CHURCH HISLOP: A BIG ATTRACTION IN A SMALL BOX. ALLEGEDLY
The compact N gauge exhibition layout Church Hislop – my first as a joint project – was built in response to a number of requirements apparent in the Gloucestershire railway modelling arena of mid 2013.
The first of these was the success of Phil and James Bullock’s 00 gauge layout Abbotswood (pictured below) at the Cheltenham GWR Modeller’s Exhibition of April that year. Although taking up a large amount of floor space, this DCC operated representation of the site just south of Worcester where the ex LMS Gloucester to Birmingham line is joined by a chord from Norton Junction on the ex GWR Worcester to Oxford line proved to be easily the most popular exhibit. In the picture below are two diesel hydraulic Class 35 Hymeks, one on a freight train and another in a siding, with an equivalent diesel electric Type 3 Class 37. Ahead of it is a 350 bhp Class 08 shuneter, another English Electric product.
The popularity of Abbotswood was not least because trains – obeying working semaphore signals and fitted with sound chips – arrived in and departed from the visible part of the layout with great frequency. In fact, allowing for time to marvel at the high standard of scenic workmanship as well as the diversity of the trains themselves, there was never a dull moment!
Also highly regarded by the visiting public was Canterbury Model Railway Society’s N gauge layout Dydley Junction, pictured below, and designed to allow the through running of realistic length trains, a station, goods yard and engine servicing facilities, the ability to justify two railway companies and two trains running at once – all in a space of 4′ x 2′ 6″ courtesy of two PECO live frog double slips.
Once again, the standard of scenic modelling on this layout was extremely high – reflecting the overall rise in quality at St Margaret’s Hall over recent decades. However, one piece of feedback from the exhibition suggested that although showmanship and attention to detail were still important parts of the visitor experience, the operation of familiar end-to-end layouts was not considered exciting enough by some younger patrons.
This presented something of a dilemma – potentially for all show organisers – as the end-to-end format has come to dominate exhibition layouts during the last 40 years. Developed as a reaction to the “train set on a board” paradigm of some of the earliest exhibition layouts an end-to-end layout (as typified by Windrush, below) avoids trains having to negotiate unrealistic 180 degree curves and also the need for the resulting corners to be filled in with fragmented scenery.
Similarly, running trains from a passenger station and/or goods terminus through a narrow band of scenery to a fiddle yard of some kind allows longer trains to be run and, from an exhibition manager’s point of view, maximises layout frontage in a hall for a minimum of depth, thereby allowing more layouts per exhibition.
However, by its very nature, the end to end layout does not lend itself to high speed running or, with exceptions such as my own four-platform modern image airport based Terminal 1, to a high frequency of train arrivals and departures. As such, the emphasis for both constructors and viewers is on the quality of the scenery and the quality and historic nature trains involved.
This is not to say however that circuit type layouts have been abandoned in modern exhibitions – one very attractive “roundie” being Peter Cullen’s “Mannin Middle”. However, this exception tends to prove the rule as it is in 009 format and depicts part of the naturally curving Isle of Man narrow gauge railway network. Although trains are fairly frequent, they move with realistic sloth and the scenery – wrapped round the operator in the centre – still has to have a hidden section – seen here with a a bridge and sky board as a scenic break – so that trains can be prepared.
Although future railway exhibition modelling will continue to be a broad church of formats and scales, a requirement was thus identified for a new layout that would appeal both to those who were already happy with the end-to-end format and all that it could offer and also to younger viewers who wanted more frequent train movements.
In addition to the fast rotation of trains, a circuit type layout would also have the capacity to test and continuously “run in” motive power away from exhibitions, especially if it only comprised one self-contained baseboard for ease of setting up. However, as a downside, such a layout would have the inbuilt disadvantage of having to contain the diameters of two 180 degree curves – resulting in both length limitations and a specific minimum width which would have implications for storage and transportation.
Given that Abbotswood was a sectional 00 gauge layout too large to fit in a small hatchback car, thoughts of realising a new layout to turned to N gauge, as exemplified by both Dydley Junction and David Westwood’s Marsh Chipping, as seen above.
