Alan explains his layout

“Hello again Al,

Here are some pictures of my layout an some expainations of what I have done. Firstly, the fiddleyard turntable length was determined by how much room I had as obviously it revolves 360degrees. So it’s 42″ long which allows 8 short wheelbase wagons Plus a guards van behind a tank loco, or 3 coaches. If a tender loco is used I have to loose one or two wagons or a coach.

Electrical connection is by copper tube and rod. I now have a lower turntable track accessed via the tunnel. Also in the tunnel there is a spur holding the auto train which does not need turning.

So, starting at the other end is the ficticious South wales Union Canal which opens out into Bryncoch basin. Bryn means hill, coch means red, so it’s Redhill in english. I is pronounced BRIN CO as in coal, CH as in Bach the composer.

That’s the Welsh lesson over!!

The wharf has a rail connection where coal is loaded onto barges and timber is unloaded. The timber warehouse is made up from two SCALESCENES low relief warehouses back to back with a bit extra in the middle.

The station and goods shed are both METCALFE, but I clad the GS in stone paper to match the stone station though it’s not an exact match.

The starion is illuminated as are some other buildings. The creamery is a hotch-potch of parts. The bus garage I had in the last house did not fit here so I dismantled it carefully and used some of it for the creamery. The water tank came from a SCALESCENES engine shed, the girder support I made by folding a piece of card and cutting out the shape so I had 2 identical pieces. then I painted and weathered it.

The canopy was from an old scratchbuilt station I made. Last week I made up a fence from left over gates from a RATIO fencing kit that you can see on the canal basin.

Real coal is used throghout the layout, a small lump from a heritage railway goes a long way. A lorry I bought some years ago had F SPRAKE coal & coke written on it so to keep continuity I put a sign on the coal office and he also runs the coal barges.

The signal box levers were made from paper clips as was the fire iron stand by the loco shed. I know there are proper levers to be bought on the market’ but can you really see them? The instruments are just different sizes of plastic

The loco shed is METCALFE, the third one I’ve owned. I built a workbench inside and put some notices on the walls. I would like an inspection pit, but I can’t safely reach into the corner and start cutting a slot, so I’ll do without.

That’s it for now, I’ll continue with more pictures and info in the next few days and show how I uncouple remotely.
Just to recap for anyone not seen my layout before, it is a small rural branch line in South Wales set in the late 1950’s/ early ’60’s.

I hope this is OK Al, I don’t want to hog your web site.



















Big thanks to Alan – enjoyed that.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get going on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PS Lastly, I’m always getting sent stuff that isn’t train related, but it’s still rather interesting. It’s always good to see what you’re up to – so I put this together

I don’t update it that ofter but it’s a bit of fun.

47 Responses to Alan explains his layout

  1. Brian Messenger says:

    Very nice layout Alan and the weathering on your locomotives is great. The detail on the layout is well done as is the interior detail in the buildings. – Brian

  2. Charles says:

    Very nice, good idea cutting shovels from figures and replacing with sacks

  3. john wisnieski says:

    Really like your layout, the milk train of empties is really good scene.

  4. Frank Cortese says:

    Wow! Great layout with lots of talent! Makes me want to tear down my layout and start all over again!

  5. Julian Holmes says:

    Hi Alan, what scale are you modelling in? Great detail and love the “completeness” of the scenes

  6. Craig A says:

    The detail level you have reached is un-real. Not meaning unrealistic, but rather incredible. You guys as a whole just amaze me. Excellent work!!

  7. Steve Roberts says:

    Nice job Alan
    Lots of interest in a confined space. and plenty to look at
    Cheers Steve R.

  8. Alan your detail is stunning!
    and your construction practices are very interesting….
    each and every ‘scene’ looks like it has a connecting purpose to the others…
    …only wish ALL of us could do scenery like that

  9. Pete Evangel says:

    Incredible detailing. My wife is complaining because I am taking so long to look at everything! So much to see. Love this layout. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. david howarth says:

    Very nice layout you have built there Alan ..Dave

  11. Cliff Russell says:

    Nice work! Out of interest, a brewery in Jamaica, Desnoes and Geddes, brew Red Stripe Light, and Dragon Stout! Close enough?

  12. Rob McCrain says:

    Fantastic layout Alan. Very inspiring. I really like the creamery, perfect for a Wales layout. Nicely done.

  13. Austin Wilson says:

    Love the layout, great ideas. Thanks for sharing Alan.

  14. christine says:

    Way to go, still needs some work but very nice, like the weathering.

  15. Ian Campbell says:

    is there any way people could always include the scale they’re working in?
    Sometimes it can be hard to tell, if there’s no tools, hands or other give-aways to indicate. Just an idea.

