BLOG: Revival plan

Photo: An eight-car 4-CEP formation thunders through the junction as a 5-BEL unit waits in the carriage washing line.


The latest issue of Hornby Magazine has bumped the revival of Twelve Trees Junction back into focus as we brought part of it out of storage to create a handful of images for the Southern Region special (HM122 – on sale now).

The layout has been in storage since its last outing at the Great Central Railway Model Event in June 2015 and is due to make what we hope will be a welcome return at the Great Electric Train Show on October 7/8 this year at the British Motor Museum. Two year’s in storage isn’t necessarily the best thing for a layout – and there is a lot to be done to prepare it for the show – but hopefully we won’t have too many repairs to do to bring it up to standard. There are a handful of small details which have fallen off, but an initial inspection suggests its actually still in good shape.

A ‘Lord Nelson’ 4-6-0 accelerates away from Twelve Trees with a London bound express as a ‘9F’ draws up to the signals with an oil train.

At the moment there are four main areas to focus on before the October show:
1. Cutting, painting and installation of new backscenes
2. Prepare new rolling stock including weathering and digital conversion
3. Build a new continuous run storage yard – the big project
4. Rearrange control system to use handsets and computer control
Of those the biggest is the total rebuilding of the storage yard which will see the original cassette yards replaced with a continuous run yard design. In turn that will shorten the total length of the layout by 10ft, but also widen it by 2ft. Overall the new version will be 24ft x 10ft (until now it has covered 34ft x 8ft), but don’t worry – the original scenic section will remain as it always has including the complex double junction at the centre.
So far we haven’t made much physical progress with building work for the new yard, but plans have been drawn up and the original cassette yard boards are already in the workshop ready for stripping, modification, preparation, painting and track laying. A full day – not that easy to find! – will see the bulk of the preparation work done for the four boards which will go across the back and readied for track laying. Fortunately, we will be able to do that in sections rather than having to assemble the full layout as the workshop won’t accommodate 24ft in length.

A Class 73 enters the goods loop at the junction as a 2-BIL+2-HAL formation overtakes bound for the capital.

Allied to the storage yard changes will be introducing a second control system as we have done for Grosvenor Square. Gaugemaster Prodigy Advance controllers will handle locomotive driving while a pair of Hornby Elite controllers connected to RailMaster computer software will take over point operation segregating the two. This has worked exceptionally well on Grosvenor Square to the point where we wonder why we didn’t have the idea earlier.
Regular readers of the Staff Projects section will know that preparation of new rolling stock has already started with weathering of a Drummond ‘700’ 0-6-0, Maunsell ‘S15’ 4-6-0 and Class 71 from the Hornby stable while an air-smoothed ‘Merchant Navy’ is currently in the works for some special digital upgrades for a feature in Hornby Magazine Yearbook No. 10. We’re also excited that Kernow Model Rail Centre’s new 4-TC unit has just arrived in the office for review – see our full report in HM123, on sale August 10, meaning that we also need to prepare a push-pull fitted Class 33/1 to operate with it. The latter is already in the stock draws and models the only Class 33/1 to be carry BR green with small yellow warning panels – the rest all being turned out in BR blue following conversion from the Class 33/0 fleet.
There’s more too including, we hope, Kernow’s exclusive model of Bulleid diesel 10201 which should be arriving soon, and we’ve got a ‘USA’ 0-6-0T, Adams ‘Radial’ 4-4-2T, Beattie ‘0298’ 2-4-0WT and Adams ‘O2’ 0-4-4T to add to the roster along with new rolling stock like the Heljan Class B tankers, Hatton’s ‘Warwells’ and a rake of Hornby Maunsell 58ft non-corridor stock too.

A Bulleid ‘West Country’ with a parcels working passes a ‘Q1’ 0-6-0 on the approach to the junction.

The October deadline feels a little too close right now, but I’m sure with a bit of classic midnight oil burning we’ll be ready for the Great Electric Train Show with a brand new format for Twelve Trees and lots of new rolling stock too.

I hope you enjoy this latest post and if you have anything you would like to comment on, drop us a line to

Hornby Magazine Editor Mike Wild’s next blog will be live on August 18 2017 and you can expect more from Assistant Editor Mark Chivers on August 4 2017.

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