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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:11 PM
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Default 5th Kirkbean Playmobil Exhibition, July 2014

Mad Nick asked me to post some photos of my train layout at the 2014 Kirkbean Annual Playmobil Exhibition, so here goes. Mine was only one of a number of displays and I'll post photos of the other displays shortly. I've been taking a display to Kirkbean since 2011, so this is my fourth one so far, with the 2015 one being designed.

In previous years (2011-2013) I've gone for what is basically an oval style of layout (although in 2011 it had quite a bit of curving around in it and in 2012 it was more of a square with rounded corners). This year I tried something different - a figure-of-eight approach.

I used a figure-of-eight layout (or, more exactly, two ovals joined with a crossover rather than a pure figure-of-eight) because of what I had read in an LGB booklet that the figure-of-eight layout was loved by children of all ages because it has continuous visual movement with the train snaking its way round the track. Certainly, I noticed a number of people spending time watching the trains go round from different angles - children and adults - some even moving their head in a figure-of-eight as they followed the train!

So to start with, some overall views showing the shape of the layout. If you click on the photos, you can see a larger version on photobucket.

First an end on view from above. This actually distorts the layout because both oval sections are the same size.



A view now showing the town end of the layout:



And the town end again from a different angle:



Now two views of the country end:






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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:12 PM
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On a hot summer's day in the town when the town square gets too noisy from the children playing:



what can be better than to go to the cafe:



for a refreshing drink or ice cream:



and to meet up for romance:

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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:14 PM
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For others, though, it's a working day with bread to deliver to the cafe:



shopping to drop off at home:



painting to be done outside:



and milk to deliver:



and grass to cut:

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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:16 PM
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We'll have a look at the main station now; if you want to see larger versions of the pictures, just click on them.

This is a custom building but the idea of using the cargo beams this way is not my own as a member of klickywelt showed the idea first.

It took a lot of planning and experimenting at home on the dining room table to get it to work as the track had to have odd kinks in it to give enough clearance for the goods vans. (That catch on the brown goods van's sliding door is a real nuisance for catching on things!) Having got the design finalised at home, when I set the track out at Kirkbean I found the station was too long(!), so I had to shorten it by one platform's length and then had to run lots of tests again to get it positioned exactly right for trains to clear it properly.

Here's an aerial view of the station. Originally, I intended to glaze the roof area with plastic, but in the end I didn't have time to do this. The nearer side is used for passenger traffic and the far side for goods. For passengers, there is car parking to the left (watch out for the parking warden!) and there is access by steps and ramps.



I warned you about the parking warden!



Here's a shot of the platforms with a train obviously expected soon:



Before it arrives, however, a non-stopping express goes through on the other line:



Here's a close-up of the main entrance showing the glass panelling put in when the station was refurbished in 1977. Previously, the walls had all been sold with just small windows at the top, as on the goods side. Replacing the solid walls with glass has made the station much lighter and more attractive for passengers. The posters opposite the platform are actual railway posters from before the war scanned from this year's National Railway Museum diary.




Cyclists are catered for in the parking arrangements, and there are no parking wardens for them to worry about! Here's a commuter arriving for his morning train to work.



There are passengers arriving at the end of their train journey too:

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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:19 PM
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Now, the goods/freight side of the main station.

To start with a general view of this side of the station. There's been a drop-off by a stopping goods train recently and the goods are being loaded onto a lorry for delivery to their final destination. Meanwhile, there are some empty crates waiting to be picked for return to their starting point, and a couple of packing cases awaiting collection. The goods storage shed is to the left and some, hopefully, empty chemical drums are being put into store. ("Hopefully" because they have no closures on them!) The little orange truck is one of about four I have as they are so useful (pity they only come in orange) because of their small size. Maybe I'd better start thinking about painting one or two of them, or maybe making a canvas cover to vary the shape a bit.



Here's another view which shows the goods warehouse better and the engine shed in the background:



On the other side of the layout is an area which allows locos to drop off one train and pick up another or carry out shunting. A loco can also bring a train in, uncouple and then run round it to couple up at the back so as to run in reverse. This section of track can be isolated from the main layout so locos not being used can be "parked" there. I did take a spare controller so that I could operate trains on the main layout and do some shunting in this area. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any cables for connecting the controller to the tracks! :-[ :-[ :-[

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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:21 PM
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A look at the country now.

First, things are not going well at the stables where a fire has broken out, although the fire brigade are quickly on the scene:



The turntable ladder has been quickly brought into use, together with a hose jet on the ground. A fireman is unloading another length of hose so that a second hose jet can be set up at ground level:



Your daring photographer gets in close to show the fireman on the turntable ladder at work:



Round the other side of the stables, firefighters are rescuing the horses inside the stables:



Another aerial view, with the stable owner saving his tractor and two horses already rescued on the left being led away by a stablehand:

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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:22 PM
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A day out in the country is no problem for the townsfolk as there is a regular train service to the local station for the country park:



In the country park, there is gentle enjoyment for cyclists:



for rock climbers:



for those who just want to sit and enjoy an ice cream:



and wild animal spotters:



But it's not much fun when your boat blows over in the middle of the pond!

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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:23 PM
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The little boy with the boat isn't the only one not having much fun! There's a problem here:



This couple haven't got off to a good start in their married life. HE wanted to set off for the honeymoon in an old car!



And now SHE'S asking, "Now then Mr. 'Must have an old car', how do I fit in this in my wedding dress?"



Here there's a different problem.



Someone wasn't watching their speed!



"Was I really going that fast, Officer?"

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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:25 PM
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Back to more fun things now.

The country park is famed for its rock climbing:



Though you've got to have a good head for heights!



But this family want to keep their feet on the ground and just add a nice photo to the family album:



And for those who concerned about getting lost, the National Search and Rescue Dog Association have a team out today advertising the work of search and rescue dogs. (You can find more about them here: http://www.nsarda.co.uk/)



Well, that's it for the train layout. You can see some of the other displays in the background and I'll post some photos of them as soon as I can.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 11:28 PM
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Thank you Gordon. It's a wonderful display....I loveee it.

Mad Nick
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