Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One bite at a time
The Farthing layouts are a series of small OO layouts that each depict a section of the same overall station. The period is Edwardian, although I occasionally have heretic out-of-period operating sessions. The layouts are operationally independent of each other, ie they are not connected or modular. In this way, I can explore my interest in larger stations in a very limited space. In other words, I'm eating an elephant one bite at a time...
The station of Farthing is located on the GWR line between Newbury and Westbury, and serves as the junction for the "North & South Railway" line from Swindon to Salisbury, now part of the GWR system. It is also the starting point of the local branch to Overbourne.
State of Play
So far there are three layouts in the series, each one depicting a section of the station. The individual trackplans for each layout are simple affairs, but all contain a certain operational scope in the form of shunting puzzles. The three layouts built so far are:
The bay (above) was the first of the layouts and is complete. It shows the bay platform at Farthing ca. 1904-1908, and draws on selected freely combined features from the bays at Newbury station.
The depot (above) is also complete. It shows part of a large goods depot, seen from the inside and looking out. The period here is ca. 1900-1908. It freely mixes features from the old goods depots at Windsor, Reading and Hockley.
The sidings (above) is under construction. It show a small section of the goods sidings at Farthing. The trackplan is based on an interesting arrangement of kickback sidings that could be found at the back of Gloucester Old Yard.
Each layout draws on five design principles:
1. Serial micros. These are very small layouts, but the fact that each one shows part of the same overall station means that I can explore my interest in junction stations in a limited space, step by step. The first of the layouts uses Peco track, while the others use C+L handbuilt track.
2 . Into the scene. The design of the layouts is intended to force on-lookers to view the layout up close and at eye-level height, thereby placing the viewer 'inside' the scene. Placing 'see-through' structures (eg a canopy) at the very front of layouts is used to help achieve this effect.
3. Trying for atmosphere. The layouts have a focus on atmosphere rather than high accuracy and tend to follow a 'less is more' approach. That's not a judgement on other approaches to modelling, this one just happens to suit my interests best. It also helps to pull a discrete veil over my limited metal working skills!
4. The human dimension. Hardware is great, but railways are also a lot about people. In my view, there is still some un-exploited potential in the way we think about the human dimension on our layouts, and we owe a lot to the railway staff and their communities. I use human stories as a way of presenting the layouts, and creating the sense of a real place. All within reason of course: You won't catch me talking to the figures!
5. Time warp. If you can't expand on space, expand on time. Because each layout is independent, they can be set at different times. While all the layouts are set in Edwardian days, they show different years, allowing for variation in stock and liveries from layout to layout. Just to add to the scope, I also do occasional out-of-period running sessions. This is good fun, provides variation and allows some of my back-of-the-drawer stock to stretch its legs.
That's about it then. Best not to take it too seriously, at the end of the day it's all mostly an excuse for a bit of laid back modelling :-)