President David Shepherd CBE FRSA FGRA
The latest "O" gauge layout
of the Railway Enthusiasts' Club of Farnborough.
Netherley is a substantial GWR country through station set in the 1930’s to 1950’s.
Originally built as a single track cross country line, increasing traffic led to a doubling of the mainline within the station and on the country (west) side of the station. On the London (east) side of the station there is assumed to be a single track tunnel through a particularly difficult upland area for which the cost of cutting a second bore was deemed too expensive. The main line is, therefore, single track through the tunnel, and resumes double track beyond. Out of sight but between the station and the tunnel is a locomotive turntable. Climbing out of the station, again to the east, is a private railway leading to some of Lord Loft’s sandstone quarries. Lord Loft is an important local land owner, and his quarries which are scattered through the local area, contribute a considerable amount to the freight traffic on the railway.
The track plan consists essentially of a straight main line running east-west over a total layout length of 46ft / 14.0metres, of which 30ft / 9.1 metres is scenic. The nominal layout footprint is 46ft / 14.0 metres by 2ft 9inches / 0.84 metres plus access space at the ends. The scenic section contains all of Netherley passenger station based around one large island platform; a motive power depot; goods yard facilities, and the exchange sidings where sandstone wagons, etc, are transferred to and from the private quarry line.
In the event that the full 46ft of layout cannot be accommodated, it is possible to run Netherley as a branch terminus. To allow this one or other of the fiddle yards is removed. The length of the layout in this form is 38ft / 11.6 metres.
The operating potential of the layout is substantial. A large number of through passenger and freight trains appear, and this traffic is augmented by stopping main line passenger trains and regular pick-up freights. To add further variety there are both quarrymen’s passenger trains and sandstone trains between the off-layout quarry and exchange sidings adjacent to Netherley goods yard. The local Winbury branch line to the west gives rise to frequent autotrain services, and from the east there are local passenger trains which serve smaller stations on the main line.
A final touch is the occasional appearance of trains to and from Winbury gasworks, which delivering coal to the gasworks and bring away coke. These trains are privately owned and are assumed to have been granted limited running rights on the railway company’s tracks,
To broaden the scope of the layout even more, it is intended that a 3ft 6ins gauge street tramway linking the station to the unseen Netherley Town Centre be provided. The tramway runs along nearly half of the viewing side of the layout, and is mostly double track, laid in granite setts in a roadway close to the front of the layout. The trams, which are ‘on loan from Plymouth Corporation’ during development of the line, share part of the eastern fiddle yard at one end, while the terminus at Netherley station includes a trolley-pole reverser built into the overhead wiring. The tramway is, as yet, still in course of construction.
The size of the layout, and the complexity of its operation, means that a minimum of 6 operators are required for the railway with an additional operator for the tramway.
Netherley has reached the stage where it can be offered for exhibitions. It is appreciated that not all venues can accommodate a layout approaching 50ft in length; for this reason it can be operated as a branch terminus with a length of approximately 38ft (11.6metres). In this reduced guise the operation is very different with all trains having to terminate in the station, but the quarry traffic is retained.
The layout appeared in public for the first time at Woking in 2013, followed by Langley in 2014 and Cove Fayre in 2015. It is due at Woking in September 2016 and at Taunton in October 2016.
REC ‘O’ Gauge Group 2016