It’s been a while since anything about the layout has been posted here but this doesn’t mean that there has been no progress on the layout, in fact, far from it. Slattocks Junction was due to appear at Scalefour North this year and the group had been working really hard to get the layout to a ‘presentable state’. As such nobody really had the time to take any good pictures therefore any pictures shown in this update were really taken for our own use, and usually quickly at the end of an evening. This means that some of the pictures may be up to nearly 12 months old. What we don’t have are any recent pictures to show the layout in its current state.
Slattocks Junction is, of course, based at Dean Hall, the clubhouse of the Manchester Model Railway Society. Due to the Corona Virus lockdown this has meant that there has been no work on it for several weeks. However, this has not really been a problem as we all have enough to do at home. It’s an ill wind …….!!
Anyhow, back to the layout. As was explained earlier one of the main tasks last year was to develop structures including bridges and tunnels. It was really important to get some of these sorted as without them the scenery at the ‘rural’ end of the layout simply couldn’t be progressed. Here we had a problem. The shape of Slattocks meant that it was almost inevitable that for the tracks to disappear off scene some sort of bridge or tunnel would have to be used, with the latter being the least preferred option. After a number of experiments it was decided that the latter was the only option which led to another problem. As mentioned at the beginning of this thread it has always been the intention of the layout to pick out themes from the area surrounding Slattocks. The problem is there are no tunnels close by. However, it didn’t take us long to realise that we could still stick to the themes of the line by choosing the nearest tunnel to Slattocks, at Summit, a few miles north of Rochdale. Enter problem No 3. Summit Tunnel is a single bore twin track structure whereas we have got 3 tracks to accommodate. How could we justify such a change to the structure without a realistic story backing our rationale? The answer lay in the minor tunnel immediately before Summit which Todmorden Road uses to cross the line. This tunnel entrance is a far more decorated structure and to this day has the only known example of the Manchester and Leeds Railway crest on it (please correct me if that’s wrong).
Immediately before the minor tunnel entrance is an aqueduct carrying the River Roch. This would make an excellent natural view blocker on the layout to disguise the tracks disappearance through the backscene.
Everything on the railway around the Summit area is built of stone and we assumed we would just make a wider version of the tunnel and aqueduct. This assumption was quickly vetoed by Dick, our civil engineer supremo who stated that there always had to be a reason behind an alteration to the prototype otherwise visual credibility would be lost. So, it has been assumed that whilst it would have been perfectly feasible for a 3rd track to be added on the Manchester (up)bound side of the layout starting immediately after the main tunnel exit (note this doesn’t appear on the layout) this would have required widening Summit Minor. As this would have to have been done with the railway still operating the new structure would have to be of different construction to the original. However, given the importance of the tunnel mouth, with its Manchester and Leeds Railway crest, we have assumed that it was still built of stone using the material from the ‘up’ line demolished wing wall. This wing wall was replaced at a lower cost using engineers blue brick. Engineering difficulties with reconstructing the aqueduct over a live railway meant a phased total rebuild of this structure. This structure has yet to be finished on the layout.
So there it is. One little area of the layout but with a lot of thought behind it!!
Since the main part of the structure was going to be in ‘semi-dressed’ stone it was decided to see if this could be replicated using the laser cutter. First attempts were disastrous, replicating the stone of a run-down farm building, but as more experiments took place the stonework became more representative of what we were aiming for. It’s still not perfect but is as close as we can get without spending a great deal more time on it.
The basic structure was drawn out using CorelDraw and a mock up cut in card to see if it all fitted.
The great advantage of doing this is that if all is OK the same drawing can be developed to provide the full artwork for the complete cut. This was not an easy task to begin with as the stones had to be redrawn to ensure the correct cut of the laser was made. In all about six stones were redrawn, using actual photos as the starting point but were saved after manipulating their shapes, ie, expanding them in various dimensions, compressing them the same way, reversing them, inverting them and doing just about everything else possible to give a variety of stonework on the structure. However experience taught us that with laser cutting it is very easy to get an obvious pattern appearing making for an unrealistic appearance. How do we know……? The great thing is apart from the basic structure all the cutting is in paper or card so mistakes didn’t prove to be that expensive.
The basic structure was cut in thin ply onto which the card stones were stuck using PVA.
Copings were made from plastikard and scribed appropriately. The segmental arch was also constructed of plastikard. Inspiration for this came from P77 of ’Bridges For Modellers’ by LV Wood.
The crest is also made of plastikard, punched with the correct date which can just be seen in the photograph.
Once completed the whole structure was sprayed with Halfords Grey Primer before brush painting with acrylics.
Apologies for the quality of the pics. The lighting in Dean Hall is hopeless for this type of photography, and the stonework looks a lot better in the flesh!!
Next up will be the Bury line tunnel. Altogether an easier structure with absolutely no back story to it!!