As I type there are just seven short days to go until we will be heading to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham to set up our stand for the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition. And the layout that we are taking isn’t finished yet!
It is usually down to the wire to get a new layout complete for its first show, but the debut for Grosvenor Square is a departure from the norm for us as Warley isn’t the place we usually bring something brand new out for the first time. It is also by far the biggest layout that we have shown at the NEC on the Hornby Magazine stand and time is ticking.
The layout has been built for Hornby Magazine Yearbook No. 9 which will be launching at the Warley exhibition on November 26/27. It models a Western Region terminus station which is fully DCC controlled and features seven platforms, an overall roof and a raft of working signals across the platforms ends. We’ve got some extra tricks up our sleeves too which we’ll be showing off at the show.
The full layout covers 21ft x 8ft and consists of a 12ft scenic section (which is pretty much finished except for fascia panels, lighting rig and a bit of painting) plus a 9ft x 8ft return loop storage yard and an additional cassette storage yard. The addition of the latter really comes down to time, but I really do intend that its first showing sees the full arrangement on display.
Creating the storage yard has been a big job for the project which we were only able to start at the beginning of November. Five baseboards make up the main return loop which so far has absorbed over 30 yards of track, 15 points, five rolls of cork, 73 power connections, more than 100 rail joiners, a couple of hundred track pins and about 20 hours work. Plus that will soon be joined by three reverse loop modules, 15 points motors, two DCC Concepts ADS-8FX accessory decoders, a Tam Valley Dual Frog Juicer and a lot more man hours to bring everything together in time for the show.
Really this is great fun and I always love a challenge, but the biggest worry with this layout is that the first time it is going to be assembled in full is on the Friday afternoon at the set up for next weekend’s show.
Everything, though, is planned (in my head) and we will have a team of six operators taking control of the layout through two computers running Hornby’s RailMaster software for the points while train control will be handled separately by the Gaugemaster Prodigy system and at least four handsets. 30 locomotives have already been fitted with Kadee couplings, tested and packed in cases ready for the journey and I’m now three quarters of the way through bringing all the passenger rolling stock up to standard with correct couplings to operate with the locomotives.
There’s a lot still to do, but whatever happens Grosvenor Square will be making its debut on November 26/27 and we can’t wait to get behind the controls.