SAR "Commercial Street" - LMS "Wellingford & Bakewell Bridge Railway" - GWR "Porthminster" - Port Dock Station

Friday, 22 November 2013

"Commercial Street" - 1960s South Australian Railways

Here is a unique hinged baseboard idea that many English modellers had developed many decades ago of modelling a fold up railway known as the Minories. This idea consisted of a terminus station at one end and a specially set out track design at the other end. At the Terminus Station, which usually had high surrounding walls each side of the whole station, a road bridge straddled the station platforms concealing a pair of hinges. This allowed the two baseboards to be folded over on each other for transport or storage. To make the terminus operable, a fiddle yard would then be attached at the station throat concealed under another road bridge leading into a hidden fiddle yard, which would be bolted on to the Minories. I proposed the idea that if the fiddle yard could be permanently attached to the station throat via another set of hinges, the whole layout would fold up on itself without having separate baseboards, extra sets of legs and no track alignment worries. Having tried the idea, and making use of a large warehouse building as a means of hiding the fiddle yard, and using block sections at the end of each siding, a successful scheme would allow the operator to run trains from the terminus to the fiddle yard and back without touching/handling any engines or rolling stock. Under-track magnets would be located at appropriate positions around the layout to allow hands free shunting using Kadee couplers.

An industrial theme would be appropriate for there were dozens of sidings in and around Port Adelaide and the Port Line in South Australia. Small industrial sidings were everywhere, built in and around roadways, sometimes in the roadways. Roads that ran over the railway with girder bridges or embankments with simple concrete bridges such as those at Mile End or Port Adelaide look visually interesting, and in this case used to hide the hinges on the baseboard. Small passenger stations such as Grange or Semaphore were built immediately next to a roadway and have simpleness to them. Of my own design, “Commercial Street” allows one to run Goods and Passenger trains and have the illusion that the trains have come from and go to a main destination hidden by the warehouse (the fiddle yard). Due to the shortness of the sidings and the use of small radius points, an impressive number of wagons and engines can be accommodated on the layout without being overcrowded.
The fold up layout before point levers
mounted and ready for scenery.
After scenery work.

The removable road deck held in place
by magnets.

The road deck in place.
Even on a small layout like this there is comfortable room for five locomotives, twenty wagons (mostly 4 wheelers), two brake vans and two passenger cars or a pair of railcars.
The layout stands at 1 metre high so when sitting on a standard chair the scene before you is just under eye height. This gives the operator a sense of being in the scene.
The Co-operative  and woodyard
A 930 Class shunts in an open wagon for 44 gallon drum pick ups
and an oil tank for the depot storage tank fill.
The road bridge across the face of the
warehouse to disguise the fact that
there hidden sidings.
The warehouse with on street wagon loading and unloading.

The warehouse was made from two Metcalfe Warehouse card kits, kit-bashed to obtain a very close match to the old Woodsons building in Port Adelaide.
The engineering workshops with loading gantry. Even though the building is between you and the siding, it still has that atmosphere that a modeller craves due to the quirky nature of the track and road alignment.
An Rx Class 4-6-0 shunts in two
open wagons for an outgoing
consignment to a customer!

A 500 Class shunter at the road crossing at Commercial Street pushes
in a load of cut logs into the woodyard.
Cameo scenes play a big part in creating atmosphere in such a small area. Great pleasure was had creating this piece as I strive for realism.
The hidden sidings inside
the warehouse.
The driver of the P Class 2-4-0 checks the road as he pushes into
the warehaouse sidings under the bridge.

A 700 Class pulls into Commercial Street with a local passenger.

All the locomotives and most of the rollingstock are scratchbuilt with exception of the Rx class which is a brass kit and the 930 class, a Trainorama loco with sound fitted. The layout is DC.


  1. Gavin
    I just wanted to let you know that I've featured your Commercial Road layout on the Hunter Valley Lines blog (

    Its a great layout and I wanted to share it with my followers. Thanks for sharing it with me.

    1. G'day there Andrew, sorry for not replying earlier to you comment, I have only just realised I had comments posted to me on my blog page. I had not updated for quite some time so missed them. Thanks for your interest in "Commercial Street" - (not Road). I'll take a few more photos and post them as an update. You may also check that I have uploaded my latest project which bolts onto "Commercial Street" called "Port Dock" Cheers, Gavin.

  2. Gavin,
    I really admire your Commercial Road layout! Someone mentioned it on a Yahoo Group, "Small Layout Designs". So there may be many copies soon! LoL Really nice work.
    I was wondering why you stopped posting?

    1. Thanks there David, sorry for not replying earlier to you comment, I have only just realised I had comments posted to me on my blog page. I had not updated for quite some time so missed them. I have just uploaded some more updated material involving my latest project "Port Dock" which bolts onto "Commercial Street" check it out...Cheers, Gavin.