Wyre Forest Model Railway Club
STONEY HILL WEST 
Chris Round Five   years   ago   I   knew   nothing   about   North   American   railways.   Then   a   new   member   joined   our   club.   He modelled   Southern   Pacific   in   HO   scale   and   he   brought   some   of   his   locomotives   and   rolling   stock   to demonstrate.   It   was   an   eye   opener.   These   locomotives   were   cheap   and   reliable   and   much   better   at   slow speed   control   than   almost   all   British   OO   gauge.   I   was   impressed,   even   more   so   after   I   visited   his   home layout. He lent me some books on North American modelling and I was hooked. In   1994   we   visited   some   friends   in   Toronto,   Canada   and   they   just   happened   to   live   not   far   from   the   main Canadian   Pacific   marshalling   yard.   It   was   a   fascinating   place   and   there   was   plenty   of   activity   especially   at the    west    end    where    on    one    occasion    there    were    four    sets    of    locomotives,    twelve    in    all    operating simultaneously   to   bring   trains   into   the   yard   and   push   stings   of   wagons   over   the   yard   hump.   Canadian Pacific   is   still   a   charismatic   name   even   when   abbreviated   to   CP   Rail   and   the   bright   red   locomotives   did   look impressive. This was a railroad I wanted to model. I   have   been   a   committed   British   N   gauge   modeller   for   many   years   but   since   a   North   American   HO   scale locomotive   could   be   purchased   about   half   the   price   of   a   British   N   gauge   locomotive,   I   viewed   a   Canadian layout   as   a   cheap   sideline   and   I   have   managed   to   purchase   some   of   the   rolling   stock   second   hand.   I decided to build a small exhibition layout to capture some of the atmosphere of what I had seen. When   I   went   to   Canada   I   couldn’t   have   recognised   any   of   the   locomotives   I   saw.   My   first   priority   was   to   do some   research   and   luckily   a   book   by   Gary   Zuters,   “CP   Rail   Review   1993”   was   published   soon   after   and this included a lot of vital information. I now have quite a library of books on North American railroads. It   took   a   while   getting   used   to   the   new   scale.   I   knew   that   I   didn’t   have   the   space   or   money   to   build   a   large layout   so   the   emphasis   would   be   on   switching   (shunting).   I   ideally   wanted   a   small   marshalling   yard connected   to   a   number   of   industrial   sidings   but   one   sufficiently   large   to   justify   locomotives   coup   led   in multiples   of   two   or   three.   I   wanted   to   shunt   rakes   of   wagons   rather   than   single   boxcars   and   I   also   wanted industries   big   enough   to   justify   a   reasonable   amount   of   traffic. All   of   these   wants   pushed   towards   increasing the   size   of   the   layout.   The   competing   pressures   were   the   desire   for   the   layout   to   be   transportable   in   my estate car and for it to be easy for one or two people to assemble at exhibitions. The   original   plan   was   for   three   section   folding   layout   about   11   feet   long   and   21   inches   wide.   There   was   a four   track   yard   which   included   a   run   round   loop   and   three   industrial   sidings. A   two   track   staging   (fiddle)   yard was   sited   behind   scenery   at   the   rear   of   the   layout   with   access   through   a   tunnel. The   idea   of   a   folding   layout did   not   survive   the   test   of   experience   due   to   excessive   weight   so   I   went   back   to   individual   four   foot   long baseboards.   Once   the   track   was   laid   and   some   test   running   commenced,   it   was   clear   that   the   headshunt was   not   long   enough   to   accommodate   a   reasonable   length   train.   I   decided   to   add   another   board   and   to allow   for   further   extension   to   a   separate   staging   yard   at   the   rear   of   the   layout.   In   retrospect   it   was   clear   that I   was   trying   to   get   too   much   in   the   original   space   and   operation   could   not   have   been   effective   without   these extensions. For   transport   to   exhibitions   the   baseboards   are   paired   together   facing   each   other   and   joined   by   end   boards to   form   a   box   to   protect   the   scenery.   