West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Julian Roberts
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West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Julian Roberts » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:06 pm

Calderside is the West of Scotland 4mm Group's exhibition layout. Originally built by Alan Clark in the 1980s it passed to the Group when he left Scotland to live in France.

After a new turntable fiddleyard was made by John Stocks exhibition appearances became more frequent. When John became the Group chairman a mutual improvement strategy was adopted to increase all the members' skills by collectively building either a new layout or an extension to the existing one. Calderside operations included coal traffic reversing at the station to serve an imaginary colliery. It was agreed that to incorporate new build exchange sidings into the layout would be a good way to extend it while at the same time giving more credibility to the operation.

Much has been learnt by all in the process of building the three boards that comprise the Exchange Sidings. The sidings lead to two exits, one to the colliery, the other to a brickworks - both of course remain figments of the imagination, as does the branch line itself, notionally sited somewhere south of Lanark.

Last weekend's Perth exhibition saw the second appearance of the extended layout. This time the trackwork was almost complete though not all fully commissioned. Only a behind scenes connection to the fiddleyard remains to be made and loco shed erected, and some further detail scenic work.

The layout is now around 40 feet long. It can still be exhibited without the 12 foot extension if necessary. A continuing programme of improvements to operating reliability and prototypical fidelity is far from complete. Some original components like point motors are troublesome; signalling with the new sidings has still to be modified and indeed restored as operational. And so on. There is much still to be done and enjoyed in the doing of it.

The Group was proud to have achieved what we have achieved for last weekend. A very last afternoon detailing session by our scenic gurus put the finishing touches to the layout while mundane checks were made on rail ends at board breaks, electrical continuity, and so on, the day before the show. A few photos illustrating the layout are included below.

All modellers who wish to join our small but friendly group (which is based in the Glasgow area) would be very welcome. It is not obligatory to belong to the S4 Society. Private Message me and I will pass your name to our Membership Secretary.

Perth2018 - DAS - IMG_2819-1.jpg
Overview of Calderside station

Looking from Exchange Sidings towards station

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Down end of Exchange Sidings with (hidden) exit to brickworks

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Up end of Exchange Sidings with (hidden) exit to colliery

Perth2018 - DAS - IMG_2816-1.jpg
View from Up (Fiddleyard) end of Layout

Here are two quick videos giving an overall impression of the layout.

Thought I'd got the hang of posting videos but every which way I put in the link it doesn't seem to work!! Can anyone remind me the technique?

On 4th Edit I got it at last!

I will upload more pictures on a subsequent post.

6th edit to include layout plan on this post:

Last edited by Julian Roberts on Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:21 am, edited 6 times in total.

Julian Roberts
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Julian Roberts » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:48 pm

Station scene

Train terminated at Calderside.

Coal train with guards van at front drawing out of Exchange Sidings prior to running round and departing on main line

Scene at Exchange Sidings

Perth2018 - DAS - IMG_2826-1.jpg
Colliery shunter (High Level Barclay Tank) awaits duty in headshunt

Safely locked into the Exchange Sidings the local passenger train can pass.

Perth2018 - DAS - IMG_2821.JPG
Coal trains are propelled into the Exchange Sidings guards van first.

Prolific gorse this year!

Perth2018 - DAS - IMG_2827-1.jpg
Chosen time period is a loose interpretation of BR. Early BR green diesels sometimes appear. This MetroVic moves superbly at shunting speed.

Q1 in the grass awaits right away.

A plan of the layout will appear later.

Julian Roberts
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Julian Roberts » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:01 pm

Our senior scenic guru, teacher and inspirer of all things modelling (and not modelling!) on the day of the show set up, palette in hand.


Many thanks to Gavin for suggesting how to get this picture oriented correctly!

Perth2018 - DAS - IMG_2822-1.jpg
4F shunts coal train into correct siding having disposed of the guards van

Caledonian up starter / home signal.