    Ian C, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

  16. Cameron says:

    A very clever layout and a fantastic space. I love layouts that successfully mix scratch built and kit items. Thanks for posting. Especially the labeled on the photos.



  17. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great layout lot of detail in the scenery keep it up for the next lot of photos.

  18. Alan Roberts says:

    Hi, all, thanks for all the nice comments about my layout. The scale is ’00’ gauge.
    Most of what you see I’ve picked up from magazines and websites such as Al’s.
    I just like to pass on what I have learned. The Dragon stout comment is surely close enough!


  19. paul Otway says:

    It looks very well done, are the bro?uht buiding made by scenecraft or hornby

  20. Alan says:

    There are no ready built buildings on the layout. They are all kits or scratchbuilt.

  21. Rod Mackay says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful. However, a proper signalman would be cwtched up in the comfy armchair with a mug of tea, not staring broodily out of the window!

    A. Signalman

  22. Jim says:

    Some truly great pics with super detailing. Great job. The brick work is super.

    Jim AZ

  23. Cary Buter says:

    Nice write up, great pictures of an Awesome layout
    Cary B

  24. Mike Childs says:

    Alan, What beautiful layout and the detail is amazing. Keep up the good work and keep the pictures coming. Mike C.

  25. Gary Manganiello says:

    Fantastic detail….I love the last picture with the coal.

    Gar M

  26. Scott Mandelup says:

    Alan. Great layout. How did you make the fence in third to last photo.

  27. Michael J. Dyer says:

    Great Job! Love the coal scene! eep up the great detail work!
    Mike Dyer Dallas, Yx.

  28. John Walker says:

    Absolutely fantastic. I had to keep reminding myself that I was looking at models. Excellent work!

  29. Andy Evans says:

    many people ask about the scale used on these posts, and that can be helpful. I am reading these posts to get ideas and inspire me to get off my butt with my layout. The best part is seeing detail presented that defies obvious scale. That is when you have broken the magical barrier from layout to alternative reality.

  30. Hugo Budzien says:

    Love your canal and the amount of space you have dedicated to it. Canals in the US were short lived and very few have any preservation. Always fascinated me, Thanx for sharing

  31. Michael Brookman says:

    Nice! That crane on the wharf and the coal yard are exciting.

  32. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great Layout very well done!!

  33. Erick says:

    Great layout.

  34. Peter Briggs says:

    Alan, if there were a ‘hall of greats’ for model rialways you’d be in it. so nice to appreciate that devotion to detail care and loving attention and we can share the results, so thanks to our webmaster as well! I am sure you wil inspire greater effort form the modelling fraternity

  35. Brian Olson says:

    My son-in-law is Welsh, so this naturally caught my attention. As did the great pics and innovation. So much variety in this hobby!

  36. Stephen Hill Woodstock GA says:

    Most amazing detail , rather astonishing even . Never ceases to wow me when I see such true work and craftsmanship … not to be taken lightly . Truly remarkable and inspiring. Thank you for sharing .

  37. Robert Brady says:

    Great realistic scenery.
    The Critic

  38. George Zaky says:

    Great job! Awesome layout and incredible planning. Hope you do some videos to fill up the empties.

  39. Greg Marples says:

    I especially appreciated the Welsh lesson! If you ever need to know how to speak “Kansan”, perhaps I can help.😂

  40. matiSon says:

    It’s a great setup, but what draws me in is the warm glow of the lights

  41. Marklin ed says:

    Fabulous layout, and i like the descriptions written on the photos. My favorite is the coal yard. Would like to see a track plan, the water also great.

    AS always THANKS AL

  42. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Alan…..great detail on your layout. Great water scene. Where did you get your figures?

  43. Richard Stern says:

    great layout. good detail. I love scratch built or a combo. well done keep going!


  44. 100dollarbill says:

    Alan’s detail is stunning. Carry on!

  45. Hugh E. Brennan says:

    I just love seeing the canal mated to the trains. Few know that the canal was the revolutionary transport system that changed the map of Europe and then the US. It was the railroad that ended the dominance of the canal. In many places, the canals have been relegated to leisure use or tourism, but in others, they still serve as a vital link in moving goods. Great work.

  46. Skip Jones says:

    By any measure, the prototypical detail is the best I have seen over decades of model railroading. As a Yank, even I can understand and appreciate the care of placement and unique perspective. Your ability to present real life scale and distance is impressive. You avoid the typical over crowded placement. I feel like I am there. Great craftsmanship – thank you.

  47. william janmes palmer says:

    nice blending of your buildings

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