Readham came from the desire to have a modern image DCC sound layout where the locos weren’t just at a constant speed and ‘sound’ and it had to have 2 main design features – a station that would allow full size passenger trains and a tram running through the streets. The architectural influence was also important and the architecture of Cheltenham and the stunning modern Reading station have been the key influences, hence the name of the layout ‘Readham’. All of the buildings feature a high degree of detail and many are replicas of buildings seen in Cheltenham, with others being ‘inspired by’! Everything you see is scratch built from plastic sheet, plastic profile sections, brass rod, foam board, texture paper, spray and hand painted, and 3D Printed components.
The station features 3 full length platforms and 1 bay platform. Readham is set in a semi fictional region that ‘allows’ the operation of FGW/GWR, Cross Country and South West Trains/South Western Railway. The station also sees a lot of freight movements, either straight through or held on platform 4 waiting for a path in between passenger operations. Although a Modern Image layout you will see the occasional ‘Diesel Special’ and a couple of kettles (Clan Line and Thomas Hardy) put in an appearance for steam specials. Our intention is to keep the station busy and our motto is “no timetable, just trains – a lot of them”.
Starting in the ‘West End’ is the modern retail area (with tram stop), taking design ideas from Cheltenham’s new Brewery Quarter. Leaving this area you go past ‘SandPitt Park’ (a combination of 2 Cheltenham park names – Sandford and Pittville) and up Station Road to the Regency inspired Residential & Retail Area passing a Regency Terrace inspired by Cheltenham’s Imperial Square. Then there’s the iconic Cheltenham Odeon followed by retail units that get their influence from the Montpellier area of Cheltenham. In front of these buildings is Readham Station with a tram stop. Moving ‘East’ there’s a Premier Inn (based on the one at Exeter St David’s – a great train spotting station of my youth!) and TGI Fridays. Around the corner is a Co-Op and Gym and then a Showman’s Winter Quarters (or ‘Yard’) which features a working Faller Drop Tower ride as well as a number of ‘pulled down’ rides and living wagons.
The layout has features that make it ‘personal’ to the builder, for example the Ambulance - as his daughter is a Paramedic, the Showmans yard - as the builder and his son are Fun Fair and Theme Park enthusiasts, and there are many more personal links like this on the layout.
The layout is controlled using a combination of NCE Power Pro, JMRI Software and iPhones/iPads.