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  • Simon Cox

Loxley Barton Falls - part 1 - inspiration

In 2004 I went to the Expo Narrow Gauge (ExpoNG) model railway exhibition for the first time and that single visit inspired me to pick up an old hobby that I thought I would never go back to.

I decided to enter a model making competition

I had not done any mod­el mak­ing since I was a teenag­er and had not been to a mod­el rail­way exhi­bi­tion for a very long time. ExpoNG was fan­tas­tic and was a real eye-open­er. The exhi­bi­tion is about the best mod­el­ling for nar­row gauge rail­ways there is — it is not your nor­mal Thomas the tank engine rub­bish that you see at most shows but real works of mod­el­ling art. In one cor­ner the show had a small infor­mal com­pe­ti­tion with a few entries — the Shoe­box Chal­lenge. As I don’t have much room in my house I thought that this was a splen­did idea for build­ing a small mod­el rail­way, test­ing out ideas and being able to actu­al­ly com­plete some­thing in a short space of time. Paula was delight­ed as she was about to get some new shoes! How­ev­er the fol­low­ing year’s exhi­bi­tion com­pe­ti­tion was not for a shoe­box at all but a lit­tle bit big­ger chal­lenge — build a work­ing mod­el rail­way that would fit inside a fic­ti­tious 500mm cube. I had to have a go!

I spent months and months sketch­ing and think­ing about what I want­ed on post-it notes on the train, over a cup of tea. We even went on a Trains and Gar­dens hol­i­day to Wales to give me some inspi­ra­tion and final­ly, I had a plan, most­ly in my head, and work started.

I sketched out the plans on 6mm MDF (in hind­sight this was way too thick) and marked out the track, points build­ings and features.

Loxley Barton Falls baseboard with plan sketched out
Loxley Barton Falls baseboard with plan sketched out

The board was cut and then the frame­work assem­bled around it to pro­duce a 500 mm box. I didn’t have to do this but I did want to frame the lay­out and a box seemed to the best way to do it. Part of the plan was to allow view­ing into the box from two sides there­by giv­ing the plan a dia­mond share rather than a square one. This then gives a wider view­point when look­ing at the mod­el. This meant that only two sides were to be used for the back­drop so the cor­ner posts need­ed to be slight­ly stronger than I had first anticipated.

As you can see from the sec­ond image in the gallery the low­er sides, base, uprights and lid make a strong box.

Loxley Barton Falls baseboard construction from 6mm MDF and strip wood
Loxley Barton Falls baseboard construction from 6mm MDF and strip wood

More to fol­low… (when I gath­er more of the build pho­tos and remem­ber what I did next — the old grey cells are gath­er­ing a bit of dust).


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