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Newton Folly


Led by

Greg Deacon


Newton Folly has, for a while now, been a “work in progress” layout with much still to be done to complete it to an acceptable standard.

The design is based very, very loosely on Rugeley Trent Valley with its distant power station, 4 x curving mainline tracks, a branch line leading to the power station an industrial area and a country station with a pedestrian over-bridge leading to nearby houses.

But essentially Newton Folly was designed as a build project to occupy and interest a team of Bingham Model Railway Club members and to provide a layout on which members are able to run their trains. It was conceived in late 2018 but by Christmas of that year, the team managed to run trains around the layout. Since then it has occupied a team of 5 or 6 members continuously (except during covid lockdown) and will continue to do so for some time yet.

Why is it called Newton Folly? Well it is nowhere near close enough to a real railway to have a railway name. So we used BMRC’s location at the time, on Newton ex-RAF aerodrome. And a folly is either a silly mistake or an eccentric building (take your pick).

The layout itself is OO gauge and consists of 8 sections with an overall size of 4.4metres x 2.4 metres. For transportation the legs fold into the boards themselves and it is constructed so that the boards with fewer buildings fold on top of the others to form 4 x “sandwiches”, A few of the building are detachable . Never-the-less it needs a van or 4 x fairly large cars to transport it.

In order to achieve its role as a working layout for club members it has been built to run both analogue and/or digital model trains. The mainline is split into an up-line fast and slow pair and a down-line fast and slow pair of tracks plus the branch line and each pair is electrically separated so that each pair can run either DC or DCC trains. There is also an 11 track fiddle yard at the rear.

The buildings are pretty well all “Metcalfe”. They are a mixture, the left hand side is an industrial scene including the 3 x power station cooling towers (not to scale but seen from a distance), the front is a row of houses along a road and the right hand end is based on suburban housing, a school, a farm and a canal basin., all intended to provide colour, interest and work for the team. Buildings actually stretch around 3 sides of the layout to add more interest and to provide more space to work on.

Newton Folly has been up and running for 4 years or so now and is used regularly by a number of members for running trains. But the emphasis currently is on improving the standard of the layout to try to bring it up to an exhibitable level. To this end, we have a list of some 80 or so issues for improvement which we are working through.

The first major item for improvement was the replacement of surface mounted point motors which has now been completed. PECO PL10 point motors turned out to be preferred after trying a number of different options,

A second major change, which has proven to be very successful, has been the remodelling of the right hand end of the layout from a hotchpotch of industrial buildings into a more consistent residential area with a new bridge, new road layout, houses, a pub, cinema and department store.

More recently a laser cut footbridge has been added at the extreme right hand, plus trees and guttering to the buildings as well as other bits and bobs from the list