My 3-Rail Hornby-Dublo layout - and tips and thoughts

Scroll down for copies of H-D instruction leaflets, advice and tips.

This happened quite by accident. Hornby 0 and then Hornby-Dublo three-rail is what I had as a teenager growing up in Yorkshire, England. (See About my Railway Interest.) The fortuity is that just a few years ago, the son of a former model railroading buddy from back in the '70s offered to donate his father's boxed, brand-new Hornby-Dublo ELG17 goods set "to a good home". How could one refuse? Well, I set up the simple oval on the dining room table, and the memories started to come flooding back. My introduction to Hornby-Dublo came when I was about 14 and I was at a cousin's home for the summer - he had a GWR goods set (the engine I remember had the gold-leaf "button" GWR emblem - so it must have been pre-war) - he had a simple double track layout with a crossover pair of points and that was it - just on a green plywood-type board - no scenery - nothing else - but that was total fun for a whole summer - amazing isn't it? In those days, teen happiness was a bicycle, a cricket bat, a soccer ball and an electric train. (The first three were relatively affordable, but an electric train often remained a dream, especially in the years just before and after WWII.) My, how the world has changed.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided on a "memory lane" 3-rail 00 expanded venture - tinplate rollingstock, metal wheels and couplings are "de rigueur", but with a concession to mostly Superquick for some additional buildings.

Longley-Sutcliffe panorama

Longley-Sutcliffe panorama

NETHER SCRIMSHAW and the hamlet of LONGLEY SUTCLIFFE
This layout is a double track oval that wraps itself around the country town of Nether Scrimshaw, with a branch to the hamlet of Longley Sutcliffe. The original plan was to have all the points manually-operated, with total reliance on isolating points to create the necessary block sections, but the notion of having to walk around the layout soon wore thin when passing loops and a goods yard were added on the far side, so that remote-controlled points became de rigueur.

Power is handled by a Hammant & Morgan "Duette". Unfortunately, remote-controlled points do not come in an "isolating" version, so some additional wiring became necessary, which is always a good work-out because the layout is only 24" off the floor for convenient operation while sitting on the adjacent sofa.  The overall dimensions are 9ft 9 inches long and 44 inches wide, with a partial 50 inch width at one end for an outer goods train loop and access to the branch. A 38" width is the minimum for double track operation, but the extra six inches allow for two sidings off the outside (UP) circuit, one for an alternate 3-coach passenger train at the island platform bay, and the other for a one-stall engine shed. 

Tabula rasa. Half-inch plywood (homasote no longer readily available where I live) on a stained 3X1 pine frame. Again "de rigueur" green-painted surface.

Tabula rasa. Half-inch plywood (homasote no longer readily available where I live) on a stained 3X1 pine frame. Again "de rigueur" green-painted surface.

Some way to go yet, but some equipment and buildings start to appear. Also note the two sidings on the outer circuit - always a challenge because Hornby-Dublo never got around to points for its large radius curves.

Some way to go yet, but some equipment and buildings start to appear. Also note the two sidings on the outer circuit - always a challenge because Hornby-Dublo never got around to points for its large radius curves.

Nether Scrimshaw completed as far as track layout and major scenery goes. Some buildings still to come, together with some little people.

Nether Scrimshaw completed as far as track layout and major scenery goes. Some buildings still to come, together with some little people.

An express passes through Nether Scrimshaw Outer, while a local waits for its turn out to the west country. The island platform is 3" sectional lumber with applied Superquick paving. At perfect platform height.

An express passes through Nether Scrimshaw Outer, while a local waits for its turn out to the west country. The island platform is 3" sectional lumber with applied Superquick paving. At perfect platform height.