At the Annual General Meeting of the Oxford Model Railway Club held in January 2007, the then Chairman challenged the club members to build a Model Railway on an area of 8 sq. ft. Most members talked about a piece of baseboard of 4ft. X 2ft. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that I could build a small shunting type layout on two boards of 4ft. X 1ft. This was almost a direct crib of the famous “Time saver” layouts that are quite common in North America.
I had always been interested in the possibility of the Metropolitan Railway extending to Oxford, and had read up on the subject in any volume I could find, so this challenge was almost a good chance to build the terminus of Oxford St. Clements. Sadly, however, the size of the baseboards precluded any such idea of this station layout. After much cogitating, and looking at the proposed route, I came to the conclusion that I could build a suburban station on the route into Oxford. So Oxford Victoria was born. My previous layout “Cocklers End” had been withdrawn from the exhibition circuit, and in the Autumn of 2006 had been broken up. Being of a very careful financial nature I saved most of the track and points, along with most of the buildings and assorted scenery.
At the moment the layout is a small terminus, but in spring 2008 I intend to put a further 4ft.board on the station bridge end to make a fiddle yard to fiddle yard type layout. I proposed to put the station building on the Road bridge but the sheer size of the building, and the fact I did not have a suitable Metropolitan or Great Central building, concerned me. The Great Central made a habit of putting their Station buildings on a Road over bridge, especially on the London extension. However in the July 2007 “British Railway Modelling” Magazine there appeared an article on building the station at Quorn, which was on the London extension. This seemed to be the answer for a small station building entrance, with all other services down on the platform. Again chance helped me . In September I was returning down the Motorway from a holiday in the Peak District, when it dawned on me that I was only a few miles from the Great Central Railway. A quick diversion, and I was able to see Quorn station for myself. I had started to build the road entrance, but I was not in the market for a direct copy so what is on the layout is a scaled down version of the prototype.
The layout can be operated with five trains. As long as you are happy with small train lengths, this is the size for you. I particularly like the Motor Train, which ran from Aylesbury to Verney Junction, via Quainton Road. There is ample opportunity to tie yourself up in knots while shunting. The layout is not yet finished, but at least I have accepted the Chairman’s Challenge.
Oxford Victoria is scheduled to appear at the OMRC exhibition in May 2008.