A Shift in Direction

Far too much time passes by between blog posts. Unfortunately the same can be said for my modelling time. Although I’ve not managed to get much modelling done this year I have managed several projects, some of which  I shall be blogging about this year as I develop the projects further. One major project I’m embarking on is Radio control. More about that in the new year.

I have decided to change my direction a little for the time being and have begun collecting items and ideas and information on GWR railways in Wales. More specifically in Mid Wales, the Lampeter Aberayron and New Quay Light railway and the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth mainline in the late 1940s. There may be a move in to British Railways but to start I shall concentrating on late 40’s pre BR. With the recent Bachmann class 64xx pannier having another run after selling out its possible to start this project, Tom Foster on his Blog has very finely modelled the GWR Pannier of the 74xx class from the Bachmann 64xx, from which I shall be taking great inspiration. As with the typical 14xx and autocoach, the 74xx pannier was the mainstay of the branch from their introduction until the line closed in the early 1960’s.

Aberayron Station, 13 Nov 1963

BR built Ex GWR 74xx pannier class no.7439 at Aberayron in 1963 shunting the yard. The platform no longer receiving passengers now doubles as another freight loading point. Photo Copyright Ian D Nolan.

There are not many photos of line from the post war years and most are taken in mid to late 1950’s which should of meant that I did indeed model the BR days, but passenger services ceased in the years just before nationalisation and as I wanted to model passenger trains late GWR it is.

 

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The Cornish way.

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!

Iain Rice track plan, to be adopted for a Cornish china clay layout in P4
Iain Rice track plan, to be adopted for a Cornish china clay layout in P4

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.