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Author Topic: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Southwestern Clone  (Read 11133 times)

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Offline steam-driven boy

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Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Southwestern Clone
« on: August 08, 2012, 06:09:46 pm »
Hi,
As mentioned on my intro, I started design work on my layout in 2005, the intention was to build myself the sort of layout I could only have dreamed of back in the '60s.
The Basic Criteria
Continuous running of long trains, a large station with through lines for non-stoppers and freight which could be held to attach/detach wagons for the freight yard or to allow passenger trains to overtake them, and that freight yard for shunting wagons while trains could be set to run in the background.
As a Brummie Snow Hill seemed an obvious choice, or rather the second version of it before the massive rebuild that took the platforms over Great Charles Street and resulted in all that extra-finicky trackwork to the North - a totally unrealistic challenge for me at least  :hmmm:
The notion is that there was a similar site to the West of London that the GWR decided the Snow Hill plan would work for, unlike Snow Hill it was never expanded.  Sadly destroying any vestage of hope for my readers, the Southern somehow managed to run third-rail as far as here.  Oh, and to cap it off a preservation group have running rights also  :smiley-laughing:
I'd decided on Peco Code 55 as it offered the range I needed, including the two scissors crossovers  :worried: and although they hadn't introduced the three-way point which would have been useful I decided I could work around that - one of the very few things to work for me with the slow pace of construction was the availability of these much later.
The Cunning Plan
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
A trackplan was drawn onto three pieces of pizza box card at a scale of 4mm/inch, dimensions taken from the Peco catalogue were close enough for this.  Each card representing a 60"x31" board were in turn scanned into my 'puter, stitched together and detailed in MS Paint.
The cards were then cut about and with some bits of balsa to hand I fashioned this model of my layout to be
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
This gave me a much clearer idea of the look of the layout, a very useful guide for the future.
Baseboards
Having decided on ply construction, 9mm frames and 6mm surfaces, I now spent some time working out the cutting guide for the sawmill who cut me a basic flatpack for each board leaving me to cut out all the fiddly bits.  With this completed I was delighted when I eventually put this together resulting in
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
viewed from the Station Hotel end, and
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
viewed from the brewery end.
A couple of the photo's I took were again put through MS Paint as part of the planning process and resulted in
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
and(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
The original notion was that the boards would be stored between running sessions, however it became increasingly obvious that with more limited mobility once the boards were stored they could remain that way for a considerable time. I couldn't have the linear 15' permanently available so I worked out a solution for a room I was primarily using for my physio regime
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
and(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
I much preferred the original plan, but "needs must..." and all that, then my support people independently started suggesting more suitable accommodation for my general needs and eventually I have found myself at my current location. I had to chop nearly 5" inches off one board, luckily the brewery board offered the easiest option
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
resulting in(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
and a new visualisation of the brewery board
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
The Track Plan/Control Panel
Getting closer to putting some track down I decided to work up a control panel, not final yet but not too far off
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
I call this 'The Startled Chicken', drawn up yet again in MS Paint.
Back in image 5 showing the back of the Station Hotel and the tunnel under, the hotel is an aproximately 1mm/ft mock up blown up to fit the location.  Some additional buildings will include The Bartons Arms pub which is a mixture of card and photoshop in this view
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
and I've done a cut-and-paste of the new Scalescenes Office Block which, as a hospital complete with helipad, will sit at the top of the hill near to my Rotunda
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
Scalescenes Copyright image, mucked about by me and posted with permission
It doesn't convey the quality of John Wiffen's masterly artwork, but that is up to his usual superb stadard and much better looking than Lloyd House in the same location at the real Snow Hill.
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
A straight view up Snow Solsbury Hill with the below tracks goods/parcels depot on the right and at the top of the hill the core of what will be my Rotunda.
Finally for now, some actual trackwork.  To cram in six storage loops I'm adopting the idea from an article in the N Gauge Journal by Howard Watkins (issue 4/10) of reducing the track centres to 24mm.  I've tested each conversion and everything remains smoothly running
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
and I've used my longest/widest US stock to cofirm clearances are fine
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
It can also be seen from the above that there will be provision for cassettes off the edge of this board, further improving operation.  I have to admit to a notional plan to use these lines at some far off time to extend the layout signifcantly, that remains very uncertain.
Anyhoo, thanks to those that stayed the course on this post, an "Epic" in the Dr Hook Bankrupt album sense  :angel:  It may be some time before the next update as I'm saving myself for TINGS  8)

In the meantime, any queries, constructive suggestions or comments would be most welcome  :thumbsup:

« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 07:32:53 pm by steam-driven boy, Reason: Expanded Title, Scalescenes Copyright Permission, the more glaring spelling errors. »
...being a bear of very little brain...
Solsbury Hill Layout: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=6978.0

Offline OwL

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 06:30:44 pm »
For me a trip to Snow Hill is never complete without seeing (or sometimes visiting :beers:) the old contemptibles Pub. Any plans to include this local landmark or add a dedication/tribute to it in your fine layout plan?
 :thumbsup:


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Offline tutenkhamunsleeping

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2012, 06:54:53 pm »
Excellent stuff.  Snow Hill is a station I've "Thought About Modelling" many times over the years and is particularly suited to N gauge, methinks.  I recognised The Bartons Arms building before I read the caption - must have passed that on the bus thousands of times in my younger days.

