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Anthony Ashley Page



Anthony Ashley is in the process of building a large N gauge model railway layout covering the areas of Bangor, Penmaenmawr and Conwy.

Similar to Chris Evans' layout of Llandudno Junction, with a shortened branch to Llandudno, housed in a bedroom
of his home, Anthony has built a large shed
which is to house his layout of the North Wales coast main line from Bangor to Conwy.

Anthony is in the Australian army at present but plans to retire between 2015 - 2018 and the
layout is to become his retirement dream.

This page will show the progress of the layout with regular updates and hopefully eventually a working model railway layout
of a large section of our main line which will complement Chris Evans' layout of 6G.

Anthony gave a detailed background for his reasons to choose our area for his model layout, on the NEWSPAGE ( November 17th 2012) and
I have used his text from there (below) to introduce this page along with several photos of the shed, that will house the layout, and the
progress  of the project up to date.


Anthony's email address is anthonyashley@tpg.com.au and he asks for readers to get in touch with any comments or encouragement.

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COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY GEOFF POOLE
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As a child of about 8 years I had a fairly eccentric great uncle. He owned many Hornby items from the mid 60s and earlier in O gauge.
He had a room in which these treasures were stored on shelves at least 2.5 metres wide and extending to the ceiling.
At the age when I was talking and visiting him he was in his 70s and no longer able to climb on a ladder to access his marvellous collection of models.
I was given a privilege of climbing around the room, pull-out a model, show my uncle only to be told that he had not seen that model for at least 30 years.
This provided many afternoons of entertainment for both myself and my uncle.
We were both equally delighted with the models. One of his models was the Flying Scotsman, which I thought was a great model.

I am now 53 years of age and have been in the Australian Army for nearly 30 years. I have moved around Australia for most of these
30 years. We have finally moved into the last house my family will occupy, as I shall retire in the next 2-5 years.
Hence I was able to build the shed which allows me to build the 36’X16’ layout. I have been interested in railways since my childhood as explained above.

I originally intended to model Peterborough, including both the LNER and LMS part of the station and lines.
When I attempted to do the track plan for it there were real problems in modelling the approaches to the station, the track layout
was absolutely huge and the surrounding county was relatively flat and boring.

I spent an afternoon with a friend of mine in Brisbane looking for a Mainline that included a couple of smaller stations, ran an expansive
number of passenger and freight operations and included a large station capable of being modelled, while providing
a challenging freight environment for shunting operations and fantastic scenery.

We looked through a number of books on stations pre Nationalisation. I found Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Bangor
in the book Chester to Holyhead Railway by V.R. Anderson and G.K. Fox.
The stations are attractive as Conwy has the fantastic castle and medieval town wall to model, is on a river, has 3
fantastic bridges, a small freight shunting area and a few hills.

Penmaenmawr is on the sea, is a picturesque holiday town, has a fantastic mountain right next to it which includes
a marvellous rail and road viaduct between the ocean and mountain.
I am also going to slightly distort reality and operate the light rail facility which moved the granite for the mountain to the main line rail service.
I understand that this closed some years earlier but will take some licence, as it will give me the opportunity to model a Welsh quarry light railway.

Bangor is a great station to model given its position in a valley with tunnels at either end.
It is quite large And from my reading was a hub for rail freight traffic in the area in the early 60s, allowing a great variety
in the types of goods subject to movement to and through the station.
Given it was a primary station on the route to Ireland, this would also provide varied freight requirements.

I have been modelling Napoleonic miniatures for the last 35 years. I have a collection of 3,500 hand painted 15 mm figures
which I have put a lot of detail into.

The challenge of producing a model railway layout of a specific location for a specific period is
challenging, given the amount of research required to accurately model the stations.

I have been told by numerous modellers that I have no hope of completing this task, but I have always been determined and
am expecting to spend 15 to 20 years in completing the whole layout.

I shall divide the venture into 3 to make the task more manageable and resist burn out.

I believe constructing base boards of sufficient quality for a layout the whole layout would see me conducting this task
for many months with no variety and little satisfaction that I had really moved forward.
Accordingly I shall begin with Conwy to the stage of building the base bards, laying track, ballasting
and completing at least a fair proportion of the scenery. Once completed I shall move onto Penmaenmawr.

My Army career has taught the value of properly planning.
I have been planning now for 9 months and will need to continue this process.
No plan remains totally static and should be subject to amendment.
Realistically my completion date for the whole layout is 15 to 20 years, but Conwy and then Penmaenmawr are a much closer objective.

I am recruiting local railway enthusiast to assist in my layout.