Beyond the buffers

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David Thorpe
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby David Thorpe » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:51 pm

Thai is an excellent layout which, for me, stole the scene at Perth. I really could not fault it and was fortunate enough to have a long and very helpful chat with Simon about the beautiful scenic work on the layout. It was also one of the few layouts at the show that appeared to be operated properly and was a terrific advert for P4. In view of the rather uncomplimentary things I may have said in the past on this forum about Julian I introduced myself to him with some trepidation,but he was good enough to forgive and forget and turned out to be a nice guy. Next time you go on about mathematical calculations involving hundredths of a millimetre* I'll stay silent, Julian! (Well, I'll try to).


*There may be a slight exaggeration there.

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Colin Parks
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Colin Parks » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:53 pm

Wow, Julian, I have heard of this layout before, but never seen pictures until now. It looks very impressive in all aspects. Would it be correct to say that Allan Goodwillie is putting a scenic treatment over the baseboard joints prior to the show opening?

Also spotted in the photos is a rare sighting of an example of a Ratio (Caledonian Railway?) cask wagon and a Cambrian 'Derbyshire Stone' PO wagon from a slightly more recent vintage - unless I am mistaken.

All the best,


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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby PhilD » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:20 am

Colin Parks wrote:
“... rare sighting of an example of a Ratio (Caledonian Railway?) cask wagon and a Cambrian 'Derbyshire Stone' PO wagon...”

Both these were in a batch I picked up a few years back at the Scaleforum 2013 bring and buy stand. I was told the Derbyshire Stone wagon was a Peco Wonderful Wagon and rewheeled for P4. The cask wagon is lettered NB and the only modification I’ve made was to add a chunk of lead to bring it up to 50g. Part of my somewhat eclectic selection of wagons I’ve picked up here and there. Such a useful word ‘eclectic’, and well describes the variety of stock contributed by members to run on Calderside. Increased production of mineral wagons for the colliery and brickworks traffic is one target for its next outing.


John Palmer
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby John Palmer » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:18 am

I managed to track down the 'fly past' video on Youtube by feeding the link details into its search facility. Wow! Is that forty feet of layout excluding the fiddle yard? Impressive, in any event, and I like very much what I see, including such nice touches as the green glass in the signal spectacles.

'Some original components like point motors are troublesome' struck a chord with me, as the point/signal motors on Burnham (which is only a few years older) can be similarly temperamental. I assume Calderside is of a vintage that pre-dates the introduction of slow action motors, so would be interested to learn more about its point actuation arrangements.

I remember looking with some envy at the X04-based units designed for Heckmondwyke and the conclusion we reached that we would have to look for a more economical solution. We eventually adopted a Como Drills motor/gearbox combination with with end-of-travel switching arrangements of our own devising and, of course, it is our home made switching that has proved to be the most frequent point of failure.

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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Winander » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:01 am

Select the youtube button above the editor window which will insert the youtube tags [youtube][/youtube] and place the cursor between them. Copy the parameter for your video between the tags, for the quick view it is IwSLtSMr_8k.

The minor error you made was to include the forward slash and spaces.

So the tag in the editor becomes [youtube]IwSLtSMr_8k[/youtube] without the apples :)

Hope that helps
Richard Hodgson
Organiser Virtual Group virtual@scalefour.org

Julian Roberts
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Julian Roberts » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:39 am

Kind comments very much appreciated by us all.

Can't remember anything uncomplimentary David! Great to meet you. So much nicer way to meet than online! - and it was great to see friends old and new.

Yes Colin that is Allan!

John the original points are H&M or Maygib. Where they are not they are manually operated through cranks and rods (underneath!), which are perfectly reliable.

John is our electrics expert. He with assistants has extensively rewired the layout. The micro-switches have also had a programme of renewal. I can't answer in much more detail, sorry to say.

The new Exchange Sidings area has manual points except for the Xover from the mainline. For this exhibition we tried a servo operating each turnout and this worked perfectly, so that may be a way forward if we start a programme to replace all the old point motors.

I hope in future to write up a brief "how we got here" account, as there were some things found that could be of wider interest, and to update progress as we continue forward.

Just for the interim we are without a clubroom but hope to be installed in a new premises by the end of the year.

Richard, thank you. In fact I had originally done the video link like that. Maybe it was because I was doing all this on my phone on a train journey it didn't work straight off.