I'm certainly looking forward to more piccies!

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2012, 07:04:39 pm »
That looks brill, looking forward to seeing its progress and don't forget, lots of  :camera: as we like them  :)

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2012, 07:09:42 pm »
Name inspired by Peter Gabriel or the Wessex Iron Age Hill fort?
Modelling stupid small scale using T gauge track and IDl induction track. Still have  N gauge but not the space( Japanese Trams) Excuse spelling errors please, posting on mobile phone

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2012, 08:26:04 pm »
Interesting stuff and a nice idea. The second Snow Hill as a very clean design.

I'm currently building a Snow Hill but based on the grand rebuild with the assumption that it then got rationalised and cut down rather than closed and destroyed by the council thugs (who destroyed more of the finest architecture in Birmingham than the Luftwaffe). I'm also only doing one end (don't really want most of the covered roof stuff as it would be horribly to operate then)

I skipped the scissors (rationalised into a single crossing one side) and omitted the one bay and one outer platform on the basis they'd been lifted (and to make it fit tthe space ;)). The rationalising both fitted my vision of a modern version and also meant the insane pointwork (curved three way points interlaced into crossings etc) went away. It also meant I could deal with the track spacing, because while sawing up a pair of short points to make the crossing at a fairly tight spacing was doable as I not going to try and adjust a Peco scissors !

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Offline Sprintex

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2012, 11:04:33 pm »
Nice plan, and if your building and detailing is as meticulous as your planning then it should be a cracking layout  :thumbsup:


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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2012, 11:29:32 pm »
Nice Plan  :thumbsup:
If you're ever near Solsbury Hill, I highly recommend you take a walk up the hill - the veiws are amazing and the modelling ideas come thick and fast as the scenery is so inspirational.

Me and a friend of mine walked up just before dawn to take photos of the sunrise on a cold clear morning - i froze my butt off  :smiley-laughing:  but it was sooo worth it !



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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2012, 01:46:06 am »
very nice! :)

Offline steam-driven boy

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2012, 06:12:01 am »
Hi,
For me a trip to Snow Hill is never complete without seeing (or sometimes visiting :beers:) the old contemptibles Pub. Any plans to include this local landmark or add a dedication/tribute to it in your fine layout plan?
 :thumbsup:
The equivalent of Livery Street does run along the back wall so there's every reason to try and include it in my backscene with a bit of image manipulation, it'll be far enough away from The Bartons Arms to not give them competition worries in these stringent times  :beers:
Although I've moved the location to suit my third-rail habit I like putting in references to the real area, Andromeda Sci-Fi bookshop and Horntons model shop will feature as more personal examples from my past  ;)

Regards, Gerry.
...being a bear of very little brain...
Solsbury Hill Layout: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=6978.0

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2012, 06:22:22 am »
Hi,
Excellent stuff.  Snow Hill is a station I've "Thought About Modelling" many times over the years and is particularly suited to N gauge, methinks.  I recognised The Bartons Arms building before I read the caption - must have passed that on the bus thousands of times in my younger days.

I'm certainly looking forward to more piccies!
There are a couple more variations on Snow Hill being worked on that I'm aware of, apart from my effort and the excellent job being done by Etched Pixels.  'Rovex' elsewhere is working on the full island platform through station in 4mm and the Birmingham MRC is doing much the same in 3mm, the more the merrier  ;)
The original mixed broad/standard gauge station would be interesting...
The Bartons used to be my local about 10 years back, lovely interior apart from the lure of real ale and Thai cuisine - I'm looking forward to the site visit, purely for research purposes you understand  :beers: :thumbsup:

Regards, Gerry.
...being a bear of very little brain...
Solsbury Hill Layout: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=6978.0

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2012, 06:41:40 am »
Hi Mike,
Name inspired by Peter Gabriel or the Wessex Iron Age Hill fort?
Yup, both certainly do it for me, long time P G fan from Genesis days so as with so many such things it brings wider knowledge into our lives.
It's not meant to be at that particular location, there are many Road/Street/Hill and suchlike names that have no direct connection with their namesake origins, Bristol Street/Road in Brum for example points in that direction but it'd be a good walk to get you there  ;)
Snow Solsbury Hill is the rather simplistic reason for the name, I certainly wouldn't call it Snow Hill with the rather mangled concept for the layout, it starts with 'S' and sounds West-of-London-ish to me and I love P G's work.  I rather think now that I defaulted so quickly to the hospital concept for the Scalescenes office block prompted by a suggestion some years back of Mercy Street when running my US stock - not just so I could justify having a helicopter on the layout  :smiley-laughing:

Regards, Gerry.
...being a bear of very little brain...
Solsbury Hill Layout: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=6978.0

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2012, 07:16:08 am »
Hi Alan and thanks,
Interesting stuff and a nice idea. The second Snow Hill as a very clean design.

