Welcome to the Merseyside MRS
‘OO’ Gauge GWR Steam layout
"A SOUTH WALES INDUSTRIAL
It’s the late 1930’s, and the South Wales coal mines
are starting to recover from the recession. Millions of tons of coal are
being mined every year from the South Wales Coalfield. Not only is it
being transported to all parts of the United Kingdom, but it is also
being exported abroad from the many docks in Cardiff and other Welsh
The iron and steelworks are again back in full
production, and require large quantities of iron ore, limestone, coal as
well as other commodities for continuous production. And all of this
traffic is carried by rail - and in South Wales that means predominantly
the Great Western Railway (GWR).
Cwmbach-yn-Triardd is a set in a fictitious location,
but is typical of the many industrialised valleys that existed in South
Wales in the 1930’s. Unusually Cwmbach is one of the few of the South
Wales valleys which offers a through route from the Cardiff docks
directly to the English Midlands and the North.
The heavy railway traffic through the valley and the
town of Cwmbach is made up of both local and long distance goods and
passenger services. As well as the GWR the long arm of the LNWR reached
into this part of South Wales and after the Grouping in 1923 the new
formed LMS railway company maintained the earlier opportunities of the
LNWR to exercise its running rights along the route.
So while the rolling stock and services are mainly GWR
a number of LMS services can also be seen passing through the town.
From the south of Cwmbach, and from the Cardiff Docks,
the northbound trains enter the Cwmbach Valley, passing over the major
stone built Cwmbach Viaduct which spans the valley, down through a
cutting and into the town of Cwmbach and its railway station. They
continue past the iron and steelworks and into a tunnel on their way
north towards England.
At the north end of the iron and steel works there is
a single line branch which disappears into a tunnel to serve a large
(but unseen) marshalling yard for the iron and steel works.
At the south end of the town, there is a branch line
from a small colliery in an adjacent valley which also joins the main
line south of Cwmbach Station.
Given the topography of the area, many of these local
railway lines vie for the limited space available for railway lines.
The layout originates from 1996 when the Club moved to
Brassey Street. It has developed over the past twelve years, and has
been designed to offer a constant view of moving trains on the main and
branch lines to interest the spectator. There is regular shunting moves
in the iron and steel works yard and in the small goods yard next to
Cwmbach station, where there is a busy three road engine shed.
The layout is DCC controlled using the Lenz system. To
help provide an intensive service of trains, a computer generated
programme has been put together to allow the layout to run for
approximately one hour without operator assistance. After the hour the
programme can be repeated.
More conventionally the layout can be controlled
without the computer using the Lenz hand-held controllers. A few DIN
plugs have been installed on the outside of the layout to enable
visitors to have a go at shunting and changing the points.
Since completion, the layout went
to several exhibitions - most recently the Merseyside exhibition in
2013. It has now been moved into the clubhouse annexe where several
areas are being reworked in between 'playing trains'!