As mentioned earlier too, I had previously worked with N gauge to maximise train lengths and room for airliners with Terminal 1 – but by early 2013 I lacked the space at home to store another layout : which I had estimated would need to be at least 22 inches wide to comfortably accommodate trains negotiating Bachmann radius 1 curves and no more than 64 inches long to fit into the back of the Rover 25 I was driving at the time.
Having used scenic structures such as platforms and retaining walls to strengthen the rail module of Terminal 1, building a box like structure for the new layout on top of a sheet of 18mm MDF was not so great a challenge, especially as I could use this mode of construction to keep both the tight curves and manually operated PECO SL-395/6 points out of the scenic area visible to spectators. Indeed, as can be seen from the picture above, the new layout would have to be robust as the only place left to build it was in my garage – and even then it would have to be moved out of the way whenever I needed to use my car.
As I had discovered on earlier projects though, strong layouts could often turn into layouts too heavy to easily lift, so I decided on a maximum height of seven inches from bottom to top (excluding the removable sky background) which gave enough room for explanatory graphics on either side of the scenic section and also enough hand clearance from the back for the operator to reach in and actuate the points or clear a derailed train. In fact the empty semi-circles formed by the two radius 1 curves also house the power controller (analogue in the original design but rapidly convertible to equivalent Bachmann DCC equipment) while having enough room for leaflets or a mug of tea on a coaster!
Not wishing to compromise these storage possibilities – and mindful of Colin’s wish to store other items on top of the new layout – I covered the two curves with square lids made from stiffened 2mm MDF. These were easily removable in case of major malfunctions or engineering work and also lent themselves to hardstanding for 1/144 scale aircraft.
As was proved by Terminal 1 as well as my Airfield Embankment and Universal Works layouts, parts of airfields are a great way of both using up otherwise redundant space on a model railway layout as well as adding interest for a whole different demographic. In fact when Universal Works saluted English Electric in 2010 so many people were telling me stories about their experiences with Lightnings and Canberras that I had to stop running trains! More specifically, the two lids on the new layout were just the right size for a number of 1/144 scale military aircraft from the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection, including Vickers Valiant XD818 seen above.
Being able to include such aircraft models would increase the new layout’s appeal to a range of presentational opportunities too – and also helped define the choice of back story, especially given that as well as a through road at the back – curved inward to help even out flange wear – there were only two rather short loops for storing trains.
As has been discussed elsewhere on this website, the prosecution of the Second World War resulted in England being covered in a great many airfields – not only as front line fighter and bomber stations but for transport aircraft and gliders, maintenance units and as relief landing grounds. After 1945 many of these reverted to farm land or were turned to civil aviation or industrial use while others were kept on either as major RAF and Royal Navy bases or as semi-dormant diversionary and training aerodromes.
A classic instance of this is RAF Fairford, extremely busy during the annual Royal International Air Tattoo weekend but otherwise quiet unless the United States Air Force needs to station bomber or reconnaissance aircraft in south east Gloucestershire. It is not even now used as a possible diversionary landing ground for NASA’s Space Shuttle!
Prior to the introduction of the Royal Navy’s Polaris submarine fleet in 1970 however, still-maintained but under used wartime aerodromes had another more specific role as dispersed locations for the nuclear armed V-bombers of the Royal Air Force. Like the USAF B-47s seen at RAF Brize Norton in the delightful film above, Britain’s Valiants, Victors and Vulcans relied on the long concrete runways of bases whose locations were well known to Soviet Military Intelligence and which were vulnerable to surprise attack by intercontinental ballistic missiles. To counter this threat, V-bombers would often take tours of duty away from their main bases with the crews living in temporary accommodation near to their aircraft. Such remote airfields could also be visited by piston engined Beagle Basset aircraft acting as flying taxis and supply vans.
In the same way, it would not be impossible for other military or civil aircraft to land at such secondary airfields, either for flight testing operations or in case of emergencies.
