When researching the subject of my next layout I wanted to find an accurate trackplan of the location I was modelling. Instead of peering through dusty books for the required information, websites such as Google Earth or Windows Live Local offer satellite images of the world which can be used for railway purposes. It can therefore enable you to check the number of tracks in a certain yard or the precise whereabouts of a certain building, or provide technical information, such as how many OHLE gantries there are in a mile-long piece of track, for example.
So there are many uses for this information which will become increasingly vital for railway modellers to have in the future. However, moving away from the actual usefulness of the satellite photographs - I find it also quite interesting to look at them in general. Something that fascinates me is the way that anyone can now see familiar buildings from unfamiliar angles, and be amazed at the view.
It is always fun to see your own home from above, nestling in amongst all the other houses, and you can see how people's gardens vary from property to property. Combining this general fascination with model railways prompted me to think what Wells Green TMD would look like from above - here are the results!
Here's the washing plant, ever-popular with visitors at exhibitions, seen here from a different view. Just for the record, it was made using card covered in styrene strip with aluminium foil scrunched up for the 'flails'. Meanwhile, spare paintbrush heads were used for the brushes.
An overhead view of the concrete apron outside the depot building. I've attempted to weather it in places appropriate to where the locomotives stand, using colours such as Phoenix Paint's 'track dirt' and 'oil leakings' colours, amongst others. Quite how the paint companies get away with charging so much for near-identical shades of brown is criminal however!
There are 72 oil drums scattered about the layout, if you look carefully you can see four in this image alone!
A little cameo scene modelled includes a permanent way engineer about to install capping strip on the newly installed concrete cable trunking. Some more of his Network Rail colleagues have been modelled in the EWS train crew mess room, mingling with the drivers!
The street scene, showing the abandoned joy-ridden Volkswagen Golf and brimming skip. An Enterprise Rent-a-Car branch is also modelled, complete with the correct Crewe phone number!
Casually abandoned pallets seem to plague industrial locations, so were a 'must have' for the layout. The presence of shopping trolleys (made by Preiser) obviously shows that local youths have been enjoying themselves.
The murder scene, as viewed from above.
Pieces of rail have been sliced out of the redundant sidings, copied from several prototype locations around the country. Whether this was done by metal thieves or for good reason by British Rail, remains to be seen.
A forensic investigation is underway at Wells Green. If you look closely you can see one of the detectives has found a bottle in the undergrowth, is it just litter or is it connected with recent events? Cheshire Police must investigate!