West Chiltington was first seen on the exhibition circuit in 1983. Its last exhibition was in March 2000 at the Crawley Model Show. It has now passed to one of the members of the group who is extending it and rebuilding it as a modern image layout. The notes below, and the photographs, describe the layout in its original condition.
Our model of West Chiltington was based on typical "Brighton" practice in its hey-day in the years immediately prior to the First World War. The track plan represents a single line through-station on a country branchline - loosely based on Fittleworth on the Pulborough-Midhurst line in rural Sussex. Few facilities are provided - single through platform, bay platform, two sidings, and run-round loop.
All of the structures are accurate copies of Brighton prototypes: for example, the station building comes from Burgess Hill; the signal box from Ardingly; the goods shed from Rotherfield; the cattle creep from Culver Junction .... and so on. The buildings were all scratchbuilt using a variety of materials, principally card and plasticard. All brickwork was hand-scribed - the tunnel mouth in particular (now 25 years old – the original is only 130 years old!) is worth close examination. Scenically, much use is made of dyed lint for grass, and Woodland Scenics material for scrub etc, and for simulating leaves on the wire-wound trees.
The techniques used to build it have shown the test of time, even if they are now a bit dated. For example, trackwork was entirely handbuilt using plywood sleepers and rivets. Solenoids were used for turnout operation. Signals were handbuilt, and also used solenoids for operation. The layout comprised a central scenic section, 16ft long by just 1ft wide. Four-road fiddle yard/turntables 4ft long were provided at each end of the layout.
Rolling stock is from the period 1900-1910, although this allows plenty of licence – four different loco liveries, three passenger stock liveries, and coaches ranging from ancient four wheelers to "modern" 54ft bogie stock.
We have very few good pictures of West Chiltington. Does any body else have any? Please e-mail me if you have some photos which I could use for my website.