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Description based on material supplied by the layout owner
Westonmouth Central is the third layout that the builder has set in the fictional city of Westonmouth. Situated on the Bristol Channel coast the city has a large modern dock complex to the north, and a popular holiday beach to the south. The loco stabling point for the area, Westonmouth Hillside, was the first layout in the sequence (and is now confined to home), Mortimore's Yard is a small set of exchange sidings serving what remains of the city's historic dock industries, whilst the project seen here represents a small part of the city's main passenger station.
The layout is set in the mid-1970s, when the distinctive Western Region hydraulics were in decline, and the newer class 50s were making the depot fitters lives a nightmare! Mark 1 coaches dominate the passenger rakes, whilst parcels trains still feature some preónationaIisation vehicles. Plain blue, suburban style D.M.U.s ply their trade on local services.
In the mid-1970s the railways still had a distinct regional atmosphere; it was very much the traditional railway, in this case the Great Western, but with diesels. The buildings of the station reflect that lack of change, although the new Power Signal Box is a rude intrusion on the scene and is a harbinger to things to come.
The layout was initially built as an entry for the 2007 Diesel & Electric Modellers United competition marking the 50th anniversary of Cyril Freezer's classic "Minories" track plan. The rules of the competition specifically "3 platform faces" have been interpreted to allow the representation of 3 platforms of a larger station, rather than a whole station, yet at the same time rather less than the maximum permitted space has been used. In this way the long platform at the front of the layout is actually a bay platform, and where the viewer stands the main through platforms would lie. The shorter middle "dock" platform comes into its own in the evening for the loading of mail and parcels traffic but during the day is more likely to be "home" for a large mainline locomotive waiting to take over an Inter-Regional train. Similarly the station pilot loco may be found there between duties or perhaps a defective coach that has been removed from a passing train (or, more likely, a disgraced class 50!).
As well as meeting the rules of the competition one aim of the layout is to act as a photographic background, where stock projects can be recorded in a natural setting. The opportunity was also taken to move to finer scale track (C&L) and a first attempt at building a turnout. The layout is controlled by Digital Command Control, using a Lenz Set 90, and Silver decoders.
Following the death of Cyril Freezer earlier this year the layout is presented as a tribute to his original Minories plan, and indeed his work for our hobby as a whole.
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