A Visit to Brian Guilmant's Imperial Western Railway
Mar 29, 2014Public
Photo: 001 As my beloved Drill Instructor used to say many years ago when he was stood in front of us with one knee bent at right angles to the ground, ready to crash into it with a huge bang: “I left you in this position”. At the end of the previous report, we were just coming up the stairs into Brian’s attic ……………..
Photo: 002 As I mentioned in the introduction, trying to take photos of a home layout can be rather challenging when there are other visitors present – particularly enthusiastic part time paparazzi and wearers of the dreaded check shirt distraction (running joke in the NGRM-Online Forum!). Here’s what happened when I tried to photograph the layout on a previous visit 3 years ago !
Photo: 003 But before we move into this set, here’s a rather nice photo that was taken in 2010 showing one of the stations still very much a work in progress, but a superb passenger train behind the Leek & Manifold Kitson, made up of a rake of coaches that were scratch built by modelling maestro Jim Hurley .
Photo: 004 Now, where were we? Oh yes, just coming to the top of the stairs to Brian’s attic and this is the view that initially greets you when you get to the top, showing a glimpse fo some of the scenic effects and a panoramic vista across the large motive power depot .
Photo: 005 Moving on to the right of the previous photo we pass the main station area, which with a layout that is 30ft x 14ft is clearly going to still be a work in progress for some time to come. The main components are however fully in place, just a bit of rendering to the orange washing powder carton at the end of the factory building required !
Photo: 006 A rather better view across the station area. The Garratt loco on the passenger train is one of several that are owned by Brian that were scratchbuilt in brass over 30 years ago by the late Mr E McBrine of Stoke on Trent and were shown in Continental Modeller Sep/Oct 1983 .
Photo: 007 A view of the spacious main station and townscene from the opposite direction,.looking towards the industrial area .
Photo: 008 The factory, which was seen with its orange end-wall in photo 005. Note the section and point switches along with the skeleton wiring diagram on the valances, which follow the layout throughout its length. There is no central operating position, but the layout can be operated by one person following a train throughout its journey through the extensive system .
Photo: 009 Looking along the left side of the layout across the townscene, taken from the area of the motive power depot .
Photo: 010 An NGG16 Garratt brings a train of standard gauge transporters through the industrial area and starts to cross the wooden viaduct over the river estuary .
Photo: 011 The 6 road traverser that adjoins the industrial area and is sited in the “workroom” part of the attic complex .
Photo: 012 Brian’s workbench and storage room in the attic. The traverser is behind the backscene on the left and the track can be seen running around the base of the benchtops and above the storage drawers to exit to the mountain scene part of the layout on the right .
Photo: 013 Brian’s main interest in the hobby is with scenic modelling, with a definite inclination towards rugged mountain scenery in an American style. This photo shows the entry to the mountain section from the workbench area on the left and continues along the side of the room. The scene shown here is around 12 feet long .
Photo: 014 This huge 2-.6-6-2 Mallet tender loco and train of Jim Hurley’s scratchbuilt coaches is dwarfed by the grandeur of the rocky mountainous landscape .
Photo: 015 Another view of the train as it works hard up the gradient following the river valley .
Photo: 016 Looking up the valley from the opposite direction and on the same side of the layout, there is a passing station with loop on the lower level and a coal mine on the upper .
Photo: 017 A PW Dept train passes a railcar set, built by Jim Hurley, on the upper level of the mountain section .
Photo: 018 There are many bridges and river gorges to be crossed. This one is the most spectacular, featuring 28” of scenic depth .
Photo: 019 Another railcar built by Jim Hurley crosses one of the other bridges on the high level line in the mountain section of the layout .
Photo: 020 Twin railcar set waits in the upper level passing loop .
Photo: 021 The opposite end of the room to the workbench area, with a glimpse of the motive power depot for orientation. This area contains the original part of the Imperial Western Railway, which survived the move from Brian’s previous home in Chandler’s Ford, were the railway was being built in the garage .
Photo: 022 Helicopter view of the curved brick viaduct at the top of the left hand board, as seen from the trackplan which follows .
Photo: 023 And here we are back to the very well stocked motive power depot, having completed a full circuit of this extremely extensive layout . I’ve counted 23 locomotives in this photo, but there may well be more !
Photo: 024 At last, the track plan (taken from 009 News December 2013), which will hopefully add some perspective to the tour around the system that we have just had .