I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief as I type as our brand new ‘OO’ gauge exhibition layout, West Coast Cement, which is debuting at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition this weekend (November 24/25 2018) is now complete, packed and loaded into the van ready for the journey to the NEC in Birmingham.
Its been a fraught couple of weeks in the lead up to the show as even as recently as the beginning of this month the scenery wasn’t quite complete and there was no storage yard for this rather larger 20ft x 10ft layout either.
Fortunately we have been able to be cunning and use four boards from Twelve Trees Junction’s large storage yard as the starting point. These gave us one end and two straight boards for the rear, but we still needed one more straight 4ft long section plus two boards to make up the other corner. One of these came from the now redundant Shortley Bridge storage yard – much of that layout has been used the building of West Coast Cement – while the remaining two were built from new.
This has given up an 11 road, 20ft long storage yard offering five tracks in each direction plus one spare line to serve the cement works operation which should give us space for at least 20-25 trains. Its going to be great to get it all working and we will be bringing you an in depth feature on the storage yard’s design and construction in a future issue of Hornby Magazine.
The new layout is also very different from what we have built before. It models the West Coast Main Line in the 1995-2005 period – a fascinating time on the railway as British Rail’s sectors gave way to privatisation. We’ve been revelling in creating the trains and detailing locomotives specially for the layout, but as with any project of this size its debut has been down to the wire.
The last few days have seen late nights in the workshop pulling together the final elements of the layout as well as checking over and detailing rolling stock. In fact as late as Tuesday evening the final yards of track were added on the storage yard boards while wiring of the point motors and track was only completed on Wednesday evening followed by a brief test on Thursday morning which revealed one broken wire.
However, the hard work isn’t over. We’ve never assembled the layout in full and when we arrive at the NEC today it will be all hands on deck to ensure that its assembly goes smoothly so that we can begin fully testing all of our hard work.
We won’t be alone though as the annual Warley show promises more than 90 layouts including two from the recent Channel 5 television series the Great Model Railway Challenge. Bachmann’s stand will be hosting the winning layout City of Tiers while Hornby Hobbies will have the winner from the final heat, Clucas Bay, on its stand. We’re looking forward to seeing these TV Stars first hand at the NEC and so much more.
Of course Warley is also the land of model announcements and we’ve already seen what Heljan is serving up. There is bound to be more and we will be providing a full round up of the new releases and latest samples in HM139 – on sale December 13 2018 – together with highlights on the Hornby Magazine website over the weekend.
We hope you enjoy this little taste of our recent work on West Coast Cement and look forward to switching the layout on for all the show’s visitors on Saturday morning. See you there!