This section features the scenic breaks and other cameos that,
hopefully add to the overall realism of STROLEY CENTRAL.
This is my favourite cameo on the layout. It reflects the LINDEVEN TMD building and associated offices, stores and staff mess. The TMD building / shed is a Hornby kit, whilst the office complex is a couple of Peco kits "mashed" together. The fencing and Security Gate are from the Knightwing range. The Carama (scale 1:72) cars and "Network Rail" van were purchased from Nigel Crow's M-S-i-M (Modern-Structures-in-Miniature) range, and various bits and pieces finish off this scene extraordinarily well. To the far left of this photo can just be seen the motorway supports which also houses the third control panel. More of that later in this section.
A view of the same scene but from the "front gate." Isn't it getting out of hand now with all the "politically correct" safety signs that the Health and Safety Executive insists on these days!!!! The post box and H.S.E signs are from Martin Vos' Signs-of-the-Times range. The motorway bridge can be seen in the top right of this photo which forms the scenic break with the fiddle yard being "off-stage" to the right.
The STROLEY CENTRAL TRANSPORT EXCHANGE, is situated above the north end of the station and in this incomplete view is sparsely populated (please see photo sixteen for the finished scene). This bus / coach station is the main entrance to the railway station - the multi-storey car park and the shopping centre being the other entrances. From here passengers can enter the building and buy / pick up their reserved tickets and have a cup of coffee etc., prior to descending the escalators or lifts to the platform subways. There are subway entrances at various intervals along each platform, so travelators provide the easy movement of passengers to and from their appropriate platforms. In the maze below platform level are cafes and shops of all descriptions for ease of those forgotten purchases.
In this view, the bi-directional lines to the north end of STROLEY CENTRAL can be seen. Just below the brick arches can be spied a long disconnected siding which was often used when long distance trains changed locos here on a regular basis. Now covered in weeds, it provides memories for any rail enthusiast that may loiter against the fence in the foreground with camera in hand.
Moving slightly to the right from the last photo, and with the concrete side wall of the Transport Exchange just visible in the upper right hand corner, we have another pleasant scene. Above the brick arches is the (still very incomplete) multi-storey car park. Below the arches and running on the "up" bi-directional line is a cartic train hauled by 60026 in E.W&S livery and bound for Scotland from Italy via the Channel Tunnel. This will traverse the scissors crossing shortly so as to enter the fiddle yard "right road" and continue its northbound journey, even though the fiddle yard entrance / exit roads are still bi-directional. Pedestrians rest awhile and survey the scene before recycling their cans and newspapers and continue about their daily business.
A bird's eye view of this end of the scenic area of the layout. The dual carriageway forms this break. The dreaded cones are out, but at present, are causing no hold ups. No doubt in an hour or so that will be quite different! In the foreground can be spotted the "country end" of the scissor crossing to the north of STROLEY CENTRAL, whilst above the brick arches is the (still incomplete) FITZWILLIAM SHOPPING CENTRE. Knightwing products abound again in this scene.
Another view of the dual carriageway - and still no traffic!! All the road signs in this scene were photographed from my local area and transferred onto my PC. The "get in lane" signs are completely fictitious and were scanned and composed on my PC then reduced and stuck onto card backings. They look very realistic I think, and I'm well pleased with how all the made up signs have turned out.
A couple of hours later and as predicted, the dual carriageway is gridlocked and definitely not helped by those godforsaken cones!!
Back to the other end of the layout and the office block and drivers mess for the DMU servicing and stabling yard. Three (or it might be four) Peco office kits were scratchbuilt and "mashed" together to form this building. Extractor fans and central heating units abound on the roof of this building along with the obligatory CCTV cameras. The back scene here reflects a long lowish building that houses the LINDEVEN ENGINEERING COMPANY LIMITED. This you will probably recognise as being one side of a Peco HST shed. This building stretches all the way along this side of the layout as far as (and is adjoined to) Homebase. This is the beginning of the STROLEY RETAIL PARK which continues through units that house familiar retail outlets all the way along to the Tesco Extra store. The UP (right) and DOWN MAIN and UP RELIEF lines can be seen in the foreground.
The STROLEY RETAIL PARK which runs the length of the Station platforms makes up the back scene, part of which is shown here to good effect. "Matalan", "Toys R Us", & "Powerhouse" can be recognised as three of the "big name" outlets. Advertising Hoardings and CCTV installations in this photo come from Martin Vos' very realistic and excellent "SIGNS of the TIMES" range. Other station furniture and lineside items come from Peco, Knightwing & Merit. Preiser figures rush for the subway to catch a connection, whilst 170413 First Scotrail's 3 car Turbostar, stands at Platform 2a awaiting to return to its more familiar territory after a route learning journey down from Edinburgh.
Talking earlier of gridlocked roads - no cones here - just the volume of traffic entering and exiting the area via the motorway. All vehicular stock, except the coaches, are from Nigel Crow's "Modern-Structures-in-Miniature" range.
A view of the three control panels here including the "cutaway" STROLEY SIGNALLING CENTRE. The three banks of grey (with red and yellow arms) switches control the two and three aspect colour light signals. The grey (with green arms) switches control the yard lamps (and will also operate other lighting when completed.) The two rectangular panels contain the track plan of the scenic section. The sub miniature toggle switches with the yellow arms control the power to the different sections, whilst the red toggle switches control the isolation areas of the layout. The turnouts are controlled by the stud and pen method. Between the two panels is the Gaugemaster Double D controller.
This is the control panel number three which operates the fiddle yard and its entrances and exits. Obviously the same colour scheme is adopted as for the main panels, but on this panel, the turnouts are operated by the white armed toggle switches and not the pen and stud method.
The "bits & pieces" all add to the detail and atmosphere. The hoards of signs thrust upon our daily lives by the Health & Safety Executive are everywhere, in this Politically Correct world in which we now live. How on earth did we all survive twenty or thirty years ago !!!! Drains and manhole covers, wheelie bins and "near scale" cars finish this scene off nicely.
The multi-story car park in now complete. On the top level (level five), the "boy-racers" have been caught and blocked in by the local "old Bill!" One or two of the drivers have scarpered - no doubt they will be rounded up shortly. It must be very busy in town as the car park appears quite full.
The Transport Interchange appears quite hectic with most of the bays occupied with buses and coaches to various areas both local and national. The local constabulary seem to be well occupied again here, with three police cars and various uniformed officers in attendance. With now far in excess of three hundred people situated around the layout, the residents of STROLEY CENTRAL are now complete.