Research for the building of Terminal 1 also revealed that many military and civil airfields have close associations with railways, but what finally helped turn the new N gauge circuit layout into Church Hislop was some background data for Ming Ing, seen left with the Class 04 diesel mechanical 0-6-0 known as Lord Wenlock on a fictional branch of the Derwent Valley Light Railway.
Although it had just about closed down by the time that I arrived in York as a student in 1980, the Derwent Valley Light Railway – never Grouped or Nationalised – caught my imagination and so I was keen to include it on Ming Ing along with the City Walls and River Foss. However, it was only when Stewart Blencowe sold me some photographs of Layerthorpe station along with a copy of S.J. Reading’s Oakwood Press book “The Derwent Valley Railway” that I realised how this highly independent and “Progressive Yorkshire Railway” could form just the right theme for Colin’s new layout.
As mentioned in this website’s article on Ming Ing, the Derwent Valley Light Railway was promoted under the Light Railways Act which joined the Statute Book in 1896 to encourage then-depressed agricultural trade, take produce out of horse drawn carts which were damaging rural dry stone roads and give urban workers the choice of living in the country. More practically, the 1896 Light Railways Act generally restricted train speeds to 25mph but allowed lighter rails than main line railways to be laid for use by rolling stock with lighter axle loading. Continuous brakes, lineside fencing, level crossing gates and station buildings were also optional.
Discussions about an eventual 16 mile long route linking two parts of the North Eastern Railway at York (Layerthorpe) and at Cliff Common, near Selby began at Rural District Council level in 1898 but the board of directors of a separate light railway company – under the chairmanship of Lord Wenlock – did not meet until 9 September 1907. Also presaging by a century the three dimensional legal and financial chess game that has come to characterise the planning of High Speed Two, the Cliff Common to Wheldrake section of the line opened only opened on 29 October 1912 due to the pressure of farming interests and both connections with the North Eastern Railway were not made until 21 July 1913.
Interestingly, the DVLR was identified as a possible York-Selby diversionary route in case the corresponding NER line suffered from enemy action during the 1914-1918 war and the North Eastern Railway was represented on the DVLR board by its Deputy General Manager who, as Sir Eric Geddes, later became the first Minister of Transport. Incredibly, in view of all the jokes about 04s and foxes in the article on Ming Ing, the first secretary and solicitor of the Derwent Valley Light Railway was a Mr H.W. Badger!
The new single-line DVLR had a minimum curve radius of twelve chains and its steepest gradient was 1 in 150 for 3/4 mile between Dunnington and Murton. Although it only boasted two original bridges over the line there were 62 field occupation crossings and 14 road level crossings, one of which featured the DVLR’s only signal which indicated danger if the gate was shut through a system of weights and pulleys.
Motive power was mainly supplied by a tank engine hired in from the North Eastern Railway although the DVLR did own and operate a 100 bhp Sentinel geared steam locomotive from 1925 to 1926 when an upsurge in coal traffic proved too much for the Shrewsbury built four wheeler. It was then sold and a new arrangement made with the LNER, whose choice of locomotive was first of all limited to an axle loading of 14 tons and then to 17 tons, after which amendment 0-6-0 Classes J21, J24 and J25 were found to be most suitable. As these were withdrawn, the DVLR hired a 204 bhp Drewry diesel mechanical shunter in 1961 before buying two more in 1969.
Although scheduled passenger traffic finally succumbed to bus competition in 1926, freight thrived on the DVLR with agricultural produce such as potatoes, sugar beet and manure joined timber, coal, corned beef, flour and biscuits destined for strategic storage in depots along the line.
From Layerthorpe, which by the 1930s boasted a tarmacadam works, oil and petrol depots and even a facility for india-rubber waste, the next station at Osbaldwick (not shown for clarity on the map above) had its own tar refinery and National Benzole bulk rail distribution depot.
Tar became particularly valuable as a constituent of road surfaces with the patenting of the Tar Macadam process by Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1903 and the creation of the Tarmac company, first floated on the Birmingham Stock Exchange in 1913.
Similarly, Murton Lane was the location of a distribution depot for Russian Oil Products and, from 1947, a business breaking up old railway wagons. Dunnington was home to road surface contractors, a carrot washing plant and an oil depot while Elvington had a wagon repair depot.