 I am not Welsh but decided on a layout in the UK due to the great Flying Scotsman model I saw about 45 years ago.

The great thing is that as a result of seeing the 6G website and Charlie Hulme's (North Wales Coast Railway)  website I realized that both
the Flying Scotsman and A1 Pacific, Blue Peter
visited the North Wales Coast main line in 1966. My great Uncle would be very
impressed if he were alive today.

This means that I can legitimately have both of these LNER locos running a holiday excursion train on my layout while retaining a sense of reality.

I also plan on having some conserved LMS maroon engines as well!

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Anthony's up to date blog on the RMweb can be viewed here.



EXPLANATION OF THE LAYOUT


The layout as depicted in the exhibited plan Is called the Welsh Dragon in honour of the train which ran from Rhyl to Llandudno in the 50s and 60s.

I appreciate it did not run on, past Llandudno, but have used some poetic license.
I hope no one in Wales is offended by my use of this term.

  

The layout is dual level N Gauge and is based on the North Wales coast during the approximate period 1960 to 1970.
It measures 35 feet by 16 feet. The top level is scenic and the bottom contains a loop and two storage turntables.
Starting at the top and circling in an anti clockwise direction,  the layout will cover the geographic
locations of Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Bangor.

 

There is an operational purpose to the two hidden turntables.
The trains leaving from Conwy will disappear into the first tunnel conduct a hidden loop of the layout and emerge
from the same tunnel into Penmaenmawr.
This should take approximately the correct time as the travelling time on the prototype.

The train will then go past the Pen-y-clip viaduct, entering the tunnel at the bottom right of the layout, and then appearing at Bangor.
Once through Bangor the trains go into the other tunnel transition area and disappear into the hidden track
and onto the turntable on the left side of the layout.

Trains departing from Bangor will go in the opposite direction and finish on the turntable at the bottom of the layout.
These will be the morning runs.

For the afternoon the turntables can be spun around and the trains follow the same route in reverse but obviously
heading forwards due to the turntable rotation.
This way no train will need to travel direct from Conwy to Bangor or vice-versa.


The layout planning has taken approximately 10 months and many alterations to achieve what I hope is a high level of accuracy.
The track plans have been copied from the book Chester to Holyhead Railway by V.R. Anderson and G.K. Fox.
In addition I have used a number of 1966 OS maps of the three locations to ensure the track plans are accurate as of 1966.

The stations provide a great opportunity for modelling, each with their own separate attractions.

Conwy has the fantastic castle and medieval town wall to model, is on a river, has 3 large bridges, a small
freight shunting area and a few hills.

Penmaenmawr is on the sea, is a picturesque holiday town, has a fantastic mountain adjacent, which includes a
marvellous rail and road viaduct between the ocean and mountain.
I am also going to slightly distort reality and operate the light rail facility which moved the granite from the
mountain to the main line rail service up to the late 1940s.
I understand that this closed some years earlier but will take some licence, as it will give
me the opportunity to model a Welsh quarry light railway.

Bangor is a great station to model given its position in a valley with tunnels at either end. It is quite large and
from my reading was a hub for rail freight traffic in the area in the early 60s, allowing a great variety
in the types of goods subject to movement to and through the station.
Given it was a primary station on the route to Ireland, this would also provide varied freight requirements.

The difficulty of producing a model railway layout of a specific location over a specific period is challenging, given
the amount of research required to accurately model the stations and towns.

I have spent 100's of hours on the internet researching the layout and have many photos of the towns.

For instance I have emailed Oxford University and the Woodland Trust to determine major vegetation
and tree types in the area being modelled.

It is likely I will seek assistance as specific issues arise in terms of modelling specific locations.
Obviously travelling from Australia to Wales is unlikely in the near future to conduct on the spot research.

It is my intention to create the layout in sections, starting with the simplest station, Conwy, and working my way
around the layout in an anti-clockwise direction. This will also spread the expenditure over a longer period.
I therefore plan to have the track and at least some scenery complete for Conwy prior to
commencing the Penmaenmawr base boards.

You may have noticed an Aircraft Museum is located next to Penmaenmawr.
I appreciate that there is no such museum, but have decided to include one to model my extensive collection of
1:144 scale model planes from WW I and II.

The plan is fairly self explanatory. Tunnels are marked with a grey square.
The unfilled grey shapes are building allotments.

I have “walked the streets” of Conwy and Penmaenmawr via Google Street view to determine the building
frontages to allow an accurate model of each house of business.
I believe that many have been in location since the 60s. The 1966 OS maps have allowed me to cull some
of the more recent buildings.


