Introduction to Somerton Model Railway

The base concept of Somerton Model Railway is to create a large layout which can run a number of trains simultaneously under automatic control. The layout is housed in a converted double garage which measures approximately five metres by five metres.

The scale is 1:76 and the track gauge is 16.5mm, a standard more commonly known as ’00’, a quirky combination used by British modellers. All of the track used is code 75 made by Peco and all of the points and slips have live frogs. The points or turnouts are driven by Tortoise slow motion motors with built in switches which are used to energise the frogs and to provide positional feedback. The control system is dcc and is made up of Digitrax components along with some hand built Arduino based boards. Computer control is achieved by using Train Controller software from RailRoad & Co, decoder programming uses JMRI and the Arduino boards are programmed by hand.

The layout is built on two levels, the lower of which contains a large storage yard which is normally hidden from view. There are two helices at either end which both carry double tracks to the upper level which is a scenic area. At the time of writing, plans for the scenic area are still vague but the intention is to have a mainline station, a traction and maintenance depot and possibly a freight / industrial area. Urban, rural and canalside scenery will hopefully be modelled. Other than modelling a mainline station, there isn’t any intention to model a particular area and the era is nominally any time from 1950 to the present day. Signals will all be coloured light rather than semaphore and there will be some degree of overhead line electrification.