By 1939 however the DVLR was in a poor financial position and its line was covered in weeds – which made it invisible to aircraft flying above 3 000 feet. Wartime traffic on what was arguably the World’s first stealth railway included scrap iron and – as before – roadstone, bitumen and chippings for the three ashphalt plants along the line. These were needed to make aerodrome runway surfaces, and when RAF Elvington was created in 1941 the DVLR also carried thousands of tons of cement and steelwork to the site, followed by similar quantities of bombs for the Free French Air Force squadrons stationed there.
Liquid fuel also remained an important traffic, with Murton Lane becoming Northern Command petrol depot and forty wagon siding being built to handle filled four-gallon cans which ultimately went to Guards and Polish Armoured Divisions. Layerthorpe meanwhile became a railhead for aviation fuel arriving in tank wagons for aircraft based at Linton on Ouse and Full Sutton aerodromes.
Similarly, from 1943, Wheldrake station began receiving train loads of motor spirit in tank wagons for the nearby RAF Melbourne. This was used in Operation FIDO (the acronym standing for Fog, Intensive Dispersal of) during which any fog obscuring the runway was cleared by burning petrol piped to special jets alongside it. In an era before extensive radar landing aids, this was a particular godsend for lost and damaged aircraft returning from bombing raids over occupied Europe although FIDO itself seriously compromised any blackout!
Even more alarmingly, Cottingwith became the site of a rail served mustard gas depot, the incendiary liquid finally being removed for disposal at sea in 1954 after which the site was used by the RAF to store and distribute oxygen cylinders.
The post War DVLR also saw a rise in paraffin, gas oil and fuel oil traffic, the establishment of a grain drying plant at Dunnington in the mid Fifties and a ready mix concrete plant served by train loads of Presflo wagons built at Osbaldwick in 1959.
In fact such was the concentration of traffic on the north western part of the line that the closure of British Railway’s Selby – Cliff Common – Bubwith – Market Weighton route to Beverley led to the abandonment of the DVLR south of Wheldrake in 1965 and by 1972 there was only four miles of track from Layerthorpe to Dunnington left.
In view of this shortening of route mileage – and the enhancement of facilities to handle heavier wagons – the word “Light” was formally deleted from the company name on 23 March 1973, less than ten years before the Derwent Valley Railway ceased operations. Given this history of oil, bitumen, aggregates, cement and wagon breaking and repair traffic – and evidence of these commodities being carried in trains just six or seven wagons long – the DVLR seemed a good fit for the new N gauge circuit layout. Some investments in appropriate freight rolling stock were made immediately and the range of Derwent Valley fixed infrastructure also informed the choice of lineside structures in the scenic area.
Although these were deliberately non time specific – and could represent any decade from the 1940s to the 1970s – I felt that the overall layout best suited 1962 as this was the last year in which RAF V-bombers appeared in anti-flash white rather than camouflage before the change from high level to under-the-radar tactics was made necessary by the deployment of Soviet anti-aircraft missiles.
At the same time, four wheeled wagons of the type which easily pass round Radius 1 curves had not yet been replaced by longer wheelbase and bogie vehicles and the DVLR itself was still connected to British Railways North East Region at both ends, allowing through traffic as well as just stopping trains.
Testing before delivery also indicated that while 0-6-0 steam outline locomotives – similar to Graham Farish by Bachmann’s forthcoming J39 – could work successfully over the new N gauge layout the real smooth operators were Bo-Bo diesels. Between us, Colin and I could field green examples of Classes 08 (from 1953 and boding well for a Class 04 when we can acquire one) 20 (from 1957), 24 (from 1958) 25 (from 1961) and 33 from 1960.
Although the last mentioned were built by BRCW for the Southern Region, they famously worked cement trains from Cliffe in Kent as far north as York from 1961 and so would not look out of place heading home via the DVLR with some empty Presflos.
