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Planning is now well advanced for a new exhibition layout based on an 800m section of track centred on Chippenham station. The current plan is to make the layout interchangeable between the 1930’s (GWR) and early 1950’s (Early BR). During these periods, the area possessed a large number of sidings for wagon storage and also access tracks to a large loco shed (see Photograph No 1), an even larger goods shed (see Photograph No 2), the Royal Wiltshire Bacon Curing Company’s factory and the Westinghouse Brake and Signals works. A classic Bath stone GWR station building serviced two very long platforms connected by two footbridges, one enclosed. Additional infrastructure that will be modelled includes two signal boxes, a smaller loco shed, a coal yard and most importantly Brunel’s office building (see Photograph No 3) which still survives today in front of the station buildings. This was his base during the construction of the Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington line in the 1860’s. Unfortunately the accompanying work sheds have long since been demolished. A large structure, which will be modelled at a later date, is a 92m long viaduct under which the main access roads to Chippenham (see Photograph No 4) pass.

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The layout will be N gauge in order to incorporate all of the above infrastructure and will consist of five 4’ x 3’ MDF baseboards. Loco control will be DCC. A second site visit has been made by club members in order to obtain old plans from the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, old photographs from the Chippenham Museum, measurements of platforms and buildings and finally to take numerous photographs to ensure accuracy of architectural details on the models. Design will continue through the winter and construction should be able to commence at the club during early Spring 2018. Two baseboards will, however, be made prior to this in order to finalise track layout design in advance. The intention is to get these boards in an advanced stage of completion as soon as possible so that they can be taken to local model railway shows as ‘work in progress’ displays.

It is anticipated that the full layout with rotating fiddle yards will take several years to complete. The club therefore is keen to attract any new members who have an interest in this gauge and wish to develop their skills further.