Layout & Planning

Work started on planning the N Gauge layout in January 2007, by now (May 2010) I would have hoped to have been nearing the end of construction, however, late in 2007 I had a heart problem which had to be dealt with fairly urgently.

Glad to say that everything is now well under control, but the years delay in finishing the building our new home here meant that all other projects had to be put to one side for a couple of years.

Now that the house building work is nearing completion, and the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel, I can return to the model.

Two good outcomes from the delay are that I now have a much larger space to build the model in. A room solely for the railway, 2.6 metres by 2.3 metres, and I have been able to carry out more investigation of the station area. I was able to persuade my wife that we really didn't need an en-suite bathroom, (we have two other shower rooms), it  would be hugely expensive and we could use the money we saved on other things, she agreed. I now have a much larger room available for the model.

Model Specification:


Era 4 - BR steam - Early Crest:1948-1956 and Era 5 - BR steam - Late Crest:1957-1966




L Girder construction, some open framework, but mainly with 9mm plywood trackbed.


Peco Streamline code 55 track, electro frog points. Minimum radius is 28 cm. Probably ballasted cork trackbed, unless something better turns up. Ballast fixed with dilute latex glue.

Control System:

DCC, but undecided on the make at the moment, mainly because of cost issues, but will probably go for NCE Power Cab.

Point control:

Seep PM1 via a CDU, initially with stud and probe switching and LED indicators on a mimic board.


Semaphore, hopefully, sometime in the future linked to point operation.


No decision at this time, but, likely to be by electromagnets.


Considerable time was spent gathering information on the Internet,  fellow members of the New Railway Modellers Forum were also very helpful. Unfortunately I have not been able to visit any reference library, none of any use here in Bulgaria.

The major problem during the planning stage is the length of the station, measured on Google it is approximately 510 metres from the northerly turntable to the road bridge in the south. In N gauge about 3.45 metres, difficult to fit into a room only 2.6 metres wide.

I tried shortening it to fit the room, but, it just didn't look right. Then I planned the goods reception on a curve, still didn't look right.

Eventually I had a 'Eureka' moment, layout the station corner to corner as in the plan below I have managed to increase the station area to 350 metres. This also has the advantage of not neading a lift up section as the door into the room is in the corner.

You can see on the 1928 map that the station proper is between the goods yard and what I believe is the goods reception lines. Unless of course I have misinterpreted the map, and the sidings to the north had another use. This will make for very interesting goods operation which is sure to block the main line from time to time, especially as main line trains do not stop at Forncett.

Planning Update ( August 2010 )

After some discussion on NRM here and much cogitation the layout has changed. I have reversed the station and sidings. This will give better  access to all parts of the layout and will ease the entrance to the goods yard.

October 2010

I am still working on this plan, trying to encapsulate the original station in a better way.

Original Layout Plan

August amendment to layout plan


Final Layout Plan

I recently came upon a more detailed map of the station area, it shows more detail of the area north of the turntable, extended goods and or carriage sidings and a signal box for the junction to Wymondham.

I have been unhappy with the previous layout plan, mainly because it crams so much detail into a small area. After much thought and deliberation I have decided that the layout will be split into two levels, as below, the station on the upper level, and the fiddle yard on the lower level. The two levels will be joined by two helix.

This will allow much more detailed modeling of the station area, and because of the increased modelling area be much more true to the prototype.

On the plus side, platforms and sidings will be longer and I will be able to include the branch line to Wymondham departing from the main line at Forncett Junction, the one minus is that the whole station will be U shaped, not straight as in the original.



Corrected Final Layout Plan (12th September 2011)

When the upper level plan above was drawn I completely missed out the crossovers on the main line at either end of  the station! Words come to mind, the mildest of which is 'plank'.

I have also re-instated the branch line to Wymondham, from single to double, as it was originally. The reason being that in the back of my mind is the possability of converting the layout, some time in the future, to represent Forncett as it was in 1884. I don't believe their is at present much RTR stock for this period, so, I would have to scratch build most of it. At the moment I don't have the ability to do so, however, and maybe, some time in the future that may happen.

Layout Plan with Annotations for Signalling

When you are planning a model railway, never, ever, call your last one the 'FINAL' one.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I visited a web site called The Signal Box, it is run by John Hinson. The site has many signal diagrams from all over the world.

It also has a forum here dedicated to signalling, including one for model railways where you can get help with correctly signalling your layout, as long as you provide the members with details of your layout.

I posted a request for help and that was when it was pointed out that I had no crossovers on the main line,making the layout completely unworkable. As a result of that and other comments I reworked the layout as above.

Shortly after that John posted a signal diagram for Forncett. It can be seen here. I have marked all the signal posts on the plan below, and made some small corrections. I havn't added the ground signals to this plan, just not enough room to do so. Under the diagram is a link to my topic asking for help.