Robert Clark started building his brilliant model railway layout, Clydebridge Station, back in 2018. It’s complete with local businesses, a rugby ground, a memorial to his mum, 20 locomotives and lots more. Take a look here…
A bit about Robert
Robert Clark has been interested in the railways since he was a child. The infants building at his primary school, Denend Primary, had classroom windows with the railway visible, so seeing trains pass by sparked his interest.
Then in 1989, his mum, one day, got him a copy of a magazine, Motive Power Monthly. The magazine ran until December 1991 and he had a copy bought for him every month, until is ceased publication. MPM was produced by Ian Allan, and was the Rail Express of its day.
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As a child, Robert had some train sets, but as he grew up he started to lose interest in the modelling side of things. That was until, on YouTube, he saw Dean Park Station and in 2016 he bought an 8×6 shed to try and build an analogue layout, Glasgow City, before ripping it up, and starting again in 2018 with Clydebridge…
Clydebridge Station is set in a fictional town, in South Lanarkshire in 1990, the town comprising a population of about 70’000 people, on the fringes of industrial Lanarkshire. The layout was built as a replacement for an analogue layout, using 30 year old, poor quality track, and has been in construction since January 2018.
The location is chosen because, in 2017, my late mum, who came from Lanarkshire, found some family in Stepps, and so Lanarkshire is the location, as a tribute to them. The era the layout is set in is 1990, as that’s when I progressed from Primary school to High School, and was the time I really took a greater interest in railways as well. Even then, it was a very colourful era.
The line Clydebridge sits on would be at a Y shape, with the left hand fork going to East Kilbride, and the right hand fork to Hamilton west. Services consist of Scotrail local services to Glasgow central, two an hour via East Kilbride, two an hour via Hamilton and Motherwell. There’s also an hourly push pull service to Edinburgh Waverley, via Motherwell and Shotts, and an hourly service to Perth via Stirling. Four times a day, there’s a regional railways express service to Newcastle via Carlisle, and a regional railways Trans Pennine service, hourly to Preston, and then either to Manchester Airport or Liverpool Lime Street every two hours.
Intercity provide a two hourly service to London Euston via Crewe, and a once a day service to Penzance, as well as the overnight sleeper to Euston, with a motorail facility as well. There are a number of parcels trains a day, one two and from Newcastle via Carlisle, one from Edinburgh and back, one from Glasgow central and back and one from Perth and back. Scotrail and regional railways use platforms 1-4, Intercity and parcels 5 and 6, the parcels stock is shunted from 5 into 6.
The layout is in an 8×6 shed, and is OO gauge. This does restrict trains to just three coaches, however, interest is maintained with the light engine and ECS movements on the main bit of the layout. I own twenty locomotives. There’s one Hornby loco on the layout, 08673 in Intercity executive livery, whilst the other 19 locos are all class 47s! I chose to do this, as the 47 is my favourite locomotive, and as a child I had two on my old bedroom layout!
The majority of the 47s are Bachmann, however five of the 47s are Lima ones, which were analogue, but have been converted to DCC by staff at Scoonie Hobbies in Kirkcaldy, except 47712, in Parcels Red, which was already DCC fitted when I bought it. The 47s carry various liveries, and indeed the class 47 liveries of the five BR business sectors are all represented on the layout, as is the civil engineering department.
Terminal stations have always fascinated me, particularly videos of London Euston and Paddington, in the days of locomotive hauled trains, and so a terminal station was chosen here, with the movement of locos to and from the depot or fiddle yard adding interest.
The layout consists of a six platform terminal station, with platform 6 being the shorter one in length, and having a Motorail ramp. The layout is DCC, which is useful for a terminal station, allowing one loco to couple up to stock, with another loco trapped at the buffers. These tracks converge into two lines, with a crossover, and a junction into the small depot and sidings. There’s a reception siding, where ECS comes into, and a reversing siding, where the 08 will often sit when not required, but which is also used for the 08 to pull the stock in from the reception siding, before shunting it into one of the three holding sidings.
The depot area has a locomotive siding where a fuelling point exists, as well as across from it, a loco maintenance shed and two other locomotive holding sidings. The depot car park also plays host to a depot building, and the signalbox, both these buildings and the loco shed are by Bachmann. The retaining wall in the depot replaced a woodland scenics shaper sheet. The retaining wall, and the greyboards they’re stuck onto, all came from Scale Model Scenery. Originally, I had used gravel which I painted grey for the walkways, but this has been replaced by SMS concrete sheets, stuch onto greyboard, likewise with the depot hardstanding.
At the station itself, there’s a ticket office, and a little gated storage yard for BR staff to store things. Further along the concourse, I bought a Bachmann waiting room and toilet, removed the signs, and made it a branch of WH Smith, with correct logo for 1989/90, and a Parcels point. People may wonder why I’ve chosen WH Smith, who were not represented in Scotland until they bought the retail arm of John Menzies in the late 1990s. The answer is simple, they’re my employers! Lights are non operational, due to the fiddle yard below preventing me installing extra wiring, but the platform lights came from P&D marsh, whilst an eBay seller, Eagle one, supplied the station nameboards. Scale Model Scenery provided the departures board.
The planters on the platforms are to my own design, based on ones I’ve seen in a video at Watford Junction, and were made using surplus parts of Scale Model Scenery walling.
Across from the station is a rugby union ground entrance, and this was chosen based on Skegness, where the cricket club is near the station. Rugby Union is my favourite sport, so to have a ground across from the station was something different. The rugby union ground has a couple of adverts, denoting the team sponsor, Wrangler, my favourite clothing brand, and is based on Starks Park in Kirkcaldy, home of Raith Rovers FC.