Similarly – and certainly if the Selby-Market Weighton line had not been closed – the go-ahead nature of the DVLR management could have seen the weed-strewn track (very hard to model in N gauge!) cleaned and perhaps heavier rails replacing the original metalwork as was later the case to cope with bogie oil tanks at Layerthorpe. Had this happened, perhaps the kind of diesel-hauled traffic that Colin and I intend for the new layout could have become a reality – albeit still moving at less than 25 mph under Light Railway Regulations and using single line staffs and some kind of electric point movement detector and / or static telephone link at passing loops – if not radio control – to inform Central Traffic Control at Layerthorpe of potentially conflicting movements without the expense of conventional signals.
Keeping aircraft and trains as close as possible to one period will also, hopefully, lessen the lurch away from scenic reality necessitated by the compact nature of the layout. On a permanent layout on the epic scale of Pendon or Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland the flat lands of the Vale of York would just stretch off into the distance and there would be no need for fictional tunnels.
As it is, Church Hislop’s fictional oil terminal, pile of stone chippings and old rails are supposedly set in a former York stone quarry (hence the chunky horizontal strata) cut into the edge of an equally fictional plateau, presumably left over from the last ice age. This was inspired by Malham Cove, the famous limestone feature of the landscape of the western part of North Yorkshire, albeit without the eroding water feature but still with enough geological power to crack and distort the tunnels cut into it.
The relief of the rock strata and modified PECO Modelscene tunnel mouths also provided a ledge against which to place the 6mm perspex “toddler proofing” purchased from and ably cut to size by Haden Browne Plastics of Gloucester. Unlike previous layouts, the perspex shield is designed to be removed – along with the sky background – so that Church Hislop can be carried transversely by one person. However, experience of negotiating the stairs to Colin’s apartment suggests that removing both these items and the lids might be advisable when even two people are trying to move the item on anything other than flat ground.
Like Malham Cove too, the sharp lines of the stone faces are being softened by vegetation – in this case from the ranges of Cheltenham Model Centre, Bachmann Scenescapes and Woodland Scenics and partly held in place with Spraymount aerosol glue – while the quarry wall parallel to the tracks has partly collapsed into an embankment . This was made of MDF and covered in my last piece of Gaugemaster grass matting which obligingly crinkled as if streams of water had run down it. This effect was further highlighted by the “RAF mixture” grass flock – used to surround the aerodrome hard standings – which provided a pleasant contrast thanks to the addition of some light green and brown powders from Penduke Models.
Further distracting the eye from the quarry walls is the oil depot itself, made from one Ratio kit 228 (the brick hut, seen here before the addition of the No Smoking sign, and two oil tanks) and seventeen examples of Ratio kit 315 – for which I thank PECO at Beer in Devon for posting to me so promptly and efficiently. Had I not wanted to use up some other scenic odds and ends on the hardboard “concrete” floor, other options would have been an even longer tank farm or one the same length but more centrally placed and surrounded by sloping embankments at each end.
Although a lot smaller than most structures I have built from plastic kits, both tanks and hut were crisply moulded with the bargeboards, door, window and roofline nameboard of the hut being etched in brass. This material proved easy to cut although the near-Texaco shade of Revell 31 gloss Fiery Red enamel I painted it with took at least two days to dry properly – as was the case with the scratch built pumps and gantries although dry brushing on the valve wheels added colour with virtually immediate touchability.
Unlike an oil depot of the later 1960s which would have been configured for emptying bogie tank wagons by gravity through valves in the bottom of their cylindrical vessels, my 1962 vintage installation would have needed gantries to position a hose in the top filling / draining aperture of a four wheeled tank wagon as was the practice on British railways from 1905. This in turn – before health and safety had been invented – would have actually meant someone climbing up the tank wagon on one of the midships ladders and shoving in the end of the pipe! Some sources on the internet show this procedure being carried out from a covered elevated walkway but as I had only left a narrow space between my static tank groups I reasoned that this particular distribution depot would have been built in a hurry during World War II when design shortcuts were permitted.
