16mm Projects

Dixon Green 2016 extensions

We are currently building some additional boards for the Yorkshire Group layout, Dixon Green, along with one extra board for Phil Thompson’s layout Saed-Y-Parc. The intention is to increase the flexibility of these two layouts, either individually or when joined together. When the boards are completed, it should be possible to set up one or both boards in almost 20 different ways – either “long and thin”, L-shaped or U-shaped. The largest set-up will be around 23.5m x 8.7m – not that different from many a railway in the garden.


The new boards will fill all the remaining space in the Dixon Green trailer. This is definitely going to be the last extension to what started life as a “small” layout! For this reason, we’re aiming to do something special, with a model drift mine. There will be a beam engine powering a line of pump rods to drain the mine, an incline sloping down below board level (operating – fingers crossed) and an operating mine shaft as well. The mine will extract that strange mineral, Kulort (try a Google search).


The plan requires seven new boards, six for Dixon Green and one for Saed-Y-Parc. The following photographs show progress on constructing the extension.


PHOTO 1 It took about 10 days to build the seven new boards and check the six boards for Dixon Green would fit inside the trailer. Here, the five boards for the drift mine have been set up between two of the existing boards. The viewing side will be to the left, with the operating side on the right.

PHOTO 2 The track has now been laid on the drift mine boards. We’re using Peco small radius points, some set-track curves and flexi-track – all supplied by TrackShack. Extra sleepers are soldered in place at the ends of each board. These are made from copper covered fibreglass, sourced from Marcway Models, and bonded to 4mm plywood strips.

We can now check out the space available for the scenic parts of the mine – you can draw a plan, but nothing beats drawing out in full size on the baseboards, or setting out a cardboard mock up, to check that everything will fit.


PHOTO 3 Whilst work started on the buildings and other structures for the drift mine, the new corner board was put up in the workshop. The existing board from SYP (top of the photo), has two tongues that now slot into one end of the corner board.

The track has been laid, creating a passing loop, a steam-up siding on the operating side and a short siding alongside the dock.


PHOTO 4 A small loading dock has been built from ply and stripwood, and wood-stain applied. The existing kipper shed will go on here, adjacent to the dockside. Also, the base for a roadway, to give access to the dock, has been laid as well as three level crossings.

PHOTO 5 The “grass” is intended as lining for hanging baskets. A large roll was bought some years ago – there’s still plenty left over! Stuck down with contact adhesive, bought by the gallon, poured on and spread with a cheap brush, you need to get a move on before you get high (hence the slight camera shake)!


PHOTO 6 Finally, track ballast and the roadway are laid using scatter material of varying sizes and colours, glued down either with PVA or contact adhesive. When laying ballast, there are always small patches where the glue gets missed. These patches are covered over with coarse grass scatter material, using a mix of different colours. This is all simple and basic stuff – but the end result looks well, I think.


PHOTO 7 Work in progress on the new board for Saed-Y-Parc, with track laid and painting the sleepers under way. The two points (one of which is a stub point) were made separately. The plain track is laid in situ: thin 9mm-wide copper-covered fibreglass sleepers (Marcway Models) have been fixed to the PVC baseboard with superglue. The rail is code 200 bullhead (Marcway again) which is soldered to the sleepers, being careful to avoid heat build-up in the rail – if you allow the rail to get very hot, it causes the baseboard (which is just 5mm thick) to bend as the rail cools.


PHOTO 8 The new board for Saes-Y-Parc is now complete, and joined to the adjacent boards. The siding will lead to the Kulort off-loading shed. The new board will also add another passing loop onto Saed-Y-Parc station.


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