In with conductor rail.


Two Bachmann 4-Cep units in blue/grey representing the earliest running period of the Top Deck layout or Folkestone East run test trains to check conductor rail clearances. This corner of my EM gauge Top Deck layout was always going to be challenging to finish, with the exit into the fiddleyards located just behind the trees. Conductor rail has recently been installed and the removable scenery section hiding the ‘Dover’ fiddleyard’ is finished at last and dropped in place.


Looking at the layout end at a different angle and the exit is just visible. A Class 47/7 passes with the empty South East TPO stock bound for Dover.

Conductor rail pots are lost wax brass castings by C&L Finescale and the code 70 flat bottom rail turned upside-down before soldering to the pots to gain the flattened top profile of conductor rail. Whilst this part of the layout is nearing completion, some small details remain to be added including steps at the end of the staff halt platform, some conductor rail detail such as power cables and a couple of line side cabinets. Ballast weathering will wait until all the track is finished. It will be dirtied up in one go for consistency of finish and colour.

This awkward corner has needed a great deal of attention, gobbled up a lot of time (amazing for what was first conceived as a scenic test track) and I hope it has been successful. It seems to photograph better than I expected! In the other direction sits all the debris of layout building!


There’s a great deal of work to do in the Dover direction. I am starting work on Folkestone East signal box next followed by installation of the portal for Martello Tunnel (seen in the background); completing back scene painting and making yet more trees and bushes! Once the mainline track is ballasted, laying of the three turn back roads to the front (right of the Class 37) of the layout will commence. They will provide access to the harbour branch and three berthing sidings. I figured that completing the rear of the scene before laying, wiring and testing more track would avoid damage anything to the front of the layout. So, it’s back to work!

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