The square red pump housing and base for the gantry were cut from thick plastic card, the red upright member was made from the same hollow square section Plastruct that I used for kerbstones on Ming Ing, the oil hose was made from stiff but flexible electric wire and the black mounting for the silver horizontal pipe was a blob of Blu-tak.
The silver gantry pipes themselves were made from the sprue of kit 315, any extraneous knobbles being cut off with a craft knife and the remaining rod sanded smooth before painting. In fact sprue thus treated was also able to act as pipework connecting the tanks together (so that different amounts and types of fuel could be stored and dispatched separately) and also taking aviation fuel off site to where it was required.
My design of oil tanks connected at front and back was also made possible by the allocation of components on each of two identical sprues supplied with each example of Ratio kit 315. This meant that once two cylindrical tanks had been created by top and bottom curves and front (large outlet) and rear (small outlet) circular ends and placed on the brick piers and concrete bases, two u-shaped thin pipe arrays, four valve wheels and four bolt-edged stop ends remained. However, to complete each kit as per instructions, only one thin pipe array and three valve wheels were needed, leaving a spare thin pipe array, valve wheel and stop ends.
This allowed the spare thin pipe array to be cut up so that only a horizontal U-shape linked the rear circular ends of the tanks and the rest of the thin pipes connected this horizontal U-shape with the thicker pipes made from sprue running alongside each group of six tanks. Each spare valve wheel was attached to the centre of the rear horizontal U-shaped pipework and the spare stop ends used on the ends of the thicker pipes where needed.
As there was no room for roads into the fuel depot, and because Church Hislop would be at the summit of the fictionalised Derwent Valley Light Railway somewhere between Murton Lane and Elvington, I envisaged it as being the railhead for aviation fuel distributed by gravity through the Government Pipeline and Storage System (GPSS).
Set up in 1939 to connect RAF and USAF aerodromes and later including civilian airports and other vital installations such as the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston, the GPSS even supplied Allied forces in Europe after D-Day via the Pipe Line Under The Ocean (PLUTO) and today comprises 46 facilities – including contingency stores – and 2 500 kilometres of pipeline across Great Britain. It is operated by the Oil and Pipelines Agency of the Ministry of Defence and is interconnected with several private networks.
As the depot at Church Hislop would be both south of the Linkswood-Leuchars line in Scotland and north of the pipe from Killingholme to Rawcliffe on Humberside I envisioned it serving not only Church Hislop itself beyond the embankment but RAF Elvington down the DVLR, RAF Linton On Ouse, RAF Church Fenton (near the railway line from York to Leeds) and even RAF Finningley, now Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield.
To keep contamination to a minimum when one product follows another down such a pipeline, the different “parcels” are sequenced as naphtha (the lightest) followed by petrol, kerosene, gas oil (the heaviest), kerosene, petrol and naphtha. Although generally there is no physical barrier between each product, an inflatable sphere is sometimes put in the pipe between consignments.
The location of the buried pipes which form part of GPSS is identified by posts with bright yellow roofs with a thick black line, as shown in the picture above.
And finally…it’s time for the caption competition. After considering a number of names for the new layout, I decided on “Church” after Church Fenton where I had enjoyed a number of air displays in the 1980s and “Hislop” as, like team captain Ian Hislop on BBC TV’s long running satirical news quiz “Have I Got News For You”, it is located close to Murton. Allegedly.
CHURCH HISLOP MARK 1A
Although successfully built to its original design criteria, Church Hislop was soon found to be too big and heavy for storage in Colin’s flat and has since been moved to become the outreach layout of the Jet Age Museum at Staverton. At the same time, one of the aircraft hardstanding “lids” was found to have warped downward and a new piece of stiffer plywood was found as a replacement. The opportunity was also taken to weather the quarry walls to make them more like Malham Cove, pictured above.
Even before Church Hislop was first displayed in public at Tewkesbury in July 2014, feedback from the local modelling community regarding the original concept revealed that a less inherently aviation based approach to landscaping might be better received by exhibition patrons.
