Oak Hill

See Oak Hill on RMWeb Download the Trackplan See Oak Hill in issue 5 of the LB&SCR Modellers Digest

Oak Hill Map

Oak Hill is a fictional town in Kent, sitting at the end of a branch line owned by the LB&SCR, but with SE&CR running rights. THe layout is set around 1905, and is my primary home layout.

The layout started life as a 1930's GWR Branch Line Terminus layout called "Bedruthan Steps" built and owned by Falmouth MRC in the mid-1990's, it saw some use as an exhibition layout before being retired in 1999, it was sold to a club member and saw some degree of rebuilding, with the layout being turned into a through station amoungst other changes, it was put into storage in the then owners damp garage in 2003, where it stayed until 2015! It was taken by the owners son to his house in East Sussex, where he planned on having it as a home layout, however it was too big, and so advertised as "Free to Collector" it did not take long for the layout to come into my ownership.

Oak Hill on pick-up day

Once the layout was mine, I knew I needed to change it, as I have no interest in modelling the GWR. My previous layout had been completely fictional, based nowhere, with a made up company, and I felt that, with this one, it would be nice to try to model something more realistic. As I have always had a strong interest in local history, there was only really one option for the company to model, therefore I decided that I would use it as the basis for an LB&SCR layout.

Layout rebuilding

TRACKWORK

The track work on the layout is Peco code 100 and all the point work is insulfrog. This is not what I would use if I were to make a layout from scratch, however, I was not willing to rip up all the track and start again with what was basically a ready running layout. I have made very few alterations to the track, with only a couple of sidings extended and a section of the fiddle yard removed and made scenic.

The layout has been converted to DCC control and was fully re-wired when I got it, with droppers on every piece of track. I find with DCC that using the fishplates to conduct electricity can cause issues down the line as they start to degrade.

The points all have H&M motors, which came with the layout and, with a bit of oiling, all still work! These have been wired up with a Gaugemaster CDU, and are operated via a stud and probe control panel.

Oak Hill Control Panel

BUILDINGS

Where possible I have used commercially available kits for the buildings. This includes a Wills engine shed and Wills goods store. Other buildings have been scratch built to keep costs down. These include the station building (based on Hellingly), the stable (a smaller version of the one at Groombridge), the water tower (based on Heathfield), and the coaling stage; this is a freelance design and utilises a Hornby Dublo water crane with small modification to make it look more like a Brighton water crane.

Some building examples

The layout is due to get a bit of an overhaul in the near future utilising techniques I have learnt thoughout my time working on it, this will include redoing all the ballast, scale point rodding, and other details to make it more realistic.

Overall Shots of the layout as it is now