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Inspiration and insight are vital ingredients when planning a layout. Richard Foster brings you this exclusive look at a working depot to help you enhance your modelling.
Exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to Wembley Train care depot.
It’s all very well modelling what you see, but sometimes, you need to know how things work to really get the most from a project. Last issue, Paul A. Lunn offered some layout ideas based on the Caledonian Sleeper operations at Wembley depot. They offered food for thought for those wishing to model one of the most interesting train operations on today’s railway. As good and thought-provoking as those trackplans were, they only reveal what a potential layout might look like. They don’t show you how the layout might work. Bridges and embankments can give you a bit of vantage point from which to observe the workings of the modern railway. But much of it still remains a mystery. You’ll also miss lots of smaller details, signs and what-not. This proves that there’s nothing like getting on site and poking around to get a fuller picture of what you’re planning to model. What follows is as close to a guided tour of Alstom’s Wembley Traincare Centre as it’s possible to get. Not only will you be able to see all those details that you’d miss from the window of a speeding ‘Pendolino’, but we can reveal how the Caledonian Sleeper stock moves around the depot for servicing too. We covered the Caledonian Sleeper’s fascinating operations in depth last issue, but it’s worth repeating some of the key points. There are two northbound weekday departures per night. The ‘Highlander’ leaves Euston at 2000 for Edinburgh. There it splits into three portions to serve three destinations (with key stops en route): Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen. The mid-week ‘Lowlander’ departs Euston at 2200. This train divides at Carstairs Junction; one portion goes to Glasgow (via Motherwell) and the other goes to Edinburgh. Southbound departures work in reverse. Alstom’s Wembley depot is the nerve centre at the London end and has to service two sets of sleeper stock per day. Servicing sets in Scotland takes place at Glasgow Polmadie, Inverness and Aberdeen Clayhills depots, and at Fort William station. The ‘Sleeper’ is a separate franchise operated by Serco. Traction is provided by GBRF and we’ve also waxed lyrical about the fascinating mix of locomotives used to move Britain’s long passenger train every night. So, without further ado, enjoy your Access All Areas pass to Wembley Traincare…
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