Longcarse West was my first and so far only attempt at building a model railway. I’d wanted to build one for many years but I didn’t like the narrow look of OO track and thought that the finer 4mm scale gauges were only for the elite who made all their track and stock from scratch, much too difficult for the likes of me. In the mid 2000s however I joined the local area group of DEMU who were in the final stages of building an EM gauge layout called Roundtrees Sidings. It was very inspiring to see how much better handmade track looked and so on a trip to the Nottingham exhibition I bought a C&L point kit, in OO as I still wasn’t quite ready to make the leap to wider, and found it fairly easy to build. A little later the Exactoscale P4 track and point kits came on the market and I came to the conclusion that if I was able and willing to build my own track I should really get the rails the right distance apart.
It’s fair to say that Longcarse West wasn’t the best planned layout. I bought some plywood that fitted in my car and got to work building the first board 5′ x 18″. A handful of Exactoscale point kits, all A6s, were bought and manouvered around on the board till they looked about right which meant the second board had to taper from 18″ to 2′ wide so that I could avoid any reverse curves when shunting into sidings. It’s no great secret that the track plan is a slightly extended copy of Geoff Taylors EM gauge layout Alloa Goods. The fact that they are both set in the same location however is more of a coincidence. Longcarse Junction being the name of one of the junctions in Alloa.
Longcarse West made it’s debut on the exhibiton circuit at Thirsk in 2008 and was exhibited around the country until Scaleforum 2011 and has now been sold on so that I can make a start on planning and building a new layout.