Monday, 30 November 2009

Universal thoughts

Thanks for your last comment Iain, I’ve not come across Schrodinger's Cat theory before. Wow...get your head around that one.

I'm currently reading Phillip Pullman’s 'His Dark Materials' it’s all about parallel universes and could not resist the mention in my last blog entry. It just seems to fit where I'm going with this project. Don’t we all, if we cannot find a prototype that fits our needs, invent a little history that could exist in an alternative universe? Just need a Subtle Knife to open a window and there it is.

Boscarne Wharf/Junction would make a perfect starter layout for me as it has minimal buildings. After some failures many years ago at scratch building buildings I'm very nervous about an Engine Shed layout. So much could go wrong with all the required structures. But as space is a big issue a smaller layout it has to be. Wanting to keep what ever I build as part of the overall project I’m struggling to think of another layout that would be worth while building that is smaller than Boscarne Wharf/Junction on this proposed branch.

My first thoughts with Grogley Junction were to keep it as real as possible and not over blow the ‘what ifs’. With this new “what if” I’m a little nervous that the project is drifting away from reality a little too much. I can hear the purists barking already. This sounds like I’m searching for a reason not to build this Engine Shed. Trouble is I’m getting to really like the idea. A small but busy Engine Shed backed up with a couple of carriage sidings and single track main line behind, all situated on the banks of the river Camel. It will be a real test for my track building skills as I’ve already included a 3-way turnout and a turntable but I’m now thinking a single slip might be needed. Oh dear what I’m I getting myself into?

Just need to stop planning and get started, though they do say that ‘the devil is in the detail’.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Change of tack

After much musing I'm gradually coming to terms with the possibility of an engine shed layout. Many designs have been sketched and much thought has been given to events that will create my alternative universe for this branch. All very 'His Dark Materials' stuff.

I'm currently Temploting a couple of plans for a loco shed but think I have almost settled on one in particular. Just need to get to grips with drawing a 3-way point and a turntable in Templot. Nearly there though. Once finish I'll publish the plan.

Extra background and events that I've so far thought through to justify an engine shed at Polbrook are as follows (my alternative universe events in red):

1862 - An extension from Ruthern Bridge to Withiel was constructed for the Iron Ore mine.

1873 - An extension from Ruthern Bridge to join the Cornish Minerals Railway was built and used to transport Clay, Iron Ore and De Lank Quarry stone to St. Blazey and Fowey which offering better sea access than Padstow.

1882 - North Cornwall Railway, with the backing of the LSWR, obtained an Act to build a line from Launceston to Wadebridge and Padstow.

1882 - The North Cornwall Railway with the backing of the LSWR obtained and Act to extend the line from Ruthern Bridge to Mawgan Porth.

1886 - An agreement drawn up between the LSWR, Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway and the GWR to control GWR access to Grogley Junction. The LSWR were to rebuild the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway including a new station at Grogley Junction.

1888 - (3rd Sept.) GWR completed the extension from Bodmin to Boscarne

1895 - LSWR arrived at Grogley after the opening of the Delabole to Wadebridge Junction section of the North Cornwall Railway on the 1st June. But instead of running directly into Wadebridge the connection was direct to Grogley Junction and then on to Mawgan Porth. Mawgan Porth now being the end of the North Cornwall Railway not Wadebridge.

1907 Instead of rebuilding Wadebridge's engine shed the LSWR took the decision to build a new Engine shed at Polbrock and move all Wadebridge's loco facilities to this new location.

All the above means that my first thought of a triangle being formed at Wadebridge Junction does not happen. I've got to think a little deeper as to how all the above would affect operation on the North Cornwall Line but it does give me scope for creating an important junction station at Grogley.

Brief summary of traffic though my version of Grogley Junction:
Grogley Junction to Wadebridge/Padstow passenger and goods. (SR)
Grogley Junction to Bodmin North passenger and goods. (SR)
Grogley Junction to Bodmin General passenger and goods. (GWR)
Grogley Junction to Wenford Bridge goods including china clay traffic (SR)
Grogley Junction to St. Blazey/Fowey goods including china clay traffic (GWR)
Grogley Junction to Par passenger (GWR)
Mawgan Porth (Grogley Junction) to Okehampton/Exeter passenger (SR)
Mawgan Porth (Grogley Junction) to Exmouth Junction goods (SR)
The Ace would split at Grogley Junction – 2/3 coaches for Wadebridge/Padstow and 2/3 coaches for Mawgan Porth.

I'm debating whether Grogley Junction will become the main hub for all goods traffic in the area. i.e. all Exmouth Junction goods workings terminating at Grogley then split and forwarded on via local engine hauled pickup goods to Padstow, Bodmin, Wenford and even onward to Mawgan Porth. This would give me an excuse to shed an N class and other tender locos over night at Polbrook Engine Shed. I'll have to re work my proposed timetable a little.

I've also still to decide how the above would affect Shed allocations in the area. I would like to keep some identity with the real life location (Beattie Well Tanks, O2's, T9's, N Class, 57xx, 45xx, etc.) but I could have opportunities to pull in other locos (0-6-0 700's). In this universe I think Padstow and Wadebridge would not, by the 1960s, have ended up with any turntables. Which would mean, without the triangle at Wadebridge Junction, Polbrock Engine Shed may require a 60ft turntable. Mawgan Porth would have loco stabling facilities along with a turntable to turn the West Countries and other tender locos that would have reached the end of the line.

