EM Scale,
Lead – Trevor Smith
Dimensions – 22′ x 10′
Control Method – DCC

Why a layout focussed on Jarrow?

Jarrow was chosen because in 1983 it had a Tyne and Wear Metro line alongside a main line and a small yard serving a nearby steel works.

The Metro line from Pelaw to South Shields is single track. There is a passing loop at Jarrow to allow an intensive service of Metro trains. This provides the opportunity to model two platforms and to have one train wait for another to approach from the opposite direction. Add the pointwork and accurate signals and this will provide interesting operation for viewers. The main line served the Jarrow oil Terminal and the Simonside Wagon Works. The “Jarrow Tanks” is an iconic modern freight train and would make a good model.

The sidings originally served a small goods depot at the station and provided an interchange with the docks on the south bank of the River Tyne. In 1983 the yard served a small British Steel works.

Trains on the layout would include;

We want to promote the ethos of the Blyth and Tyne Model Railway Society and develop our own skills. We had to ask ourselves a number of questions and then attempt to find solutions and answers as the layout is built.

In the 1950s and 60s railroad modelling became very popular in the USA. John Armstrong became a well renowned modeller with a special interest in layout planning. He adopted the phrase “givens and druthers” to help modellers to determine the framework of their layout before they started any planning.

Givens are elements that must be included in a layout

Druthers are the wish list of elements that might be included in a layout


The layout must be of an exhibition standard.

The layout must be portable, board size no bigger than 4′ x 2′ and the boards must be light.

Name Jarrow

Period Summer 1983

Location Jarrow, on the Metro line along the South Bank of the River Tyne, between Gateshead and South Shields.

Size 22′ x 10′, baseboard height 44″.

Planning Track plan to be drawn using Templot to ensure prototypical track alignment through pointwork.

Baseboards Lightweight, capable of being lifted by two people, manufactured from laser cut 6mm plywood with a foam surface. Permanent 2” x 1” timber legs hinged and folded inside each baseboard. Each baseboard self-contained with hand holes. Boards aligned with EM Gauge Society alignment dowels. Baseboards to have integral back-scene and lighting unit. Baseboards to be stackable within a wheeled cabinet. Each baseboard to be self-contained with stationary decoders controlling pointwork on its own board. Baseboard electrical connections to be plugs on the inside face of the baseboards so no crawling underneath the layout is necessary.


Operations The layout to have accurate signalling and all trains to be operated at scale speed and in accordance with signals. Spratt and Winkle couplings to be used so that all operations are hands free.

Gauge EM Gauge

Track Handmade using

Maximum grade 3%

minimum radius 36”

Roadbed Cork. Woodlands Scenics buff fine ballast held in place with Johnson’s Klear

Rolling Stock All rolling stock relevant to the period and evidenced from photographic research. Remote uncoupling using Spratt and Winkle couplings. All vehicles appropriately weathered. Road vehicles appropriate to period and location.

Control Gaugemaster Prodigy with circuit breakers to create a power bus for trains and a power bus for points and signals. Handheld controllers with multiple plug-in sockets. Automated turnout control with Tortoise Turnout Motors activated with Lenz LS100 stationary decoders. Prototypical signals activated by Lenz LS100 stationary decoders. Working station and yard lights.

Scenery Scratch built station and derelict goods shed. Accurate bridges and roads. Appropriate signage and back-drop.

Fascia and valance To be painted black to enhance layout.