Last month “Evercreech New” was dismantled and the track and rear scenic boards of “The Summit” were re-erected in its place. However, the board containing Prestleigh Viaduct was deliberately left accessible so more scenic work could be carried out on it. How prescient was that! Out of the blue, we were invited to take “Evercreech New” to an exhibition at the Bath and West Showground in early April. The main purpose of this exhibition is to show off “Heaton Lodge Junction”, a huge 7mm scale model of said place, which is north east of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. However, unlike its first solo outing in Wakefield last December, the owner Simon George has decided to show it with other layouts. Given the venue, a mainly S&D theme was chosen. Consequently, Evercreech New will be there, along with a superb 4mm rendition of Bournemouth West, other layouts and well known model traders.

The scenic work on Prestleigh Viaduct has gone into overdrive, with only five weeks or so to the (three day) show. Good old fashioned papier-mache ,chicken wire and cardboard is coming to the fore and lots of old newspaper being gobbled up in the process. It’s a team effort with everyone mucking in. The Holly Junction gang will be majoring in grass and hedges, Allan on the farm module, Pete C on running repairs to existing scenery and miles of fencing, snd Rob G is doing the huge backscene boards. Ed, Dean, Christopher, Konrad and others will produce the vital scenic substructure, Steve a model of Normans’ Bridge which will mask the fiddle yard entry, Keith will look over the pointwork, and Dave S will make sure we have all the necessary DCC equipment lined up and ready. Given our scenic ambitions for Prestleigh Viaduct, we are unlikely to have time for a test run before the exhibition, but then we do have a whole day before the show to set up and get it all working again.

The exit to the fiddle yard will be the twin portal Normans’ Bridge a substantial structure some 60′ long, so on the way to being a tunnel. The first overbridge north (Whitstone Lane) was not typically S&D so the next one along was chosen, the left portal being added when the line was doubled. The Normans are the local farmers who still farm the land around the cutting that they filled in, and live nearby. Your editor likes to imagine that there continues to be an army of them (hence Normans’). Farmer Norman at the time the bridge was built insisted that a six foot high solid wooden fence should be built along the top of the bridge embankment to stop his cattle having ‘kittens’ at the sight of the trains, and the fence was there right to the end. The mostly MDF carcass that Steve has made is pictured above. Clearances on the S&D were quite tight, so a test was carried out to check that the tall chimneys on our 7F 2-8-0s will not get chopped off by this unforgiving structure.

Dave Haines has started making some trees, using twisted wire and sisal string to thicken it up, coated with PVA/Polyfilla mix and painted with acrylics – mostly burned umber, greys and green. They represent trees about 60 feet high:

Next up some pictures of Holly Junction.  Never let it be said that the Gang of Four ever waste any baseboard space – it is action everywhere, usually with lights on - great fun!

This castle is spectacular – all railway layouts should have one!

Jim’s 2mm finescale “working diorama” is due to appear at the Warley Show in late November as part of the belated Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the 2mm Scale Association – it was formed in 1960. They have their own event at the Derby Conference Centre in June, but Warley MRC offered them a “show within a show” by inviting some of the best 2mm layouts around. As Jim says “Somehow they even included mine!”

Although late November is a long way away, the full details are required by the organisers by late March, so Jim had to quickly put a lot of it together, including some idea of what is going to be in the second diorama, which shares the cassette fiddle yard with the original one. The photos below show what has been achieved so far.

Above is the original diorama that appeared at “Railwells” in August 2019. For six years, Jim worked on the 13th floor of the tower block on the LH side!

The lower exit from the fiddle yard (just behind the 2mm FS logo) needs a visual blocker so Jim rummaged around in his drawers for a suitable building, and came across a Langley etched LNWR signal box, part built. Although it seemed unlikely a freight yard would have a fully fledged box, rather than just a shunt frame, it was ideal to fit between the first and second track. The photo below shows the pieces, including an etch of levers, along with a £1 coin for size comparison. The real anoraks will notice that the levers do not have the traditional LNWR hoop shaped catches!

Bringing up the rear are a couple of views of Steve’s completed model of a LSWR Type 1 signal platform mounted box in its full pre-grouping glory with frame exposed and valancing.

And the 3D model of the Stevens frame to go in it.

There is a thread covering the design process on RMWeb for those who would like to know more: RMWeb 3D Model of LSWR Type 1 Signal Box

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