BLOG: ‘O’ gauge progress

Photo: A Class 31 heads along the back straight and passes a Class 08 with 'Catfish' ballast hoppers.


The Hornby Magazine ‘O’ gauge test track has taken a back seat from the limelight lately, but that doesn’t mean it hasnt’ been worked on – its just that Topley Dale has been taking centre stage.

Alongside the regeneration of the ‘OO’ layout, the ‘O’ gauge has been raised as part of the movement to the new workshop making it much more comfortable to work on. One of the bigger jobs which we have undertaken is installation of LED lighting specifically for the ‘O’ gauge which is independent of the main room lights. This was greatly needed by the lower level and it has made it much better to view and work on too. The lighting used is clip together under cabinet lighting usually used in kitchens.

A Heljan Class 37 enters the junction section scenic area with a goods working. The new lighting can be seen above.

In combination, the raising of the layout the lighting has really enhance the experience of running the layout and we’ve also had custom made white backdrop cloths made to keep the outside world behind the layout out of view during photography and video production.

The addition of the back drop has also seen a change of face for the junction section too – it is now viewed from the inside of the operating well rather than the outside. With this we have also repositioned the retaining wall to the rear of the scene (it still needs painting) while a new order has been placed to extend the retaining wall along the full length of one side using more of Intentio’s laser cut products. To complete this area the KS Laser Design bridge has been raised permanently on a pair of cut to shape 9mm plywood sections to counter the Woodland Scenics underlay used under the track. Plus a back scene board from white faced hardboard has been added behind the bridge together with two sections of curved foam board to create a scenic break around the curves at the end.

All these jobs have been tackled in short bursts between other activity, but we have avoided doing anything too permanent while track laying and point motor hole drilling continues on the ‘OO’ gauge layout above. In fact, we’ve probably spent more time cleaning the ‘O’ gauge than we have running it. There is also an ongoing project to rewire the ‘OO’ gauge layout which is making the appearance of the underside of the boards progressively neater.

The diesel depot will provide an ideal home for ‘O’ gauge motive power.

On the opposite side we’ve been making decisions about what comes next for the track plan. A diesel depot/stabling point is proposed to sit at the front of this board using a previously installed point as the entrance. Most of the track is already available except for the addition of a double slip which needs to be added to extend the siding lengths to their best effect.

New paintwork including a double slip is proposed here to allow trains from the inner circuit to run into the goods loop.

We are also looking at installing a second double slip on the outer main line to allow more flexibility in changing trains between circuits. It won’t be prototypical, but it will be practical as it will allow a train from the inner circuit to be driven across the outer main line and into the goods loop and then, at the junction side with the retaining walls, it will be able to cross back to the inner main line from the goods loop using the already operational double slip.

A Heljan Class 31 leads a goods past the future site of the diesel depot.

Keep watching here and in Staff Projects to see the latest on Hornby Magazine’s layout projects.

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