Albion Quarry – Scale 7mm: 1ft

This layout by Bob Alderman has now been sold and moved to Vancouver, Canada.



Albion Quarry is located at the end of a now Freight Only branch off the ex-LNWR Bletchley-Oxford line. The branch has been curtailed from its original route of the LNWR to link with the Great Central at Aylesbury. Now under the LMS it is showing some prosperity from the renewed working of Albion Quarry. The layout depicts the end of the line at a Portland stone quarry. The branch is fictitious but the existence of Portland stone at this location is fact, but it was never quarried.


The quarry is undergoing a period of exceptional prosperity and has recently changed its haulage from horses to locomotives. It has been assumed that the quarry is owned by one of the Portland companies in Dorset. This allows the use of wagons based on the Merchant’s Railway on Portland and other machinery from the Island. The two lines shown, the quarry and branch are independent and only meet within the works. The stone is extracted from the quarry and travels to the works where it is transferred to the branch vehicles. From here it goes worldwide.


The object of the layout is to illustrate the quarrying of “dimension stone”, which is stone intended for construction or elaborate mason’s work. In this case it is Portland limestone. The limestone has “joints” between the blocks, cracks that occurred shortly after the lime sediment was laid down and was becoming the stone now being quarried. These are exploited to help remove the stone. They are also responsible for the stepped characteristics of the quarry.  The stone is transferred to the small wagons on the quarry line. These are based on horse-drawn examples of the Portland Merchant’s Railway. The wagons are loaded and unloaded by scotch derricks. There is a steam-powered example in the quarry. The stone is lifted by the use of a “quarry dog” that grips the block as the weight is borne. The works shows an example of an early circular saw; a later frame saw. There is a mason’s yard were detail stone cutting is carried out. Both finished work and stone blocks are transferred within the interchange shed for distribution to the wider world. Only the LSWR, later SR, had a special wagon for Portland stone traffic. There are a couple in SR liveries. Other railways relied on standard vehicles and loaded more lightly!


Construction Details

The layout is built on 9mm ply baseboards. The track of the branch is from C&L components. The quarry line is Code 75 flat bottom rail spiked to ply sleepers. Both are to 32mm gauge. Tortoise motors operate points.

As originally constructed the layout was wired for conventional DC control. It has now been modified to use DCC with the Lenz system. For the moment DCC is not used. The scenery has been constructed from card and overlain with newsprint and finished with artex. It has been finished with artist’s acrylic paints, Woodland Scenics and Heki fibre grass. All the structures are scratch built, mainly from plasticard. Rolling stock is all kit built. The small quarry wagons are cast in white metal from my own patterns (and are now part of the ABS range). Two different coupling systems are used, Alex Jackson on the branch and H0 scale Kadee’s in the quarry.


Technical  Details


  • The scenic area is 12’ long by 3’9” wide, plus the fiddle yard.
  • Overall dimension 19’ long x 4’ wide.
  • The track level is 3’ 9” above the floor. The top of the lighting unit is 6’9” above the floor.
  • A space for the operators and stock storage is required behind.
  • 2 tables 6’ x 3’ from the venue would be helpful.
  • The layout is self-supporting on tubular steel legs. It has an integral lighting system.
  • The drapes that surround the layout have been treated with a fire retardant that conforms to BS5867 Pt. 2. The drapes are approximately 50mm clear of the floor.
  • No barriers are provided.

“Albion Quarry” appeared as Railway of the Month in the January 2007 edition of the Railway Modeller