East Sussex Finescale

Redhill 1938

Structures for a layout in 4mm



Building Redhill in 4mm takes time and room. However, East Sussex Finescale member Ian Sneyd is well on the way towards completion of his P4 layout and with most of the track built and laid attention is now turning towards the detailing work.


Redhill Shed Water Columns



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These are the three water columns at Redhill shed as Ian believes they were in the late 1930s.


This column was scratch built, mainly from many different sizes of brass and styrene tube and rod.

Although this looks very similar to the column below they are in fact different in almost every detail (including the posts); this being tapered and made out of the end of a paintbrush.


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This column was scratch built, mainly from many different sizes of brass and styrene tube and rod.


On the prototypes the handwheels were somewhat larger but those used were the largest Ian could find. It must have been dangerous climbing up there and these two were replaced after the war with standard SR designs.


On each model the hose is made from heat-shrink tube.


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This column is a standard LSWR crane made from a Mike's Models kit.

A similar crane situated on the Dover Loop may well have survived till the end of steam. Site constraints on the model mean this will probably have to be an LSWR-type.


Redhill Shed Coaling Stage

In the later 1920's the Southern made a number of alterations to the busy shed at Redhill. One was the provision of a high level coal stage whereby coal could be transferred from the wagon into tubs and then tipped into tenders next to the stage.

In 1938 the stage was only 10 or so years old and had not yet reached the rusting and dilapidated state shown in photos from the 1960s.

The photos show the model which will be installed on the layout. It looks a little out of place without the embankment on which it's perched. Currently there is a base joining both sides but on site this will be removed and the stage placed over the track bed which will then be raised to the right level and the embankment built round it.

The track through it has two complications. The track layout has had to be compressed to fit everything into the space available and thus the gradient has to be much steeper than the prototype. This in itself is not a problem and trials show that even 1 in 15 does not look stupid on a model - in the same way that 4' radius curves do not - and the locos can cope easily with that. What they cannot cope with is an abrupt transition from level to steep. So the exact gradient profile will be a matter of trial and error.

The second complication is that the approach track has an interlaced sand drag to stop runaway wagons, which one can imagine was a very real danger - the main line was at the bottom protected only by a short sand drag and buffers.

The height of the structure in model form has to be compromise between the absolute need for the coal tip rails to be above the height of the customer locos and keeping the gradient up the stage as easy as possible. Ian believes that on the prototype the floor of the stage was roughly as rail level; here it has to be 2 or 3 mm higher.

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The structure is based around 6 large "H" girders mounted vertically and tied together with a number of "I" beams and "L" girders and a floor made of styrene planking with substantial floor joists underneath.. In between are a host of smaller beams to which to attach the sheeting.

There are effectively two separate roof structures. One, as substantial as possible, ties the front and back wall together. On top of this fits another roof which is removable. The embankment faces under the stage also had to be made and painted separately as otherwise the model would have been impossible to paint. The office, or store, on the stage floor was also made entirely separately and added at the very end.

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The wire supplies two warm white 12v LEDS in the roof, but not in the office as that was a complication too far.

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The roof and sides were clad in corrugated iron sheet on the real thing. On the model the entire roof and part of the one side was clad in really thin corrugated aluminium sheet from Ambis which looks great but proved impractical at the ends as they are comparatively difficult to glue. Here corrugated styrene was used. The corrugated aluminium bends easily and holds its shape so that the curved steam vent in the roof was surprisingly easy to make.

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The retaining wall at the bottom is scribed and roughened to look like the shuttering marks and there is another metre of it to be attached either side of the stage. Guttering and downpipes are mainly Wills but the very pipes at the front are 1/16 brass rod. The flanged rail for the tubs is brass strip solder together with the ends made of brass "T" angle.


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The coal tubs have small flangeless wheels produced in a leather punch and then drilled. The wheels are mounted towards the rear to aid tipping and the doors at the end hinge from the top. One is modelled full, the other empty. There are some brooms, shovels and hammers lying around on the stage and when installed some figures will be added as well. A fair amount of spilled coal is in evidence also.


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Even though the whole is tied together with substantial beams it proved very difficult to keep the whole thing square and level. And will be even more a challenge when the beams are removed and it's installed on site. So it won't be finally finished till that is satisfactorily achieved.


Redhill Station Public Footbridge

These photographs shew a model of the footbridge which for countless years has carried a public footpath over the line; severally hundred yards north of Redhill station.

At this point it crosses both the running lines and up and down sidings in true SER style. Clearances are very restricted on the prototype; even more so on the model. This will be seen when it's put into position but it would have been very much more complicated to make it longer.

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The bridge deck is all brass apart from the planking which is styrene. The lattice is from Scalelink but unfortunately they no longer do this size, just one's bigger and smaller, both of which would have looked wrong. By pure luck Ian picked up this fret at a model railway exhibition in a box of old frets.

Ian used the whole width of the fret; it would have been nice if it were 6 mm longer but the complication of splicing bits together did not appeal, hence the present size.

Each lattice has 2 pieces of "L " girder soldered to top and bottom edges and at the ends. A flat beam is then soldered to the "L" beams. In between there are "T" girders soldered vertically at intervals each side. This makes it very rigid. It's finished by a double strip of rivets along the top of the deck and curly braces at intervals along the sides. In real life they go underneath but Ian decided it was beyond him to do that consistently seven times. Ian also dispensed with individual rivets on the lattice intersections as they are effectively invisible.

Thankfully the cage covering the whole deck was not there until more recent times but there were two lamps (probably gas) at the top of the stairs.

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The sides (stairs) are made of SEF English bond styrene brick sheet over 60 thou styrene. The coping is styrene strip as are the individually made stairs. Handrail knobs are the Gibson short variety. Ground levels are different
on each side, hence the two staircases are different lengths.

The brickwork is a markedly different colour on trackside and non-trackside faces, though this is much exaggerated by the lighting in the photo. Trackside is still soot encrusted in 2014 and cannot have been any better in 1938.

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