It’s a particular bugbear of mine that so many admirable, in other respects, model railways exist on a perfect plane. The world is an incredible place which exists in at least three dimensions.
Most model railway worlds only exist above the track plane. The existence of a topology, geology or landscape below the plane is difficult if the traditional baseboard approach is taken. That is, a large expanse of plane material, plywood, MDF or other composite upon which the builder’s world is realised.
So my diorama which will represent a scene from another universe quite like, but not actually ours. It will need to encompass this physical specification.
The baseboards on this microcosm will be built as a space-frame, supporting the track plane but, in this case, will accommodate up to 50 scale feet below the track bed.
The frames are glued and screwed from 18mm plywood.
The track bed – not yet laid on the frames – will be made of 12mm Homasote – known as SunDeala in the UK. Homasote is a paper composite board commonly used for thermal and sound isolation, but is light, easily cut and formed, strong and durable enough to support a model railway and provide a degree of sound damping for the tracks. More about that another day.
The layout itself will be an end-to-end on a 12ft x 2ft plan made up of three 4ft x 2ft space-frame modules. The rest of the universe as we know it will be represented by invisible fiddle-yards at each end.
The station itself isn’t actually a station at all. It’s a halt. People wishing to get off the train would tell the guard who’d arrange for the train to stop. People wishing to get on would hold their hand out and hope the driver would see it.
This halt is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, although the village of Bolsworth Warren is a mile or so down the road along with Bolsworthy Manor Hotel and Links for walkers and golfers. The Warren and the hotel are on the spring-line.
It incorporates a passing loop and old industrial spur for operational interest.
On the northern boundary – the left – the scene will be broken by an old china clay facility of some nature, and towards the south – the right – a road over-bridge.
The rest of the world will be represented by a fantastic panorama devised for me by my nephew, Jamie Halton, from quite an extensive and detailed brief. That really is Dartmoor back in the distance. The image itself will be behind in a large ellipse and incorporate as many scenic breaks as I can devise to make the whole appear seamless between 3D and 2D.
More about Boltorr Road Halt another day. More practically, proof of concept test track and scenery practice, next Boltorr Halt article …