Swanbourne and Longley Down
This 4mm model railway depicted a section of secondary mainline somewhere in the South Downs before World War I. The gauge was finescale 00 using SMP track and copper-clad pointwork. The stations (never completed) each represented one widespread architectural style used by the LB&SCR. It was not designed to be portable.
Plan: There were two stations configured in such a way that the railway could be used either as a terminus (Swanbourne) to storage yard system (via a through junction called Longley Down), or as a continuous loop. Each station was 10ft x 2ft, and the entire loop was 14ft x 6ft, with a 4.5ft four road traverser at the end of the single line branch. At one end of the model the two stations were linked via a viaduct across a dry chalk downland valley.
The layout failed as it proved too large to maintain in good running order (many electrical connections relied on soldering wire to copper sleepers to feed the rail so if a joint to the rail itself went “dry” the connection failed) and the quality of Sundeala board used was inadequate, causing bad “humps” at board joins. There were also some quite sharp curves across board joins and leading into points, and over sharp pointwork (A4 configuration), which caused derailments. Additionally, the track plan owed more to being a “play track” than a mimic of a real working railway and the time had come when I wanted to give the space to a my son’s N-gauge layout, and have a clear area where my own exhibition layout could be used.
Lessons were learnt and Rowfant Grange was then built as a small exhibition layout; it lacks these faults (aside from having one A4 point that can be troublesome for some locos).
Swanbourne was named after Swanbourne Lake at Arundel and the name was chosen both to reflect the fact that Arundel Station provided an initial basis for the trackplan (but then heavily modified) and because the word bourne implies a dry valley in the chalk downs. The main station building is based on that at Lingfield and the island platform building on Eridge.
The viaduct was designed to make a feature of an excessive curve (24 inches radius or about a scale 2.5 chains) of the type only 00 allows! It’s also very photogenic! My rolling stock extends to SECR and LSWR as well as LB&SCR, and this shows the SECR C class loco hauling birdcage stock.
This scene has been kept as it could be modified to form a temporary link between Rowfant Grange and another planned small exhibition layout (East Grinstead Town). It also has a value as a photographic “studio”.
Many LB&SCR stations were constructed by the Crawley building company of James Longley, and he is particularly known for the stations on the Bluebell, Cuckoo and Midhurst lines. Longley Down was a junction with a two track mainline and single track branch (leading to a traverser storage yard); this shows the auto train arriving from the branch. The track plan was loosely based on the pre-1914 Horsted Keynes plan. The main station building was based on early official drawings of Cocking Station on the Midhurst branch.
© Text and all photographs, IanWhite, 2004, 2008