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Parc Level

Roger Murray has provided the following details on his layout: PARC LEVEL COLLIERY CO. LTD. There is only ONE yard of track but a lot of atmosphere!

This diorama was inspired by the prototype section in the Industrial and Narrow Gauge Handbook by Roy C Link. Additional information was obtained from the NG at work DVD number 22, Welsh industrial Archive by J&S Productions.

Dimensions are 48 inches long by 31 inches and 27 inches deep. The base is a 60mm thick Styrofoam slab with a 1/4 inch ply surround for protection not support. In my opinion the surround has to be matt black! I have been using Styrofoam as a baseboard material for some years now and would not go back to 2×1 and top. I have tried to convince others but they all seem too set in their ways although the Americans have been using it for donkey’s years.

The contours are not exact but pretty close, made from wire mesh covered with plaster bandage, then a skin of plaster and painted matt brown. The main rock face is from Cripplebush Valley Models the home of rubber rocks in the USA and they are excellent, impossible for my skills to come anywhere near the quality. Other scenic embellishment comes from Silfor arid soil with scrub, available from International Models, an excellent item if expensive. Also some Scale Link etches and Woodland Scenics items.

As the first line says there is not much track and no points. The track is 14mm gauge and is hand made from code 83 rail and copper clad sleepers, no need to fuss with these as they cannot be seen! At each end of the track a cut is made in one rail a train length from the end and bridged by a diode, this controls the track limits without the need of buffers.
It is not far off a static diorama as it is impossible to recreate the operation of the prototype. Even if you had a working crane you would need two little working men to hitch and unhitch the wagons for the crane to lift. Therefore Loco moves are all that is possible. I wanted to add some atmosphere so apart from the working mast light there are two fan assisted smoke units installed, one in the adit mouth and the other by the cabans. As it was impossible to fit a smoke unit in the loco this was the only way. The smoke units are operated from a switch on the hand held loco controller. Watching the DVD exhaust goes everywhere and it is hard to see where it is coming from a lot of the time but you have to be quick on the switch!

The crane is an RB22 from Tober Models, a white metal kit and the correct crane model for Parc Level, it took ages to source, the good old internet does have its uses. The Ruston and wagon are from KB scale.