Walmer Bridge is a portable 16mm scale live-steam layout.

It was designed to fit (just) into an estate car, for (relatively) easy transport to shows.

It is not a high-quality fully-scenic layout, more a demonstration of the potential for indoor live-steam operation.

Walmer Bridge is available for display at exhibitions and shows - click here for the show log.

It all began on the August bank holiday of 2011, when I rashly asked the Corris exhibition manager if he would like live

steam next year. His response was too enthusiastic for me to say I wasn't serious, or it would be too difficult, or I didn't

have the time. I would just have to get on and do it.

The baseboard is 12mm plywood, in four sections with battens around each under-edge to stiffen it. The size

was constrained by the need to fit it in a car rather than a van, so 12ft by 6ft was the most I could hope for. I invested

in a set of eight metal trestles, to be independent of whatever standard of table that might otherwise be offered when

on location.

The track is Peco SM32, an oval with two sidings on the viewing side and one on the operating side. The minimum

radius is 2ft 6in (76cm).  A run-round loop would have been useful but the length would be too short. I toyed with the

idea of a diversionary loop at one end, as on Hundred End, but in the end settled for the basic oval. Setrack would have

made a better job of the curves, but for reasons of economy I went for flexitrack. 

Signals are Hornby tinplate 0-gauge.

Most of the buildings are wooden cast-offs from older layouts, in one case nearly 20 years old, and represent a small

village with a station and signal box. The station is new, made from MDF off-cuts with windows and a rather delicate

mini-atrium made from Jigstones mouldings. Electricity is provided by a steam-powered generating plant, and there is

a building site, a coal staithe and a water tower. The abbey ruins are a cut-down version of a previous rather grandiose

project that had outgrown the downsizing of the family residence. It features a restoration workshop and a crane train

for handling the Jigstones blocks. 

The layout runs a mixture of live steamers and battery-operated diesels. The minimal size and tight curvature means

that small locos and medium-sized trains run best. My live steam locos are radio-controlled, although visiting manual

locos run fine.

The layout does not represent any particular location or era, so the rolling stock is a somewhat eclectic collection,

including Darjeeling tea wagons, open trucks with a variety of loads and a Corris guards van. The crane train includes

designs by Pechot and Leonardo da Vinci (!), a Pretania winch wagon, a support coach and an engineering van.

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