Terry Bendall
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Terry Bendall » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:41 pm

Calderside appeared at Scaleforum 2015 so it shows what you miss if you are unable to attend the Society's events. :( However, as has been mentioned it has since been extended. It is certainly looking very good and probably due for another appearance but that will be fro another organiser to sort out. :)

Terry Bendall

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:39 pm

Thanks Terry, :)

I am sure that the group would love to make a re-appearance at Scalefourum wherever it ends up being held. The layout dates away back and was originally built by one of our members Alan Clark, who now lives in France, but occasionally turns up when we exhibit the layout. It has a very long history a bit like my own Dubbieside dating back to the early 1970's. It was well built for its day and had aircraft control rods and cranks which operated for many years without requiring any alterations - I am watching Colin's thread and seeing a modern version of the same mechanical parts being used to good effect. Chris Coles and I have been long term members of the West Group since the earliest of days and remember taking it both to Scalefour North and Scalefourum with Alan during the 1970's period for the first time, can't remember the year now -so long ago, but it was the first time I had been there. At that time the layout had just been straightened out having been in a curved form for the first few years.

THis photograph I took at Perth with Alan Clark sitting right, alongside my son Dave and behind Alan, Chris Coles and beyond Dave Julian looking on

I remember us making the end board in an evening and myself laying in the scenery and painting the entire back scene in one evening The water is stapled in place and the trees I made using brake cable dipped in wax and woodland scenic material when it was a new material just introduced into the country. Alan also wanted a new building for the station and the one which is still on the layout was based on one just up the road from here at Kirknewton. I made the parts up cutting them from poly board and Chris glued and pinned them together as if it was a kit. The glazed area was made using commercial parts for a greenhouse. Alan's track work was well constructed and wound too and fro through the countryside and we have tried to keep this sense of it wandering down a valley with the addition of the exchange yard. Most of the scenic development on the station boards of course was Alan's and recently Simon has had a go at updating and adding to the effect as he has with the new boards.

Simon , one of our newer members, takes photos of the layout and like Andrew, David and Richard is keen to have a go as recently joined members.

The last eighteen years have seen us thrive as a group. The threads I have written up elsewhere on the forum covering locomotive construction and track making are there because of the group's interest in having modellers who are all round modellers and trying to develop skills within the group.(You can tell I was a teacher - The forum is extremely useful as a means of teaching as our members have it all there before them when working at home.)

Julian joined our group having built narrow gauge locos, but since doing the course has produced quite a descent range of locos all of which run beautifully. As to comments elsewhere, of course anyone meeting Julian will know that he is a thoroughly descent chap and being an orchestral musician it is in his genes to get things right, a trait that he shares with Chris Coles who is now retired but ran the University Maths Department.

The extension recently constructed used two points from each of the members who were around when the track making sessions were being run. Phil used his architectural skills to lay out the flow of tracks which was fascinating in its own way, his own new layout is moving along nicely as one of the "Starters" layouts I have been involved with in recent times and will be along at Scalefourum this year. We are very fortunate to have professional electrical skills within the group and John Stocks who took over from myself as Chairman, along with his mate John has continued to new levels to reconstruct all the electrics - the turntable/traverser units are really well thought out and engineered. Similar to the ones on his own layout.

We are very fortunate to continue to attract new members who just get stuck in and get on with our cast of characters and friends, which is excellent. All are willing to have a go and not frightened to make alterations or even to do temporary things to allow us to exhibit. The general scenery on the new extension was only done over a couple of sessions and like previous scenery will again be stripped out and re-done after the buildings and signalling have been re-done over the next year. By then all will be finished along with other stock - so more teaching sessions on wagon construction and painting/weathering of locos and stock to be covered over next winter. John , like myself has done his stint as Chairman and we are due for a change again - keeps us all fresh, although we seem to be keeping to the same trajectory we have been following for some years.

I hope we are able to find suitable premises as we have been lucky over recent years, if not I am sure we will manage, we have had tougher times in the past with much greater difficulties, we also have a long list of superb modellers who have been members of the group over the years and are well known for their past and present exploits. At a recent talk given to the East of Scotland Group by Ian Middleditch who was one of the West Group original members he said that the group had a long history of hiding their light under a bushel - and this has continued up until now, however Julian and the others feel quite proud of what we are doing as a group and it is nice to walk in the sun occasionally.

