The Evolution of Eastwell
The layout started from a "small portable branch line that could be erected and packed away again in one evening". Maybe it was intended to be used in that period as well.
A modified plan was hatched that made much more use of the proposed "mineral line". At no time was it ever intended that existing baseboards were to be disposed of, they were incorporated into the new sections.
The layout just grew and grew to cope with the increasing interests of the developers. It went from a "I" to an "L" then "F" shape. Only when the "F" shape was built did the option of reverting to an "I" was extinguished and it was then the name was changed as new station name boards were installed.
Five new baseboards were needed, one incorporating the original tunnel mouth board. Another was needed to span the fiddle yard which was made as a six road turntable. Then bit by bit the baseboards were widened in the station area to give more space for trains and scenery.
Then a new baseboard - the brewery - was added to the station end to give more operating potential. This incorporated the original yard entrance board. There were operational problems with the turntable/fiddle yard so a small extra section was added to the main line. AS the turntable was moved the covering baseboard - the crusher plant - also needed to be expanded. This area had also given operational problems as a very acute crossing on a sharp curve to and from the quarry was being very difficult. The crusher plant board was extended and a new baseboard added to change the track layout.
The last changes made were to the baseboards at Ropeway Sidings. These were widened to give a straight line facade and further sidings were made - "the middle sidings" at an intermediate level between the foundry and the crusher plant. The quarry baseboard was split into two for easier transportation and then the fiddle yard turntable was abandoned and a six track yard was built instead, as an attempt to placate the crusher plant operator who was always in the way of the fiddle yard operator - or was it the other way around? The operational controls of the crusher plant had been above the fiddle yard and enough could be happening to overwhelm one operator so there were usually two persons falling over themselves in that location.
Ropeway Sidings had become the bottleneck of operations as the transfer of traffic in four different directions - the foundry and station, the colliery, the main line and the quarries could sometimes slow down everything leaving nothing moving in one area while it catches up with movements. This was not very good as a spectacle so a further plan was developed. Ropeway Sidings would have to grow and the station also needed more going on, so three new baseboards were built and most of the track laying was completed. This had become a slow job as new group members were involved and to fill in the gap an additional baseboard was built to make the station free standing of Ropeway whilst using the new fiddle yard. To compliment the additional services being envisaged an expansion of the fiddle yard was needed and it was decided to only place for that was at the quarry location. This fiddle yard expansion was constructed but only used as a direct extension of the fiddle yard sidings in the station only format.
Another factor was the rising cost of exhibiting Eastwell, both for transport and operators and the parent club was not willing to exhibit Eastwell at its next show. But Eastwell station was now about 30 feet long so to make it a little shorter half a test track circle was used to turn the station from a "J" shape to a "U". It was in this format that Eastwell Station was last exhibited in 2001.
The final station plan including "Broomstick Curve", used to shorten the length of the layout, albeit making it much wider. The visible station area is just over 20 feet long (6 metres). The baseboard supports were made from brromsticks, which did not work that well in a semi-circle format.
A vertical storage unit at the rear of the fiddle yard can be seen beyond the main line curve.