The 2mm Scale Association celebrates its Diamond Jubilee in 2020 and towards the end of last year announced a layout challenge to mark the event. The rules are pretty simple - build an operating layout to 2mm finecsale standards with a scenic area no bigger than 600mm x 240mm and with at least one working point/turnout, the layout to be capable of being transported by private car or public transport. So, what to build? Quite a few ideas popped into my head and some of them are still bouncing around and occasionally get joined by new ones (one came along this morning for instance) but the clock's ticking (the layout has to be ready for the Diamond Jubilee Expo in 2020 and I'm not the fastest of modellers) and a start had to be made. I've moved around the UK a bit over the years and have always become interested in the railways of the area I was living in, but one line which has always stuck with me as very modellable (and in a small space to boot) is the Tewkesbury Quay Branch. Built by the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway as a single track line between Ashchurch and Tewkesbury, it opened in 1840 and initially terminated at a very compact station close to the centre of Tewkesbury. It was extended in 1844 to a quay on the River Avon, but in 1864 (when the Tewkesbury and Malvern Railway opened its line between those two towns) it closed to passenger traffic and became a goods only branch. On leaving the junction with the Malvern line, the Quay Branch curved around Tewkesbury's main goods yard and then passed across Chance Street, the first of three level crossings between the junction and the quay. Having run between Downings Maltings and some allotments, the branch then entered into a small, cramped yard, bordered on one side by Station Street and on the other by the window-less backs of a number of terraced houses. Immediately on entering into the yard, the line passed a small single road engine shed and there was also a dead-end siding which was used for coaling locos, though when the shed was built there was also a small coaling stage immediately adjoining it. The branch then became double track before crossing over Oldbury Road and running into the fromer terminus station which only had a single platform but had an overall roof over both tracks, the second line acting as a run-round loop. Immediately to the west of the station, the line crossed Tewkesbury High Street and then ran along Quay Street (with a loop serving Tewkesbury Brewery) before crossing the Avon, passing through the Borough Mills compex and then terminating at the quay side. When the DJLC was announced, it immediately occured to me that various bits of the branch would lend themselves very nicely to the permitted dimensions without too many changes having to be made. The thought also occurred to me that it would be possible to do two or three separate layouts but build them in modular fashion so that they could ultimately be joined together to form one larger layout. But where to start? Out with the old plans and the maps ... a bit of head scratching regarding dimensions and compressions ... and a decision was made - the engine shed area would fit lengthwise with only minimal compression and there wouldn't be any compession required width wise with the whole yard area and Station Street fitting in the area allowed and possibly even room for part of the cattle yard on the other side of the road. So, boards were made - kept very simple for the moment and constructed out of PVC foamboard (rigid but light) and a plan produced ... and a start has been made on the terraced houses which will form the back drop to the layout. The very simple baseboard (fiddle yards will be cassettes). Plan, backboard and background buildings placed losely on the baseboard. And a couple of close ups of the smaller terrace houses that form part of the backdrop. It's probably a bit odd, but I like to have one building finished to spur me on to other things, so the next job will be to get the terrace painted and tiled. Regards, David V.