Amid some of the heart breaking events and issues that life is throwing at many of us at the moment, being able to step aside into model building can be very therapeutic. This is a quick post to show some of the progress being made on another one of Westhill Road’s key buildings, this time the Station House / booking office.
Being old school, no CAD or 3D printing malarkey here yet, using prototype images I create a series of quick sketches / plans on the trusty A3 graph pad to work out, to scale, all elevations and interior arrangement (with a little help from my Dad who worked most of his career in the building trade, thanks Dad!).
As one the features of Westhill Road is to introduce an element of perspective modelling as the overall layout depth is 18inches, I have purposely compressed the size of the Station House / booking office a little to help with the effect once its position behind the LSWR Type 3B ground signal Box and small tin tabernacle chapel becomes clear.
As with all the buildings, I propose where possible to include interior details and lighting (I will utilise the central chimney to hide the lighting wires). The next stage is cutting the windows in the upper rendered wall sections (Wills building material as are the brick lower walls) along with making from scratch the upper windows and creating the bathroom and bedrooms, so watch this space.
With apologies to David Bowie… regular readers may have spotted a slight change to the layout of my little corner of the world wide web. The previous WordPress theme (page style) I was using had become obsolete and was causing a few back office and functionality issues, so I therefore have adopted a new WordPress theme that hopefully solves some of the issues and gives a similar but slightly fresher look.
The downside, and there is always a downside of course, is that the positioning of images, annoyingly, align differently and so has affected the visual appearance of previous posts. Please bear with me and accept my apologies as I either find a work around and / or slowly manually correct past posts.
It is good to be at exhibitions again, especially as many Model Railway Clubs/Societies have lost such valuable income from the lack of exhibitions during the pandemic, so if you are able to visit the show, and support the Silverfox DCC MRC, please drop by Canute Road Quay and say hello.
In my Westhill Road Ramblings#1 post here, I discussed my thought process for selecting the style and type of signal box for my new little modelling venture Westhill Road. This post looks at my scratch build of the chosen ground level signal box based upon the LSWR Type 3B design.
As with many of my scratch-built buildings, even if they are not to be exact replicas of an original prototype, I like to use as much research as possible to ensure that the characteristics and proportions of such a building look correct. In this instance I wanted to make use of some nice proprietarily laser cut windows from Proses Hobby Shop, therefore using these fixed dimensions, and of course standard door sizes, I started by quickly drawing out the design, to scale, referring back to reference photographs at every stage.
The use of these laser cut windows and their dimensions are therefore a slight compromise but by adjusting the dimensions of the rest of the building to suit it maintains the proportions and the overall effect that I am wanting to achieve.
The construction of these LSWR signal boxes was basically a wooden frame and wooden clapperboard structure and I’ve replicated this using Wills 213 clapperboard for the main structure.
From my drawing I cut the wooden floor, from Wills 201 wood planking, to size to give a square base for the clapperboard walls to be built around it.
I mitred the edges of the walls before filing back the outside of the cemented corners at 45° and adding 2mm x 2mm triangular plastic strut upright, see picture left. The use of the triangular section on the building corners creates the corner framing and also completely hides any joint.
Additional plastic microstrip is then used to create the other wooden framework, both externally and internally, and to create the windowsills etc. (remember to include the thickness of windowsills, door frames etc when cutting out the apertures). Plastic microstrip and Plastrut square section was used to built up the framing across the tops of the walls, along with roof trusses.
The side porch is made from a mix of plasticard, planked plasticard and another Proses Hobby Shop laser cut window. It was made as a separate assemble to make paining easier.
The ground frame sites on a low brick-built foundation, that includes the opening for the point rodding and signals wires to exit with a small piece of microstrip added to represent the steel beam supporting the bricks above the opening.
As ground level signal boxes do not have an interlocking room under the floor, they used a ‘Knee Frame’ with short levers that was higher off the floor to allow interlocking directly beneath the levers. I have used a modified Ratio 224 signal box interior kit for the interior details. I mounted the lever frame base on a piece of plastic I beam and shortened every lever, to represent the 10 lever frame in accordance with the signal box diagram I have already created.