I'm currently building a Snow Hill but based on the grand rebuild with the assumption that it then got rationalised and cut down rather than closed and destroyed by the council thugs (who destroyed more of the finest architecture in Birmingham than the Luftwaffe). I'm also only doing one end (don't really want most of the covered roof stuff as it would be horribly to operate then)

I skipped the scissors (rationalised into a single crossing one side) and omitted the one bay and one outer platform on the basis they'd been lifted (and to make it fit tthe space ;)). The rationalising both fitted my vision of a modern version and also meant the insane pointwork (curved three way points interlaced into crossings etc) went away. It also meant I could deal with the track spacing, because while sawing up a pair of short points to make the crossing at a fairly tight spacing was doable as I not going to try and adjust a Peco scissors !
I've been following your excellent variation before I joined so I'm delighted to now be able to congratulate you on your project  :thumbsup:
I agree completely on your rationalisation comments and on the destructive force that is BCC 'planning' over the decades.  Although it's certainly more debateable as to whether it was worth saving they've followed exactly the same course in running down the current Central Library so it's now too expensive to refurbish for further use.  I wouldn't be surprised if the money generated in it's total replacement is quite significant, the preservationists didn't have a hope in  >:D
The scissors crossovers would certainly have been rationalised away long ago and I'm not totally committed to them, but they are so tempting as a challenge and as with other elements of my layout design they do 'sing' to me of the original inspiration.
I also agree that trying to modify them to the spacing in the storage loops would be a bad idea, certainly for me, it's not something I'd have any intention or feel the need to try.  I'm perfectly happy with the look of Peco Code 55 track centres after all it's meant to be an ex-GWR joint line so generous spacing can be excused on those grounds.  I've only done the work in the storage loops to squeeze in that extra line, a shortcoming in the design I've been fretting on for some time.
I'm not even sure all the point motors will fit conventionally with two side by side  ???
Keep up the good work Alan, it's inspirational  :thumbsup:

Regards, Gerry.
...being a bear of very little brain...
Solsbury Hill Layout: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=6978.0

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Clone
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2012, 07:24:44 am »
Hi and thanks,
Me and a friend of mine walked up just before dawn to take photos of the sunrise on a cold clear morning - i froze my butt off  :smiley-laughing:  but it was sooo worth it !
Lovely photo's, that sunrise thing always lifts me.  I'm not particularily the 'spiritual' kinda person but when I first heard Melanie sing
Quote
Why sleep, I heard and I followed it today
 To the top of the hill where the wind songs play
And I sing it like I heard it
Why I heard it who knows why?
 Why sleep when we can watch the sun a-rise
 
We were meant to see the beginning of the day
I believe it was planned to lift us this way
Take you an apple and take you a song
Watch a baby day be born
all those years ago it hit the spot precisely  :bounce:

Regards, Gerry.
...being a bear of very little brain...
Solsbury Hill Layout: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=6978.0

Offline steam-driven boy

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Re: Solsbury Hill - Snow Hill's Southwestern Clone
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2012, 09:03:18 pm »
Hi all,
I hope some additional photo's might be of interest for now.  In my first post with the photo looking up the hill I mentioned the Goods/Parcels Depot.
Some construction photo's here show that although it relates to the third much extended version of Snow Hill it makes that part of my layout far more interesting than it otherwise would be  ;)
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
I made my own white brick paper, I now know of at least two sources...  The windows and doors were also drawn up and printed onto OHP material, I do have Scalelink etched ones for the platform buildings but I feel they would be lost down here and backlit from interior lighting should suffice.
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
The building has a thin ply base. I decided that a couple of windows didn't work with the supposed internal layout of the building so were photoshopped out of this photo compared to the rear view in the first photo.
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
Here, the heavily modified Bilteezi L&SWR Goods/Parcels Receiving building sheets have been fixed to the ply.  The first piece is the Great Charles Street side, second is the internal end of the building - there are pairs of shuttered goods openings at street and track level, the horizontal opening between is for one of the support girders. The third part has the doorway opening onto the goods yard itself, and higher up a doorway onto the track level.  The last wall faces onto the bottom of Snow Solsbury Hill itself.
Internal roof supporting girders and low output lighting will feature in the yard.  The buildings will have somewhat better lighting internally.
There's a line from I think the Vaughan book on Great Western Architecture, where the comment is made that the offices here at Snow Hill form a natural full stop to the station, I do think it'd look quite odd without  :thumbsup:

Regards, Gerry.

Regards, Gerry.
...being a bear of very little brain...
Solsbury Hill Layout: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=6978.0

 

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