Merseyside Model Railway Society


Note: This layout is now at the West Lancs O-Gauge clubrooms

O gauge - Chester Street   
            click here to read Jan 2007 update below

            click here to read Jan 2008 update below

Continuous run approx. 36’ x 18’ which incorporates a small goods yard together with a branch line into a bay platform, all being fed by a large fiddle yard. A new ‘main line’ engine shed is currently under construction together with the ongoing updating of scenic features. O gauge 7mm to the foot; 32mm track width.

photos by Mike Cole

Welcome to the Merseyside MRS
‘O’ Gauge Group’s layout 


The continuous layout as seen today, started life as part of an ‘end to end’ layout when the Society was based in the Chester Street buildings adjacent to the Mersey Tunnel entrance portals. When the society moved to Brassey Street some 8 years ago, it was decided to make a continuous circuit layout utilising parts of the previous layout. The elements chosen are those, which form the main station area at the front of the layout. See a plan at the bottom of the page.

In it’s heyday, Chester Street used to be taken to Club exhibitions, but as the average age of group members is the wrong side of fifty, the boards were not only getting heavier to move, but they also seemed to be multiplying in number! (More on this later.)

When originally constructed as a continuous layout, there was a siding serving a timber yard opposite the signal box, on the inside of the layout, which was hardly ever used, nor was the then short bay platform in the station. The main engine shed was located at 90 degrees to the ‘flap’ end of the fiddle yard and just inside the lift up flap section. With the arrival eighteen months ago, of some newer, but not any younger, blood on the scene, the overall subject of the layout came under discussion.

As a result of these discussions, it was decided to extend the timber yard siding to become a branch line which would follow the basic line of the down main line back towards the main fiddle yards, which also meant adapting the lift up section to accommodate the additional line with the connection into the fiddle yard being made by an additional point. Work was also required to lengthen the bay platform to allow occupation by two coaches plus an 0-6-0 tender engined branch train. This in turn created the need for a run-round loop and engine shed facility to be provided..

Fortunately, the electrical work involved with these alterations was not too involved, but did extend ’the little grey cells’ of some of the members, this despite the existence of a wiring manual.

With most of the basic trackwork and wiring now completed on the branch, attention has turned to providing the scenery and to this end, the efforts of Albert Williams, Alan Jones, Chris Chappell and Don Foster have been hard at work, with Alan Lewis providing the lighting within all of the buildings on the layout.

Attention has also turned to the relocated engine shed, with Chris Foulkes involved with the civil engineering side of things and Bill Dickinson heavily involved in finishing the turntable unit that Mike Cole (ex Southerner) started back in 1993!!

As mentioned earlier, the average age of the group is the wrong side of fifty, this has been lowered slightly in the last few months with the arrival of two new members – Les Jones and Brian Flanagan which means that we have a group membership of 15. Whilst the normal club nights are Tuesday and Friday, the O Gauge Group also has a running session on Wednesday afternoons – the cakes and biscuits are the real attraction.

Mike Cole - February 2006










Update January 2007

It is now almost a year since our last write-up for the website and as they say, a lot can happen in twelve months in the modelling environment – but alas, a lot does not! Happily, we in O Gauge have been quite busy, and, if all goes well, we shall be even busier in the next twenty four!

We have made progress with the Motive Power Depot – the turntable is now up and turning – as if by magic – well via an electric motor actually, the tracks in the yard are all wired up and the point motors are being installed. The MPD is totally independent as far as electrics are concerned, to enable movements to be made whilst the continuous runs are being run.

The next tasks are to update the fiddle yard control panel to accept the MPD controls, lay the incline and track to the coaling stage and start the cosmetic featuring of the whole area – water cranes and fire devils together with yard lamps have started to appear already. The biggest task will be the ground cover and brickwork to the retaining walls.

With progress on the MPD well under way, we have now turned our thoughts to further ways of enhancing the layout. The accepted solution was to create an exhibition ‘branch terminus’ 20’ x 2’ plus an 8’ x 2’ cassette storage area. The main station area of this layout, which is on three of the four foot long boards would also be the terminus of the branch line off of the main layout, connected via a flyover across the fiddle yard area and a storage area which would be permanent fixture in the clubroom. The attached plan shows the proposed branch line (in it’s clubroom formation) in blue and the exhibition layout is shown below that.

Work is expected to start on the prototype baseboard in the near future and once we have ironed out any wrinkles, we will be off and running with a target of October 2008 – the Society’s exhibition, for a ‘work in progress’ showing.

Mike Cole January 2007

Update – January 2008

Having not exhibited a Club O Gauge layout for some time, we were asked to consider a suitable layout for exhibiting in the future. Discussions then took place to see what could be done and a branch terminus/through station was thought a possible solution and a design was produced for comment. The result was yet another variation on ‘The Minories’ theme, measuring 28’ x 2’ with cassette storage at each end.

A 1:10 scale drawing was produced and accepted by the Group and put to and received, the main Committee’s approval. The idea being that the new layout could also be ‘plugged’ into the continuous run permanent layout by adapting the branch line mentioned in Part 1, via a skewed flyover over the six road fiddle yard by utilising the three main station boards joined to a fixed adaptor section, with the unused boards stored below between exhibitions.

Showing the proposed branch with the standalone exhibition layout below,
minus the cassette storage which fit on left hand end.

Detail design of the baseboards followed and a prototype board has now been constructed and approved and we are now in the process of constructing the remaining scenic boards and the fixed adaptor section.

Mike Cole January 2008

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  Last modified:  February 05, 2017