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Abbotstone is a new 7mm fine-scale club layout that has been built over the last few years. 

The layout is modelled on ‘Midland’ practice but being a club layout we run a variety of steam outline stock owned by the members. 

Abbotstone, in its exhibition mode, measures 10m by .75m (except for the MPD which is added at exhibitions). The layout is run in 
two separate halves, split between the main line and the branch line. From time to time, vehicles are exchanged between the two halves and this adds interest to the operation (and confusion to the operators!).

The layout therefore requires two ‘signalmen’ and two drivers with two fiddle yard operators. Add to this the two yards that also 
have controllers, club running nights are busy affairs and keep many members employed during the session. The MPD is a recent 
addition and allows us to use tender engines on the main line trains if required. Light engine movements to and from the MPD are frequent where locomotives are turned and supplied as required. 

In the clubroom, the exit to the MPD shown in the plan passes through a wall and via a junction joins the main layout. This is circular with two tracks and features a through station with passing loops. The station is called “Itchen Bottom”. The names came from a 
combination of the previous site of the clubroom at ‘Owslebury Bottom’ and the river Itchen that flows through Winchester. Any 
other thoughts as to where the name came from are yours and not ours! 

The junction mentioned above is “Canal Junction”, named because baseboards containing a canal were amended to allow this junction to be built. 

This arrangement of layout allows very varied running with us usually operating Itchen Bottom as a terminus and trains returning to Abbotstone via Canal Junction. Canal Junction also has the MPD serving both stations when used in the clubroom. 

As mentioned we split the layout lengthways for operation purposes, dividing the layout into ‘Main’ and ‘Branch’. 

One team runs the main line and has 4 fiddle yard roads joined by points. A cassette at the end allows for locomotive turning when necessary. A fifth train is always on the layout to provide public interest. 

The other team operates the Branch and this has arrival and departure roads in the fiddle yard with 3 other roads fed by a traverser. There is no need to turn stock on the branch as only tank engines are used. The branch has a ‘private siding’ that serves a “coffin makers business”. This means regular exchange of wagons within the sequence to provide timber in open wagons and take away the finished coffins in vans. 

The layout has had several very successful exhibition visits where we have often drawn a large crowd. Members of the public often comment about the operation of the layout, because with up to 8 operators required at any one time Abbotstone is always a very busy station and there is always something going on. 

Due to the size of the layout and the effort required in transporting it Abbotstone will only go out to 1 or 2 exhibitions a year. Exhibition managers - if you are interested in having Abbotstone appear at an exhibition then please contact John Shaw, details on our contact page.

Note: 2019 - Abbotstone temporarily removed from exhibitions pending mid-life refresh.


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