BR style totem: 'Netherwood Sidings'

7mm scale O gauge by Graham Clark. This layout represents the Woodhead line in its final years. The layout is based on a set of exchange sidings near Sheffield. The track plan is freelance but based on features taken from Rotherwood and Wath. The bridges, in particular, are based on the real ones in the Rotherwood-Orgreave area. The layout has taken around ten years to build.

Track is Peco plain line with the pointwork made from Peco Individulay parts. The double junction was built on a 1:43 scale print of the Network Rail drawing of a double junction. Some of the plain line uses Peco Individulay parts with plywood or Peco ‘concrete’ sleepers. Care has been taken to try and make the trackwork as realistic as possible. The stone buildings were made from foamboard covered with ‘no more cracks’ filler, scribed to represent the stonework. Other buildings are plasticard (signal box) or Ten Commandments (permanent way hut). The various road vehicles are mainly Corgi and Oxford but there are a number of Land Rovers which were obtained very cheaply from a toy shop and were to the right scale.

The overhead wiring is the most obvious feature of the layout and was built from brass sections in the same way as we built the masts on Deepcar. Photographs of typical masts were used, taken from various books, and supplemented by measurements of the size of the steelwork which still exists at the Manchester end of the line. The wiring is to scale and consists of 28 gauge nickel silver wire for contact wire and 28 gauge copper wire for the intermediate and catenary wires. It is tensioned by small tension springs on the layout, but the real wiring was not. I found it necessary to tension the model wiring as the layout is kept in the loft where the temperature range is much greater than outdoors.

The diesel locos are from various kits, by Post War Prototypes, RJH and Modern Motive Power. The pair of 20s are Heljan. Some of the diesels have SWD sound decoders and home made smoke units. The Class 76s (EM1s) were built from Graham’s own kits, as described in a series of articles on building 7mm scale/O Gauge EM1s in Railway Modeller in 2010/11. Rolling stock is mainly kit built from Parkside and Slaters kits but there are also some ready to run hoppers (Skytrex and Bachman) and some scratchbuilt wagons. Many of the 16 ton mineral wagons are detailed Lima items.

The layout is controlled by the MERG CBUS DCC system along with a MERG RPC interface providing track circuits and controlling the points. The signals are ‘searchlight’ types modelled on the real ones around Rotherwood. They are semi-automatic and controlled by a small relay interlocking.

Netherwood Sidings can next be seen at the Modern Image O Gauge Exhibition, Crewe Heritage Centre, 23rd and 24th March 2024.