The Vine Line

The Vine Line is a large U shaped end to end layout based upon a fictitious preserved line somewhere in the south of the UK.

The layout was originally conceived as a simple two board country terminus to traverser configuration. However, it was decided to significantly expand this to a 6 board, terminus to through station leading to a traverser fiddle yard. At the same time, experience with the trackwork and point control was reviewed with the result that the additional 4 boards did not follow the practices used in the original 2 board set up.

DCC controls all aspects of the layout using the Digikeijs DR5000 command station which is now being adopted as common solution for most of the Club's layouts. This is linked to twin feedback modules to provide block detection allowing automation of train movements. Hands on control is achieved using Z21 handheld apps for tablets/phones and Freiwald TrainController for the more advanced layout automation although there latter may be replaced with an alternative product, possibly iTrain.

Points are controlled by a mixture of systems. Those on the through station board are servo based using Megapoints boards for their operation. These have not proved to be particularly robust (and may be replaced in due course) so the decision has been taken to operate the rest of the layout using Seep solenoids controlled by DCC Concepts decoders. Trackwork is a mixture of Peco code 75, and handmade points plus track in code 83.

While not finished (few layouts ever really are) the layout had an outing in August 2021 to the Bluebell Railway where it was warmly recieved, but at the same time we took away some new tasks.  We have some point work to fix, and we are giving some thought to operating a schedule to ensure there is always something moving at shows.  Additionally we need to move the flock off the hills and plant some vines along with some more details in the rest of the scenery.  We also need to address the topic of lighting ensuring this operates a realistic cycle to match the lighting on the layout.  We've also had some murmerings about another board to extend the run between stations.


The Vine line is now available for shows and the following information should help exhibition managers...

  • Era: Modern, but being a preserved line steam and diesel can be seen side by side.
  • Region: Southern Region, locality is southern inspired, but once again as its a preserved line visitors are present. 
  • Space required: Length - 14ft, Width - 14ft
  • Viewable:  3 sides, 12ft x 8ft x 12 ft
  • Power: two UK 3 pin 13amp power sockets are required
  • Lighting: None included
  • Minimum number of operators: Three
  • Transportation: 6x boards each of 4ft x 2ft along with legs, control equipment and stock boxes requiring at least a Transit Van (or equivalent)