West Wittering is a small West Sussex village situated to the east of the entrance to Chichester Harbour, on the western side of the Selsey peninsula. It never really had a railway, although the Selsey Tramway (which opened in 1897, and was more formally known as The Hundred of Manhood and Selsey Tramways Company) had plans to get there.
The premise of this layout is that the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway bowed to local landowners' interests to serve this area in the mid 1870's. They provided a short branch line from the Brighton to Portsmouth main line at Chichester. In reality this never happened, and the Selsey Tramway started from Chichester and went to Selsey, not West Wittering.
The scenic part of the layout is 10′ 6″ long by 2′ deep, and there is also a sector-plate fiddle-yard that is 5′ 3″ long. The supporting legs raise the rail level to around 42″.
The layout was originally built by members of the South London Area Group of the Scalefour Society for one of their members. It was later purchased by Ken Browne, and he then sold it to me in 2002.
The baseboards are made using a medium density fibreboard (MDF) surface on a plywood framework with deep sides. The deep side-frames give clearance for the wiring and point operating mechanisms beneath. Track is constructed from plywood sleepers with rail soldered to rivets inserted in the sleepers. Cosmetic chairs have been added to the sides of the rail. Point motors are Tortoises, but the signals do not yet operate. Control is conventional DC via hand-held controllers, however conversion to DCC operation is being planned.
The period displayed is set in 1882-1884. This allows the use Mr. Stroudley's beautiful yellow and green locomotives and mahogany carriages, as well as some of Mr. Craven's earlier vehicles. These are represented by kit-built items from a variety of manufacturers, together with some scratchbuilt items.
The layout has also run representing the period around 1910 with locomotives and rolling stock kindly loaned from Michael Ball's Ferring layout.
The time table reflects the sort of service that a quiet branch line would have seen. There are local trains from Chichester and Brighton, and long distance ones from London. Goods trains deliver a range of domestic items: from coal to parcels; and take fish, crabs and lobsters, as well as the world-famous Selsey mousetraps to customers further inland.
As with all model railways, there remains much work to be done. This includes overall ballasting; fitting appropriate signals for the 1880s; and further railway buildings and fixtures.
D1 with branch train and D2 with cattle train (1880s era)
Pub & Milk float
Bridge, signals & MR coal wagons
Interlaced pointwork at the entrance to goods yard
Motor train from Chichester with D1, arriving in bay platform (1910 era)
London train ready to depart with E5. Motor train in bay (1910 era)
Michael Ball & Richard Wing operating the layout
The layout has appeared at: