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Portpyn - Christopher Payne

Portpyn is a small port on the south coast of England served by the 2' gauge South Wessex Light Railway. The down line continues along the coast before eventually reaching a town, whilst up the line are inland villages and some mineral workings: timber is also being felled. This is reflected in the traffic pattern which also includes passenger and general goods. At Portpyn there is a small warehouse on the quayside, and facilities for the transfer of minerals to coastal shipping.

The aim in building the layout has been to produce something that incorporates movement and action in a style that is witty and amusing. Some modellers produce work that can be likened to fine art: the aspiration here, however, has been to communicate something of a social history and economic geography in the manner of a serious and well researched caricature.

Locomotive and rolling stock bodies are scratchbuilt in plasticard, on chassis that are for the most part standard Hornby products. These in conjunction with the Code 100 rail of the Peco 0-16.5 track, not to mention the tension lock couplings (albeit adapted for delayed action), result in a layout that cannot claim to be built to finescale standards.

If, however, finescale is an attitude of mind, then perhaps something has been achieved by the use of an unusual large scale. This has permitted the easy inclusion of detail from simple materials and components (many intended for 7mm scale, others coming from the military and maritime modelling disciplines in 1/32 and 1/35 scales), whilst at the same time rendering those standards that would be crude in a smaller scale less so at 9mm to the foot.

Whereas it is true that on 16.5mm track the models are a scale 2" under gauge for 2' 0" prototypes, this can be compared with modelling similar stock in 009 and 0-16.5 which are respectively a scale 3" and 4.5" over gauge.




Published by
Chris MacKenzie for the
Virtual Narrow Gauge Model Railway Exhibition
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