated siding on which we shall be running either a two car DMU or short train. The siding will disappear into a tunnel mouth where it will await its return run to the station. To date we have cut a section of the board at the beginning of the incline and depressed it ready to take the 3mm track bed for the line. This will hope fully be laid in place at our next session. Holes for the cable droppers have been drilled in all of the fiddle yard and most of the scenic section. Droppers have been put in for the fiddle yard and these now have to be soldered to the track. This will enable each section to be power tested. The same will be done to the scenic section next week with luck. As we had not got all the soldered track completed in time we were unable to cut through the tracks that cross over the baseboard join.We still have to decide on our point motors and any advice would be appreciated. At last we have something resembling a layout as opposed to a woodwork project.


October 2013

As yet no decision has been made regarding type of point motor to be used. We have practically finished laying track, with the exception of two head shunts on the left hand side of the fiddle yard and the raised section  and goods sidings on the scenic section. We have cut a track bed for the shuttle line and this now has to be dropped into a lowered  section of the baseboard. We have just started final pinning down of the track in the fiddle yard and we have cut the timber for one of our platforms  and started to form the end ramps. When this is complete the top surface will be covered with Metcalfe tarmacadam sheet and faced with  either Metcalfe or similar brick sheet.


August 2013

Work is progressing steadily with the point work for the fiddle yard, and we now have a length of “door jamb” from which we will cut the platforms. This is 32mm wide, giving us – if all goes to plan – platforms of the right width for a small station. We are now looking at the slightly inclined line from the station to the fiddle yard area. This is intended for something like a two car “DMU” and will be controlled by a shuttle mechanism so there should always be a train running at controlled time intervals and the viewer will have something to see at all times. One of the next things we are currently in discussion over is point motors. We would appreciate the experiences of any of you to assist us in deciding which motors to go for.


May 2013

Following on from my last report we have decided the fiddle yard will be formed by four loops on the inside of a through track using the shorter of these loops as our through road, maximising the lengths of holding tracks available to us. We also intend to add head shunts to some of the loops to hold things like spare locos and DMU sets. More cork track bed has been glued in to place and Richard has acquired some electro frog points which have been used in the course of track laying for the station which will be the focal point at the front of the layout. We have also laid the point work at one end of the fiddle yard, and we shall be starting on track laying in the station area on the second board next week We had some discussion as to construction of platforms, footbridge and station buildings last Thursday. Conclusions on these are yet to be reached. We have missed Neil and wish him a successful recovery from his operation and look forward to his returning to the team.


March 2013

Having completed the tidying up and painting, we have now laid a strip of cork tiles 9 inches wide across the fiddle yard area, and started corking the rest of the track bed. We intend to have four or five roads (including the through road) in the fiddle yard, and have tried two formats for the point work for these. A decision on which of the two systems to use will be made next week, and some track will be laid, which will then make an “interesting work in progress” for the open day. We have decided to use setrack points in the fiddle yard. At this stage the plan is to surface mount peco point motors in this area, and to put in switch operated dead sections at each end of the holding roads for safety.

January 2013

We have now completed the frame work for both of our boards and all three sets of fold down legs have been fitted. Richard had a metal  “A” frame surplus to his loft ladder which has been fitted to the legs on the board that has only one set of legs and we shall be constructing wooden hinged fold-up bracings to the two sets of legs that are now fitted to the other board. We have now been able to clamp the two boards together and stand the unit up on its legs as one unit. I am pleased to say that everything was level at this point and we have also screwed and glued the first of the fiddle yard boards on to the frame with the other one trialled ready to fit next week when we shall also cut and fit the hinged leg braces.

December 2012

As I said last time we have acquired the necessary materials and Richard & I have now assembled the front section of the first of our two boards. At the end of the session it was left with some weights on it to set.

Alan & I have now pinned the top board of the first unit to the ply under lattice structure. As we have decided to secure the completed board to the second one, once they are both completed, using two brass door hinges with removable pins, we have fitted corner bracings to the outer frame of the first board and also fitted the outer ply skirt to this board. We have also cut the timbers for the outer frame of the second board to size.

The next  job to be carried out is marking out the track plan on to the second front board to enable us to locate the positions of the ply under bracings.

