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The layout is set in the 1960s and represents British Railways, North Eastern Region and the National Coal Board lines in that period. Although everything on the layout should be prototypical for the southern Tyneside area in our chosen time period, nonetheless Harton Gill is a fictional location. We have always believed that this is the way to do a model railway - every detail looking as though it belongs, but no need to try and copy a real place. Thus we have in the foreground an overhead-electrified private line connecting the colliery to some imaginary staithes off to the left, just like the real-life Harton electrified line. At the back of the layout, we have a British Railways North Eastern Region branch to a cement works, with engines and traffic appropriate to such a place. In the middle is a short passenger line terminating at a halt, with a DMU shuttle service. Wherever possible the buildings, such as the signal box and the footbridge, and the signals, follow ex-NER prototypes.
The timescale allows us to run a mixture of steam and early diesels, in both green and blue, as well as the dedicated colliery electrics. The latest additions here are a Tyneside Bo-Bo electric operating off the third rail, and the EPB parcels car which ran on Tyneside for a while. The operators would be pleased to hear from anyone who knows anything about this interesting vehicle.
The boards are all made from 6mm birch-faced plywood. The layout goes together quickly and, when built carefully, it runs successfully. The buildings are all scratchbuilt from plastic card (with the exception of the colliery head-frame, which is a brass Wrightscale kit) to fit their locations amongst the tracks. To save the space and effort in construction and carrying of fiddle yards, cassettes overhang the edge of the boards, while being firmly attached to them. Lots of people comment on the dangers involved, but so far, with a table always occupying the space below the cassettes, no disasters have occurred!
Presented by the Carshalton and Sutton Model Railway Club.
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