LE TOUR. ANCELLE, Haute Alpes    HOe  

Somewhere in the Haute Alps, Southern France H0e 3.5mm


This was an Ebay win in 2011 and is an unfinished 4'x2' 'Rabbit Warren' style 009 layout. All the track works, so I just need to sort some of the electrics, then ballasting and scenics can commence. Bought originally for my collection of HO narrow gauge trams, I may well add some steam locomotives and small diesels to cover the maintenance trains.

Originally, I decided to set it in the  Hautes-Alpes region of France, in the provence of Alpes-Cote d'Azur and is an area I'm familiar with, but in snowy conditions, as I undertook the Croisiere Blanche (a 4x4 snow driving event) in 1998. The model won't bear any likeness to a town or railway in the area, as it's all in my mind! The area it is set in is east of Gap, which has featured in the WRC Monte Carlo Rally and the Tour de France a few times, especially in 2011. I thought 'Ancelle' was the village we stayed in during the 'Croisiere', but that turned out to be Orcieres-Merlette, but I still considered Ancelle to be a good name for the layout!

UPDATE: JULY 2018. This old layout was 'found' in my other shed and I had fogotten about it

I was going to set in North Wales and give it a Welsh name, but I've decided to re-locate it back in the Haute Alpes area, near Grenoble, after watch fellow Welshman, Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, wining the Alpes d'Huez stage, his second win, the first giving him a well deserved yellow jersey, with fellow Sky rider Chris Froome, in second place.

As I said before, Ancelle is a figment of my imagination, but it will give me a light exhibition layout, that I can easily carry and set up by myself. I've spent a day coating the cracked polyfilla with glass fibre resin (outside, not indoors, I hasten to add!!!). This will give a much stronger base and hopefully not allow the surface to crack. 

I have few French buildings, left over from an unfinished standard gauge French layout, which will be used around the station area. while some 'Alpine' style buildings will populate the upper slopes. The top of the layout will feature a high level viaduct with a cycle race "Le TOUR!" being undertaken! - so long as I can find suitable 1/87th scale racing cyclists... all I have found is some old cyclists and a mixed touring group... I need lycra!!! 

There must be somebody who makes HO scale modern cyclists!!!

I also intend to have a couple of suitable "Le Tour" posters, each side of the layout.

Just waiting for the rain to stop to put the second coat of resin on the layout...before trees, bushes and people can be added - and stalls around the station area - and I'll have to paint a "Alpes" type backscene!...