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Preston & District Model Railway Society

ARDSON LAYOUT

OO Gauge

The origins of this layout can be traced back to the mid ‘80s when the Exhibition Manager dropped in on a conversation between two club members. The gist of this was that simple layouts - which could be built at home by Dad and his Lad (or Daughter) using readily available “off the shelf” items of track, buildings and ready to run items, were never featured at model railway exhibitions. Never one to miss an opportunity the Exhibition Manager pointed out that there were a few months before the next exhibition and that if these members could build such a layout which he considered worthy, it would be included in the exhibition

The resulting layout approx 6’-00” x 3’-6”and entitled “Challenge” proved a great success. It was popular with the children at exhibitions as it gave them the opportunity both to ‘drive’ and meet all their friendly locos and stock. Eventually this layout was outgrown by the amount of stock that was accumulating and superseded by “Son of Challenge”. This was larger in plan and with far better operating potential but again eventually became too small. Also the end to end track plan involved a lot of handling of locomotives which soon began to show wear and tear.

The third iteration, named “Ardson” (from Dave LeonARD and John WilSON - the builders) is now nearing completion. The overall size is 10’-00” x 9’-00”, with a continuous run (including a traverser fiddle yard), engine shed, goods yard and branch line.  As with the previous layouts everything has been built from readily available items and kits - but disguised and weathered accordingly and set in a series of dioramas to add interest.  This layout can of course use most ready to run stock, however, for the P&D MRS exhibitions we always use items taken from the Thomas series. Many of these are off the shelf but the majority have been scratch built or modified well before Hornby increased their range. We claim that, with the exception of narrow gauge items, if you have seen it in books or on video you can see it on Ardson. More recently Hornby’s Hogwarts Express has put in an appearance.

We take great pride in the layout and the stock that runs on it and never cease to be amazed, whenever the layout is in displayed, by the knowledge that the children (and Mums) show. It is always the childrens’ favourite at our exhibitions. We believe it is an inspiration to develop the ‘train set’ and well demonstrates the potential of the hobby.

Please visit the Preston & District Model Railway Society website for more layouts and information. [more]

Many thanks to Neville Davies for providing the pictures and text.

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