I have had tremendous assistance even at this early stage of designing and commencing to build the layout.

Mervyn Jones has provided invaluable information on Penmaenmawr and many historical photos of various aspects of the town.

Geoff Poole as the editor of this web site has tracked down some very useful information and assisted with a number of questions.

Similarly Charlie Hulme of (North Wales Coast Railway) website has provided similar and helpful information in regard to Bangor.

John Roberts and David Jones  have continued to answer a number of questions regarding Bangor and their help
has been greatly appreciated.

My wife, Sarah, and mother-in-law, Jenny, are creating a fantastic back scene from the base of the layout to the ceiling.
I recommend the photos of their work, as it will set up the layout once I have started creating the scenery.

Two local experienced N Gauge modellers have provided invaluable advice to start my railway endeavour.
I would like to thank Greg Goodchild and Kevin Knight for sharing their great knowledge to do with all things British Railways.
Greg provided the inspiration and material for the location, and has continued to assist in the project.

  Each one of the persons above have assisted on some way or another and have been instrumental in being a part of what I hope
will be a miniature part of Wales in Brisbane Australia.

I have completed the frame work for the 3 Conwy base boards and am now placing the horizontal surfaces on those boards.
After the completion of this task I shall commence laying the track for Conwy, which I have previously purchased.

I look forward to providing future abbreviated updates.

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The two plans below show first the top scenic level and then the hidden lower level containing the loop and
the two storage turntables as explained above.


Scenic level (full layout)











Hidden lower level (full layout)

 

                                                                                                                                                         





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The two plans below show the scenic level in two halves to give greater detail.



Conwy - Penmaenmawr section. (larger scale)


 
    



Bangor section (larger scale)


  
      


  
   

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PROGRESS REPORT : NOVEMBER 21st 2012.

The two photos below show the shed that will house the layout.








PROGRESS REPORT : JANUARY 15th 2013.

Anthony tells me that he has finished weather proofing, insulating and priming the shed.
He has begun construction of the base boards for Conwy and he has sent in the photo shown below to show the progress.
Luckily Anthony's family are behind his project as he tells me that his wife and mother in law are preparing to paint the
shed walls with a sea and sky back scene. It will fill the wall and be 8 feet high.







PROGRESS REPORT : MARCH 7th 2013.

 
Three photos of the developing back scene painted by my mother in law and wife Sarah with the odd finishing touch from me.






                                                        





PROGRESS REPORT : MARCH 18th 2013.

Sarah and her mum have done some very good work on the walls of the layout.

The landscape is that looking from the castle wall over the town of Conwy.

My artists will place a wall in front of the hill and mountain with a few houses in the foreground.

















PROGRESS REPORT : APRIL 28th 2013.

My family have continued their efforts in painting a dramatic and colourful back scene, courtesy of the Welsh countryside and seascape.

 I am now adding the support for the sea walls and horizontal surfaces.


The photos displayed below show back scene work, the hidden track area and an overview of the baseboards.



The first photo shows the first draft of the town wall at the rear of Conwy with the hill to the right in the background.
 More work is to follow on the wall and buildings.







 More background over the river Conwy with construction of the base boards highlighted in the fore ground.








 Supports for hidden track with a maximum gradient both up and down of 1:100 running around of the outside of the layout.
 The final support on the far end of the layout was only 2 mm high at the low end and difficult to cut with a circular saw.
 Supports are yet to be attached and the horizontal surface needs to be added.










Background showing the far bank of the river Conwy.
 First effort of a rainbow has been added but will be deleted for a more realistic effect.









Storm clouds are gathering near Conwy.







Wide shot of the Conwy end of the layout.









PROGRESS REPORT : MAY 2013.

Below are a few more photos showing how the layout is progressing.

 Highlights include completing the creek line to the south of Conwy.

 Completing the flood plain just North of the creek line. Laying the horizontal support for the main line and goods area in Conwy.

 Completing two horizontal surfaces for the Conwy town area. Only three more to go.
 I have also bought two L shaped 3ml aluminium beams to clad for the tubular bridge.
They are featured in a couple of the photos.

The photo with the yellow bar is a laser. I used this to shoot a laser light 3 ml over the ply formers on which the mainline is resting.
 This enabled me to check the height above ground level.  The 5 supports are all meant at be at the same height.
 They were all within 1 ml of each other and within my tolerances for error.

Once I have finished the rest of the Conwy base boards I can start marking out the track and the town area of Conwy.

 Any feed back from readers would be appreciated.

