Sunday, 13 August 2017

An itch that might need scratching

A while back, in a previous post, I'd mentioned a long held desire to build a GWR Branch Line Terminus and that I might put my thoughts together in a blog posting. Not sure if this is the right time but consider this post as therapy to either cement my ideas or dispel them for good.

In the past there have been a number of layouts and magazine articles that have "floated my boat" but the ones that have stuck with me over the years are:
  • P4 model of Bodmin General by the North London Group.
  • Articles in the Model Railway Constructor about the construction of Bodmin General.
  • An article in the January 1975 Railway Modeller by N.J. Pocock titled Bigbury Bay.
  • An article in the April 1979 Railway Modeller Plan of the month - A Southern branch line.
  • Iain Rice's "Witheridge" track plan from his "An approach to Model Railway Layout Design, Finescale in small spaces". 
There have been other layouts, in books and magazine articles, that I've pored over but the above have been the ones I've always returned to and contemplated for a BLT project of some sorts.

Let me expand on the above:

My interest in the Bodmin area was sparked by the Mablethorpe & District Model Railway Club choosing to build a layout using Bodmin Road's track plan. Then after seeing the North London Groups' P4 model of Bodmin General and reading the articles in the Model Railway Constructor, brought home to me what could be achieved, not only in modelling standards but operation. This was in the 1970s when I was just starting to discard the toy train cloak and learning how to build finescale track to 00 and EM standards. Up to that point I'd only constructed one layout called "Edgcroft" using Peco Streamline track and "Prototype" card buildings.

I think the Railway Modeller issue from January 1975 struck a cord due to the diligence that Mr Pocock put into the research for the article. The article describes a fictitious branch line from Ivybridge to Bigbury on Sea. Mr Pocock goes to great lenghts to describe the location, then describes his fictitious reasons why and how the branch was built including a map of the branch and gradient profile, there is also a proposed track plan of the terminus (dare I say very 1970s). He then goes on to describe traffic backed up with a timetable and mainline connections at Ivybridge, finishing off with his thoughts on the required rolling stock. All that needs doing is building the layout. Unfortunately I always thought the track plan left something to be desired.

The April 1979 Plan of the month is a fictional plan based on Swanage and has all the necessary BLT features; single platform with runaround loop; goods yard with goods shed, cattle dock, coal yard and head shunt; engine shed with water tower, water column and coaling stage; there is also provision for industrial/private siding in the shape of a diary. All to fit in an L shape space of 8ft x 4ft in 00. Along with track plan and signal diagram the article has a 3D full colour illustration. I have to admit that this is probably why I initially warmed to the plan along with it seemed to have all necessary features.

There are many Ian Rice track plans that I've mused over and redrawn but Witheridge is one has always struck a cord when thinking about a GWR BLT. I especially like the way buildings have been used to mask the entrance to the fiddle yard along with the level crossing. The kick back to the goods shed also adds operational interest. It has the all features I feel a BLT should have bar one, the exclusion of an engine shed is the only down side.

So, what I am I considering?

Is there a possibility that I can build a GWR BLT using Mr Pocock's background information on Bigbury Bay with the April 1979 Plan of the month and a smattering of features from Witheridge all to similar standards of Bodmin General?

For a layout based in the 1930s, I already have two P4 locos that would fit the bill as they will need no further alteration apart from possibly renumbering.

Secondly; I have a number of Ratio GWR building kits ready for bashing into shape.

Thirdly; I already have a OO GWR liveried "B" Set as well as a P4 Auto Coach in GW livery along with 30 or so wagon kits that I've collected over the years just for this long held desire.

I may expand on the above thoughts in a future blog, but, if I intend to have a layout to exhibit, once Tredethy Wharf has out lived its usefulness, this one itch I may have to scratch, though may I suggest you don't hold your breath...