Springbluff City 1957

Bill Sowerby & Alan Hancock in Sleaford 2018

A small industrial town near Denver, Colorado, away from the important main lines which carry the long-distance passenger and heavy freight trains.

Steam has been almost eliminated from the mainline railroads of this area of America, and the diesel locomotive builders are competing strongly for orders. Examples from General Motors, Budd, Alco, Baldwin and Fairbanks-Morse may be seen.
Passenger traffic is now declining almost everywhere in the face of competition from the rise of car ownership, recently introduced jet airliners and the newly authorised inter-state highway programme. Trains are much reduced in length and frequency, with rolling stock and locomotives intended for use on the great trans-continental expresses found on much humbler assignments. There is still some local mixed freight, often moved in over-powered short trains.

 The Layout

Track is mainly Atlas code 55. Locos are Kato, Bachmann, and Atlas, with Microtrains and Athearn stock fitted with magnetic couplers. Road vehicles are largely from Classic Miniatures and Athearn, figures are by Noch and Woodlands Scenics. Buildings are a mixture of scratch built, Walthers, Bar Mills, Downtown Deco and Blair Line.



Please note that this layout is not a club layout but is one of a number expertly created over the years by our member Alan Hancock, pictured above right. All enquiries for booking should still be placed in the first instance through our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 The layout takes about 15 mins to assemble, it is small (5 feet by 2 feet 8 inches), very unsophisticated (hand operated points!) but it seems to be appreciated by a range of people from modellers to children as it is a bit different with plenty going on.

Alan Hancock

Alan Hancock

Alan has a fascination with N Gauge American style layouts in both urban and countryside settings and is a prolific model layout maker. Some of his layouts can still be seen on the exhibition circuit such as Furillo 1957 and Gila Canyon 1957 whilst others, those listed here, are sadly no more.

  • Belkers Bluff
  • Calletano Canyon 1934
  • Furillo 1936



Belkers Bluff

A small (7 feet x 2 feet including cassette-based fiddle yards) N scale urban layout set in the American mid-west designed primarily to display the varied colourful locomotives and rolling stock of the early diesel years.

The Korean War is over, and for the USA the Vietnam War has yet to begin. The Cold War and the launch of Sputnik bring some uncertainty, but Rock n Roll is here to stay, and the symbols of extravagant consumerism are everywhere.

The railroads are fighting desperately to compete with the automobile and the airline, the former aided by the recent authorisation of a national programme for interstate highway development, the latter by the rapid development of the jet engine. The long distance prestige expresses on which so many hopes were pinned now often consist merely of a few cars.

Steam has almost completely disappeared from the lines of the major companies, and the diesel builders are competing fiercely for the new market.

Track is Atlas Code 55 with Kadee elecro-magnetic uncouplers. Switches (points) are operated by Tortoise machines.
Locomotives and stock are Atlas, Kato, Bachmann, Micro-Trains and Con-Cor.
Buildings are Bachmann, DPM, Bar Mills, Blair Line, Walthers and Micro-Structures etc, sometimes modified by Alan or others.
Photographs by Alan Hancock


Calletano Canyon 1934

This layout no longer exists

The pass was a focus for both standard and narrow gauge lines forcing their ways through the mountains, but the anticipated growth of settlement was cut short abruptly by the collapse of silver mining in the late 19th century, and the population is suffering further following the Wall Street Crash and the drought conditions of the Great Depression.

Mining is now sporadic and the local timber almost exhausted, while attempts to develop tourism are restricted by a lack of capital. The railroads make ends meet by using second-hand equipment to run their short and infrequent trains. The advertised glamorous attractions available in the nearby towns appear a world away, but are ever more inviting as life for the few people remaining in the area becomes increasingly harsh.


Furillo 1936

This layout no longer exists

The development of the town, south-east of Denver, was based on ranching and the processing of minerals and timber. It became the meeting point of many railroads, both major and local. The layout represents an area near the lower level of the Union Station, recently rebuilt in the art-deco style, which was used by several lines, both standard and narrow gauge.

The area suffered badly during the Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash, with failing businesses leading to high levels of unemployment. Families moved across the country seeking work or food, and were forced by poverty to live in shanty towns located on any available vacant ground. These were known as "Hoovervilles", named after the President they held partly responsible for their situation.

On the brighter side, by 1936 Prohibition had been repealed, and major railroads such as the Burlington and Union Pacific were introducing new modernistic streamlined express diesel trains – a sharp contrast to existing railcars and the sometimes antiquated steam locomotives of the local logging and other industrial lines.

Parys Mountain

Parys Mountain

Parys Mountain is located to the south of Amlwch in NE Anglesey and is the site of a large copper mine that had closed many years ago but was reopened during WW II.

The layout is what might have been built for the purpose in the period 1940 - 1950. It is built to OO scale using N Gauge track.

The kit built locomotives use N gauge chassis and the rolling stock is both ready to run and kit made.

It's first outing was at our Stamford Show in May 2014.


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Photographs by Mick Allman