Model Railways · Modelling · Woolwich Dockyard

Woolwich Dockyard/Charlton Junction in P4

So, as some who follow this blog will know I’ve been working on a layout plan for the Woolwich Dockyard and Chalrton Junction area of South East London. I thought I’d bring the blog upto date a bit with all the details for the plan so far.


Key points of interest:


  • NSE 1988-1994 era (initially)
  • SE London area (Woolwich/Charlton)
  • 3rd rail electric EMUs
  • DCC (MERG)
  • MERG CBUS system
  • P4
  • Modular
  • Planned using templot software – almost finished.
  • Lasercut baseboards from Tim Horn – to be ordered


A bit about the layout:


The layout will be based on the Woolwich Dockyard area of South East London. Part of the former Southern Railway’s North Kent Lines. The initial era is to be around 1988-1994, so firmly in the NSE era, but also approaching privatisation. I extended it to ’94 so that I could make use of the ’92s I have. The likelyhood is I’ll run a timetable of some sort for a particular year at a time so the most likely is to be about ’92 with EPBs being on their last years and Networkers just coming into service in small numbers.


The track plan and area have been chosen as they’re rather generic in nature and fairly simple. With a bit of work in changed buildings both the era and the area could be changes. Technically any era from electrification to present could be represented by the plan with suitable removable items (all items except track and electronics will be removable for storage reasons). In practical terms it will likely be late 1950s-present as limit to era represented as whilst I could feasibly represent different era buildings and so on, I’m not sure it’d be practical to have colour lights and semaphore signals interchangeable (the point ridding would be a pain).

The track plan:
Originally I planned it in Templot and came up with this plan:


It looked nice with the sweeping curves, but I was never certain I could reliably build a crossover over a transition curve. I also wanted a single slip on the left, but initially struggled to get it right in templot.
Eventually I came up with the following plan:
With assistance from Templot Club forum, the single slip was corrected and the other aspects tidied up. This is 95% there, theres a few items to be tidied up, but it is about how I want it now I think.


However recently, my friend who I am working on the plan with, came up with an alteration to the plan (see below), I’m unsure on this, as it adds 2ft extra length and adds 6 extra points. On the other hand no single slip to build…



Due to space restraints I know I cannot reasonably expect to have the full 11ft (plus 4ft each end for traverser) set up at home, so the plan from the start had to be modular in nature so each section can operate independently and also go together in different configurations. Using Tim Horn’s laser cut base boards allows this to be achieved I think, as I can rely on them being able to be matched up with each other. This is another reason why the plan ended up straight rather than curved.
The boards will be ordered from Tim Horn in due course, in 3ftx2ft sections, and one 2ftx2ft section for the level crossing. I’m still figuring out the exact dimensions and one board might be split down to allow a board to be ‘dropped’ lower to allow an underpass to be incorporated.
Control and Electronics:
I’m very much a geek and very keen on computers in general, so computer control has appealed from day one for me. But I don’t want to limit myself to needing a computer to operate the layout, having it would be nice, but it isn’t essential.
DCC is though. Sound would be nice, but that will be a feature for a later development. I am a member of MERG (as well as the EMGS and Scalefour Society) and so intend to use their CBUS/DCC system as it will save on costs and seems to work rather well. I want to incorporate an eNtrance eXit panel for the control of the points/signals. Proper operation of the signals is something that is important to me and my cohort Natalie. Thankfully a member of MERG has already developed something like this using the CBUS system, so hopefully I can adapt it for my needs.



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