Watercress Line was awarded the Railway Modeller Shield for the best layout in show at FebEx2016. Steve Flint, editor of Railway Modeller, judged the shows layouts on behalf of Peco Publications.
In presenting the award Steve Flint said:
“It is always a great pleasure to be invited to judge layout exhibits at any show, but it can be very difficult to make a decision between railways of different scales, periods and concepts, when the modelling standards are all equally high. The exhibits at this year’s show were no exception, but I was particularly impressed by what Craig Handyside and his grandson Jake Cranstone had achieved with ‘The Watercress Line’, their freelance depiction in N gauge of the Alton to Alresford heritage line.
Unlike many of the other exhibits built by modellers with lots of experience at constructing and exhibiting model railways, Craig told me that he was a recent returnee to the hobby and had built the layout around the walls of a spare room as a joint project with his grandson. The design and approach – a freelance highly detailed depiction as opposed to a true-scale representation – is also one which many of the visiting public to provincial model railway events, such as Alton, find the most entertaining.
For a first venture into the world of model railways, Craig and Jake did a great job – well done!”
This DCC/part DC layout was designed to fit my spare room space, and depicts in miniature, all 4 stations on the Watercress Line, as they appear today. Alton, Medstead, and Ropley are located in the centre module, each with its own mini backscene for segregation, and Alresford on the RH side. Steam and diesel trains can travel between stations through interesting industrial area with turntable, village scene, and hidden tracks, to simulate full scale journeys. Alton main line has modern South West Trains running off scene to Farnham. All areas have 12V lighting, and automatic light signals on the Alton main line.