St Chant II

Many moons ago, in the early days of ESNG, Martin Micklewright built a little layout on a 4′ x 2′ module called St Chant, and later extended it by another 4′ with a largely scenic section.  It appeared at a number of our shows, and I remember operating it at the Merstham Narrow Gauge show. 



After Martin’s death in 2016, the layout was stored in several locations, before ending up in my loft.  The station section, shown above, was showing its age and the effect of storage – the signals were all broken, there was damage to buildings and its electrics were a bit of a mystery.  I reluctantly decided to scrap this section, but put a new surface on the very well built baseboard frame and legs underneath.

The scenic section was in much better condition, and I wanted to salvage this, as an example of Martin’s excellent modelling.  This board had a single track line running along the front of the 4′ x 2′ board, and two nicely detailed farms in the foreground.  The land rose behind – a familiar Somerset landscape, with a church at the back of the board.  My aim was to modify this scenic board to be a single scenic module, with the usual four N-mod running tracks at the front.

To my relief, I was able to prise the old ply surface and scenery off the baseboard frame with minimal damage.  A new 6″ section of plywood was fitted at the front of the frame to carry the running tracks.  I then cut off the single line section off the front of the old surface, leaving the loop into the tunnel as a disused line, and fitted this board back onto the frame, as below.


The scenic section was now too deep and overlapped the rear of the frame by four inches or so.  With heart in mouth I bravely took up my rip-saw and cut off the back of the scenery, losing the church, but keeping all of the rest of the scenery intact.  It now looked as below – note that I have bricked up the tunnel on the disused line.


Track laying followed, plus a new ply back to the scenery and repairs to the damaged scenic bits.  I then built a full cover for the layout from ply and odd bits of hardboard that were lying around.  The damage to the layout had mainly been due to original layout only being covered for part of its width.


Having built this cover, this allowed me to safely flip the layout over and fit the standard N-mod plugs.


And having ballasted the track and added a little more greenery and bushes, that’s about that.  The paint on a few of the farm buildings is peeling a little, as below, but this actually looks quite realistic.  I may spend a day at some point to tidy this up.  The cows are heading for milking…


And after the cows, Martin’s manure heap is very well modelled!


Finally, two views of the finished module.  I think that the disused and overgrown branch line has come out well (though I say so myself.)

This scrapping and renovation of layouts is getting a bit of a habit.  Any other suggestions?

About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Jon's layout ramblings, Layout design and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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