  I hope these regular updates will generate comments as they may provide useful information which could
help me with the progress of the layout as well as giving me some encouragement.


Any reader comments can be sent to the website through the email link on the HOMEPAGE which
will then be published on Anthony's page.



Hidden track area around the top of the layout with a 1:100 gradient










Overview of the back scene with the sea area laid and the headland leading to Conwy nearly completed.










Long shot of the Conwy section once it has been primed











More work on the back scene in the area of the hill behind Conwy









Sky and sea for the Penmaenmawr and Pen-y-clip viaduct section









Hurray! Support for the Conwy rail area including the mainline and goods yards









Royal Scot and the first coach of the Welshman rake just about to finish crossing the tubular bridge.
 The supports are 3 ml aluminium L shape. This should provide sufficient support for the trains.










The yellow bar is a laser. I used this to shoot a laser light 3 ml over the ply formers on which the mainline is resting.
 This enabled me to check the height above ground level.
 The 5 supports are all meant at be at the same height. They were all within 1 ml of each other and within my tolerances for error.










Britannia and back scene showing the medieval town wall
.









The Welshman passing the Conwy town support boards where the Castle will sit and the first town board next to it.











View from the other side.













  UPDATE - MARCH 3rd 2014.



 Creek line at Conwy under development





 The “Welshman” with most Conwy horizontal panels completed






 Conwy town wall under construction





 Hidden track around the top of the layout






 Example of wiring for all track which goes through a terminal strip with each track name recorded according to the wiring diagram




Conwy sea walls taking shape





 Lever frame I built for manual point ops, but only in the goods yards. Main line and the first area into each goods yard will be computerised
to allow automatic ops from the fiddle yards to the goods areas and then manual ops






 Conwy Castle South East tower and wall, nearly completed. A few more details to add





Castle tower and wall in place – 7 more towers and walls to go





 Wider shot of castle tower and wall




 Castle tower







Progress shot showing Robert Stephenson's railway tunnel portal and the three small East Barbican towers with the
Chapel tower on the right and the Kings Tower behind the portal.





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UPDATE - OCTOBER 2014



I have had a very busy few months but managed to progress the layout, concentrating on the Bangor section. Four photos are shown below.

 

Photo (1) - Over view of the front of the layout which will feature the station of Bangor.
 The raised vertical sections are the hills around Bangor. I have built 30 feet of the 35 feet in base boards required for the front of the layout.
 I am still laying the scenic track for Bangor and have much wiring to complete.
 I have also laid the hidden track which sweeps around Bangor. Most of the supports for the hidden loop are also completed.





 

Photo (2) - A very complicated section of the track work to the top of the Bangor section. This is the most complicated track work required for the layout.





Photo (3) -  showing most of the length of the Bangor station. The cardboard marks the position of the platforms. I have inserted a single decker bus and a metre ruler next to the platforms to give a sense of scale.




 

Photo (4) - part of the Bangor track work

 




UPDATE - APRIL 29th 2015

Seven more photographs are shown below showing further progress with the mammoth project.



1 Royal Garden area of Conwy castle






2 Passenger and goods rakes passing  each other in front of Conwy castle




3 Development in Conwy





4 Completed Conwy tubular bridge





5 Me under the lift up section which took over 30 hours to build. We finally got it to fit!!






6 Counter weight system for the lifting section has a counter balance on each corner of the section





7 Photo below shows all base boards built to date. Nearly completed 3 sides.




UPDATE : JUNE 22nd 2016.


I have spent, since Jan 2015, living in Sydney with only occasional trips home.

 Of necessity this has severely limited my progress, but some has been made over the period.
 In terms of acquiring some of the items required to operate the layout for a time table in 1960 I have in bought 6 of the seven boosters required to
 power the layout with e controller and boosters.

 The 220 coaches have all been acquired from a variety of sources, but all are now secured. These are significant steps in terms of financial outlay.



The ten photographs below show most of the progress to date.


  The rod system used to support the hidden track on the left side of the layout




  The “Holyhead 34 track yard showing the width of the yard under the layout. I need another 68 rail lengths to finish it!





  Hidden loop on the top left of the layout.





  View under the layout from the same loop.





  Same loop under construction with track being laid.





  View up the layout with lengths of track work on the left, yard in the fore ground and loop at the top.






  Loop at the bottom left of the layout showing cork laid prior to painting.




  Cassettes designed to hold 8 coaches made from plasticard.




    Some of the 220 coaches now purchased.





  Track supports proving the link to the other yard on the right of the layout.



TO BE CONTINUED.


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