The story of ‘Stowey Green’ – Burton Crumpnold’s ‘N’ Gauge Layout
Some years ago, when the original Burton Crumpnold layout was ‘decommissioned’ due to major building works in our house, I decided to take on a smaller ‘N Gauge’ layout to keep the model railway hobby going during the ensuing chaos.
As an LMS man married to a GWR Wife, I was drawn to the area of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway (SDJR). (Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway – Wiki Page)
.. This railway was run by the GWR and LMS so gives a great opportunity/excuse of seeing GWR and LMS traffic together.
The intention of limiting the stock for the layout was very important, as my ‘OO’ collection had grown to cover most era’s from LMS/GWR- through BR to Privatisation – and even a bit of Thomas the Tank Engine. So for this layout the intention is to stick to GWR Branch line with a bit of LMS – with all the stock hauled by small tank engines. The setting is the 1920s and 1930s.
The location of the layout came about during a holiday in Somerset. We came across the rather attractive village of Neither Stowey near Bridgewater, and it was decided that this would be an ideal ‘location’, as part of a potential route that could have been used to connect Bridgewater to Minehead.
With the location set the main station, and the name of the layout was to be ‘Stowey Green’, and I also decided to include a small ‘halt’ station – using the simple if attractive GWR ‘Pagoda’ Halt building, and that was given the name of ‘Upper Stowey’.
Basic Track Plan
In order to keep ‘Stowey Green’ relatively easy to store and portable we went for a board size of 137cm x 76cm (4 1/2 x 2 1/2/ ft).
It was decided early on that the board would have an upper level, so was built with the front of the board being 25mm higher than the back in the hope that this would help reduce the incline required to reach the upper level.
From the outset the plan has been to wire Stowey Green for DC using the classic ‘Cab Control’ method.
.. Although I plan to use digital control (DCC) in my future OO gauge layouts I am quite happy to stick to the simplicity of DC for this layout.
For me ‘N’ Guage locomotives, especially the kind I plan to sue on Stowey Green are just too small to fit a DCC decoder.
Stowey Green’s design comprises of 2 single track loops, the lower loop is on the board ‘Station’ level that has a hidden passing loop, and an upper loop that goes up to a small halt station.
Original Plan for Stowey Green.
As was noted on the plan above the intention was to use more realistic track for Stowey Green, so with the exception of any hidden areas the Peco Streamline Medium radius points would be used, and 3rd radius curves would be used if possible.
A ‘Recycled’ Layout…
A lot of the materials used in constructing Stowey Green has either been salvaged from when the original Burton Crumpnold Layout was ‘decommissioned’ (Electric parts such as Point Motors etc) or was over from the construction (Wood etc).
.. This is also particularly good call as the major work on building Stowey Green happened during the Covid19 ‘Lockdown’ that started in the spring of 2020, where it could be difficult to go out for new materials and parts..
The track, rolling stock and most of the buildings required were already purchased some time ago.. It has been good to actually start using them…