OO gauge, 4mm / ft
Set in in the North-East Manchester area during the 2000’s Smethurst Junction depicts a terminus station located on a former through line towards Oldham. Smethurst Junction started life as part of a previous layout that used to reside in one of the Society’s store rooms. The embryonic layout caught the eye of two of the then-younger members who were keen to have a club layout of their own to work on and so plans were discussed and worked upon. Once the two boards were salvaged the basic track-layout was retained and adapted and additional baseboards built and acquired to expand the scope and operation of the layout.
Frequent passenger services are operated by a variety of Diesel Multiple Units, which work to and from Manchester Victoria and destinations beyond. There are several flows of freight that can be seen at Smethurst Junction, including inbound deliveries of aluminium and copper coil to the distribution terminal sited opposite the station, and outbound finished wire products often in bogie vans. Other general freight loads are also handled in the terminal as required including bulk liquids and containers. Engineers stock is stabled in the small engineers yard, located on the truncated formation of the former Midland Railway lines. Additional freight traffic uses the loop lines to run round and gain access to another freight terminal further along the line towards Manchester. Finally, a locomotive servicing point occupies part of the original lower goods yard.
The layout started life and an analogue controlled layout but was later adapted to run using DCC using the Gaugemaster Prodigy Advance ™ system. Members bring their own DCC fitted locomotives and DMU’s and there is always plenty of freight stock on hand too.
Future plans include looking at adding dummy overhead electrification masts and portal gantries to mimic the real-life 25kV wiring and extending the layout to provide a second fiddle-yard beyond the current station and townscene to make the layout more flexible when it comes to operation and train movements.