The south side of the layout, where the station is, had an old style retaining wall, but in 2022 this was replaced with new backscenes from Gaugemaster, and new retaining wall from Scale model scenery. The replacement retail park consists of both scratch built units by myself, using SMS parts, and a Gaugemaster Fordhampton supermarket. This came branded as Aldi, but I rebranded it as a Scotmid Co-op, as it’s the local co-op society in Lanarkshire in real life, and my late dad’s first job was with the Co-op, when he left school in 1946.
The low relief shopping centre is to my own design, and was built using parts from Scale model scenery, and the shop names were simple internet searches, before printing them off and sticking them where the windows would be. To build the shopping centre, I had to put grey board on the wall, then run two layers of grey board to create the first floor and ground floor, along with pillars to support the front of the centre. All this was then allowed to set, before the shopping centre front was glued on, and finally it was named “The Postings”, after a shopping centre in a nearby town to me, Kirkcaldy, which has recently closed down. The centre also has a large Strathclyde Transport sign, as there would be a bus station, hidden from view.
The main street scene covers over the ramp, which takes trains to and from the lower ground fiddle yard. The street scene is one sided, with a wall running along the non pavement side, and a little alcove for a bus shelter. The road surface itself was a hard job, the first two attempts, using card surfacing just didn’t look right, so I instead painted it black using matt paint, and then the road markings, and pavements, came from scale model scenery. One issue with the pavements, is that I glued them with Pritt stick, when I should have used UHU glue. I’ve made sure I used UHU for all other SMS items!
The majority of the buildings on the street scene are Bachmann ones, but two are to my own design. One of these is the TV rental shop, using spare bits from building the low relief rugby union ground. The other is the Quadrant park nightclub, a low relief building made from Balsa wood in 2020, and based on the long demolished Club Era in Kirkcaldy.
One thing on the waste area on the street scene merits mention, and that is a small, fenced off light coloured patch, with three flowers on. This is a small bit of my mums ashes, from when she died in August 2021. She was the driving force behind me ripping my old layout up, and starting afresh, and I decided she should be on the layout, and thus there with me when I’m at it! A small sign gives her year of birth and death as well, and I may install a very small photo of her in future as well.
Some of the buildings have been rebranded, the banks as Royal Bank of Scotland, and Natwest, and the Marrs menswear shop as Slaters, to add a bit of realism to the layout. In addition, the industrial backscene shows Clydebridge as being on the edge of the industrial area of Lanarkshire, and google streetview images allow streets to carry on as it were.
Under the street scene is the two track ramp, which at the open end of the layout, becomes a single track, and heads round to a complex fiddle yard. One long siding is for the push pull train, and there are two holding sidings on the north side, and various loco storage tracks, and some 6 rolling stock coaching sidings underneath the layout. I actually push the coaches by hand into these sidings, as there’s not enough space to uncouple the stock from the locos in there, but there is on the two sidings on the north bit.
One challenge I do face is keeping stock and track clean, and for the track I’ve been using Track magic, but in the future I may invest in a Hornby track cleaning coach for the ramp, as that’s a bit harder to clean. Sometimes a derailment on the ramp can cause problems, with me having to, carefully, stick my hand under the top baseboards to get things back on track, as it were. Track cleaning has led to trains working better up the ramp, and I’ve also found using more power has helped as well from the Hornby elite controller.
The next step, for 2023, is to improve the tunnel mouth, and tunnel walls, which will be done using SMS brick sheets. Completion of the walkways for staff from the depot to the platforms will be next, and I’ll also be looking at repairing the platform surfaces, and installing more, non operational, lights at the platform ends, replacing the rather tall ones currently employed. These tall ones have a tendency to wobble about and damage the surface, and so will be replaced by ones that are smaller in height.
More, non-operational, signals, which will be better looking, will also be sourced at some point, and some streetview images for the retail park areas will be installed. I’m also going to install a wall along the track at platform 6, to make it look more finished than currently, and also to possibly install a couple of advertising hoardings. There is every chance by 2024 this layout may be complete!
Here’s a list of the 20 locomotives Robert owns, their make, and livery:
- 08673 – Piccadilly – Intercity executive – Hornby
- 47346 – Civil engineer dutch – Bachmann
- 47406 – Rail Riders – Intercity executive – Lima
- 47436 – Large logo blue – Bachmann
- 47444 – University of Nottingham – Large logo blue – Bachmann
- 47461 – Charles rennie mackintosh – Scotrail blue stripe – Bachmann
- 47474 – Sir Rowland Hill – Parcels red and grey – Bachmann
- 47475 – Trans Pennine – Bachmann
- 47535 – University of Leicester – Large Logo Blue – Bachmann
- 47550 – University of Dundee – Mainline – Bachmann
- 47569 – The Gloucestershire Regiment – Parcels red and Grey – Lima
- 47599 – Railfreight Metals – Bachmann
- 47628 – Sir Daniel Gooch – GWR150 green – Bachmann
- 47676 – Northamptonshire – Intercity swallow – Lima
- 47701 – Old Oak Common Traction and Rolling Stock depot – Network Southeast revised – Bachmann
- 47708 – Waverley – Scotrail Blue Stripe – Bachmann
- 47712 – Lady Diana Spencer – Parcels red and grey – Lima
- 47832 – Tamar – unbranded intercity swallow – Bachmann
- 47834 – Fire Fly – Intercity Swallow – Bachmann
- 47835 – Windsor Castle – Intercity swallow – Bachmann
Clydebridge station has it’s own Facebook page, as well as Twitter (@ClydebridgeSta2) and YouTube. Take a look at Robert’s running layout here: Clydebridge Station – YouTube
Many thanks to Robert Clark for sending in the details of his fantastic model railway! Have you got one to show off? Fill out the form on our website.
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