BATH GREEN PARK
Joint Midland and Somerset & Dorset Railway Station
Our well known and popular Bath Green Park model continues to excite both our visitors and our members with the challenge of operating such a large layout. First conceived in 1997, the actual construction began 2 years later following considerable research. Two versions have been built, with the main station yard and engine shed areas being common to both. In the "home" layout, the Bath Junction area is a fixed section, which connects to return loops with auto call-on storage.
On the exhibition version this is replicated in an expanded form to enable the full-scale model to be exhibited when away from home, with automated storage sidings behind the main layout and avoiding the need for stock handling. This is achieved with reverse curves beyond the junction giving additional track length while reducing the overall "footprint" of the model by about 4 metres (13 feet). This allows the model to fit in more venues.
Such a comprehensive model requires regular maintenance, and a few years ago was completely rewired. Signalling is illuminated, working, and as far as possible fully interlocked with the turnouts . Stand-alone mini-control panels for the Midland and S&D goods yards are in use to improve operating flexibility. The home version is regularly operated during our open days in support of the West Somerset Railway special events - see details listed below.
The baseboards are made from 9mm ply supported on box sections with circular holes cut out to provide strength with lightness. All track construction is built on high density foam rubber sheet underlay which and ballasted as appropriate. Plain track is SMP, with turnout construction using code 75 rail soldered on PCB sleepering and built to re-create to scale the original prototype track layout. There are 3 main control panels plus the two subsidiary goods yard panels.
Buildings are scratch built with the famous Bath stone being faithfully reproduced using the correct profile window frames including the use of brass etchings. A 3D effect back scene has been created and gives real Bath "feel" to the completed model. When erected, the "away" version measures approx. 17.5m x 3.6m (57' x 14').
The "piece-de-resistance" must surely be the modelling of the passenger station. The overall roof, the bridges, and the signals have all been constructed to faithfully reproduce the originals using etched brass kits produced by Alan Gibson from our own drawings to achieve the required authenticity. To achieve correct accuracy required included many site visits for photographs and measurements, supported by a library of relevant books and photos, and the under-construction model of Bishops Lydeard station continues to develop. With the prototype directly outside our clubroom door it can be quite truthfully claimed to be "on site in-situ" modelling! It will be able to operate as stand-alone with full seven coach train sector plates at either end or connected to the fixed part of Bath junction when the main Bath layout is away from home to use the large return loops for more flexible operation.