Allan :)

Julian Roberts
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Julian Roberts » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:53 am

John Palmer wrote: Wow! Is that forty feet of layout excluding the fiddle yard? .

Hopefully I am answering this question John below


This plan is being updated to reflect the slightly simpler track arrangement actually built. The engine change referred to is no longer relevant - now of course the NCB loco takes the wagons from the sidings to the colliery or brickworks.

John Palmer
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby John Palmer » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:44 am

Julian Roberts wrote:
John Palmer wrote: Wow! Is that forty feet of layout excluding the fiddle yard? .

Hopefully I am answering this question John below

Indeed you have, Julian; thank you. Must be very satisfying to have that length of run through the miniature Lanarkshire countryside.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:07 pm

I'm afraid I can't resist any longer :) I'm just going to have to sign up to the Calderside fan club as well :D
Tim Lee

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West Scotland 4mm Group layout Calderside

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:56 pm

Please do Tim, :)

you are already a friend of the group from my point of view. We do like to build fairly big railways up here. Dubbieside back in the early eighties, just before I rebuilt it for the museum came to 65 ft in length, although that included the fiddle yard - I rebuilt it into a round and round as it made more sense to have it that way in the museum. It is good to have a proper bit of railway to run. Burntisland that I have also been heavily involved in over the years also falls into this category.

Here are a couple of photos taken the previous time the layout was out at Glasgow for comparison - you will see some differences in track layout and scenery since that time.

Assembly under way and final additions of Stock etc.on the go - everyone getting stuck in.

Panorama of the station area with Phil's first engine an N2 tank - a lovely runner.

The drawing that Julian has published of Calderside was done by our resident Architect and exhibition organiser (and excellent modeller) Phil Draper, by the way - Phil is building a very nice layout of his own as a member of the starters group. I am sure there will be photographs of that appearing in due time. I note in the Snooze when it arrived this morning that Terry has put a bit in about our starters Group Stand and Phil will be with me on the stand at Scalefourum this year. We will be very happy to meet anyone who is a relative new comer to the scale and building their first S4 layout. All help will be freely given and anyone considering setting up a similar group please feel free to contact me before or during the exhibition if you would like a little help and advice in setting up. Our group has no formal structure at all, it is just shared interest in building something for ones self as against building a group layout and mutual encouragement, equipment sharing etc. to get the layouts up and running.

Chris sets up the bells for communication - we run to a timetable. Phil signals all is ready and operational electrically

I am sure the encouragement that I and others are giving you Tim is helpful and we all look forward to seeing how your layout develops despite living quite far away. Up until recent times I have provided all the stock for Calderside, but since running the locomotive building thread some years ago, both Julian and Phil in particular have really got stuck in to building engines which are now used on the layout and are more suitable for the district modelled (perhaps not Julian's 0-8-0T- but then again why not- we enjoy our modelling and one another's company and why not show off a lovely running and interesting locomotive?) So my own engines play less of a part as time goes by. It is like when Burntisland was being built for the Scalefourum competition three of the original 4 locomotives were built by myself, now we have quite a number, the majority built by Jim Summers and Bob Heatherington all very fine locomotives - some of which probably never saw Burntisland either, but the layout would be poorer without them.

We do like to have fun - it is perfectly OK and have guests along for a meal from time to time, in this case it is old friend of the group Mike Ainsworth who often comes North to represent the Society (Rear right) sitting opposite John Stocks (Rear left)

So I am looking forward to getting Scott's Road built and be able to run my own layout again with entirely my own stock.It will become available for the West Group for exhibition purposes in time, as the starters group has more East Group members in it so most of the layouts are likely to be exhibited under the East banner in time. It is all construction and new shoots these days. Calderside will go through a process of developing the stock over the next season as well as finishing the central scenic section and re-working the back scene - we had a rather nice outing to the area that we are modelling for inspiration and have lots of photographs to work from.

Allan :)

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