For that reason I decided to keep just the one aircraft hardstanding and develop the new piece of plywood as both farmland and the entrance to a National Trust managed Cistercian monastery, the ruins of which may appear “on stage” in the future if they can be modelled in 1/148 scale. A Neolithic long barrow would have been easier to recreate but these are all located in Southern England, the white robed Cistercian order choosing the North where they turned remote, rugged land into sheep pasture before Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries from 1536.
However, by just building a visitor centre and a coach park with minimal signage I was rather like the boy in the woodwork lesson who, asked by the teacher what he was making, replied “A portable”. “A portable what?” continued the teacher. “I don’t know Sir,” he said “I’ve only made the handle!”
Key to making this “handle” was the ready availability of West Yorkshire based Metcalfe Models N Gauge kit PN154 – sold as representing a Village Store and Cafe but readily adaptable as a combined cafe, gift shop and information centre. In fact the National Trust logo and branding came to me free courtesy of some junk mail – while the toilet block was just at home leaning against the small earth bank parallel to the path leading to the ruins as to the stone building itself.
Both structures – like all Metcalfe kits – were made of card rather than plastic or resin and having not worked with this medium for about 40 years I was pleasantly surprised how simple construction was – even in N Gauge rather than 00 – and most importantly how good the finished model looked. All I need now are some outdoor tables and chairs for the courtyard and some suitable civilians to sit at them as well as disembark from the coaches and walk along the path at the rear of the centre towards the ruins themselves.
The high ground of the farmer’s field was made with an offcut of MDF – which also strengthened the module against warping – and the grass areas were once again made from Gaugemaster grass matting – this time left over from a model presentation project at Jet Age Museum. The matting was applied once the whole “lid” had been given a coat of suitable earthen coloured emulsion and matt black painted on top to form the asphalt car park. This was then weathered with a dusting of talcum powder.
Keeping vehicles and visitors alike from falling on to the oil terminal – as well as directing them along the path to the ruins – were hedges again made from Woodland Scenics Clump Foliage – one packet still having enough left in it for another layout!
Due to sheep not being readily available at the time of building, white Peco Modelscene pigs were used to populate the top field with the little grey Ferguson tractor being an N gauge equivalent of the 1/76 scale agricultural machine described in Ming Ing.
Also sourced from Oxford Diecast were two Leyland Tiger road motor coaches with Burlingham Sunsaloon bodies in the markings of Alexander Northern (CWG 331 above) and Alexander Midland (CWG 342 below). Adding to the line up – which hopes to embrace the whole of the current supply of pre 1962 N Gauge model coaches as they become available to broaden the appeal of Church Hislop – was Bachmann Scenecraft’s Harrington Cavalier in the markings of Midland based Trent. First registered in 1960 on an AEC Reliance chassis, the Sussex built Cavalier was well liked for its sturdy vibration-free construction and such innovative features as cantilevered flaps to the underfloor luggage lockers – which could be opened easily in a confined space.
1962 was also a pivotal year for coach design as new construction regulations allowed overall lengths to increase from 30 feet to 36 feet and widths to increase to 8 feet two and a half inches. This allowed an increase from 41 to 51 passengers.
Aberdeen based Walter Alexander & Sons Northern Limited with its yellow livery had only been created in 1961 from a larger preceding Scottish company, as had the blue liveried William Alexander & Sons Midland Limited of Falkirk – both of them inheriting luxury full-fronted Sunsaloon coaches built by H.V. Burlingham of Blackpool on vertical-engined Leyland Tiger chassis. These public service vehicles lasted from 1950 to 1971.
Adding to the line up – which hopes to embrace the whole of the current supply of pre 1962 N Gauge model coaches as they become available to broaden the appeal of Church Hislop – was Bachmann Scenecraft’s Harrington Cavalier in the markings of Midland based Trent. First registered in 1960 on an AEC Reliance chassis, the Sussex built Cavalier was well liked for its sturdy vibration-free construction and such innovative features as cantilevered flaps to the underfloor luggage lockers – which could be opened easily in a confined space.
1962 was also a pivotal year for coach design as new construction regulations allowed overall lengths to increase from 30 feet to 36 feet and widths to increase to 8 feet two and a half inches. This allowed an increase from 41 to 51 passengers.