'Seacombe': A glimpse.

Discussion in 'Entries' started by jonte, 5 September 2017.

  1. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Title of layout
    : 'Seacombe' - A glimpse.


    Apologies that this one is on its side but iPad playing up again. Posted because resolution is better on this one than the next.

    Period: 1960 Just prior to cessation of passenger traffic. Disused Stations: Seacombe Station

    Scale: 7mm ('O' scale - 32mm gauge)


    To be determined, but as near as I can get to five feet in length (hopefully less), by no more than the minimum width of the load area of my car (1 metre). Height of viewing window: less than 18"; between 12" and 15" probably.


    To follow.


    The scenic section will be contained within a single composite unit, mainly to avoid the joins in the back scene. Barry Norman sandwich type construction will be employed together with metal carpenters dowels and catches to attach fiddleyard board.


    Turnouts are handbuilt over Templot printouts, from C&L parts on ply timbers. Outside track centre radius = 3253.85mm; inside track centre radius=3163.85mm; minimum track centre radius on crossover = 72 inches. Plain track is Peco r-t-r code 124 bullhead rail.



    DC analogue. Would somebody kindly recommend a handy walkabout type providing excellent slow speed?

    Turnout operation:

    Tortoise and Cobalt powered by DPDT via separate 12v supply.


    Of traverser type or cassette as short trains only, on separate adjoining board.

    Locomotives: (steam) The mainstay of the line in this period was the B.R. 3MT class. Currently unavailable (as far as I am aware) in either r-t-r or kit form, although Lionheart trains have expressed their intention to release a r-t-r version after the release of their Prairie tank due any time now. A long shot would be to employ the services of a 57xx which worked the New Brighton / Seacombe junction branch from Wrexham Central, apparently because it was the only loco small enough to be accommodated on the engine release at New Brighton station, which by then had become electrified for Mersey/Wirral rail services. If so, an opportunity could arise for me to attempt my first loco kit, possibly the JLTRT kit as recently completed by Heather, but this all depends on the time available.
    Currently, I have a San Cheng 4MT, a rarity in the north west I believe, although one or two were transferred to WR of BR towards the end of steam, so with trains travelling to Seacombe from a Welsh destination, it could plausibly be employed, I suppose.


    (Passenger) Please forgive my ignorance, but I would endeavour to seek the advice of more knowledgable forum members as I'm not sure what was suitable, just that the shorter, the better.

    (Goods) Interesting one this, because according to my contemporary ordnance survey map I bought for the purpose, the main goods facility was located further west, and mention is made of the types of facilities they serviced. However, no mention is made of the type of goods being handled at the terminus itself, although the presence of at least one siding suggests the handling of goods.
    So which and what type? Again, due to time constraints, I would probably exploit what is available r-t-r, however, as this is supposed to be a challenge, I should like to cut my teeth on a goods vehicle kit of some sort; probably more of a realistic option than starting off with a loco kit (walking, running and learning etc.).


    Looking at adopting Jackson couplings although the curve of the rails is a concern.

    A start has been made on the replacement station building but U'm not satisfied with the choice of materials ((4mm scale Wills corrugated iron is still too thick even in 7mm scale). Might even replace embossed brick plasticard with DAS modelling clay so ply will probably replace inner foam board shell, but not certain of that as ply is notoriously hard to cut.
    As for the scenics, I've never attempted it before so will carry out some trials with hanging basket liner, static grass products and woodland scenics.


    LEDs as recommended by Iain in his book, particularly this type ahttps://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B017R57CTW/ref=pe_2409431_208555541_em_1p_0_tis recommended by fellow WT-er (apologiesfor forgetting your i.d., my friend).

    Design aspects:

    As one who can barely think more than one step ahead, I shaln't try and kid anyone that I spent hours on CAD or building a scale model to test ideas. However, a signature, for wont of a better expression, of the prototype was the curvature of the lines as they left the station confines before disappearing from sight beneath the steel road bridge. With the greatest respect to any Seacombe dwellers, I could imagine the eager anticipation of the few fare paying passengers, as their suburban conveyances squealed to and fro around those curved iron roads, away from the smog and urban gloom of the station and its environs, to await the heady sights and smells of the open Welsh countryside that lay before them. I just had to include this feature. 'But how to portray them in 7mm scale on postage stamp sized measurements?' was a question that niggled. The answer lay in making the track curve along its scenic length, including the points which in reality were straight along the main road. This provided an aesthetic benefit: have the front baseboard fascia follow the line of the track to get away from the fish tank look. Additionally, by shaping the top of the fascia in the form of a convex curve, it would overlap the lower concave curve of the fascia, helping to illuminate the front of the scenic area, an issue that Iain alludes to in his book. Admittedly, these were just fortunate consequences of curving the track, more by accident than design.
    Going back to the track, whilst I have built the odd item of track with the aid of a certain book on the subject (and with varying degrees of success), but having never built in this scale before, the thought of building turnouts on a curve filled me with dread; I'd still be building them ten years from now. So, discretion being the better part of valour, I commissioned somebody who knows what they're doing. My sincerest thanks to Mr. Freeman of Borg rail for an excellent service (usual disclaimer, of course).


