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  As mentioned on the HOME page, this layout started as a Christmas project for my 12yr old son and on which I had running rights. The layout started as an oval of track with a diagonal crossover and a siding to a two track engine shed in November 1982. It developed quickly to have a township, small goods yard and a two shed MPD, a through station for a city with a goods yard which changed into a branch line terminus about 20yrs later and finally a sea port. 

      What to name the layout  when:-

   1. You are modelling a railway company in a country that is 12,000 miles away.

   2. Your local terrain and landscape colour is completely different and have little or no internet access so have to rely on photos from books which turn out to be mainly in black and white.

   3. You have to accommodate your son's interests(he is mainly into diesels).

   4.  The track plan is not yet finalised.

       The general thought was to incorporate local area names and we came up with Stoke-by-Mendip in 1987 after a trip to the UK. As I have stated that I live in Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand which was named after Stoke-by-Nayland in the southeast of England just north of Colchester. I wanted to model the GWR and having liked the area of Mendip when I was in the UK so the township on th main board was named Stoke-by-Mendip and therefore the layout. The through station on the elevated board in the garage area was named Marlborough after the province east of Nelson ( and also a station on the GWR) and the branch line station was named Renwick which is the small township outside  Blenheim (the main city of the Marlborough Province)  on the way to Nelson. The sea port on the work bench is named Neyland- a change of spelling so as to put it in GWR territory. 


  Scan of photo on Christmas morning 1982. Track was a mixture of Lima and Peco track with Lima turnouts. The Superquick buildngs are still in use at the moment. 


                                                                                                            CONSTRUCTION  &  DEVELOPMENT

To begin with, I have found that using 4 x 1inch framing and 2 x 1 inch supporting framing for  the top of half inch thick "Pinex sheet(timber fibre insulating board with fire resistance properties) to be an excellent platform to produce a baseboard  for model railways in OO gauge. I had an odd shaped sheet of Pinex 8ft 6in x 4ft 5in so built the frame to fit and it was supported by a leg frame at one end and u frame attached to the dividing  workshop/garage wall at the other end. A set of pullies was used to raise and lower the layout.  The track was laid down and tried the diagonal crossover both ways to see which was the best for operation as well as positioning the station on the outside of the oval or placed on the diagonal.













                                                               May 1983                                                                                                                                            May 1983 

After some months of operating the pulley system there was a change in the heating arrangements in the house whereby the fireplace was replaced with a logfire unit and therefore no need for coal storage in the bins on which the layout partly rested when in use. This was a great help in deciding that the layout could be permanently down. Also a ready supply of coal to crush for locos, wagons and depots. This led to the first extension to cover the two bins and have a double track down the wall towards the work bench at the end of the workshop area and have a terminus station as shown above two photos. 













The next addition was to encroach onto the work bench, shifting the station building and creating a small Goods yard.  This led to wanting to make the terminus a through country station (as in above photos). So in 1984 a 6 x 4 inch hole was cut through the outside wall and a covered 5 x 5foot table built so a loop of track laid to turn the trains and run back into the garage workshop.  This loop also in a short time had a passing loop added so that a train would disappear through the back wall and a different train would emerge.














Over the years, there seemed to be derailments in the outside loop which meant that I would have to go outside and lift the lid to sort the problem out. In 2014 I lifted the passing loop which did alleviate the problem to a great extent.

 The track curving round inside the workshop area to head down to the bench did not look right and I copied an idea I saw in the Railway Modeller of extending into the garage area and be just over the boot of the car. 


  This new part was 5 foot into the garage area by 6foot wide to the side wall and about 2.5inches higher than the main board. I raised the track two ramps,  one  leaving the main board station  and returning via the original siding track which by this stage the engine sheds  were relocated to inner part of the main board. 














 The idea was to place a through city station on the new board and over time there was indecision as whether 3 or 4 tracks would be used, so there were periods of each being tried in various configurations.













When in 1986 we remodelled our kitchen and the band did a fundraiser by demolishing a small furnishing factory, I gained enough wall and ceiling lining to fit out the workshop and garage thus making it a lot warmer in winter. I also installed one set of kitchen cupboards and replaced the two single light bulbs with neon strip lighting, 

















From goods yard to branch line terminus.

 Following on in 1987 was a further excursion in the garage area by creating a wye track formation so as to make a Goods Yard on a shelf along the garage wall. This was a three stage process and ended up with 22points.  It was found that the Goods yard received little workings and a friend suggested that a branch line would be more appropriate. In 2002 the Goods yard was taken   up and  a single line branch line terminus laid down copying the Burford Branch track plan. This proved to be the correct solution.














In May 2018, I finally decided to repair the back wall of the workshop as a number of the rough sawn timber planks were rotting after at least 55years. This meant that the outside return loop had to be demolished and I could not extend the floor area of the garage/workshop (as the southern wall was on the boundary line) without a lot of council red tape and consents.  So the end wall had a 2.290 x 0.770metre hole until I uplifted the track to take down the bench work. The new back wall now has an exterior 2.4m x 1.2m x 0.85m  windowless window box, as above right, so that a  2.290 x  1.2 metre baseboard was installed on which Neyland station and yard would be re-established, leading to the return loop with maybe at least two passing loops included, below right.














From cramped work bench with an external return loop with often derailments  to internal return loop with little or no derailments. 

The idea being,  to have a couple of made-up trains in the spare loops. The revised track plan was drawn out on the 7mm plywood sheet and then screwed down on the  4 x 2 inch frame.  The corner part of the old system ( 2 x 1 inch sub-framing)  was re jigged to connect with the new plywood base board. 6mm cork tiles were then laid and tacked onto the plywood which brought the level up to match the Pinex of the existing layout.  The track plan was redrawn onto the cork surface. Track laid down 29July- 01August and powered up and tested for smooth running.  The idea of having Neyland as a port scenario has had to be abandoned as space does not allow for any scenic development of that nature.  The Hornby Dunster station building I used originally for Neyland will not fit in the space available, so I have now constructed a new one in card which is of Pembroke station which is narrow in width.  

Below is the current view of the four stations  state of development, and as can be seen there is still a lot of scenic work to be completed.













                        Stoke-by-Mendip station and township.                                                                MPD at Stoke-by-Mendip.


                                                                                                                         Marlborough Station 













                                Renwick branch Line tunnel mouth and signal box.                        Renwick station , the station building still needs to have a veranda attached.













                 Full platform view including  bay platform, signal box and engine shed.                                        Nayland Station and yard . 




























       View of the layout from the main board down towards the Renwick Branch line at the garage door and also showing the test track bench on the right.