Progress with Slattocks Junction

Also part of the Manchester Model Railway Society
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Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby JFS » Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:04 am

John Palmer wrote:... gradient post on the Werneth Incline marked 1 in 27

You are quite right John - well spotted!

Dave Holt
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:44 pm

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby Dave Holt » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:14 pm

Only travelled down it once, and never up, in all the times we used the train from Oldham (Central) to Manchester. It would have been 1957 or 8 and my mother and I were on an epic train journey to Thurso, in the winter. It was already pitch black when, after leaving Werneth, we didn't arrive at Hollinwood, as we should have! My mother was in full panic mode, no doubt imagining all the missed connections along the rest of the journey but, being in a non-corridor coach, we couldn't contact the guard and no mobile phones, of course. Equilibrium was only restored when I later recognised Newton Heath shed - but on the wrong side!
The rest of the trip was a bit of a marathon, but did eventually arrive safely at our destination. Boy was it cold and wind swept up there at that time of year.

Tony W
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:42 pm

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby Tony W » Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:06 pm

JFS asked
Are you sure about that Tony? Oldham (Werneth) was at the top of the 1:37 and Chadderton was at the bottom

To be honest, Howard, no, I'm not sure. Coal to this area seems to have come from the west of the country as well as the east. We know plenty of coal came round the loop from the Rochdale direction with wagons being dropped off at various locations such as Milnrow, Shaw, Royton Jct and Oldham (various sites). Some may even have travelled further afield through Clegg Street and down the OA&GB. There is evidence that, certainly in the 60's, loaded coal trains were taken up the gradient through Hollinwood to Werneth. Presumably this coal must have come from the Lancashire coalfield. With this alternative route it wouldn't have made sense for trains to use the Werneth Incline unless they were travelling to Chadderton.

The movement of goods in this area would make a fascinating study in itself but for the time being suffice it to say we still need more minerals for Slattocks!!


Tony W
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:42 pm

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby Tony W » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:46 pm

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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The crest is also made of plastikard, punched with the correct date which can just be seen in the photograph.
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Once completed the whole structure was sprayed with Halfords Grey Primer before brush painting with acrylics.
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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!!


Tony W
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:42 pm

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby Tony W » Fri May 08, 2020 2:00 pm

The idea for the Bury line tunnel came effectively by default. In reality the tracks up to Rochdale and those to Bury part at Castleton South Junction. On the layout there is simply not the room to show this split effectively. As stated in the previous post a tunnel was the least favoured option but having gone down that route for the line to Rochdale there was absolutely no way we could avoid having another tunnel mouth for this line without modelling a false looking landscape. It was therefore decided to have this tunnel mouth made of brick and of plain appearance. A drawing was made and a mock up produced to see that all was well.

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Once teething problems had been sorted the final version was cut and constructed.

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This was followed by painting and fitting prior to the whole area being covered in Sculptamold.

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Please remember that although these two lines are disappearing from the main scenic boards in roughly the same direction they actually represent two sides of a triangle. We had to get our heads round this when studying stock movements in the area!!


Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:40 pm

Tony's photos show lots of foam that needs turning into scenery. The group have spent a long time trawling Youtube looking at various people producing scenery using many different techniques. I found Luke Towan's videos most interesting and a read of a thread on RMWeb opened up further interesting ideas. One thing that came through from the RMWeb thread was that the Noch Grassmaster we had was not exactly the best machine to use for this and there are far superior static grass applicators on the market. The thread is an interesting read and several modellers gave the RTS Greenkeeper high praise.

Looking to find a supplier for the RTS machine I came across who stock the product but also have a Youtube clip which shows how to make scenery using static grass applicators the like of which I have never seen before. Anyway, inspired by the results shown in the clip I duly ordered one, not cheap for sure but that'a an advantage of being in a club!

Whilst waiting for it to arrive I set about trying to emulate what was being shown on the microrama video using the Noch Grassmaster and the static grass fibres I had to hand. This was all set up using a piece of the foam which has been cut into small pieces. A coating of Sculpamold was applied so that it looks identical to the work we have already undertaken on Slattocks. This was then painted using a cheap brown acrylic paint from Hobbycraft.


The French video shows the use of a spray as an adhesive so not having any of that yet I got some very cheap hairspray from the local chemist, £1 per can and used that instead. A quick spray and then the static grass was applied in the same way that the guy on the French video did using one size fibres, another spray of the hairspray, a different length of fibres and another spray etc until I started to get a result with some depth. A lot of layouts using static grass look like a bulldozer has trampled all over it and that was most certainly NOT the impression we want on Slattocks. Using the Noch Grassmaster with fibres from several different sources produced something which I was rather pleased with and showed that this technique can be used to produce a very acceptable result.


The RTS arrived from France today so once I have prepared some more test pieces to use I will try it out and post the results so we can compare the difference between the old Noch Grassmaster (over 10 years old) and the RTS Grassmaster.

Knowing that the RTS Greenkeeper is capable of getting the fibres to stand better than this I am quite looking forward to doing some more tests with it to compare the results. By using multiple applications as shown in the French video I think it shows just how effective scenery can be made - it is just unfortunate for us that we have acres and acres of land to work on - thank goodness I am not the only one in the group! Don't forget there isn't any PVA of glue used here just hairspray and it dries fast very quickly.


Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:26 am

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby bécasse » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:43 pm

Here are a few photos, taken several years ago at an exhibition at Laval in north-west France (and some 600 km from my current home in le Luxembourg belge), of my contribution to "Les croisées de l'étroit", where, although there is some basic contour structuring, much of the 3D nature of the scenery has been built up by repeated applications of cheap hair spray and fibres of various lengths and colours, the depth of which exceeds two centimetres in places. The scale is 1:87.

Incidentally, as a member of the MMRS of well-over fifty years standing, and the person responsible for the scenery on the very first P4 layout to grace an MMRS Christmas Show (back in 1971), I follow the development of Slattocks Junction with great interest.




Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby ralphrobertson » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:03 am

First trial of the RTS machine has proved very encouraging but I have had to prepare more bits of expanded foam to work on to check out the results. I expect to be able to show more results in the next few days once I have had chance to get to grips with this machine.


Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby ralphrobertson » Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:05 am

Took longer than I expected but managed to do some testing yesterday with this RTS Grassmaster. I was using all the products I purchased from Microrama and the results were, to me, very encouraging.



Alan Turner
Posts: 575
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:24 pm

Re: Progress with Slattocks Junction

Postby Alan Turner » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:23 am

I found this series from PECO quite good:



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