Nearly Arundel



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Diary last updated 8 February 2008


What's it all about ..............?

This is an account of the construction of a model railway based loosely on Arundel Station in West Sussex on the ex-LBSCR, later SR, "Arun Valley Line".

After a series of never completed layouts the final arrival in what was destined to be our retirement bungalow allowed work to be undertaken preparatory to building a layout in the loft. While this work was carried out early on it was some time before the layout itself was commenced. The concept for the model slowly metamorphosed over a number of years and through a multitude of plans. These led to a plan based loosely on Arundel Station - with other bits of the SR thrown in!

The model's home

The reinforcing of the loft floor/house ceiling timbers, laying of flooring and the lining of the majority of exposed rafters was time well spent. While it was far from a habitable room it was dry, draft free, free of dramatic temperature changes and far less dusty. The usual problem of access via a loft ladder remained but we did not want to go to the immense lengths necessary to incorporate a proper stairway and make a habitable room of it. The end result of the work also determined the area available for the model. While the total area of approx 4.6 x 4.6 metres would have been superb other considerations meant that not all of this area could be used. The final area utilised measured approx 4.6 x 2.9 metres. Two purlins intruded into this area as well as access being required to the other half of the loft space and to under-eaves storage.

How the area was used

Amongst the requirements I had already determined the layout had to include a continuous run and to be capable of breaking down into sections for transport just in case an unwanted and unanticipated move was forced on us. Owning a large van I was not unduly concerned about the length of baseboard sections but the loft hatch necessitated a restriction to 2 ft width. Accordingly the plans were based on the use of the available area subject to these constraints. Some oddities in the shape of the area were reflected in the baseboards. In one location I was able to effectively increase the width by a further 0.5 metre which assisted with station design.

The drawing below shows the approximate baseboard layout.

The layout design and rationale

I had long been fascinated by some of the buildings around Arundel and the station and railway buildings themselves. Initially I had decided that these would be incorporated in whatever layout (probably totally fictional) that I came up with. Operationally I required a layout that would include a double track continuous run - just so I could watch the trains go by - together with both a passing station, terminal and goods facilities. In addition I wanted the layout to be able to handle at least a locomotive and 5 coaches or a 6 coach EMU - these coach numbers are large enough to represent an off-peak main-line service.

I played with many design concepts, deciding early on to abandon significant gradients which some of my older locomotives could never handle with a reasonable length train. After having achieved a nearly perfect plan I was browsing through the Middleton Press book on the Arun Valley Line and noticed that the pre-electrification layout of Arundel Station suited my purposes perfectly. The branch platforms even necessitated some interesting and unusual manoeuvres. After a few attempts I determined that I could fit a reasonable representation of that station plan into the available space.

On the next page I show the layout plan together with some further comments about it.


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