Amberdale in OO gauge

05 September 2018
Amberdale_Completed_Layout_1-45179.jpg Amberdale OO gauge layout in a shed
Amberdale is a single line secondary route through the Peak District of north Derbyshire in the late-1950s to early-1960s. Motive power for this period is steam with early green diesels. The layout demonstrates various methods of scenery construction and detailing.
  • Gauge: OO/4mm:1ft
  • Era: 1950-1960s
  • Location (depicted): Peak District of north Derbyshire
  • Owner (club/indivudual): Market Deeping MRC
  • Dimensions (any units): 10ft x 8ft
  • Control: DC
  • Run: continuous loop

The concept

Amberdale is a layout in 4mm: 1ft scale, OO gauge layout. Its trackplan is simple and concentrates on scenery but will give hours of fun when operating. The station is a single platform and the layout has a five road fiddle yard. It is based on an imaginary line in the Derbyshire Dales giving the opportunity to have a varied landscape.
The era is 1950s-1960s so that early BR diesel traction and steam can be used side-by-side. It is not intended to fill the baseboards with as much track as possible but to show a single branch line in the countryside and demonstrate the many methods of forming scenery using the wide range of scenic materials. The viewing side uses code 75 track and the fiddle yard uses Peco Code 100 track, as a preferred choice, but the same code can be used throughout if wanted.

A layout in a shed

The layout is wired for both analogue and DCC control. Trains are short because the layout is based on a branch line and it'll make an ideal layout for a beginner or someone with limited time to devote to the hobby. Amberdale has been designed to fit in a standard ‘off the shelf’ 10ft x 8ft shed. Full-size drawings of the track plan were made to accommodate a three coach train in the station and the fiddle yard, and not to have less than two foot radius curves. This is the smallest shed in which it will fit unless you make sacrifices to both. If a scale other than 4mm:1ft is decided upon, the size of the shed can be smaller or larger.

Here's a selection of our favourite images of Amberdale:

Amberdale in OO

One of Amberdale's key elements is its viaduct which requires a deep baseboard recess to enable it to fit. The rock face behind is made more impressive with the addition of a tunnel mouth, adding a greater sense of height to the layout.

Amberdale in OO

A BR 5MT enters Amberdale's station with a rake of Stanier coaches. The buildings are largely composed of ready-made structures from the Hornby Skaledale range.

Amberdale in OO

Bachmann Sulzer Type 2 D7502 enters Amberdale station with 7G13, the mid-day service which will continue through the Peak District to Derby.


Amberdale in OO

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Snaking its way past the level crossing where a car awaits patiently is this 8F, owned by one of Market Deeping MRC's members. The club operates the layout on a flexible era basis, allowing all its OO gauge members to participate on running sessions.


Amberdale in OO

The creation of Amberdale was led by BRM who gave Market Deeping Model Railway Club a brief to build a model railway in a 10ft x 8ft shed that could be sited in the average British garden.


Amberdale in OO

A heavily-weathered 8F 2-8-0 locomotive crosses the viaduct before entering the tunnel with a freight train.


Amberdale was built to demonstrate that model railways can be built and kept outside in the garden if interior space is at a premium. A 10ft x 8ft shed was chosen for this continuous loop layout, but a much narrower shed could be used if an end-to-end trackplan was chosen.

Want to see more OO gauge model railways? Click here.