Alan answers some questions

Alan has kindly answered the questions posted on his last piece.

“Hi Al,

I’ve had some very nice comments about my layout so thank you everyone.

A few questions were asked, my prototype is The Western Region in South Wales. The layout is pure fiction, but I try to replicate the operating practices of that area which is set in the late 1950’s. You may have seen my station pilot loco, an ex GWR pannier tank complete with Shunters truck. These were unique to the GWR/western region. They were used in marshalling yards and the trucks had running boards on either side for the shunter to stand on. It saved a lot of walking. He had along pole which was used for uncoupling and applying the brakes on wagons. Right up to the early 1960’s loose-coupled goods wagons were still in use (no air or vacuum brakes). Wagons were uncoupled by the shunter, then the wagon or wagons were pushed by the loco into the siding where they were needed and the shunter then had to run alongside and apply the individual brakes on the wagons, again using the pole. It was so archaic and dangerous.
I find the shunting movements far more enjoyable than just watching trains go round & around.

The back scenes are made by Gaugemaster and are photographic. They do a selection of different views, plus there are many other makers. Just type in ‘model railway back scenes’.

Lastly, I was asked about fiddle yards . Mine is a turntable type. I wanted enough tracks to hold most of my stock so I have 8 roads. The centre one is split in two by the pivot bolt, thus creating two short roads. I then have three roads either side. The length is determined by how much room you have, remember it has to turn 360 deg. so you have to have enough room either side. Electrical connection is made by rod & tube method. So when the train runs back to the F/Y I just turn it 360deg and it,s ready to depart again. Mine is 44 inches long enough for a tank loco + eight wagons or two coaches.

I hope that helps


And after ken’s brilliant video trailer, he’s sent in some ‘out takes’. I have to say, I thought it was better than the trailer – so here it is.

That’s all this time. Please keep ’em coming.

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here (Lots of stuff about at the mo).



19 Responses to Alan answers some questions

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your ability to make it so real looking. It tells me to take parts of mine apart and re-do. Thanks again for sharing your fantastic layout. Dave

  2. Hi Ken,
    I would love to have the space and skill to have a set up like this and how on earth do you get the cars and buses to move?

    Very Well Done
    I look forward to the next instalment.

  3. I love to watch this videos, these and Eric’s Trains video. They give me ideas for my Christmas Garden. That means I have to be able to set it up in a month and take it down in a month. I leave it up – one month. That give me a trade off of two for one. But I can do anything preparing for it the time in between.

    I would like to know how do you get the buses to run around? Magnets underneath on a servo motor?

    Thanks for sharing AmstersKen! A great layout!!

  4. Ken: I didn’t know birds sang so much in the dark, or perhaps they do in Holland?? LOL Great movies and a wonderful railroad. Thanks for sharing.

  5. It`s wonderful.It`s beyond any comarison. Great work! Many thanks

  6. Amazing layout Ken. Incredible realism you have achieved. I hate to think how many hours it must have taken you.

    Well done indeed.

  7. Loved the way you made use of mirrors in several places…Keep these videos coming…

  8. Great animation (busses, people, heavy equipment, etc.)
    Thanks so much for sharing pics and ideas.

  9. neat

  10. Wow! This is so awesome. It almost looks life like. I love all of the animation. This layout must have taken some major time and cost some mega bucks to producte. Great job.

  11. That was a super job. Do the buses run on (guided) embedded wires? Very realistic and fantastic.

    How long did it take? How much of it was hand made/custom built?


  12. My wife and I are wondering how or what do you use to make your buses run around the city? We do not see any tracks in the roadway for them to follow. We saw that Ken asked the same, sorry for the repete. Paul and Tonya


  14. Hi Alan,
    loved your layout, well done, I am only half way there with my British Layout, I would love to see this one in day light too.


  15. Hi Alan, love the video and your layout is absolutely wonderful, your attention to detail is superb, that is obviously a labour of love.
    Regards Ron.

  16. Alan, right up to closure in summer 1999 the lads were still shunting the wagonworks sidings and yard tracks at Barry that way, complete with shunting poles and brakesticks, as most of the wagons were mixed brake types and many in for various repairs, “loose” shunting was also common where a single wagon or a “raft” of sevral would be “kicked” by the pilot to send it down one road, then the shunter would whip the points over to snd the next “cut” down a different one. It was a joy to watch – I would sit in the signalbox window in my swivel chair with a fresh cup of coffee and watch them out working in the pouring rain – I bet you can imagine how much they loved that! They didn’t have the shunter’s truck or “jalopy” as the 08 class diesel pilot engines had a wide front step with handrail for their use.

  17. “rod&tube” for fiddle yard electrical connection on f / y … What is that? Btw, thank you so much for commenting on fiddle yard … Also, Rod’s comments above about shunting are fascinating ( ty ) … I really love these emails!

  18. That’s just too cool !!!

  19. Nice,

    If you look for film inspiration, look at the movie “Amsterdamned”

    Great idea’s for little scenery shots.

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