Narrow Gauge North


Paradise Mining

A 1:25 scale layout by Christopher Payne
Scale 1:25
Gauge 16.5mm (representing 18” gauge)
Size 8’6” x 2’

Following the success of my previous 1:25 scale layout on 16.5mm track (''SuttonWharf''), I have now addressed the theme of a minimum gauge mineral railroad somewhere in the south-west of the USA as it would have appeared around the year 1930. The resulting imaginary 18'' gauge line is very loosely inspired (''justified'') by the 20'' (so called ''baby gauge'') Coronado copper mining railroad that once existed in Arizona. The layout is another exercise in large scale minimum gauge modelling in a small space.

The stressed ply monocoque baseboard deliberately provides the opportunity for scenic and structure (bridge and trestle) modelling below as well as above the level of the railroad. Track is Peco and Fleischmann (the 10'' radius curve on the bridge deck). The two Porter locos (No 6 is the ''signature locomotive” for the project), vertical boiler loco No 9, and stock are scratch built in styrene and timber on Hornby chassis. The articulated steam loco (No 12) has an Athearn chassis. Extensive use has been made of distressed balsa wood for the modelling of structures.

The intent is to portray the activity at a reversing point in a mountainous setting, and in so doing it is hoped that the use of two locomotives for switching manoeuvres will be seen as appropriate rather than contrived. Within the scene is an ore loading bin, and another is imagined to be higher up the line. Gradients are presumed to be severe and therefore all trains are short (a maximum of three bogie cars) with the locomotive at the rear facing uphill in order to keep the firebox crown covered with water.

It being firmly believed that good design is essential for all aspects of a successful exhibition layout, particular attention has been paid to the arrangement, function, and ergonomics of the fiddle yard. This has been constructed on two levels, the lower yard includes a traverser, and with an ore car tippler so that operation is as much as possible ''hands off''.

Relevant published articles.

1 Porter 0-4-0ST no 6 Continental Modeller Aug 2005
2 Freelance ore cars Continental Modeller Aug 2007
3 Paradise lost – and regained Continental Modeller Jul 2008
4 Photo tour Continental Modeller Nov 2008
5 Operation for Performance Continental Modeller Feb 2009