The hipped roof was made using Wills 203 Slates with thin card ridge tiles added. Guttering is added around the bottom edge using Ratio 300 gutters and downpipes. The stove pipe chimney has been fashioned from plastic rod and turned at the top to represent a cowl, and lead flashing asses from very thin plasticard.
The internal working lamp and its shade have been made using a suitable shaped plastic part, I think an old wagon kit, found in the scrap box, with a Layouts4u.net 0805 12v Nano SMD led (prewired) glued to it. It’s affixed to the ceiling truss and the fine wires passing down the wall behind the stove and its chimney.
The external paint colours are SR Buildings Cream and SR Middle Chrome Green from Precision Paints.
I will wait until Westhill Road is ready for its signal box to be planted before I weather it to tone the colours down to suit the tone of the rest of the layout.
Welcome to the first of my Westhill Road Ramblings as I think thoughts (or why isn’t that thunk?), yes dangerous I know, to develop the concept in my mind / imagination and start to make actual physical progress on my new little scenic diorama type layout. To read my introduction to Westhill Road click here. As the layout progresses my imagination, vision , concepts and ideas board will be covered via such ramblings posts, whilst more details on some of the physical items will be covered in my Workbench Witterings series.
Now on to the main subject of this post the signal cabin. The original thought in my mind I had for Westhill Road, with its small level Crossing and minimum signalling and only one point (plus a co-acting trap point) for the siding, was to utilise one of the lovely Kernow Model Rail Centre LSWR ground frame cabins.
However upon developing the concept for the layout further and looking at signal Box diagrams for similar locations on the Southern, and having created a signal box diagram for Westhill Road that required a 10 lever frame, I soon realised that such a ground frame and cabin would actually be too small.
I initially thought about using my scratch built model of Hawkhurst signal box that I built from scratch many years ago now, when still a teenager, but feel that using such signal box at this location would possibly also be out of character for a small wayside halt and crossing location as Westhill Road and maybe affect the balance of buildings I intend to have on the layout, as it will located directly in front of the roadside combined station masters house / booking office.
I decided to take a look at the idea of using ground-based signal box. The LSWR have a number of different types of boxes, as the design involved throughout the years, small ground versions of the signal cabins were quite common across the network at smaller locations such as level crossing gates and small stations and these could either be directly mounted on the ground or onto a station platform. I therefore settled on the idea of an LSWR type 3B signal cabin as these were used at similar crossing gate locations.
These Type 3B boxes were introduced in 1889 and were generally located in and around Plymouth and also on the Ilfracombe line in North Devon, including wonderfully named locations such as Stoney Mill Gates, Vellator Gates and Duckpool Gates. Unlike the earlier Type 3 and 3A boxes they did not have toplights (replaced with weatherboard or any ornamental valances. As these ground level boxes did not have an interlocking room beneath the floor they utilised a raised ‘knee frame’ with shorter levers.
This slightly more plain style is, in my thinking, ideal for Westhill Road as it gives a slightly more general and not to area / company specific appearance. I have therefore knocked up a quick scratch built version of such a ground box, that is internally detailed, complete with a knee frame and each individual short lever, coloured to match the Westhill Road signal box plan, and illuminated (as will all the buildings I build for Westhill Road). I will detail the build process in a near future Workbench Witterings post before you ask, and although I do not yet have the actual layout built to plonk it on, I already feel of the three options it will look the part.
My first Westhill Road, introduction #1 post provided a little of the what and the why behind the plan for Westhill Road, this introduction #2 covers more of the what, and some of the when, with respect to the plan of the layout and the scenic side of things.
As I disclosed in my #1 post Westhill Road will comprise of a single track line passing from left-hand rear corner, through a small SR Concrete wayside halt, a single goods siding and a level crossing before exiting through to the front right hand corner.
As a picture says a thousand words, even though my 2D art skills are not as honed as perhaps some of my 3D model making, please excuse the quality of the quick sketch left. Hopefully it shows the key elements of the plan and includes the main scenic features.
There is a small stream, reminiscent of a babbling Dartmoor brook / ‘lake’ in a shallow valley in the front left corner, the railway enters behind some trees from the rear left on a small embankment. The ground level also falls away behind into the backscene, and possibly a farm build hides away at the rear lower level (not on sketch before you look), as this also helps trick the eye into believing the effect of increased depth.
