By Mike Taylor
WALLSGROVE is an O Gauge end-to-end layout which is not based on any particular prototype. Its geographical location is in Warwickshire and is an imaginary town five miles south east of Stratford-on-Avon.
The 24ft x 2ft 3in layout is primarily a country town LMS terminus, with a small goods yard, trading in coal, cattle and general commodities. Trains leave the scene, via a tunnel, for the big, wide world which includes Birmingham as well as Stratford.
There is brisk business for the passenger side of the operation with Birmingham being the big draw for shoppers, particular at the weekend. In addition, the GWR has running rights and visits are paid by goods trains by an 0-4-2 tank engine.
The rolling stock represents a flexible period, ranging from immediately after Grouping in 1923 to the mid-30s and mid-40s, so you may spot coaches sporting the Midland or LMS liveries.
After minor “shufflings,” hopefully made while no-one is looking (except the operator of course!), the layout can sometimes leap 20 years into the future, with BR steam locos, diesels and rolling stock representing the late 50s or early 60s era.
For the technically minded, the layout has 10 points, operated by Tortoise slow-action motors, and is wired so that it could be DCC operated – that’s the theory but it has not been put the the test yet!
For the present, two Modelex hand-held controllers, fed by a beefy transformer, operate two separate sections (ie the good yards and the station sections), both of which eventually lead to the three-road fiddle yard. Locos, rolling stock and buildings are a mixture of second-hand purchases, plus scratch-built and kit-bashed items.
Originally, the points were operated by the wire-in-tube method but owner Mike Taylor had his “armed twisted” to invest in Tortoise power! “It has proved to be a great improvement to the operation of the layout and well worth the effort and expenditure,” says Mike.
Other improvements over the years have included some remedial re-wiring and track work (levelling and re-alignment) plus the addition of a couple of two-doll starter signals for platforms 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. Both signals are operated by Seep point motors located under the baseboard, via prototypical linkage, and have working lamps. A dedicated switchboard is used to operate the Seep motors and control whether the lights are illuminated or not. For the layout in general, isolated sections, magnetic uncouplers and the 10 point motors are all operated from a main switchboard.
The goods yard is usually operated independently but is capable of being worked by the Station operator when the Yard man has gone “walkabout.” Yard points, and one leading to the fiddleyard, have been wired for dual operation - ie worked from switches near the location in question or the main switchboard.
Apart from post-exhibition repairs from time to time, there are no plans to carry out further alterations. Enough’s, enough!!