Planning Collingwood Part 3 – The Initial Design

Having finished all the exhibitions for Norwood Road for the year, I can sit down and plan the next layout.

The first thing to do is come up with a name, I know that companies like to use special code names for new projects (Star Wars Episode IX was code-named ‘Space Bear’), but I will be calling the next project it’s actual name, which will be….


Why ‘Collingwood’? Well, as per the first entry in this series, the layout is based on Fareham, but to make it a manageable size and so I can add some stuff which isn’t quite right for Fareham, I have to find a name other than Fareham. I choose Collingwood as my time travelling in and out of Fareham was in connection with my time leaving at HMS Collingwood just down the road when I was a Network Rail Track Apprentice and seen as I like all my layouts to have some sort of personal connection, Collingwood seemed like a good name.

So, now I have the name out of the way and the location, here is the initial track plan:



The layout is much larger than anything I have built or owned before, with Norwood Road being 11ft x 5ft and Hythe Parkway being 14ft x 8ft, but I think now is the time to cut my teeth on something new. I’ve designed the layout to fit on standard baseboard sizes, I plan to use Tim Horn Lasercut Baseboards, so there is one 6ft x 2ft, two 4ft x 2ft and three 5ft x 2ft.

The reason for the different board sizes to ensure that the baseboards joints are in convenient places, so all but two points are on the same board and the entire platform is one board (so I don’t have joins in the platform that are pain to conceal).

I know that some people won’t like that I have square baseboards, but frankly, anything other is an incredible pain to store and transport. Norwood Roads main scenic boards are ‘L’ shaped and curved, and they are a nightmare to box up as the can’t be sat on their side as they’ll fall over. My Father’s Loughborough Road layout has a curve in it with angled baseboard, and whilst it is much easier than Norwood Road, they can be difficult to fit into a van without careful thought. So, this time, I’m going back to convention.

Differences from Fareham

The biggest difference from the real Fareham, is the that it is compressed, for instance, the platforms at Fareham can handle between 7 and 9 coaches (depending on the Platform), where as Collingwood will only be able to hold up to 5 coaches (going on a max length of 1ft) in the Island Platforms and up to 4 coaches on the Station Building Platform. Compression is also true of the distance between the junction and the single line, in reality this is at least 12 coach lengths, on Collingwood it is only going to ~3.

The next biggest difference is that at Fareham, the line from Portsmouth curves in from the station building side, here I have made it the opposite so that the fiddle yard is at the rear of the layout.

The track plan is also slightly different, with a crossover that is opposite to the one leading into the Bay, this was to enable me to fit all the points on one board and to simple reduce costs a bit, it does restrict operations slightly, but I’ll come onto that. The most significance between Fareham and Collingwood is that the aggregates terminal is several rationed, going from 3 through sidings to 2 dead end sidings and a severely reduced headshunt. This is actually to maximise the space available, as making through sidings would reduce space too much.


There are several features to the layout, I’ll go through these from Left to Right:

Harbour and Viaduct – Between Fareham and Porchester, they are several low brick built viaducts that go over the various harbours in the area. See this photo on Flickr of 34046 passing over one of the viaducts . My viaduct will be on a fairly tight 4th radius curve, but I’m sure I can do it as  I like the idea of the view of a train rounding a curved brick viaduct with a small harbor below!

NR Delivery Unit – Network Rail has a maintenance depot behind the station at Fareham, and seen as I not only work for them but also have lots of NR vehicles, would be stupid not to include it!

Station – I’ve already discussed the station further up, other than the platform length, I’m going to try to replicate the station buildings as well both the old and new footbridges at the station.

Container Store – The real Fareham has some sort of container store and I think a scrap dealer, but the container store will be a good scenic break.

Signal Box with full interior – This is something I really want to do, although Fareham doesn’t have a signal box (the area is controlled from the Area Signalling Centre at Eastleigh), I added one in! The building will be built on the edge of the baseboard and the rear wall won’t be built, so the full Relay Room and Operating Floor will be visible.

Aggregate Terminal – This will be served by GBRF, Freightliner and DB Cargo. The terminal will be controlled by a Ground Frame and will be operated by a separate operator sitting out front. I’m undecided whether to just make it a terminal with a grabber and tractors or have a proper hopper house.

Fiddle Yards – Not the most exciting topic, but it’s worth talking about. The Portsmouth Fiddle Yard will be a 5ft traverser as that is best suited to that type of Fiddle Yard, whilst the other end will be cassettes as a traverser would be unsuitable for the layout at that end.

The design at the moment is only basic, the next thing will be signalling design before commencing detailed design using a CAD Program.

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