Wildwood Model Railway Group

by Roger Marler

This is a Canadian operational diorama that depicts Southern England circa 1960 in 4mm/00 scale (1:76). It is reflective of the Kent/Sussex countryside shortly after closure of many rural lines as a result of the Beeching Report. There is a twinned passenger line, and a single goods line serving a goods yard at one end and a village scene at the other.
Station The station end of the layout whilst set up at an exhibition on one of Calgary's Heritage Park Railway Days.

The layout is in the Roundhouse, it is about 5pm, and the early evening sun has caught the track outline wonderfully. The shot is from the end of "Board Nº1" which shows the goods yard, the single line running away from it up the incline, the passenger station area and the cross over line between the two.
Notice the step ladders that are used as both security and a viewing platform for young ones.

The passenger line is still owned by British Railways but it has a lot of Southern influences left over from the Grouping era. We run steam locomotives usually with 3 carriages, of either Southern Railways or from visiting independent lines, between two reversible cassettes, one cleverly hidden within the tunnel under the village scene, the other open to general view at the end of Platforms 1 & 2 of the main station.

The goods line is privately owned and depicts a railway scene undergoing early stages of preservation. The rolling stock here consists of shunting steam or diesel locomotives and some very old wagons. The purpose of the line is to serve the cottage industries in the village scene at the far end of the line.

Close-up view of the platforms area and the goods line, with a Terrier, Nº83 Earlswood, doing some shunting. Hope there won't be any sparks flying in the direction of the timber yard! Platforms
The goods yard has 4 shunting lines:
- 2 lines run into the engine shed
- 2 lines run into an open handling area
There is a 5th line which runs into Platform 3 at the main station. This line serves as a cross over to the passenger line. Because the two lines are owned and operated by two separate companies, special permission is required to run any train from one line onto the other.

Power for the entire diorama is 12 volt DC and is managed by 3 operators:
- 1 for passenger trains running from the tunnel cassette to the main station
- 1 for the goods line and yard and
- 1 for the village end of the layout.
All points are electrically controlled by Tortoisemotors so that we don't have to rely upon big hands getting in the way. There are 10 separate isolated tracks so that we can park a locomotive while another is run, or so that we can operate various shunting operations.

The buildings in the village scene are from Metcalfe or Hornby Skaledale ranges; all other buildings are scratch built, kit bashed, or card mock-ups awaiting scratch built replacements.
The whole diorama is made of six modules each built using plywood and two layers of thick rigid pink Styrofoam insulation boards. None of these modules weighs more than 20lbs, finished. Two modules were designed and built to fit into a Honda Civic; the others are designed and built to fit one at a time into a Mazda 3. The landscaping has been achieved by building a framework of off-cut pieces of the pink Styrofoam covered with Plaster of Paris bandages. All of this has been painted with an undercoat of brown or green and general scatter material has been glued on top. All is held in place with hair spray, to avoid it either moving or falling off during transportation. All trees are hand made.

It is our intention to eventually extend the layout so that it forms a continuous operational loop and so that we can run without having to use cassettes.

Village Closer view of the village area. Note the scaffolding against the end of the cottages in the middle.
The privately owned goods yard with evidence of early preservation moves - witness the tarpaulined vehicle. Goods Yard
Village Known as "Davesend on Ouse", this is the town scene at night.
Another view of the Wildwood Goods Yard. Goods Yard
Village This scene is modelled on the Bluebell's lineside hut fire of Autumn 2009, as per Bluebell News.
Another of the Goods Yard with a grounded Bulleid tender much in evidence. Goods Yard
Village Here is a 1920/30s Morgan Aero that forms part of a 3 wheeler meet at the Tudor pub.

All photographs are copyright

This page was last updated 18 May 2011

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