Livsey Lane

Railway of the Month in Railway Modeller May 2014 Vol 65 No. 763

DCC controlled 4mm 00 Gauge early 60s by John Essex.
All of the locos used on the layout are now fitted with sound.

courtesy of Rialway Modeller
The final plan of the layout courtesy of Railway Modeller magazine

Livsey Lane was my challenge for 2009 and was inspired by a small but very much simpler 8ft layout that I saw many years ago at a Manchester Model Railway Society Exhibition. My plan was to build a larger and more complex layout on 4 boards that would give a total length of 16ft. But if I wanted to be able to put all the boards up at the same time while at home then it had to be shrunk a little and has finished up as 14ft-5 inches.
This slight reduction in size meant that I can only have 3 coach suburban trains in the station rather than the 4 that I originally planned for.

The locos are controlled by DCC and the points by push buttons on a mimic diagram of the track with a Diode Matrix used where multiple point operation is needed in the storage and goods sidings. The turntable used is a standard Peco unit driven by a motor and gearbox from Frizinghall Models which in turn is controlled via a DCC decoder chip. Further detailed information about motorising the turntable can be found on the "Technical Topics pages"

I had in fact had the track plan for the layout drawn out a few years ago but it would have needed so many isolating sections and switches to make it usable under analoque working that I could not find the inspiration to make a start. The advent of DCC changed that completely and I soon realised that it was now so much easier to come up with a very workable layout with no isolating sections required at all and just the wires from the point motors back to the control panel to cater for. So much simpler became the wiring that all I finally needed was a single 12 wire cable from each board to cater for all the points and the uncouplers. Track power is simply supplied by the use of two "Bus wires" that run the length of the layout under the boards and connect via the locating bolts between each section. Dropper wires from the rails connect to these "Bus wires" as required.
Other things that need DC power such as the signal drive motors or the arc welding unit in the workshop also take their power from the track Bus wires via bridge rectifiers and voltage regulators.

Operation of the layout is as follows:-
Trains are stored in the hidden sidings covered by a hill and out of sight of visitors. Passenger trains can then be brought into the station to arrive at either platform road where the loco will come to rest with its coupling to the train over an electrically operated uncoupler so that the train can be eventually taken back out by a fresh engine from the shed. The original engine can then be taken to the shed and be available again later.
Goods trains will on arrival run into the reception road just outside the platforms where the engine can again be detached. The loco on "Yard Shunting" duty can then draw away the stock and dispose of it either in the small marshalling yard or the goods shed and associated sidings.

My home designed electrically operated uncoupler is also used at specific places around the layout and goods sidings.
Two operators will be needed if the layout is exhibited to give plenty of stock movement for visitors to see, but at the same time it should prove a useful layout for a single operator when erected at home.

Future plans for the model are to perhaps build another scenic section of about 2ft that can be inserted in the centre of the existing boards. This would then give an increased running length for use at exhibitions if space is available.

click for full image
The whole layout seen on its first public appearance at Tottington High School.
The one day event was the "Vintage Extraveganza" where several model railways had been invited by the organisers to give added interest for the visitors.
Seen operating the layout in this photograph is Dave Oldham who's own layout "Rossendale 40D" has been seen at ours and other clubs exhibitions.
Overall view of the left hand end showing the station platforms and the goods shed with it's sidings.
Visible in the picture is one of the 14 uncouplers that are made using one of the coils of an old point motor.
See the Technical Topics page for more details.
Click for full size
Click for full size
The 2 road Loco Shed with 9F and WD 8F stabled there. On the water and coaling siding is a Jinty.
Standing further back the turn table can be seen in the foreground with a J39 being turned.
Further back is the end of the station platforms with a DMU and an Ivatt awaiting to depart.
click for full size
Click for full size
The road and coaching inn with one of the cottages.
The main lines to the storage sidings disappear behind and beneath the inn while the line to the goods sidings can just be seen in front of it.
The cottages that are on the lane next to the inn.
In the foreground a 08 shunter is pulling wagons into the sidings.
Again another 2 of the home made uncouplers can be seen.
Click for full size
Click for full size
A view of the over bridge in front of the inn showing the cottages and the sidings into the goods yard.
Just visible top left is the signal box that is located just on the exit from the station.
Further down the lane from the cottages a herd of sheep are being driven towards the barn by the farmer on the tractor. The Shepherd with his dogs and young assistant are waiting to prevent then dashing away into the hills.
(Note: Since this picture was taken a sheep pen has been added next to the barn)
Click for full size
Click for full size
The extreme right hand end of the layout where the plate layers are busy sorting out some old track and sleepers ready for collection.
The track visible here is the end of the goods sidings.
Semaphore signals have now been added to the station end of the layout. Thanks to fellow club member Mark Towers for valuable assistance in the construction of these items.
They are operational being worked using slow acting point motors interlocked with auxiliary switches on the point network. This makes them fully automatic and a home signal will only be called off providing that all points are correctly set for the route from the platform in question to the storage sidings.
Note that since this picture was taken the double signal has been replaced with one minus the distant arm and both home signals at the same level.
According to my expert on signaling this is more prototypical. (he is a Network Rail signaller by trade)
The replacement can be seen in some of the pictures below.
click for full size
click for full size
Seen at the L&Y DCC Group show Oct/Nov 2009 this is a view of the goods sidings with a "Track Maintenance Train" being shunted in to where the platelayers are working on old rail and sleepers. The cottages and hillside is also clearly visible in this picture.
A Yard Crane has now been added in the goods depot.
This is a Peco kit fixed and cemented in place with its lifting gear permanently connected to one of the three RSJs on the back of the BR wagon. This is to represent a load either being taken from or added to the wagon.
The RSJs on the lorry are made from plastic strip and painted with rust colour.
click for full size
Click for larger image
A visitor to Livsey Lane.
Jubilee class "Mars" an early Mainline model converted to DCC working by Mark Towers.
Livsey Lane seen at the Eastleigh "Eurotrack" exhibition February 2011.
Changes have been made to the backscene with the pale blue being replaced with painted clouds of a greyish /white shade and the double signal has been rebuilt without the "distant" arm on platform 3 which was apparently unprototypical.
Operating the layout here is fellow H.M.R.G. member Mark Towers.
Click for larger size
click for larger size
I have included this picture to give a better view of the track plan at the station throat where two double slips are employed one after the other.
This was necessary to be able to accommodate all the options I needed in the limited space available. So far they have given little trouble even though they are the only "insulfrog" points on the layout. All the rest being "electrofrog."
I think the secret here has been to ensure that the points are absolutely flat and level as I did initially have a problem when I used thin card underneath the tie bars so that ballast would not fall through.
The thin card was removed and foam rubber pushed up from beneath instead. This seems to have cured any tendency to stall on the slips.
Click on the image on the right to start a video taken of this model. The video will open in a new window.
It shows a drivers eye view taken over 3 of the 4 sections of the model using a camera truck.

Livsey Lane is available for exhibition..... contact....

The layout can be seen at the Heywood Model Railway Group club room.
Or at the following exhibition(s)

Rochdale Town Hall 17th and 18th March 2018

This page updated 18th April 2017