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
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.
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.