Abbotstone was awarded the Railway Modeller Shield for the best layout in show at FebEx2013. Steve Flint, editor of Railway Modeller, judged the shows layouts on behalf of Peco Publications.
The layout represents a through station on the Midland Railway that passes through the Midlands on its way to London. From the London end a single-track section through a tunnel approaches Abbotstone. Today the line is blocked beyond the station and all trains are terminating with passengers being provided with alternative means of continuing their journeys. Prior to the tunnel the line diverges and through the bridge an MPD is available to turn and service the locomotives. At exhibitions this is a small fiddle yard but in the club room the line leads to ‘Canal Junction’ where the MPD is modelled. A branch line also arrives at Abbotstone via a second tunnel and is served by a separate platform and goods facilities. The branch has access to a private siding where materials are supplied to a coffin maker’s business, W.E. Boxem. The finished coffins are loaded into a van and moved across to the main yard for eventual transfer to London.
At exhibitions, being a club layout, stock will not necessarily be representative of the Midland area, but it is hoped that you will enjoy seeing a variety of rolling stock from different railway companies and from different eras. The layout differs from most in that the trains are controlled by two lever frames, similar to those used in signal boxes. The levers are mechanically interlocked to prevent conflicting moves and to activate the points and signals. They also determine which driver should drive the locomotive; there are no track section switches that are so often found on other layouts. All track was hand built from C&L components with the points being operated by Tortoise motors. Signals are built using parts from Scale Signal Supply and are operated by solenoids from the lever frame. This layout is permanently in use in the clubroom and with the connection to Canal Junction allows through running via the circular layout which is in the next room; up to 11 operators can be kept busy on a club running night.