November 2012

Work continues on our layout (still unnamed). We had some serious discussion over whether it should be double or single track and it has finally been decided to have a single track with an island platform and a small marshalling yard, together with a four or five road fiddle yard located behind a back scene. The final size of the layout has become 8ft x 2ft 6ins – split into two 4ft x 2ft 6ins units.

The two sheets of 4ft x 4ft ply which we had obtained have been cut to size and the 1ft 6inspieces left over have been cut into 3inch wide strips for use in the latticed under frame. After rasping all the cut edges of the ply they have all been given a light base coat of emulsion.

We have cut the two top boards into two pieces – a front section and a fiddle yard and Alan has provide some Track seta curves and armed with these, a selection of straight track and various points we have drawn up the track layout on to one front section board.

Before marking out the fiddle yard section we need to carry out some feasibly checks to establish that the various steam locomotives which we intend to run. Hopefully this will avoid problems later on. We then marked out the positions for the components of our under frame so that we would avoid clashes with point motors later on.

On Thursday 18th October Richard, Alan and myself all arrived armed with workmates,  various saws, drills and other tools and set about construction of the under frame for the first front section. We have decided to put an outer frame of 44mm x 18mm PSE timber around the outer edges of the boards and these were cut to length first and drilled and screwed to the base board. This will give us a stronger mounting for the legs later on. The 3ins strips required for the under frame of the first front section were cut to their required lengths and marked out for the slotted halving joints  which were the cut out and trial assembled. Notches were also cut into the tops of each piece positioned one to each leg of each box formed. These will enable us to pass cables around the board neatly.

The last operation carried out was to mark out and cut a series of 50mm holes along the length of each under frame member - two or three to each box - depending on its size.

At our next meeting – having obtained a further quantity of PSE timber and a supply of contact adhesive - we will finish assembling this unit and make a start on the other front section in exactly the same way and hopefully carry out the testing required for the fiddle yard boards.


August 2012

In late June of 2012 Richard arrived at one of our Thursday evening work nights and suggested he would like to build a small group layout which could easily be taken to exhibitions and would fit into one car. He originally suggested at this meeting possibly a 4ft x 4ft. We all agreed this was a good idea as all we had available were larger layouts.

During the evening we decided who would be working on the layout and Richard was unanimously appointed group leader. Richard  showed us some ideas he had already sketched out for a track plan. At that stage we had a single track with a small station on a curve. This encouraged Chris Shum to point out that this could be a bit of a problem and we discussed the possible use of a Metcalfe platform kit as they claim this can be made up in any shape. Chris also said he had some spare plywood that we could use. This was quickly accepted and we started to discuss the track plan. Richard had included a fiddle yard behind a back scene and a short run of branch line from the station which could be operated by an automatic shuttle system providing the something always seen to be happening element. Alan expressed a preference for using electro frog points both because they give a smoother run and we all wanted to get some experience of wiring these.

One further meeting was held when we agreed to set up lining paper on the 4 x 4 board and get some paper templates of various points printed off the Peco site. We also decided to use the  plywood framing system of interlocking strips with large holes drilled into them to give a space to thread cables and also keep the overall weight down.

Chris duly provided two sheets of ply cut to 4ft x 4ft at our next meeting and we set about putting our first paper on the board with tape so that it could be removed and replaced for further versions of the layout to be tried out.

I had to miss the next meeting as did Alan but at the following one Alan, and I were advised by Chris that Richard had raised the issue of layout size suggesting we might look at extending to use the two 4 x 4 boards. In Richards holiday absence the three of us decided that we liked this idea better and subject to Richards agreement we would actually design an 8ft x 4ft layout made up of two 4 x 4s.

We set about looking at the first version of our track plan in more detail and version one currently has a two track oval on the front 2ft 6in of the boards. We have placed the platform are so that it will be both straight and on one board only as from the outset we intended to run short passenger trains together with freight trains which can be longer in view of the extended length of the layout.

We aim to be able to run the layout as DC or DCC and will wire it accordingly. This will enable everyone to run their stock and also provide another learning exercise for the group.

I volunteered to be diarist for the group and provide regular reports to Chris for him to include in our group newsletter. I will also take regular photos to include in an article which these reports will form for the N Gauge Journal