OO Gauge Model Railways.... many years of a fun railway modelling


For more years than I sometimes care to remember I have enjoyed model railways. In the early years, during and immediately post World WW2 everything had to be hand made, on the grounds of shortage of cash, materials and the expense of such proprietary equipment as was available. I constructed locomotive bodies from cocoa tin and frames from brass curtain rail. Rolling stock was card with printed overlays. Track was early Peco ' Individualay ' which was built sleeper by sleeper and chair by chair on a card base stuck to the baseboard prior to the the rail being inserted and clenched into place using a special tool, so laborious but realistic.

View looking North on the 'Last-but-one' layout, The 16' X10' layout, parts of which now form ' Railway corner 'below...for kids young and old. Railway corner is illustrated later in this page.

I had a number of articles published in Model Railway News featuring extremely simple layouts all built ' On a shoestring ' Many more layouts followed, in OO and TT Gauge, it being a feature of railway modelling thet few layouts are ' Really completed ' before ideas are formulated for the next !

In keeping with my ' economic ' ethic. Much of the materials in my layouts come from skips and shopfitters waste which yield timber ply and wire. Of course track, turnouts control and switchgear are bought in, though transformers and rectifiers can be rescued from defunct electrical equipment. Fun gear includes steam sound ....................and whistles for the kids ! All mains electricity is isolated from the layout, all electrics on the layout are maximum 18 volt d.c, so no possibility of shock. Having said that when tired at the end of a day, the writer can ' feel ' this current at the track !

Where space permits there is nothing to match a layout of which at least part is a continuous circuit. There is nothing quite like' Watching the trains go by ' as a way of passing the odd spare moment !

On the 16' x 10' layout the two levels incorporated two complete circuits and a further ' Figure of eight' For added interest a spur to a terminus was introduced at one level. Such items as the concrete bridge in the middle distance have to be hinged or removable to enable access. Controls should be localised to a degree so that visitors can learn them quickly, A lot of American club layouts (And a few British ones ) have centralised controls with localised control however it is simpler for more than one operator to work the layout.


The layouts described here were built with fun in mind. They have been operated, and sections were until recently operated by Children, Grandchildren and ' Kids ' of all ages ( from 6 to 60 and on ) Whilst not of the highest visual standard the railways permitted realistic train movements and operational possibilities.

The last layout as will be seen comprised parts of the previous layout. It was retained as a fun thing for the younger generation, and a plaything for the writer ! Now the interest in model boats and need for extra workshop space has brought about the demise of the OO gauge hobby of 50 years or so. We have always to move forward, sometimes without glancing back !

The last change of focus illustrated by the images below was that two sections of the 16' x 10' layout were condensed into a simple stand-alone ' L ' shaped layout or ' Railway corner ' The sections were originally designed with this in mind and went on to provide fun and a challenge for visiting youngsters. For ease of operation by visitors all turnouts and section switches were clearly marked on diagramatic control panels.

This is the southerly leg of the new layout under construction,

in practice it simply meant taking two segments of the major opus

and combining them with curves of acceptable radius.

the two control positions were retained.each self contained as this gave more for the budding signal folk to think about in the course of operations. Typical tasks for the youngsters, and the occasional adult was to prepare trains to match a weighbill and despatch the on the short (very short ) trip to the other terminus.

Railway corner, though compact provided opportunities for local running of short trains and plenty of 'Shunting problems ' for youngsters



Part of the fun aspect of a layout can be the inclusion of small cameos such as this. The focussed ' Angler ' has it seems, not seen the notice ! He is soon to get his come-uppance however if it is left to the aggressive brown suited figure


The van driver has demolished the 'No parking ' sign with some aplomb !

An acomplished American modeller has recommended some sort of 'Interest add ' every 2' or so along the way, seems OK. Anyway,it worked for me.

Scenic detail such as a quay, or in ths case ' Widgets wharf ' added interest both for the viewer and the operator who got added possibilities for train movements. ' Widgets wharf ' is built from material sawn from an old television cabinet, a source of good seasoned hardwood and ply.

Bill The Piermaster looks in imminent danger of loosing his bike !


On the 16' x 10' layout a concrete viaduct carried the upper level continuous track over the main terminus. Electrically operated points add realism they have to be clearly identified on a local control panel so that visitors can operate them.


Here is another small feature, the fellow sitting on the sailing club steps is a ' Train spotter '. Train spotters were dotted about the layout and youngsters woulddelight in finding and counting them, The 'Mirror ' dinghy is one of a number cast cast in plaster of paris from a rubber mold....a cheap accessory !


The planners routed the viaduct over the main terminus goods yard where the cement contained in a train of hopper wagons is slowly setting ! A mixed goods train awaits ' The off '. The little folk on the jetty waited 20 years for the ferry and it is still low tide ! In the background is the main track of the continuous circuit.
On the far right track locomotives awaited transfer to the scrapyard, These were cheap plastic, static models, rusticated and weathered and partly vandalised ! They have weeds and small trees sprouting from their upper works. The timber shear legs used for loco maintenance in the past were superceded by a hideous ( but no doubt more efficient ) modern gantry.


Early stages in setting up the railway corner layout. Preparations in progress for the low relief background. The boats at the sailing club were constructed using plastic from the top of Walls Icecream cartons. The timber baulks which provide colour were from scrapwood. ' Terrain ' was pulped paper and wallpaper paste. All baseboard materials and wire were recovered from skips.


These two old chaps are ' Watching the day go by ', their favourite occupation. The bicycle was from paper clip wire. The felled trees and tree stumps from wooden dowel coated with polyfilla...only the sawdust being the real thing. The sign produced on the computer reads ' Wheal Dark Angling Club....No fishing '

Now even the youngest Generation of the family have gone on to school, exams, university and out into the world. Hopefully, memories of the times spent with various incarnations of the fun railway will one day prompt them to take up a modelling activity of their own. One at least is an aeromodeller and there is time for the others to realise the pleasure and skills to be gained from modelmaking !


Thanks for visiting

To return to main page click here HOME