By Mark Forrest
Foundry Lane is the terminus of a short freight-only branch line set somewhere in the West Midlands in the early 1970s. At one end of the layout is a traditional steam-era Goods Shed (which is based on a GWR prototype at Tettenhall); at the other end the line runs off scene to a steel terminal. Although entirely fictional, the layout was inspired by several freight-only branch lines in the West Midlands and like some of these lines, the sidings at Foundry Lane are on a branch built by the GWR to connect to a canal basin. At Foundry Lane a Goods Shed was provided and the adjacent siding remains in use as a public goods siding and a small steel terminal occupies the former canal basin.
This was my first project since returning to the hobby and my first experience of modelling in EM gauge. For these reasons the objective was to produce a small, simple layout on which I could practice the necessary skills. The track-plan is based upon the “Timesaver” shunting puzzle, more commonly associated with US shelf-switcher layouts.
The track and turnouts were constructed using C&L rail and chairs laid on plywood sleepers from the EM Gauge Society. Track templates were produced using Trax2 layout planning software, these were fixing to the boards and the track was constructed in situ.
A blue-brick retaining wall forms the main scenic feature of the layout, running along almost its entire length. This makes use of Wills and Slaters materials and acts as a scenic break between the layout and the fiddle yard. The most recent development of the layout has been construction of a new fiddle yard to allow more intensive operation of steel terminal sidings when at exhibitions.
Motive power for the layout consists of modified ready-to-run locomotives by Bachmann, Heljan and Hornby. Appropriately for the era and area modelled, BR Derby-Sulzer Type 2s (class 24 and 25) make up the majority of the fleet; although occasionally locos from other regions appear on the trip freight workings. The loco fleet is gradually being fitted with DCC sound – the majority of locos used at exhibitions are now fitted.
Modelling freight stock is my main area of interest and as such the layout is home to a growing collection of kit built stock, along with a few modified ready-to-run vehicles. Traffic for the Goods Shed is handled in traditional ventilated vans, while bolsters and open wagons are used for the steel traffic.
Further information on the layout is available as a download here: layout data sheet_foundry lane