Aldwyn Brook

History

Aldwyn Brook in the 1950s was a small town at the end of a 21-mile branch line somewhere in the North West of England.  Traffic was dwindling until the powers that be decided that Aldwyn Brook would be a good place to build houses and tower blocks for the overspill from the nearby city.  Thus it expanded rapidly in the 1960s, which saved the line from the ravages of the Beeching Axe.

Description

The station comprises a small terminus with two platforms serving the main line and an industrial branch.  There is a parcels depot (to serve the nearby mail order warehouse) and a small goods yard.   Main line trains going to or from the branch have to reverse in Platform 1.  Passenger services on the main line are mostly suburban trains from the junction station, with some express trains from major cities.  Parcels trains can originate anywhere from Carlisle to Southampton.  Local goods trains convey wagons for the goods yard, but most freight goes to or from the branch.  The branch line serves several local industries, and there are exchange sidings down the line, where most of the freight from the branch to Aldwyn Brook originates.

Construction

 The layout is 4.4m long x 0.6m wide (14 ft 6 in x 2 ft 0 in).  There are four baseboards, three scenic and one with a sector plate for the hidden sidings, all supported on folding legs.  The baseboards are made mostly from 12mm plywood, with 44mm x 18mm softwood battens, designed for easy set-up and dismantling.  At the time of writing, December 2016, all the baseboards and legs are built and the baseboards have been undercoated.

Planning the baseboards
Planning the baseboards-measure twice, cut once
Building the baseboards
Building the baseboards- basic carpentry plus lots of tea!

Operation

The layout is intended to be operated by children and young people, who are encouraged to bring their own rolling stock (grown-ups are allowed to play trains (!) operate as well).  The layout can be operated in various time periods – steam only (1950 – 1968), steam / diesel (1955 – 1968) and diesel only (1969 – 1990s).  The station is modelled in the British Rail era, before privatisation, so there will be times when the rolling stock does not match the station signage. There are timetables or sequences for each period to enable operation in a prototypical manner.

Track

The track is Peco ™ code 75 and all turnouts are live frog type.  Uncouplers are fitted to suit hook-and-bar couplings.  Points and uncouplers are operated by servomotors.

Controls

The layout is capable of being operated using DC or DCC from the panel behind the backscene.   LEDs on the panel indicate which controller is being used on each section and the status of the points.

Future plans

 It is intended to install colour light signals, controlled from a separate panel.   Wireless controllers are currently under development.