I’ve been through quite a questioning of why I enjoy Model railways of late, I’ve found it so easy in the last few years to model US railroads, and I struggled to understand why I couldn’t get motivated to build something British. I didn’t lay this at the door of modelling to P4 standards, although I think that it may have crossed my mind at times, but I struggled to find something worth modelling. However after a discussion on the Scalefour forum( http://www.scalefour.org/ ) I decided that I would use a ‘Track plan’ rather than find a prototype and copy it. Its this barrier I think that’s kept me away from a British layout for some time, but I have always been fond of a track plan that Iain Rice published many moons ago, and I decided to modify the operation but keep the track plan, but it couldn’t think of a way of including my usual theme of 1980s West Midlands. However the ace up my sleave was a Cornish China Clay layout. My Parents run a B&B ( http://www.thechapelguesthouse.co.uk/ ) in Carthew, Nr St Austell and are surrounded by China clay and Wheal Martyn is just a 2 min walk away. I have always had a fascination with Cornwall and the China clay layout has a lot going for it.
So here it is, a settled plan, its small, compact with plenty of operational potential, a scenic setting and very much manageable!
The operational changes to Iain’s plan is the mainline enters from the track bottom right of the plan, and enters the loop area. A local shunter will be available to help split the train up. The exit off scene top right allows access to the clay dry which will be the long building along the top of the plan, but off scene will be a coal power plant and bagged clay loading facility, so wagons for both of those can be used on the layout and can come in full and leave empty and vice versa. From the plan the engine shed will not be present, and could be replaced by using that small spur as a cripple siding. The longer siding which will occupy the front edge of the layout scene will become a slurry loading facility.
Some stock has already been purchased and others I already have which is always good, I’m going back a little further than I usually do, back to about 1976, so I can for the first time have an excuse to use a Western, but I go as far forward as 1984, thus allowing everything from the Western, to 25s, 50s, 37s, and 47s and peaks. I’m working on the wagons to start with as this will be a slow project, little pieces will be completed over time. I plan on using the Ratio Clay hood kit and I’m not totally convinced of the Bachmann version and their tarp hood is far from pleasing. A set of old Airfix 5 Plank open merchandise wagons will be modified for a Clayliner service. There’s a myriad of other wagons that will be looked at over time and hopefully you’ll be able to follow along with my attempts at modelling these trains.