After a lot of searching the internet and quite a few phone calls, I finally found a map printing company that was capable of printing an OS map to 1:76 scale. The map is printed onto several A0 sheets, which I wanted to join together to give an idea of the overall size, and where any necessary compromises would be. I contacted my local village hall, and for a small fee I was able to piece it all together.
It always amazes me how big the real world is, and to see such a small section of the world in scale on paper feels exciting.
My next step was to consider where the baseboard joins will be, and where the physical boundaries of the layout are. I’ve drawn the baseboard sections onto the map, taking into consideration where the turnouts are and making sure there are no baseboard joins in awkward places. Now, when the wood is cut, it should be clear where the contours of the layout are, and these can be cut to the appropriate shapes.
There are only two small compromises that have arisen. The two turnouts and the single slip in the centre of the layout will have to be moved about 4 inches towards Tasker Street, so that the turnouts are not close to the baseboard edge. The other is that the sidings at Tasker Street will exclude the furthest two sidings as it’s just not feasible to include them within a sensible baseboard size.
Overall, I am really pleased that there will only be two minor compromises and I can now look forward to starting the baseboards.
Having used Templot in the past, I’ve always struggled to complete the simplest of track plans due to its complicated interface. I have since then spent hours ‘messing’, and reading online tutorials from the Templot website. Although I’m still no expert, all of a sudden it just clicked, and I was soon finishing the track plan of Walsall. It helps, I think, to forget everything you learned about computer software and start from scratch.
I used google earth, taking screen shots of the area, then patched them all together in Photoshop. Once I had a JPEG of the entire area of the planned layout, I worked out the scale and imported it into Templot.
I then added the track design on top of the background, including the single slip which was the most difficult to master. Walsall in P4, although a large sized layout, is thankfully simple as far as turnouts go. There are only a few points and one single slip in the 40ft track plan. This was another plus when deciding on where to model, as I didn’t want any overly complex point work to build.
Most of the track work at Walsall station was relayed when the track plan was altered, at the time when the shopping centre was built in the 70’s. The newly laid track was all concrete sleeper, and a visit to the location will be needed to see where the concrete finishes and the wooden sleepers start, but that’s for the future!
Late last year, I decided to take the plunge into P4, and after much researching decided to build a scale model of Walsall Station down to Corporation Street and Tasker Street sidings. Walsall offers an interesting verity of locos and stock for operational and viewing interest, with a large amount of Bescot’s freight traffic passing through. The plan, originally 16ft long, now spans nearly 40ft with the addition of Tasker Street sidings. It’s certainly a long-term project!
The period I’ve always modeled is early 1990’s, but during this period Tasker Street (Walsall Freight Terminal as it was later known) was in an unused state. It wasn’t until EWS re-opened the sidings in the late 90’s, as an overflow for Wolverhampton Steel Terminal, that traffic again entered the terminal. After more thought and research, I decided to stick with the period of 1992/1993, as I would lose some interesting freight on the through line when gaining the later freight terminal.
The planning and basic research has already taken four months, and I’m sure it will be a while before construction of the first baseboards will commence. None the less, an exciting project!