Build a lay­out for £200

Peter Mar­riott chal­lenges him­self to build a lay­out for the cost of a model.

Model Rail (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Two hun­dred pounds: I couldn’t be­lieve it when I saw that the full re­tail price of Hel­jan’s GWR ‘47XX’ was just five pence shy of £200. I knew that prices of new mod­els were on the in­crease but I didn’t re­alise quite how much. There are some mod­ellers who wouldn’t bat an eye­lid at buy­ing a ‘47XX’. For oth­ers, how­ever, it’s a huge sum to com­mit to a hobby. I de­cided to see if it was pos­si­ble to build a lay­out for £199.95, the full re­tail price of a ‘47XX’. Some may still baulk at spend­ing this much but I wanted to know if I could build a lay­out for the cost of buy­ing one lo­co­mo­tive. Af­ter all, when you con­sider that a pair of Hornby short ra­dius points will set you back £23.98, £200 doesn’t seem so much af­ter all! This bud­get does limit the size of a project. I wanted to build a real work­ing rail­way rather than a dio­rama and de­cided that this would give me the op­por­tu­nity to fi­nally model Staver­ton, the beau­ti­ful lit­tle way­side sta­tion on the South Devon Rail­way. I’ve al­ways loved this lit­tle sta­tion, par­tic­u­larly the sin­gle-storey sta­tion build­ing, sig­nal box and level cross­ings set amid gor­geous Devon coun­try­side, with the old mill nearby. The best bit is that the sta­tion now plays host to both steam and diesel trains. The en­tire project was spread over three weeks, work­ing, on av­er­age, 1½ hours a day. The to­tal cost comes in un­der my bud­get. But bear in mind that I’ve in­cluded tools and ac­ces­sory costs in this to­tal. I had quite a lot of this ma­te­rial al­ready in stock, so I reckon that if you take all that off, I wasn’t far off half the price of the 2-8-0!


I cheated a bit with the base­board. I al­ready had a 4ft by 13in board in stock but I re­alised that not ev­ery­one has this lux­ury, so I popped into my lo­cal hard­ware store. My in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed that a 4ft by 13in sheet of 9mm ply­wood would cost just un­der £10. Round­ing this up means that we start the project with an even £10 run­ning to­tal.


Base­board cost ........................ £10.00 RUN­NING TO­TAL ....................... £10.00


I did con­sider buy­ing sec­ond-hand track but, again, it wouldn’t have been very sci­en­tific, given that sec­ond-hand prices fluc­tu­ate. Shop­ping around, I de­cided that rather than buy­ing Peco or Hornby track, I’d go with Bachmann Code 100 in­stead. It fits the same radii and lengths (the prod­uct codes are strangely fa­mil­iar) as other sec­tional track man­u­fac­tur­ers but it’s quite a bit cheaper, es­pe­cially if you buy from Hat­ton’s. Here’s what I needed: 36-600 Straight x 1 @ £1.20 36-601 Dou­ble straight x 4 @ £1.90 36-610 Short straight x 1 @ £1 36-872 Left-hand point x 2 @ £8.46


Track cost .................................. £26.72 RUN­NING TO­TAL ....................... £36.72

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