    It was a rather grainy black and white photograph on page 51 of the Merseyside Railway History's group publication: The Railways of Wirral, that first piqued my interest in this rather unremarkable branch line. I hope you can see why.
    Ideally, I would have preferred to portray the terminus in its entirety up to and including the road overbridge (a natural although rather cliched scenic break) which would have allowed the inclusion of some signalling for added operational interest, but this would have proved impossible within the confinements of the rules, serving merely to overcrowd the scene, which a failed recent attempt to include the signal box served to prove. So, it was back to the original source of my inspiration as the subject of this competition entry. On a positive note, at least modelling a smaller area of the station makes completion of the project more achievable within the time frame laid down, especially for the keen but not particularly skilled model maker.
    A further attempt to avoid an overcrowded look was to omit a second engine release along the far side of the platform from the viewer in accordance with the track plan shown on the 1911 O.S. map. In such a small area, two sets of release points would have been overkill without adding to the operational value IMHO, of course.
    One issue which is of concern, is the inevitable loss of the signalling. On the prototype, a set of levers was provided for the train crew to change the points of the engine release road. Without the provision of small shunting signal, I assume that either a token was handed to the crew by the signalman or, perhaps in later years, a phone was provided in the vicinity of the levers for the crew to seek the signalman' permission. I'm not entirely sure. So, in the interests of passenger safety and to add a little signalling interest, I'm going to exercise modeller's licence and locate one between the tracks adjacent to the entry of the scenic boards.
    Another omission will be the original 'out-of-use' platform and original station building which would not have provided anything of benefit in operational terms and would only have served to mask the engine release from view; in any case, this part of the station is barely evident in the photograph from which I'm working, and you've gotta start and finish somewhere.

    Well, that's it for now, apart from mentioning as I've already found, the proscription of rules and regs and the time lines a competition such as this provides, really helps focus the mind and provide the impetus to get things done. For somebody who was once described as the 'great unfinished symphony', I find the notion rather alluring. And for a change, I might actually finish something.

    I hope you will like it, and follow its sporadic progress.

    Please feel free to ask any questions; I'll do my best to answer them.


    Best wishes,

    Last edited: 5 September 2017
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  2. Richard H

    Richard H Western Thunderer

    Congratulations! Good decision!
    Best wishes,
    jonte likes this.
  3. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Thanks, Richard.

    Your support is appreciated.

  4. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    Hi Jonte,
    That's more like it! I like the positivity of your posting here, I felt quite sad about your 'other' thread but couldn't think of anything positive to say to send my support, here - it's easy to wish you all the best.*

    *I do hope that makes sense (I've had a wee dram or two!).
    jonte likes this.
  5. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi, John.

    That makes perfect sense and your genuine concern for my modelling welfare is deeply touching - and appreciated.

    In hindsight, 'Boxgate', as oldravendale amusingly coined it ( thanks, Brian ;)) was a wholly positive experience, not least, that it made me realise I was biting off more than I could chew in respect of what I could realistically achieve in the time available, but also in terms of scenic harmony (quart into pint pot scenario).

    So there you go. Cloud and linings :thumbs:

    Have another sip of the hard stuff on me, John. And thanks for your support.

    Best wishes,

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  6. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi Jonte,

    An interesting choice of prototype, I look forward to seeing the progress.

    You may be interested to know that we - Wirral O Gauge Group, have just got the New Brighton part of our layout energised (DCC) and it will be having its 'working debut' at our forthcoming Open Day on 15th October at the Clubroom, Unit 7, The Odyssey Centre Birkenhead, CH41 1HB from 13.00 to 17.00. All are welcome to bring 2R FineScale DC and DCC locos for a run on the layout. Hope to see you there.


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  7. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    Good luck Jonte, will be really interested to see how this develops.
    jonte likes this.
  8. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Thanks for your valued interest, Paul.

    Best wishes,

  9. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Mike.

