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West Hoathly & Sharpthorne Tunnel     

NEW Club Member Layout (Suitable for one day shows)

British outline 00 - 1970s Preservation scene Bluebell Railway - continuous running & scheduled prototypical preserved trains

Photos: Tom Nicholls & Dave Smith

West Hoathly (Bluebell Module Layout)

Prototype – West Hoathly station is 731 yards from Sharpthorne Tunnel – the station was closed in 1956 with track lifting and demolition occuring with assistance from hired in Bluebell equipment! The station building remained until demolition in 1967 to clear the ground for a proposed housing development that didn’t appear. The Bluebell returned in 1992.

I have merged the timelines, set in the 70s, with the earlier Bluebell trains and equipment running through the station site but the station surviving in a derelict state and it even appears subject to a restoration attempt.

The model accurately depicts the track alignment as today – off-centre where the Bluebell have removed the second track.

   

Model Building – the tunnel is a scratchbuilt accurate representation of the LBSCR original created using the existing drawings from the Bluebell Archive service. The station utilises some of the prototypically accurate Bachmann building parts that match the original West Hoathly station – although the dereliction has progressed!

Construction concept – built largely as a demonstration line for the ‘Bluebell’ stock items that have come on to the market; I have some 100 items of Bluebell specific motivepower and rollingstock including visitors!

   

The model was built to reflect the ‘toy layout’ method – that means although it has substantial construction it as the simplicity of a wireless track layout plan and runs with one loco running at a time to serve as an inspiration to other modellers who might be challenged by wiring and soldering etc.

  

To do list – the layout is largely complete but there is scenic fine detailing and facia painting to be complete in by mid April. It will be in its exhibition form in a couple of weeks with curtains and lighting fitted. It will also have display boards to clarify the details of the site and location and history of the prototype!

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