Abergavenny Blackbrook


The purpose of Abergavenny Blackbrook (known affectionately as ABB) is to be a simple, small P4 layout designed to take on the Exhibition Circuit.

It was designed to fit into two estate cars (see how we did it below) and, with an eye to the future, provides a platform to test and stress locos stock and coupling systems and develop and hone techniques.

Track plan created using Templot.

The track plan was conceptually based on that of Frecclesham, which gives plenty of opportunity for a reasonable operating sequence, but its compound turnouts have been replaced by standard units for speed of construction. Suspiciously, the final design bears a uncanny resemblance to Dowlais Central (B&MR).

Progress as of 26th July 2019

We are pleased with the overall effect.

Details of the layout for Exhibition Managers can be found here.


In our history the good burghers of Abergavenny were dissatisfied with the North and West Joint line (Newport to Shrewsbury) being so far from the the town and pressed for a town-centre station. Wishing to ward off the LNWR the GWR responded by promoting a nominally independent company to build a short branch, with the prospect of an extension along the Usk Valley to Crickhowell and Brecon. The extension never came about and the company was soon fully in GW hands but the branch did allow the town to expand and the short branch survived until the mid-sixties.

Services from the Vale of Neath line were extended from Pontypool Road and the MT&A trains from Merthyr (by now taken over by the Western Region of British Railways) as well as some of the shorter mainline services to Cardiff and Hereford also work into the station. The expanded population proved beneficial on the eve of WW2 as the town provided (and still provides) a substantial number of workers for ROF Glascoed and there is a workmen’s train that runs daily to Glascoed (SX), which is stabled at Abergavenny overnight. Most freight by-passes the station, but there is some freight traffic, generally house coal and supporting the locality’s agricultural industry.

Known as Abergavenny with the addition of GWR most of its life, since just after nationalisation (it is now Autumn 1954) Blackbrook has been added to the station name to avoid any confusion with the other stations bearing the town’s name.


Here is an array of pictures taken during the construction of ABB.

The Templot plan laid out on the baseboards.
Test running during Autumn 2017. Ballasting and ground cover also in progress.
Rob Foot assembling on of the loco cassettes for the fiddle yard. The acrylic bases were obtained cut to size and the central MDF inserts were laser cut to our drawings.
Club Sectretary and one-man-youth-section, Steve Neill, built the control panel. The red buttons are uncoupler magnets; the toggle switches control turnout servos and the white pushbuttons are route-selector switches.
At the other end of the control system we have a servo motor. The drive to the crank is via a compensator, which takes out excess movement and prevents too much force being applied to the stretcher bar. Connected to this crank is a rotating shaft to which another (scale) crank is soldered above the baseboard.
Some of the stock being prepared for ABB.
Wiring and testing in progress.
The under-gubbins. No one believes that you only need two wires for DCC, but we’d never be without it.
We are modelling Wales in autumn – there will be puddles.
Some of the candidate buildings for ABB.
To fine-tune the size of the apperture in the facia we mocked up this view.
The first successful loco movement from end to end deserved a celebration.
ABB at its first exhibition in Monmouth, still very much a work-in-progress, with Mike E driving, Sunday, 18th February 2018.


One of the design criteria for ABB was that it should be able to fit into two estate cars for easy (and van-rental-free) transport to exhibitions. The test came on Saturday 17 February when we transported it to its first exhibition at Monmouth.

Car 1 took the fiddle yard board and central scenic board, siamesed together for ease of handing and safe transport. To the right can be seen the triangular free-standing baseboard supports, nicknamed the ‘toblerones’.
A view of Car 1 from the side. The front passenger seat was free for another operator.
Car 2 took the remaining two boards, seen here behind the two boxes that double up as step-ups for the fiddle yard operator.
Car 2 had the passenger seat ocupied by the essentail modelling box and a bag of ‘stuff’. This could well be more intelligently stowed but as no-one needed the seat it stayed there.
After arrival at Monmouth with the two outer scenic boards in the foreground.
All ready for erection.
Erection well underway. This view shows the ‘toblerones’ in position and the facia ready to be mounted.
Almost there – the facia being assembled.
Drape in place, powered up and lighting on,
and ready to face the public.
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