Ian Morgan

My micro layout 'Brunswick' was built in five months in order to have something British to show at the Luxembourg model railway exhibition in November 2001. An offcut of fairly thick (1/2 inch plus) plywood was scrounged from the local club (AMFL) and a simple wooden frame attached to give room underneath for uncoupling mechanism and wiring to be added below the baseboard.

Having previously spent many hours shunting the yard of Alresford at exhibitions, which only has two points, I knew that two points would be adequate for Brunswick. I ended up using the diagonal as the main run, to get precious extra fractions of an inch for the headshunt. With the yard track plan sorted out, there was obviously a lot of space left on one corner of the board, so I put in a dummy platform road. This is not powered, but it gives some parking space where some extra stock can be shown off.

I had been contemplating building a small test layout, maybe with some scenery, for use while I was working outside the UK, so I had my track making kit with me, so started building some 24in radius points. Previously I have kept to a minimum of 36in radius, but with such a short length of board to play with, I needed every inch I could get. All track was soldered and used Association chair plates. I also used the last of my profiled sleepers to represent concrete sleepers on the platform road. The final trackplan needed 4 buffer stops to be made, so a simple jig was made using pins stuck into a piece of wood.

Partly to save time, and definitely to save complication, I decided on 'Lo-tech' point control and uncoupling. Using some wire in nylon tube, attached to a small toggle switch fitted to a small bracket on the edge of the baseboard, the switch provides plenty of movement to actuate the glass-fibre PCB tiebar of the point, and the electrical switch changes the 'frog' polarity. The actuation of the DG couplings is done by a permanent magnet attached to a lever so that pressing the end of the lever where it passes up through a hole in the baseboard moves the magnet to where it actuates the couplings. Gravity drops the magnet back down out of range. The switches and magnet lever are hidden behind the modern industrial unit building. Two wires from the headshunt attach to a Gaugemaster controller.

Having got the track running smoothly, and again after ballasting, scenery had to be added. Again to save time, kits from Ratio and Knightwing were used, but to get the small Southern Region backwater feel I wanted, I had to scratchbuild the station building. This is based on the building at Northiam on the K&ESR but has been changed to represent wooden construction rather than corrugated iron. The majority of this model was formed by cutting up a CD jewel case.

Lots of odds and ends from the bits box have been added to give scenic interest, and more have been added since the photographs were taken. The layout did appear at the Luxembourg show, and has also been exhibited at Euskirchen in Germany. Since then, it has been visiting exhibitions in the UK without me.

Dave Stratton operating Brunswick in Luxembourg


Aerial view and Track Plan