Stars of the Show
Welcome to the first in an occasional series showcasing layouts that have been to the Stafford Show over the years. We start with the one that won Best Visiting layout in 2012 – Alloa.
Thanks to Mike Cowie, who is secretary of the Scottish Region Study Group, the creators of Alloa, for his help with photos and permission to use text from their website.
Alloa was the project around which the group initially formed. Since it’s debut it has appeared at exhibitions around the country and in the hobby press, not least two issues of Model Railway Journal. This recreation of an iconic Scottish location is entertaining both to operator and viewer alike.
Alloa is the county town of Clackmannanshire and situated between Dunfermline and Stirling, lying to the North of the River Forth and to the South of the Ochil Hills. It was a busy junction with lines to Stirling and Alva to the West, Dunfermline and Kincardine to the East, North to Perth via the Devon Valley line and Larbert, Falkirk and Grangemouth to the South. There was also a branch to Alloa harbour.
The model of Alloa recreates as faithfully as possible, the bustling hub and variety of the late 1950s and early 1960s and took 5 years of patient planning and construction to complete. The layout is 31ft x 12ft 6in wide.
All the buildings are scratch-built. Detailed working drawings were created as a template for their construction and the superstructure of the larger buildings is either foamex or thin MDF overlaid with plasticard using double sided tape, then detailed to match the original buildings.
The principal industries in the immediate area were coal mining and those associated with brewing, but these were in decline during the last days of steam. The railways in Alloa were developed by the North British Railway, mainly on an East-west axis, while the Caledonian Railway entered the town from the South via the Throsk single line rail bridge over the River Forth.
In the period modelled, Alloa boasted 35 daily passenger services. Freight was dominated by coal traffic serving the nearby mines.
Considerable research was undertaken into the locomotives working the lines around Alloa and an extensive list drawn up. With an abundance of coal traffic ex NB and LNER six coupled (J35, J36, J37 and J38) and “WD” locos feature prominently but Alloa also enjoyed a huge number and variety of “visiting” locos on other traffic and particularly when the routes were used as a diversion due to engineering works on other lines. Locos and rolling stock are a mixture of kit built and detailed ready-to-run suitably detailed, modified and “weathered” as appropriate.
Here are some photos of the layout at shows:
At our show, receiving the award along with Andy Banks and Nigel Brazier.
The layout closely follows the prototype as these comparison photos clearly show:
More information about the Scottish Region Study group can be found here: https://scrsg.wordpress.com/about/