Monday, 10 November 2008

How I ended up here, at Grogley.

This project has been bubbling away for many years. The origins of which start back in the early 1980s when a Model Railway Club, of which I was a founding member, decided to build Bodmin Road as a club layout. This prompted me into looking at this area in more detail for my own interests. At this point I discovered Bodmin General. It has everything, single platform with interesting L shaped station building, goods yard, engine shed and coach siding. It has two lines exiting the station and natural scenic breaks with the ground rising behind the station and the road over bridges over the incoming tracks. It was also busy for such a small station with the exchange goods traffic and clay workings. All this possible in 12 x 2 feet. I thought I'd found the ideal station to model. But at the time North London Group's model was just starting to appear in the magazines. I was overawed at the standard of this model and felt that I would be disappointed with what ever I managed to create when comparing the two.

At this time I did venture into EM gauge and build a few wagons and started on building track with copper paxolin sleepers which were intended to convert a previous small OO layout. Somewhere along the line (no pun intended) I lost my way. Many projects were drawn and not progressed. I kept getting drawn back to Bodmin General and the surrounding area. I have a general leaning towards the GW with its 57xxs and 45xxs along with the diesel hydraulics. But I then discovered the Beattie Well Tank which is such a beautiful little tank engine. The more information I collected the more I was getting drawn to the SR workings and locos of this area. The N Class 2-6-0 is such a well proportioned engine.

After I'd spent many years in the wilderness, Boscarne Junction started to be in the frame for a layout. At the start no station platform seemed to be an advantage but I then realised it my not hold my attention for long without one. What about the mill at Boscarne? Could there have been a private siding or a wharf siding similar to those on the Wenford Branch giving extra shunting potential? Could I include a halt similar to Dunmere or Nanstallon at the other side of the level crossing to the junction? After a while I began to realise that this would not be Boscarne and if I was going this far away from the location should I look elsewhere? The project was put on hold for a while longer. I had a demon in my mind that the layout had to be of an actual location, anything else was just playing trains.......

I have always been negative about my ability to build a model of a real location and have it scrutinised. However, more information gathered, and a few exhibitions visited started the thought process again albeit from a totally fictitious angle. Perhaps adding a twist on history for Boscarne would do the trick? More plans and still not satisfied. I was trying to find a solution to justify a layout that would have seen Beattie Well Tanks, O2s, 45xxs, 57xxs, T9s, N Classes and Diesel Hydraulics. Trying to keep the interchange of clay traffic as an interesting freight working. Also if possible including Atlantic Coast Express workings, behind a West Country Pacific, with some BR Standard Class loco's along with some more GW types for good measure. That stereotype GW Branch working of a 14xx and auto coach would also be nice. As a curved ball a 42xxs would be interesting as a couple were shedded at St. Blazey for the clay runs to Fowey and finally was there any way I could justify larger GW tender locos.

Ruthern Bridge was in the frame at one time and could, with different twisting of history, have been developed into a model of a large junction station with Wadebridge and Padstow being a branch line from it. Eventually I thought that this would be too big for my first project, so Grogley was developed. I liked the idea of building a junction on a curve and first tried to transpose Boscarne Junction onto the location at Grogley. Initially with no station then I adding a halt, then altered this to include an island platform and finally as the final sketch (see track plans). I also want to fit as much of the actual location into this fictitious layout thus fulfilling the need for a model of real location. In the end I have taken a couple of liberties to try and make an interesting model that should be enjoyable to build, interesting on the eye, and a pleasure to operate. After all a hobby should be fun and entertaining.

I think after 20 years I have finally expelled the demons that if any layout is worth building it has to be an actual location. I am hoping that with Grogley Junction I will created a plausible layout bridging the gap between real and fictitious.

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