    Glad you seem to approve of my chosen subject. Was worried that it would be a bit of a damp squib in terms of modelling interest, so thank you. Hope you picked up on the 57xx presence at N.B. in all that waffley stuff above.

    Thank you kindly for the invite to the debut btw. I'm indeed privileged. I'm sure there's much I could glean both from a modelling and a location point of view.

    Best wishes,


    P.S. You've probably seen this photo before, Mike, but just in case it's the fourth picture from the bottom here North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 06 May 2013
  10. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi jonte,

    many thanks for the link to the photo, it is one that I have not seen before, but it ties in nicely with the overhead picture in Maund's book and I have just seen another photo (on Flickr)of 4683 on possibly the same train, this time at Shotton. Perhaps it should be the subject of my Telford purchase of a Minerva 8750 - just need to find out if it is early or late crest?


  11. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    A couple more here North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 28 April 2014 Mike, at Welsh stations along the route to N.B., with close ups of the tank. For the life of me, I can't see the presence of any lining or insignia under that grime, but perhaps 1965 is a bit late for the earlier 'ferret and wheel' (?).


  12. Threadmark: Layout plan

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Layout plan as promised:



    'T.P.' stands for telegraph pole (usually wonky) and 'L' for platform lamp stand.

    I've omitted a small building from amongst the group of buildings adjacent to the station building for clarity. It will be included on the model.

    Also omitted is the ground signal from the engine release road as I'm not quite sure where I should put it; the prototype not having one.

    A couple of places where I've deviated from the prototype:

    Having drawn the plan, the rearmost siding made the scene looked unbalanced so I decided to get rid of it (I inserted a piece of paper to blank it out). Without the engine release (as per my original post), the middle road can still serve as the single siding of the original, the bay road remaining as a departure bay. I think it looks better, but I'm open to thoughts from others.

    I'm mindful that the 'glut' of buildings to the right are creating a compositional imbalance. To restore the balance, I decided to introduce a little modeller's licence. First, I included a service road with gate to the yard; although not obvious, scrutiny of one particular photograph suggests a set of gate in Fell street to the northernmost station boundary so perhaps not a complete work of fiction. There is also what appears to be a path of some sort descending the slope at this location, so again, perhaps not totally untoward?
    Second, I've placed a low sided coal staithe replete with telegraph pole and corrugated hut there too. These are not fictional: they were located on scrub land adjacent to the disused station building and appear in a photograph I purchased some years ago from the Transport Treasury.

    Finally, without including the road over bridge which carries Borough Road over the railway, it's difficult to think of any other way to hide exit stage left. A token offering, therefore, is a small pile of sleepers placed alongside the engine release road just prior to the exit to the fiddleyard which I hope will serve to distract the eye. As cliched as the road overbridge, again, they also appear in the aforementioned photograph, but are included; if nothing else, they counter the instances if modeller's licence which are beginning to creep in!

    Hope the clarity of the plan is okay.

    Best wishes,

  13. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi jonte,

    excellent interpretation, I look forward to seeing the construction progess.


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  14. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Thanks for your interest, Mike.

    Best wishes,

  15. Threadmark: Layout plan Mk. II

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Layout plan Mk. II (Scale 2" to the foot - dotted lines denote baseboard joins)

    Essentially the same as Mk. I, but:

    1. Length extended;
    2. Old timber platform and station building included.



    1. Okay, due to the limits imposed by the rules of the competition, you're never going to arrive at the ideal situation of a train travelling at least three times its length in the visible area (especially in the larger gauges). However, using every given inch allows stock to become more scenically integrated, without looking like it's shoved to the ends, hopefully eliminating the cramped feeling. This is especially the case on the front platform road where stock has to be pushed further to the end of the scene so that the loco can run round without being impeded.
    Incidentally, the widths of the end baseboards are 15" each.

    2. Without the presence of a feature such as road bridge to disguise the fiddleyard end of the scenic area, it was always going to be a pain to try and distract the eye as trains exited stage left. The original idea of using a pile of sleepers to perform this task was a little luke warm to say the least, but including something a little more substantial such as a building of some sort was never going to be an option if I was to remain true to the prototype, especially the photo on which I'm basing it. That's because in the immediate foreground of the prototype lay the original disused station and platform, which I didn't want to include, least of all because it would hide the engine release road from view (exacerbated by the fact that the rearmost tracks would already be obstructed by the existing platform due to the height at which this will be viewed). In the event, I had to concede that there was no choice if I wanted to provide a viable alternative. A photo I purchased that shows this side of the station complex, provides a host of realistic scenic blocks that would suitably serve the purpose, including corrugated huts, bushy scrub and rising relief where the area behind the platform rose to form the embankment upon which the road bridge over the tracks was constructed. Granted, the relief at this end of the station was quite low, but the fact that the platform and land behind were elevated above track level at this point already gives the small corrugated buildings and scrub a head start over the simple sleeper arrangement of the Mk. I plan.

