23rd January 2021
We’ve been asked to find a new home for a 1946 built O gauge layout that is 4.2m x 3.4m and an ideal size for a loft. Indeed that is is where it now.
The most recent owner is the late John Hall-Craggs, probably better known for his extensive 9 1/2 inch gauge garden railway and collection. But the paperwork shows the layout was originally built in 1946 for David Weeks in Epsom, spent some time in Derbyshire before moving to its current home. The trackplan is here:
It is outside 3rd rail powered, and built to the standards of the time. But unlike may older layouts the track is very well built and in good condition in most areas, with one section that needs some light work. The track is built in modules on sections than can be separated, with fishplates across the joints. The straight sections are roughly 1m x 60cm. The ballast could be improved, but could also be left broadly as is to retain the period character.
Here’s the underside – showing some wiring and bottom of the track bed above the wood frame. The track bed is held down with nuts and bolts.
The points are controlled from local levers which are very well engineered – the linkage across a board joint has been designed to be split and re-joined. Facing crossings etc have adjustments if needed, but at present they are set up to throw the points accurately. Signals are controlled by fine string – one gantry is in place and working, the other could be reinstalled.
The track sections are resting on a wooden frame which is fixed to the house – so the ‘layout’ is the track bed assemblies including lever frame shown and a selection of buildings
Obviously Covid restrictions make in person viewing impossible, so we thought the best way to show the layout was with a video which you can see here:
The video shows what is included with the “layout”. It shows the working points, and you can see how they and the rails are linked over the board joints. The electric control system is H&M which can be included or not. The photos show a number of items of rolling stock and buildings that are being sold separately on on webshop but we are open to offers for a package. With the range of modern tinplate stock, we believe that this would be a really interesting project to preserve what must be one of the oldest model railway layouts still around.
If the new owner wants to come and take it to pieces, that could be arranged once Covid restrictions have been lifted – it’s near Newbury in Berkshire. Or we think we have identified a Covid safe way to allow the layout to be collected in the ‘portable’ format in London. The sections could be transported in a reasonably sized car.
John had ideas to extend the layout too – so this could form the core of a bigger project – these pictures shows the run off double tracks (under the platform), including a very fine slip, and one of his ideas.
Finally, there is a small narrow gauge transfer platform in the back of this picture by one of the sidings.
We are looking for offers in the region of £500 for the layout. We’re sure there is someone out there who could ensure this layout is preserved and maintained so please spread the word. If you are interested, please get in touch with us using the contact us form here.
Thursday Track Nights
We are open on Thursday evenings from 7pm to 9pm at our Keen House clubrooms. Visitors are welcome, please come along and introduce yourself.
Keen House, 4 Calshot Street, London, N1 9DABecome a member