Picking up on those posts from the end of 2018 (was it really over two years ago?), I’m not sure whether I have posted these excellent layouts on here before – at least my tagging and indexing isn’t good enough to find them.
Both are a 5′ diameter circle, which is hardly surprising as they use the same design. One is 2mm finescale, the second N gauge.
The ‘Mini MSW’, Alan Whitehouse’s model of the trans-Pennine Woodhead line, was originally built as a 2mm test track, but developed into a layout in its own right. The layout is made even more special by the accurate overhead infrastructure, and the scratch-built EM1 and EM2 electric locomotives.
I later came across Terry Tasker’s ‘Circle Line’. It took some time (and some reading and watching) to realise that Terry had been inspired by the Mini-MSW, and his layout was an N gauge version of the layout. The big difference is that Terry’s version is operated from the middle, whilst Alan’s layout is a solid board (actually in two pieces). The circle line is in one piece, that perhaps makes it more difficult to move around – light, but bulky. This video reveals all.
The track plan for both layouts is simple enough, but there is just enough extra pointwork on the scenic area to give it a little interest.
Here are a couple of pictures of the Circle Line under construction
And here it is in operation, taken from a press photo.
I think that this is a classic, and inspiring design. Although the Mini-MSW is very accurate in its location, it would be easy to build this layout to allow different regions and periods to be operated, whilst looking generally realistic. Perhaps signals and one or two small buildings might come from the 1930’s Southern, but trains could be run from all over, and anything from 1910 to 1970 would not look too out of place.
The only catch I can see is that one would need to keep on a bit of a diet to operate the thing. If it were reduced to a 4′ diameter circle, it would make an nicely transportable layout, if folded in two. But this would require some dramatic weight loss, or specially selected skinny operators!