Review of the last 4 years

I was on Google Photos the other day and it highlighted photos from the same dates in previous years and made me realise that I’d been working on the railway now for just over 4 years – the earliest photos I have being from the 2015 Christmas holiday period.  This made me realised just how far it’s come in that time, so I thought it would be a good time to look back, but also high-light some of the more recent work which was not made it to the blog.


2015 saw trains being unpacked and the start of the frame to support the layout.  With very few changes, the frame has been in place ever since. 


The work from over Christmas 2015 continued into the new year to add the surfaces to the layout.  This then allowed the track laying to start, and also the start of some of the scenic work with the engine shed under construction.


Another year and more progress was made on the railway.  This included new additions to enable a future station, the first trains actually being run on the layout which eventually resulted in both loops being usable.  The year also included starting to investigate DCC control and starting to build a viaduct.


This was a very quite year for the layout due to the majority of the year being focused on building a 1:1 scale extension to the house, so very little happened in the loft besides a small amount of cabling work.  This didn’t stop a few new additions to layout


The start of the year continued the quiet spell for the railway as the number of follow up jobs for the extension occupied most of the first half of the year, however the second half of the year has been much more productive with significant progress being made.

This year has seen a number of new additions join the layout including the Dapol Class 68, a Bachmann Class 66, a Hornby Flying Scotsman and the Hattons Railhead Treatment Train.  Interesting to see how the purchases have been split across the different manufacturers rather than just being from a single one.

2019 has also seen significant progress on the wiring front.  Previously only the two main loops were functional, however now there is a control panel and the goods yard is functional allowing trains to traverse the different sidings and on and off the main line.  There’s a blog post here about how the power side of the layout works, and hopefully at some point in the future (no promises on when) there will be one on the point control.

Also moving forward has been the scenic work, mostly in sitting in front of the TV in an evening, however it does allow progress without being in the loft.  This year has seen a large section of retaining wall well on it’s way, the viaduct has gone from a wooden frame to starting to look like a proper railway structure and work as started on something which should become the large station.


Writing the post has made me appreciate how far things have come over the last 4 years, from a concept to a layout which is starting to really take shape one.

Looking ahead to 2020 briefly, I’ll start by making no promises about what and when things will get done as the railway is always one of the lower priority activities, however there are a clear set of next things to do…..

  • Fit the remaining point motors to the points that are currently laid
  • Install the power supplies and relay boards to control the points at the far end of the layout
  • Commission the second half of the control panel
  • Finish the viaduct
  • Landscape around the viaduct area
  • Build the large station platforms
  • Start landscaping the large station and surrounding areas

My aim (as always) is to try and create more blog posts as I go along to show the progress, however please bear with me as time is limited and often blogging time can eat into actually working on the railway.  However this gives me something to look back on next year and see how I did!



New Additions – Flying Scotsman and Railhead Treatment Train

Following a recent significant life event that happens but once per year a couple more items of rolling stock have found their way to the model railway, so I thought I would add some photos of them to the blog.

Hatton’s Railhead Treatment Train

First up is the Hatton’s Railhead Treatment wagons.  These are the first “own brand” type models that I’ve bought where the lead on the design and manufacture is done by a retailer rather than a traditional model manufacturer.  However despite that they are incredible models in their own right.

I first spotted these when Hatton’s first announced that they were going to make them and was interested by them at that point, so very happy now to have a set to run on the layout.  In a slightly unusual choice for me I’ve gone with the weathered look rather than the clean version.  Having looked at both, I came to the conclusion that while passenger trains and steam locos are cleaned regularly, engineering trains are not, so actually the weathered version is far more accurate.

On un-boxing once again with a modern model I was surprised by the amount of detail in the models, to the point where I almost had trouble handling the units and getting them onto the layout as I was worried about breaking them.  The other thing that I noticed was the weight in the base units as they are made from metal, so weigh more than I’m used to for wagons.

Once on the layout I reached for a Lima EWS Class 47 that was readily to hand, and to my surprise I discovered the weight of the wagons was such that the Class 47 couldn’t actually pull them.  This is the first time I’ve ever seen a loco sit there and spin it’s wheels when attempting to pull a train.  So I moved up to the recent addition of the Class 68 which as well as being more representative of real life also managed to pull it fine.

Hornby R1072 Flying Scotsman

Since the layout is rooted in the North Yorkshire area somewhere near York, and has a mix of both local and east coast mainline trains appearing then a Flying Scotsman is a logic choice to make an appearance.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for one on and off over the last couple of years, but not really doing anything about it and there have been higher priorities for new rolling stock.  However more recently it’s crept up the list and I’ve been keeping an eye out for possible options.

In the end I’ve gone with an older set off Ebay was what in good condition.  This gives me a good quality loco which has a DCC socket in it so I can convert easily in the future, as well as three carriages and the usual bits of track and controller.  While I’m not really interested in the last couple of items, the rolling stock was what I’m after and they are good.