|Some years ago now, I converted from N gauge back to OO when I
received a Wrenn Brighton Belle set. Born in Brighton and spending the first 14
years of my life living near the west coastway, I soon developed a fascination
for the different types of trains running in the 40's and 50's in my
part of the world.
Now with my own Belle, it was time to try and recapture some of my youth so plans were made to build an extensive layout which would include a terminus for the Belle to be admired in a station (Brighton or Victoria) and one or two through stations on a journey that the Belle would take. Brighton seemed the obvious choice because in addition to a large variety of electric and steam trains, one has the Pullman works at Preston Park and a viaduct on the east coastway which gave rise to an interesting track plan (with lots of modeller's licence!!!). Preston Park is the first station on the layout after leaving Brighton (real and model) and I then picked Burgess Hill as the second station as that is where my grandfather lived.
In 1999 I decided that some alterations were needed in order that I could maintain Brighton, Preston Park and Burgess Hill but with the addition of 4 road continuous running lines around the whole layout. This required a rethink of Burgess Hill so following consultation with myself, the decision was made to have a 4 road station with platforms only on the outer slow lines. Brighton has 11 platforms and the rehash saw 2 of them becoming through lines which I am attempting to make as unobtrusive as possible for obvious reasons. The viaduct is a cunning reverse loop so that trains can be turned by way of running across the viaduct from Brighton and then veering left in the tunnel and coming in to Preston Park on platform 4 before returning to Brighton.
Any train therefore, can run either clockwise or anti clockwise around the whole layout.
The tunnel at the London end of Preston Park (representing Patcham Tunnel at the Brighton end and Clayton Tunnel at the London end) is now a 4 road tunnel and at the time of writing, (2009) still has to be completed.
Yes, model layouts are never finished as many have said before!!.
The types of EMU stock to run on the layout were all available in kit form from Roxey, Ian Kirk and Phoenix so over the years the Christmasmas pressy list included the next EMU project and Santa always managed to deliver.
In addition to my 5-Bel, 6-Pul, 6-Pan, 4-Buf, 4-Lav, 2 x 2-Bils, 2-Hal, and 2-Nol EMUs I have succumbed to adding a Hornby class 73 in Pullman livery which looks great with a rake of Pullmans behind it charging through Burgess Hill on the up fast line. (I haven't photographed it as it may detract from the image being portrayed of the 1940s - 50s era.)
I still derive great pleasure in running the trains with my granddaughter (now 12 and with a black belt in Tae Kwondo) and she is forever re-designing the "railway farm" and is a dab hand at cleaning the platforms with a small dry paintbrush.
There are no plans to add any more EMUs, locos or stock as everywhere is full up and I am not one to put trains on shelves. They belong on the rails!!
However, one watches new releases and who knows. Something may come along that takes my fancy!!
All photographs on these pages are by Nigel Millar.
|The N class with a rake of Bulleids passing the 4-Buf on the viaduct.|
|Brighton Belle set 3052 on a Brighton-Victoria fast with a 4-Lav Brighton-Victoria stopping service (headcode 14).|
|Brighton Belle passing the Pullman works outside Preston Park on a Victoria service.|
|DTC of 2-Bil with a headcode 62 on a Brighton-Portsmouth stopping service.|
|4-Buf on the east coastway London Road viaduct with an EFE bus in Brighton Hove and District Omnibus livery on the A23.|
|Nelson on up Pullman, WC Bideford on down fast and a Schools on down slow through Burgess Hill.|
|A view of part of the EMU fleet between Brighton station and Preston Park in my version of the Lovers Walk depot (as yet unfinished scenically).|
|The Belle passing 2 x 2-Bil at Burgess Hill.|
All photographs are copyright
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This page was last updated 3 December 2002