About Ambleton Vale
How It Came About
The inspiration for Ambleton Vale grew from discussions about our coffee table layout “Feldspar.” People kept asking us if we had any plans to exhibit it. The idea of exhibiting hadn’t occurred to us and we dismissed it at first – the coffee table is not all that portable, and in any case not really suitable for a show because of its height. Then we had the bright idea: why not build ANOTHER layout, specifically for exhibition? The rest, as they say, is history.
Released from the coffee table format, we decided to make a much more realistic plan, with gentle curves instead of tight turns. The result is a scene that’s 16ft (nearly 5m) long. This means that the fully assembled layout doesn’t fit anywhere in our house (it’s tiny – that’s why we started with a coffee table in the first place!) so in order to test it fully, we have to borrow a hall nearby in the village.
The Back Story
"Ambleton Vale" is set in rolling countryside somewhere in central England around 1965. Ambleton Vale station is a terminus at the end of a fictitious branch line connecting the village of Ambleton Vale with the county town some 20 miles away. It has survived in the face of the general decline in rail travel because of a flourishing livestock market on the outskirts of the village, and the nearby Ambleton Vale racecourse. The line was setup to facilitate the transportation of animals both at the main station, which is close to the market, and at a short siding which services the racecourse, but of course carries plenty of humans too! The station is busiest at weekends when the market is in progress but is also used during the week by commuters who find that rail travel makes it possible for them to have a quiet rural lifestyle away from their work in the city.