Layout: The Sidings


Seeking to construct a new but easily manageable ‘OO’ gauge exhibition layout, Nick Gurney describes how he was inspired to create a modern day stabling point that draws heavily on the sidings found alongside York station. Photography by John Humphries.

THE Sidings is my third exhibition layout after Dyserth Road and Holland Park, both of which have featured in Rail Express Modeller in the past.

Looking far larger than its actual 1ft width, the effect being aimed for with The Sidings is amply illustrated in this gathering of DRS locomotives. No. 37405 has recently arrived on the stabling point, where it has joined stablemates No. 57307 Lady Penelope in its special 20th anniversary livery and next generation motive power No. 68005 Defiant.

My container terminal layout Holland Park did around 10 exhibitions but I soon started to lose interest due to the logistics of exhibiting it. It was by no means a large layout, but at 24ft in length, it was a lot of effort and those of you on the exhibition circuit know it can be hard and stressful work at times.

Having to get two or three other operators to get time off work to help operate, along with the hassle of hiring a van, I had had enough and retired Holland Park and, in fact, I lost my modelling mojo altogether.

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I still visited a couple of exhibitions and started getting interested in small layouts; Oil Drum Lane and Hendre Lane among others particularly inspired me. I started to research small layouts on the Internet and decided that downsizing was the way forward. I wanted to build something that was well presented with integrated lights and easy to transport, and which would showcase my loco fleet in a prototypical setting.

I had my own small van so as long as the layout and all the paraphernalia associated with exhibiting would fit in, I would be happy. This meant I was restricted to a length of about five foot, which was fine as I did not want to go too big or have several baseboards with joints; the simpler the better really.

Read more in the June issue of RE – on sale now!

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