Phase 1 (2002-2012)
The first phase of Mauch Chunk construction started in 2002 and finished only in 2012. The basic structure was continuous run but with no central well – overall size 21ft x 5ft. This structure let us lay the trackwork at the front, build all the scenery and build the buildings from scratch. Most of the stock was also accumulated during this period.
Although this format was succesfully taken out twice to exhibition – in 2010 and 2011 – it severely limited the amount of stock that could be run by the number of staging yard roads – four each way. Further, the short switches in the yard and the tight curves on the ends restricted which stock would run – the double enders never had a chance! This led us to plan phase two in 2012.
Phase 2 (2013-2016)
With the opportunity to move the layout into a larger space, we started building new staging yard baseboards in early 2013. This gave us eight yard roads each way and much wider curves – overall size now 28ft x 9ft. We also took the opportunity to add DCC switch control using a computer interface. In turn this gave the space to convert the right hand board to a scenic board – adding a further 30 inches to the viewing area. The rather heavy lighting rig was also replace with an ‘aluminum ladder’ which worked surprisingly well.
Although this all worked well – once the niggles were taken out. The only exhibition outing booked was cancelled and the layout was superceded by an entirely amicable move away from the Merseyside MRS clubrooms to the Barrowmore Model Railway Groups clubrooms.
Phase 3 (2016-2019)
With the move to Barrowmore, the old fiddle yard had been left behind. We completely rebuilt the fiddle yard boards and laid a new track layout to a high standard. The two small front boards (18 inch and 30 inch) were replaced with two 24 inch boards and a new curve edged 4ftx4ft end board was added at the RH end – now also scenicked. The four inch gap behind the back scene was then incorporated into the scenery. The fiddle yard has five equal sized boards of 4ft by 34 inches. The overall size now 28ft x 12ft.
The baseboards – all except the two 24″ x 48″ pair – now fit into four trolleys and these make it relatively easy to transport them in a long-wheel based Luton van with a tail lift. After a short series of exhibitions – Chatham, Chiltern, Glasgow and Warley – The final exhibition for Mauch Chunk with Barrowmore was Warley at the end of 2019. Mauch Chunk won best visitors’ layout at Glagow and best non-British layout at Warley. Shortly after Warley the COVID pandemic put a stop to both exhibiting and modelling.
Phase 4 (2021- )
In August 2021 Mauch Chunk was transported to the East Riding of Yorkshire where I now live. After a brief period of storage it will be moved to a hobby room located in an old garage. This will not be large enough to erect the whole layout but several boards can be erected at a time for modelling and testing. Members of the East Riding Finescale Modellers (Hull) will be helping, mainly with improvements to the scenery and modelling details. Watch this space!
Steve August 2021