Saturday 25 February 2012


These are very light because I want to transport the layout, possibly on my own.  The largest boards are 4 foot by 2 foot.  They are made of 6mm ply with 2cm by 4cm supports.  The two boards that will feature the layout are contoured at the edges to make the viewing area deeper.

These are the two boards upon which the scenery will be featured.  You can see the contoured edges that bring the layout six inches closer to the audience, adding depth to the scenery.

Some evidence of planning here!  The plan in the foreground is the OS Map of the station.  I used it to get the key features in the right places.  Some compromises have to be make of course or I'd need a 12 foot baseboard.  I have drawn out the key features on the boards and I checked the length of the platform (a major compromise) with rolling stock.  It will accept a 2 coach train with ease.  You'll note that I have arranged the layout so the viewer looks south.  This gives a great view of the signalbox and station building.

I took the opportunity to place trains on the full sized layout.  Apart from my own amusement, I also wanted to see whether my compromises are acceptable.  This view looks towards Stratford.

This is a view that you'll not be able to see when the layout is complete but it is the view from the station approach road.  A Stratford bound 4F awaits a clear line.  The lines in the foreground will be the 15inch Gauge Blakesley Hall Miniature Railway station.

 I thought you may want to see how I make the contours of the scenery.  I want the scenery to be very light and so I use polystrene as a former, either foamcore board (available through art shops) or old food packaging ( such as pizza bases).  On top of teh formers, I use a skin of cereal packet card torn into strips and glued to the formers with a Hot Glue Gun.  On top of all this, I use an old fashioned papier mache skin.  I apply two layers of paper (obtained form my recycling bin at work) wetted and stuck down with PVA glue.

So here are the two boards together with the integral backscene in place.  This is now looking very good, having been spray painted grey and printed scenery cut out and applied.

6.LMS Ro-Railer - a brave experiment,

 In April 1932, the LMS trialled it's revolutionary Karrier Road and Railbus on the SMJ line.  It ran a good number of press specials and then entered a very short period of service taking passengers between Blisworth where it connected with Euston trains and Stratford upon Avon.  At Stratford upon Avon, it transferred onto it's road wheels within minutes and drove to the Welcombe Hotel without the passengers getting out of their seats.
The Karrier RoRailer attracts alot of attention as it stands at Stratford Upon Avon station having transferred from Road to Rail at the Cattle Dock.
Here is my model.  It is an older Keyser model with alot of detail added from photogaphs.

The signal is off because this is an express service.  Note the buffers which were never used.

It's 1932 and the Karrier Experimental Railbus heads back to Blisworth to connect with a mainline service to London.

You can see the ro-railer here:

You can find out more about this unique vehicle here.

or a very in depth article here:



It is a real place!  It is a small village of around 500 souls.  It is in South Northamptonshire, not far from the Market Town of Towcester.  It is in the valley of the River Black Ouse, which a almost a stream at this point.  It is an ancient settlement, mentioned in the Domesday Book and it sits on the Ironstone Hills, the local stone giving the buildings a lovely brown/orange colour.  It is a very agricultural area, even now, and it's flower and produce show has and still does attract attendance from across the local area.  Blakesley Hall, long demolished, was the home of the Bartholomew family.  Charles Bartholomew constucted a 15 inch gauge railway between the station and his house under the tutilage of the famous model engineer Mr Bassett-Lowke of Northampton.

This is the 1950s map of the village.  You can see village on the hill and the railway down in the valley.  Towcester is on the right of this map and Morton Pinkney is to the left.  Blakesley Hall is clearly shown although the minature railway cannot be seen, having been removed during the WW2 scrap drive.

You can find out more about this lovely village at

This map of the line puts Blakesley in it's context with the rest of the railway line.