Chiltern's Group Layout-Gerrards Cross
Featured at the Pitstone Farm Museum
Gerrards Cross is the latest layout of the Chilterns Group
which is based at the Pitstone Farm Museum in Bucks. In return for the facilities
on the museum site the group is required to exhibit its layout on the days
the museum is open-generally eight days a year. The Chilterns Group currently
comprise four active members- Phill Hutchings, Andrew Comben, Elvis Evans
and Simon Littleworth. Phill designed the layout and has made by far the
greatest contribution to building it, although all members have contributed.
Andrew supplies nearly all the rolling stock from his collection built up
over the last 30 years which includes a large number of locomotives by professional
loco builder Mike Edge as well as many items he has built himself or acquired
from others. Phill and Elvis have also made significant contributions to
the rolling stock.
The model reresents Gerrards Cross station on the Great Western and Great Central joint line which opened in 1906. The station is shown as it was before the platforms were extended to take DMUs in the early 1960s. The scenic part of the layout is 12 feet long by 2 feet wide with sharp curves into the fidlle yard at each end which can hold a maximum of 26 trains.
The station itself is exactly to scale , with the original 400 foot platforms, but the goods yard has had to be shortened. The two headshunts which were at each end of the real station have been extended through the backscene so that there is an independent goods line; this strategy enables a train to be got into the goods yard to shunt while trains are passing on the main line, although the goods yard is not expected to be operational until 2007. There are four lines through the station, the main lines in the middle and two platform loops. Stopping trains of course take the platform lines and they can also be used to allow a fast train to overtake a slower one. This operation is performed regularly during open days, a spectacle enhanced by electrically operated signals.
The track is almost entirely Society flexible, only with bullhead rail, but the goods line and the curves at each end are Streamline. Points are handmade,and all of them are electrically operated using low speed motors, execpt those in the goods yard.
The joint line saw a huge variety of trains over the years with the GWR and LNER before the war (and of course the GC before 1923) and WR, ER and LMR power after 1923. Two sequences of trains are run on the layout, pre and post nationalisation, together covering the period from 1906 until the early 1960s. We change over half way through each season. To provide maximum authenticity we have two sets of scenic items, and the building on stilts, which was not built until the 1940s, is removeable and can be replaced by alternative scenery. Each sequence is of around 20 trains, and we try to have something new each season.
Highlights of the BR sequence currently include the Wells Fargo Pullman rake, built by Phill, which substituted for the blue pullman when it broke down, the Master Cutler, with A3 or V2 haulage, the Cambrian Coast Express and the Margate to Wolverhampton in SR green.The pre- nationalisation sequence includes two Great Central expresses, a GW express with two slip coaches and an LNER express from Manchester to Marylebone, witn LMS through coach from Halifax, these last two by Phill.
The museum is open from Easter to September, normally on each bank holiday Monday and on the second Sunday in June, July, August and September. It is just off the B489, in the centre of Pitstone village, which is 8 miles east of Aylesbury and 7 miles SW of Dunstable- M1 junction 11. It is 35 miles NW of London via the A41- take Tring exit. It is signposted from the roundabout in the centre of Pitstone. Further information from Andrew Comben on 01525 220585.
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