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Model Railways during Corona Virus Lockdown

Updated on April 21, 2020


I started my most recent model railway sometime before Christmas 1999. The idea was to enjoy the construction throughout 2020 and have something to show by Christmas 2020. That was before Corona Virus (Covid 19) changed our world completely. So as I approach the end of April, the layout has almost been completed in record time. Luckily for the enthusiast, retail product is still available because of the likes of eBay and Amazon. So it is still possible to complete a layout through mail shipments. I hope you enjoy reading in these strange days......

Please note all the photographs are my own property.

The Modern Railway Station

My railway station was already completed on my previous layout so I used it as the basis for this new initiative. My old layout was an oval loop with an old station on one side and a modern station on the other. Whilst I started modelling years ago with steam engines, I wanted something that resembled the modern world. Therefore I added the modern station to my layout and with that came the need to add diesels and modern rolling stock.

As a result, even though I still love steam engines, my modelling direction completely changed. In the photo below my station is a mix of elements from several modern stations. The station building is a printed kit from similar to Kidderminster. The island waiting room is scratch built from a photo I took on Peterborough Station. The footbridge is based on a similar one at Alvechurch near Birmingham. Some of these items are the subject of other articles I have written on hubpages.

The Modern Station Continued

This is a new angle of the station. I am particularly proud of my modern footbridge. If you look at my other articles, you will see one that guides you through the construction process. Just a few points to consider, this type is fairly common on modern stations mainly since the requirement of lifts for disabled, elderly or physically challenged travellers came into force. But to my knowledge the design is not available in kit form (apart from a rather over the top HO model from the continent) so you really have no choice but to scratch build. At the same time, most of these bridges are a simple construction and easy to make which is always a bonus.

Also note the locomotive is a class 92 with overhead pantographs. Fortunately this class also works in the Southern region with third rail. So until I go to the expense of investing in an overhead cantenary system, the loco fortunately does not look out of place.

Diorama Completed

There is an old adage in model railway or railroad building. A layout is never finished, as soon as it is complete, it inspires the building of a new one. I am very guilty of this but I really hope in this case, that the demolition day is a long way off. I have to add the cantenary system anyway and that will be a while.

But in the latter building stages, the smaller items are added that complete the system and turns the railway into a diorama. The addition of people, rubbish bins, road signs and notice boards all come together to make a busy scene. There is still a lot to do in this view but I hope it gives you an idea of how it comes alive.

Work in progress

This part of the layout is the area still most in need of work. When I demolish a previous loyout, I keep as much as I can to reuse, in particular walls and fences. Once I decided that I wanted a goods yard, I collected together all the bits I thought might work and these can be seen strewn about the photo. I am working on this area now and only once everything is put in place will I consider buying missing items on eBay.

Disguising the layout ends

My layout is not a loop but a fairly straight section, similar to much of the real railway world. Tight curves are not a particularly 'good look'. However the ends need to be disguised either with some sort of railway terminus, exit to a fiddle or you need to be very good at painting a disappearing landscape. In my case I have disguised the end section with a solid road bridge, the idea being that my locomotives are emerging from under the bridge. Nothing is ever perfect and, as I always tell myself when something is not quite right, I am creating an overall impression. Railway modelling at its most basic is a passtime, a hobby and in these strange days of 2020, an escape from the madness around us.

Video of the layout in operation

To give you an idea of my layout in action, I have made this brief video. Hopefully the action will speak for itself. I suffer from the odd derailing, unscheduled decoupling, dirty track faults, point problems, I have even installed some strips of polystyrene (styrofoam) at each end to avoid slamming rolling stock into headboards! But overall it is a lot of fun and keeps me out of mischief. Enjoy!

Model Railway Video


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