A provender store building (from Hawkhurst) and large trees are front and centre allowing glimpses of the concrete wayside halt and siding through and behind with more trees blending the background into the backscene further behind.
The road to Westhill itself crosses the line and past the small LSWR type ground frame cabin (from KMRC), although I might include a proper signal box (I have a scratch built Hawkhurst signal box I could use, I haven’t fully decided yet as it might be too large for the scene), and then the combined station masters house and booking office (more likely similar to that at Alverstone on the Isle of Wight than the outline shown on the sketch).
The road continues past a small tin chapel on the left and a row of workers cottages on the right, both sized to assist with creating an element of perspective, before disappearing off to the right rear corner.
With respect to the when, my usual modelling period as regular readers will know is 1946 to 1949 and primarily Westhill Road will be no different, however, like Canute Road Quay, I intend to keep any permanent specific period identifying features to a minimum, to enable me to ring the changes with eras by changing rolling stock and any road vehicles to enable the time period to be portrayed anytime from grouping through to the start of the 1960s.
Future posts will cover some of the buildings already teased / shown above in more detail and will of course also document the ‘making up’ and progress of Westhill Road as I go along, so watch this space…
It is about time that I formally introduced you to Westhill Road there has been a teaser page on here for quite some time, as with many plans timing has slipped somewhat from the original intention of it being a post-Christmas last year winter project. However with much of the items needed for its construction already purchased I plan to hopefully start building in earnest during these forthcoming winter months.
Whilst I still have plans for larger layouts, perhaps maybe for the future, space at this time is still a limiting factor. The plans still include Hawkhurst in Kent, the Colonel Stevens SR branch line terminus, but ultimately Lydford Junction in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor.
Most of my rolling stock building has always been with these two layouts in mind, and believe it or not Fisherton Sarum was my first ever layout build and initially only to be a stop gap measure…
Some of the buildings that I have already built for these future layouts will actually make a temporary appearance on Westhill Road. Having already built Canute Road Quay as a 4′ x 12″ shunting layout, that has already provided endless entertainment and enjoyment in both its building an operation, I saw the opportunity for another small layout/diorama that has more of a scenic countryside than the dockside setting of Canute Road Quay.
So I will introduce Westhill Road over the next few posts that will will answer the usual questions of what, why, how and when…
Firstly, the what and a little of the why…
Westhill Road will be different from Canute Road Quay as it’s more of a diorama than a shunting layout as such, but mainly a chance to enjoy the more scenic side of constructing a layout.
The Tim Horn baseboard will still be 4ft wide but will be 6″ deeper Canute Road Quay to help, along with some perspective modelling, to further create the illusion of space and depth. It will only comprise of a single track line passing from left-hand rear corner, through a small SR Concrete wayside halt, a single goods siding and a level crossing before exiting through to the front right hand corner. Careful placement of trees will assist to hide the entrance and exit points.
The layout will include working, servo operated SR rail built signals and level crossing gates, all interlocked with each other and the co-acting siding turnout and trap point, see the signal diagram left.
A future post will provide more details of the intended scenic side of things.
Now a bit of the why, starting with why Westhill Road? Fisherton Sarum has a huge nod to my grandfather who worked as a ganger at Salisbury where my father was also bought up. Westhill Road is a nod to my Mothers side of the family where I spent some of my formative years in Torquay at my grandparents who lived on Westhill Road.
Westhill Road therefore has no real railway connection or real setting; it could be somewhere west of Dartmoor; you could equally be somewhere on the Isle of Wight railway network or perhaps even somewhere in Kent. So yes an imaginary location and initially it will be a diorama, although ultimately I do intend to have simple fiddle yards at each end but these won’t be part of phase one. The initial purpose it to build something that has scenery at its forefront and allow me to test and experiment with different scenic techniques, perspective to create depth and the, new to me, use of servo motors.
It will also give me a a different scenic setting for photographing locomotives and rolling stock; and much of the placement of buildings and the many planned trees will be with allowing view points in mind, as you look into and through the layout.
Future posts will cover much more of the what and some of the when; and will of course also document the progress of Westhill Road as I go along, so watch this space…
The model railway world and mainly Southern Railway meanderings of Graham 'Muz' Muspratt