The   baseboards   themselves   are   constructed   from   plywood   with integral   folding   support   legs.   Despite   my   best   intentions   they   are   not   light   and   are   rather   too   heavy   for   one person   to   carry   any   distance.   Boards   paired   for   transport   really   require   two   people   to   move   them   although the addition of wheels to the end boards has helped. I   laid   most   of   the   track   before   I   had   really   got   used   to   the   locomotives   and   National   Model   Railroad Association   (NMRA)   standards.   In   retrospect   I   would   have   used   finer   scale   track   but   I   actually   used   mainly code   100   rail.   Where   North   American   HO   scale   modelling   has   a   big   advantage   over   British   OO   is   the existence   of   the   NMRA   which   sets   track   and   wheel   standards   which   are   nationally   accepted   and   adhered to   by   the   vast   majority   of   manufacturers.   I   built   the   switches   (pointwork)   by   hand   from   rail   soldered   to copper   clad   sleepers,   and   an   NMRA   track   gauge   was   an   essential   piece   of   equipment.   I   originally   intended to   use   point   motors   to   operate   the   switches   but   I   was   concerned   about   reliability,   extra   wiring   and   the additional   cost. After   all   this   was   supposed   to   be   a   cheap   project   and   so   I   decided   to   hand   operate   them   by wires   running   in   conduits   and   attached   to   switches   at   the   rear   of   the   layout   which   changed   the   polarity   of the   frogs.   Given   the   leisurely   pace   of   operations   this   poses   no   real   problems   and   is   reliable   and   quiet.   I ballasted   the   track   with   small   scale   granite   chippings   and   applied   a   liberal   coat   of   brake   dust   rusty   brown paint   to   the   rails   and   sleepers.   The   overall   appearance   is   satisfactory   but   I   will   definitely   use   finer   scale track in future. The   main   scenic   features   are   the   industrial   buildings.   Stoney   Hill   Manufacturing   was   the   first   building   I attempted.   It   was   constructed   from   card   board,   plastic   sheet   and   bits   of   building   kits.   The   build   ing   had   to be   large   enough   to   accommodate   the   hidden   staging   roads   and   provide   access   to   the   huma   n   hand   to uncouple   and   remove   rolling   stock   from   these.   The   factory   is   served   by   a   siding   which   can   accommodate up to four boxcars or covered hoppers. Lakeside   Maple   Syrup   was   inspired   by   and   largely   constructed   from   Pikestuff   kits   and   is   served   by   a   siding which   runs   through   one   of   the   main   buildings.   This   siding   can   take   at   least   six   hoppers   or   boxcars   and others   can   be   held   in   the   loop   siding   alongside   the   factory.   I   initially   left   the   walls   in   the   bright   blue   plastic   of the pikestuff kits but I eventually painted them a pale sand which looked more realistic. The   third   industry   is   Lakeside   Paper   which   is   constructed   from   DPM   brick   panels   and   represents   an   older mill   type   building   located   over   a   stream.   The   range   and   quality   of   building   kits   available   is   impressive   and kit bashing can produce virtually any structure. My   first   locomotive   was   a   CP   Rail   SD40-2.   Out   of   the   box   wi   th   the   handrails   assembled,   it   didn’t   look   too bad   but   the   beauty   of   these   models   is   that   you   can   add   as   much   detail   as   you   want   and   a   little   extra   work can   produce   a   much   more   realistic   model.   Although   the   SD40-2   was   virtually   the   standard   locomotive   of the   1980s   and   early   1990s,   there   was   a   wide   range   of   variations   between   Individual   railroads.   The   majority of   CP   locomotives   had   the   headlights   sited   in   the   nose   of   the   short   hood   and   a   bell   above   the   cab   between the   number   boards   where   the   headlights   are   normally   sited.   