Would Grogley Junction also need coach sidings? I think it might. I've a rough idea how Grogley Junction would look but not completed any sketches yet. It will certainly be different to the one published earlier in this Blog.

21-11-09 An evening to remember

I'm sorry this is not a railway related posting and hopefully I will not be offending too many people as I realise this is not everyone's taste in music.

Saturday 21-11-09 six of us trolled off to Leeds to see Skunk Anansie for bit of a music anniversary and a birthday celebration.

10 years ago (10th October 1999) I 'corrupted' my two offspring by taking them to a Skunk Anansie gig at the Town and Country Club in Leeds. Amazingly Muse were the support act that night. Previously I'd taken them to a V Festival and they'd also been to see Bryan Adams, Take That and a few other stadium type gigs but not to, what I would call, a proper gig. A small, standing only, hot and sweaty gig were bands make contact with the whole audience and perform with passion/attitude. In the years that have followed they have both commented that it was that gig that really turned them on to music and seeing bands live. Both have been to countless gigs of this type since plus numerous festivals and it still ranks in their top 10 best gigs/acts seen live.

For those that have not heard of Skunk Anansie they were, in the 90s, a top selling Alternative Rock band. They recorded three platinum selling albums and had good chart success with 14 single releases. The band were named, in 2004, as one of the most-successful UK chart acts between 1952-2003 with a total of 141 weeks on both the singles and album charts. They split in 2001.

We have seen Skin, the vocalist, as a solo artist a couple of times since 2001 and my partner was well impressed. When I heard that Skunk were reforming and playing at the O2 Academy in Leeds (The old Town and Country Club) the week of my son's 24 birthday, I had to get tickets.

I was concerned that after 10 years they would not have cut the mustard or that I was excepting too much and building up the gig too much. I should not have worried as it was an excellent gig. With all things considered, this being an anniversary for the three of us, the first Skunk gig for my partner along with my partner's daughter and son's girlfriend who all thought they were awesome, along with the meal and drinks before the gig, it was possibly one of, if not the best gig, I've been to in 30 years. My son even passed the comment that it was the best birthday present ever. A memorable night, big smiles all round.

Video clips are gradually appearing on YouTube and below are a couple of links. As always with these clips quality of sound is very suspect and the view is from the balcony not the same as that from the floor. They give a good impression but don't quite capture the atmosphere.

Compelation from the Leeds gig, Skin literally walking on the audience.

Skin climbing the lighting rig and working the crowd on the balcony.

New track 'Because of you' live at Leeds

Welcome back Skunk Anansie. New album out in Feb. 2010.

Monday, 9 November 2009

A smaller project

On holiday in the Lakes. Sitting looking up at Hallin Fell from our cottage window....... I'm thinking about Grogley & Boscarne layouts. With all that has happened in the last four months I'm considering a smaller project. Just a couple baseboards using the two points I've nearly completed. Enough to get my teeth into and keep the project rolling towards Grogley. The constraints being, any starter layout will be part of the overall project, be an extension not a distraction. Any stock built/collected to be used on all layouts. But what to build?

During the last couple of weeks I've given some thought to a shunting puzzle but been struggling to justify one within the overall project. Also struggled to find a location in the area that would warrant an extra Wharf siding. Considered Wenford Bridge but to do it justice would take more than two baseboards. I have almost resorted to sticking to my original plan of Boscarne until another 'what if' cropped up.

The original premise for my version of Grogley Junction was the LSWR extending the Ruthern Bridge branch to Mawgan Porth. Also a proposed branch was built to link Ruthern Bridge to St. Blazey via the Newquay branch. Any North Cornwall train would have a reversal at Wadebridge to continue though Grogley. My 'what if' is that this reversal could be removed by the building of a triangle junction outside Wadebridge. Being away from reference books and with no access to the internet, I cannot remember the name of the junction between the North Cornwall main line and the Bodmin Branches (Shame on me). Wadebridge and Padstow would be operated as a branch from Grogley. This would probably give justification for moving the Wadebridge engine shed to Grogley. Shedded there would be branch engines like the Beatties/13xxs to operate the Wenford Bridge branch and O2s/57xxs for Bodmin North to Padstow passenger. Mawgan Porth would have facilities for larger locos. Would Grogley be the focal point for all goods traffic? If so, it would become an important junction for transfer of freight and passenger workings including an engine shed. The ACE would split at Grogley. Rear coaches for Padstow front coaches to continue to Mawgan Porth.

The engine shed would basically mirror Wadebridge facilities minus the turntable, the triangle being used to turn any locos that might need turning. Could this engine shed be built as a separate item on two baseboards? Probably yes. Until I get home and check, I'm thinking of sighting it at Polbrock. I seem to remember there is enough land Wadebridge side of the road overbridge between the river and railway. Can it be built with just two points? No, but a smaller almost selfcontained layout at the present time might be an advantage. Something that would fit on the dining table and allow me to run a few locos backwards and forwards. Time to get sketching a few plans. I'll post these as soon as I can but this 'what if' would also change my original Grogley plan.

Hmmmm..... gives me something to do while I'm away and may well produce a very interesting Grogley Junction.

(Posted while in The Crown at Pooley Bridge have a swift half).
-- Posted from my iPhone