    Why didn't I opt for the longer version in the first place?

    Quite simply because I wanted to avoid the joins in the backscene which go hand in glove with baseboard joins, and which tend to stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. However, reference to Gordon Gravett's article about Arun Quay in MRJ 239 provided the solution: just construct a hinged wing structure with slotted cross beam from which a rolled up backscene can be suspended via bulldog clips. No joins. Simple. From the same article I've also unashamedly pinched his ingenious method of suspending the wings/frame from the main structure via these things, http://www.screwfix.com/p/flush-mou...gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=COmznL6qpdYCFWeC7QodKZgFyQ known in the trade I believe, as 'flush mounts'.

    Why two baseboard joins, in effect creating three baseboards rather than two?

    The baseboards will be constructed around the central 4' x 18" board upon which the engine release is sited (please see method of proposed baseboard construction in original post).

    Finally, while I prefer the deeper scene of the plan for aesthetic reasons, I feel a slightly narrower scene will help make it a little less unwieldy, therefore in time, I will prepare a basic model from card and roll of wallpaper to arrive at an optimal solution. For now, unfortunately, like the rest of my modelling, it will have to go on a back burner for the time being.

    Thanks for looking,


    In addendum: forgot to include (again) a ground signal on the plan. Will be opting for one of those cute LNWR dwarf signals employed on a couple of other Wirral branch lines. jonte.
    Last edited: 14 September 2017
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  16. Simpas

    Simpas Western Thunderer


    One of the things that make this competition interesting is the variation of scale/gauge. Not being an 'O' gauger I'm always impressed by the ingenuity necessary to produce something scenically and operationally pleasing in such a relatively small space...! We will all benefit from waching how others ascend the various peaks.

    Keep a gannin young'un, ya deein champion...!

    (Keep going young man, you're doing well..!)

    Mick S
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  17. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Much appreciated, Mick. Thank you.

    Best wishes,

  18. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Hi Jonte

    I've been idly gazing at your latest track plan and saw the note 'still not sure what to do about this' for the access road. In what context?

    If it is about the road's disappearance into the backscene why not make the road dip away at the top. This will obviate the need to take the road onto the backscene itself and let the viewer imagine the road has dropped into a shallow dip . All the viewer will then see is part of the hedgerow? on the background.

    This is what I tried to achieve on a 1200 x 300 mm O scale layout here albeit on a level crossing:
    Iden Road 21.jpg
  19. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Dave.

    Your idle gazing is deeply appreciated together with your time and trouble taken to post up a possible solution. Wonderfully modelled little piece, too; pleasantly uncrowded yet featuring plenty of texture and essential atmosphere. Great backscene btw. You obviously have an artistic flair.

    The seamless 'loss' of the access road into the backscene is not the primary concern here, Dave, as it will be disappearing at ninety degrees to the viewer; the disappearing act itself aided by a strategically placed wooden hoarding. What does irk is the length required to model the access road: too short and it may appear unrealistically steep (the relief of the land rises at gets further away from the station); too shallow a gradient, and more length will be required, the end point being nearer the station buildings than the yard itself.

    Frankly, I'm not even sure that the access road was located at this point on the prototype. It may well easily have been adjacent to the station buildings, to the right of the plan as you look. Either way, I can find no evidence of an entrance to the yard on contemporary ordnance survey maps, although realistically, there must have been one somewhere and I'm sure I can detect the presence of a 'path' descending the slope roughly where I've placed it on the plan, together with a set of gates. Of course, it could well have just been wishful thinking.

    Although I intend to make this as prototypically accurate as possible, the final offering may contain the odd element of 'licence' or two, to make the best of the premium space available. I just hope I'll get away with it. I may well mock something up at some point just to see whether it works or not. Watch this space.

    Thanks again for your interest, Dave.

    Best wishes,

  20. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Hi Jonte

    I don't think there was a yard entrance but I like the idea of an overgrown footpath or shortcut. In this case you could end the footpath up the bank either as a gate or broken fence and you could force the perspective a bit from 1:43 to 1:50 scale to create the illusion of distance.

    This is a 1946 aerial photograph from the Britain From Above website and it looks like the goods yard is at the top of the photograph.


    I did stumble across this 1955 (John Mann collection) photo on the Disused Stations website which would confirm a shortcut/broken fence idea.
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