These   modifications   together   with   single   rear headlight,   new   grab   irons,   MU   cables,   snow   plough   and   uncoupling   bar,   made   a   much   more   realistic   and   in dividual locomotive. I    have   adopted   similar   procedures   for   all   subsequent   locomotives   and   because   many   of   the   variations   are individual   to   a   particular   locomotive,   I   have   tried   to   model   actual   locomotives   I   photographed   in   Canada. The   majority   of   locomotives   are   CP   Rail   but   I   also   have   an   SD40-2   and   GP40-2   in   Canadian   National   livery with    wide    nose    safety    cabs    and    a    couple    of    Norfolk    Southern    Railroad    locomotives.    These    are    an interesting   example   of   the   identification   problems   which   can   arise   with   apparently   standard   locomotives.   I bought   a   Bachman   Spectrum   model   which   was   labelled   as   a   C40-8   (or   Dash   8-40C   to   use   the   General Electric   designation).   Further   research   indicated   that   the   locomotive   number   related   to   a   C39-8   which Norfolk   Southern   purchased   many   of.   The   majority   of   these   are   distinguished   from   the   C40s   by   l   ower height   cabs   giving   a   slightly   hump   backed   appearance   but   the   last   batch   of   C39s   had   a   higher   cab   like   the C40s   and   this   loco   was   numbered   in   that   batch.   Further   research   indicated   that   this   is   in   fact   a   very   good model   of   the   later   C39s   and   indeed   would   have   had   some   minor   inaccuracies   as   a   model   of   a   C40.   The other   loco   was   a   Walthers   model   of   a   B40-8.   Norfolk   Southern   did   not   purchase   B40s   but   did   buy   45   B32- 8s   and   indeed   the   numbering   on   this   locomotive   was   correct   for   one   of   these.   Further   research   indicates that   the   Walthers   model   is   slightly   two   long   and   has   one   extra   set   of   engine   room   doors   but   the   differences are   not   really   noticable   and   what   was   purchased   as   a   B40-8   turns   out   to   be   a   reasonable   representation   of an actual B32-8. The moral is don’t believe all you read on the box. Freight   stock   consists   of   a   variety   of   hoppers   and   boxcars   as   well   as   some   intermodal   wagons   although given   the   nature   of   the   layout   the   scope   intermodal   use   is   limited.   Except   for   unloading   facilities   in   factories, there   is   sufficient   clearance   for   doublestack   container   wagons.   The   largest   items   of   rolling   stock   are   the 89ft Autoracks. I like the appearance of these but they do takeup a lot of siding space. There   are   three   magnetic   uncouplers   on   the   layout,   two   electromagnets   and   one   large   magnet   under   the track.   Siting   the   magnets   needs   some   thought   because   they   need   to   be   on   straight   track   of   at   least   one wagon   length   either   side   of   the   magnet   to   work   effectively.   All   rolling   stock   is   fitted   with   Kadee   or   similar magnetic   couplers   which   work   reasonably   well   most   of   the   time   but   can   tend   to   stick   on   occasions   despite application   of   graphite   dust.   The   objective   is   hands   free   operation   and   I   am   gradually   sorting   out   all   of   the minor problems. The   layout   was   first   exhibited   at   the   Kidderminster   Model   Railway   Exhibition   in   March   2000   and   I   then realised   that   the   original   two   road   staging   (fiddle   yard)   was   totally   inadequate.   Tony   Koester   who   regularly writes   in   Model   Railroader   has   identified   a   rule   that   says   whatever   number   of   staging   roads   you   think   you will need, you should double it and add one. A good rule, I now have a five road staging yard. Overall   I   am   pleased   with   Stoney   Hill   Yard.   It   has   turned   out   to   be   a   rather   bigger   and   more   expensive proposition   than   originally   intended   but   I   think   it   has   captured   some   of   the   atmosphere   of   railroading   in southern Ontario, Canada.
Interested spectators watch as freight trains are shunted into the various industrial sidings.
A container train departs passing the loco servicing point.