Jim Allwood’s layout was originally constructed by well-known 2mm finescale modeller Bill Rankin as representing a through station on the London, Chatham & Dover main line in the latter days of the Southern Railway, “Welton Down” is now firmly set in the period around June 1991, just prior to the demise of the air-braked “Speedlink” service. This allows for most ex-Southern Region diesel and electric stock (plus the occasional visiting steam charter) and represents the final swansong of Network South East. The regular diet of first generation EMUs is interspersed by a steady flow of freight heading for the Channel Ports (diverted from the Tonbridge route due to upgrading for the Channel Tunnel) and holiday traffic for the Kent Coast.
The branch to the nearby town of Welton and beyond closed a couple of years previously, and is now in the hands of the North Downs Preservation Society. Their main base is at Welton but various items of rolling stock are stored at the junction and a shuttle service with both preserved diesel and steam locos operates in the summer months.
The buildings are modelled on those still exant at places along the LC&DR, like Sole Street, Adisham, Shepherdswell and Farningham Road.
Built prior to the introduction of “Easitrac”, all trackwork is handbuilt, using rail and PCB sleepers obtained from the 2mm Scale Association shops. Turnouts are controlled by H&M point motors but with separate microswitches to change the polarity at the vees. The original 2 x 8 road fiddle yard has been replaced with a cassette system, to enable longer trains to be handled and to facilitate a quicker setting up and breaking down at exhibitions. At present, most of the loco’s and stock are Graham Farish and Dapol items, detailed and converted with finescale wheels, but a programme of kit building is slowly replacing the worst examples.
More detailed descriptions of the layout have appeared in the summer 2006 edition of “Modern Railway Modelling” (now defunct); Issue No.192 of “Model Railway Journal” and the April 2015 edition of “British Railway Modelling”.