When I joined the Club in late 2014 it had a part completed N Gauge layout by the name of Chertonwell. This was started by previous members who were of a far greater electronic mind than myself. Although not a DCC layout it contained a lot of MERG electronics. After looking at it three of us decided to try to resurrect the layout over the coming months and carry on with it. As no one currently in the club had any idea how it worked and as the electronics appeared to be beyond us it was decided to regretfully dismantle it and start afresh on a new N gauge DCC layout that would be more in keeping with our skills and capabilities.
In the Autumn of 2015, Tony, John and myself dismantled Chertonwell, keeping as much as we could to either re-use or dispose of by sale, so as to help fund the new layout. Bearing in mind that the layout is generally intended for displays we decided to very loosely base it on a town in the industrial Midlands at the time of Nationalisation. This period was decided upon so as to give us as much scope as possible in the running of rolling stock. Of course we will also use as much poetic licence as required and one may well, in due course see modern rolling stock on the tracks. I hear a sigh from the purists among you but this will be a layout that hopefully the younger generation will be attracted to and if it persuades a few to take up the hobby then we will be happy.
The size of the layout was initially to be about 16 feet by 30 inches over four boards but an 18 inch wide board was later added so as to form a water scene making the layout about 17 feet 6 inches overall on five boards. They consist of Board A (Station), Board B – Goods Yard, Board C – Loco Shed, Board D – Canal and Board E – Factory. Basic plans were drawn up at the start of 2016 with the baseboards made by the end of February ready for the preliminary track to be laid. At this time we did not have a name for the new layout so as usual a number of names was banded about but we could not decide on a final one. In the end half a dozen names was presented to all at the AGM and a secret ballot took place. The winner by a mile was named as it happens after one of our members and so HEATHFIELD was born, not Tony I must say, in the Spring of 2016.
March 2016 – All boards were covered with cork tiles and the first track was laid on Board A. All track and points have dropper wires attached ready for connecting later. In order to try to make life easier we are keeping to a colour coding for wiring throughout the whole layout
April 2016 – The main track circuit was laid on Board B. It was decided to complete the main track circuit on all boards so that these could be wired and tested before we added the goods yard, loco shed etc. None of the layout will have scenery added for some time to come until we get the track all working. Point motors are being fitted as we do each board. Again they have dropper wires fitted. We have gone for SEEP motors with switch (PM1) throughout the whole layout.
May 2016 – On Saturday 21st we assembled all boards together for the first time. Although some had little or nothing on, it did look quite an impressive sight. During this month the backboards were added also Board D made and included. We now have all five boards and about half of the main track laid.
June 2016 –