Warley Model Railway Club

Railway modelling in most scales and gauges

Warley Model Railway Club, Unit 1F Pearsall Drive, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 2RA

Registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Charity No: 1153792

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Hortus Halt - G

The concept of the layout is not a model railway as such. It is an attempt to capture the essence of a garden railway in an exhibition layout and do our bit to encourage others out into the garden. This explains why it has so much grass on it.

The baseboards are made from Styrofoam. This is mainly because none of us are getting any younger and we wanted to build lightness into the boards. The Styrofoam experiment looks like being a success. The boards are very light and easy to carry; the track weighs more than the baseboards. As well as being lighter Styrofoam boards cost less to make than conventional timber framed ply baseboards. Issues relating to point motors and wiring could arise using the same technique in smaller scales.

One problem with large layouts is that you need a van to transport them which makes them expensive to get to exhibitions. This layout, which is 16 ft by 10ft will fit into the back of one hatchback. A second hatchback is needed to carry the stock! This means that we are a low cost layout for exhibition managers which is a very good thing.

The inner circuit will use radio controlled track power. There will be a hand held transmitter throttle and an R/C receiver built into the baseboard. There maybe some mileage in this principle for other layouts. The cost of this system will be £75 which is pretty good value.

G scale buildings are expensive so we will scratch build some but not all. We will also bring buildings along from our own garden railways to use on this layout at exhibitions. This will save costs to the club. At exhibitions we may also have some plants on the layout in order to give the proper garden feel.

The layout is now called Hortus Halt – Hortus being latin for garden.

Hortus Halt will be under construction in the main club floor during the first half of 2017, although it may well be moved for the open days. The first exhibition will be the NEC show 2017. We also have two exhibition invitation proposals for 2018 so it looks like the layout will earn its keep by representing Warley at other shows.

It has been said, usually by O gauge modellers, that G scale is not proper modelling. Due to the concept of the layout mentioned above the scenery development will deliberately not be to finescale  model standards but there will be a good proportion of modelling on show with this layout. When at exhibitions there will be a number of scratchbuilt, heavily modified and kitbuilt models running on this layout. Some of these might be a little zany and some will be serious models. There will also be ready to run track powered and live steam locos running along with locos converted to battery power  radio control – rather like what you get at a garden railway open day.