- Rheneas Tunnel -  

by Richard Grigg

For those who have read my previous article on Ffarquhar Station you may recall that I intended to construct a 009 scale narrow gauge layout depicting one of the stations on the Skarloey Railway. While that is still my intention insufficient storage space for such a layout has put the project on temporary hold until space becomes available.
In the meantime however with space for a micro—layout vacant and the SRMG's annual modelling competition approaching I set about watching relevant episodes of 'Thomas & Friends' to find a suitable location from the Skarloey Railway to model. Several locations seemed ideal but I eventually settled on Rheneas Tunnel as the subject of my new layout.
Examination of the original map of the Island of Sodor shows that Rheneas Tunnel is the Skarloey Railway's one and only tunnel. Contrary to first thought the tunnel doesn't take it's name after the railway's no: 2 engine but from the station it's located near to. 

Rheneas Tunnel has been the location of at least 3 major incidents in the Skarloey Railway's history: 

• Skarloey ran into a landslide just north of the tunnel. 
• Duncan got stuck in the tunnel trying to do 'Rock 'N' Roll'. 
• Peter Sam lost his funnel inside the tunnel due to a large, low hanging icicle.
The base of the layout is a 1'8" cake board with the foil top removed and the shape of the pond carved into. The circle of flexi—track, set to a radius of 7", sits on a piece of sundela which in turn rests on a double layer of polystyrene sheeting to create the high embankment. The hillside behind the track is scrunched up balls of newspaper which has been covered in 2 layers of plaster bandage. 

A vast array of items were used to create the scenery: 
• static grass
• Scatter turf (fine grade) 
• Cork bark
• Fine graded ballast stones of different colours
• Lichen of different colours
• Water resin
• Grass tufts
• Tall grass 

The tunnel mouth is a scratch built piece made from Metcalfe stone finish card sheet and mounted on foam board cut to the same shape. to create the illusion that the tunnel has been cut into the hillside a cover has been placed at the back of the scene which has been built out of foam board and painted black. 

Construction of this layout has answered the question of how tighter radius curve can Skarloey comfortably negotiate. Bachmann rated him for 111" radius or greater but being a narrow gauge engine I knew he could manage less than that and 7" seems to be his absolute limit. This gives me confidence that Rheneas and Rusty will run round this layout just fine as they too have been rated for 11 1⁄4" radius.