Stewarts Lane

by Ray Sofio
Stewarts Lane is an 00 scale layout located in North Queensland Australia which was designed to capture the atmosphere of the South London areas of Battersea, Clapham and the approaches to Victoria Station. The principal objectives of the layout were to provide for the operation of trains in and out of the terminus, and the inclusion of a large locomotive depot to house my collection of Southern steam locomotives.

The layout is constructed on sectional baseboards bolted together to occupy a space measuring 6 metres by 2.5 metres, with small operating spaces included inside this area. Its location is in one half of a two-car garage which has concrete block walls, concrete floor and a lined plasterboard ceiling. Our climate is "wet tropical" - the temperature range is 10 to 35 degrees C, annual rainfall about 3-4 metres mostly falling in February-April. So heating not required, fans are essential, air conditioning is nice to have.

Operationally Victoria is represented by a four-platform stub-end terminus from which trains leave on double track up Grosvenor Bank, over the Thames and past Battersea Power Station, where the two lines divide to form a single-track wye connection onto a double-track continuous oval. So a steam-hauled passenger train can leave the terminus, take either branch of the wye and proceed onto one of the continuous loops. Later the train leaves the loops by the other branch of the wye and returns to Victoria. An ECS loco then withdraws the coaches into a siding to release the train engine which reverses back up the bank, over Grosvenor ridge and down into Stewarts Lane depot.

Where the wye tracks meet the loops there are several storage sidings, two of which usually hold goods trains equipped with brake vans at each end. Freight engines travel from the depot to pick up these trains which trundle around the continuous loops in between the passenger services. Beside the goods sidings is a small suburban station, Wandsworth Road, which can accommodate a two-car EMU on a shuttle service to and from Victoria. Also planned is a pair of elevated station platforms representing Battersea Park Road.

The track is mainly Peco code 100, with a few hand-made points in strategic locations. Third rail is cosmetic and consists of normal code 100 rail glued to the ends of the plastic sleepers with top of the conductor rail level with the running rails. The minimum curve radius is 760mm and all curves are superelevated using card packing under the ballast.

The layout scenery is far from completion. The backscenes were kindly painted by a fellow British modeller and foreground structures are gradually being built to complement the picture. In particular a lot of work still has to be done in the loco depot which has recently acquired a nine-road shed in suitably grotty condition, but will eventually get a model of the big coal loader, elevated water tank, and other bits and pieces.

A system of working colour-light signalling is included in the "gunnadoo" file!

The pictures below are by Graeme Hodges.

Stewarts Lane View of Stewarts Lane depot in an uncompleted condition. Turntable is a Fleischmann unit with continental details removed but not yet anglicised!
Bulleid Co-Co electric CC-1 leaves Victoria on a Newhaven boat train. This loco has an MTK kit body, bogies from a Mainline Class 45 diesel, and is hand-painted in original Bulleid livery with cat's-whisker lining. The first coach in the train is a Kitmaster Mk 1. CC1
70004 Hornby Britannia No. 70004 William Shakespeare drifts over Grosvenor Bridge with the up Golden Arrow on a bright summer evening. Engine and coaches are fitted with Chris Leigh etched nameplate detail. Chelsea road bridge is painted on the backscene.
Diverging wye connections representing the Brighton line in foreground and the SECR line behind. 2-BIL (converted Triang) returning to Victoria from Wandsworth Road, and Bachmann Mickey Mouse on ECS duties at Victoria. Victoria

All photographs are copyright

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This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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