Birchley

Post pictures and information about your own personal model railway layout that is under construction. Keep members up-to-date with what you are doing and discuss problems that you are having.
mpeffers
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:02 pm
Location: Fairview, Cheltenham

Birchley

Postby mpeffers » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:06 pm

I feel I've progressed sufficiently far with my current layout to show a few pics (Warning, they're quite big, hence the links):

The whole layout

Ex-GWR Churchward Mogul sits in the site of the station, looking beyond towards the loop and fiddle yard

Mk1s show the capacities of the loop and sidings

Top view of the layout with the yard bottom left, the station centre top and the fiddle yard bottom right

The basic idea here was to create a small, free standing layout so that I'd be able to finish it and run it easily. This, for me, meant fitting a headshunt capable of holding small tender engines, a loop holding at least a Mk 1 Coach, at least 2 sidings (logically arranged so they look natural, as opposed to doubling back on themselves to be more space efficient), a small station and an off-scene fiddle yard all in 4'6"x2'. This is actually a lot harder than it sounds, working in 00.
It will be set in the southwest countryside, firmly in ex-GWR territory in the late 1950s as this justifies running larger locos on smaller services as they are phased out of more significant duties by diesels and it is still pre-Beechings act (which I'm fairly sure my fictional branch wouldn't have survived) and the modernization plan, so the trains are still mainly clean.
All feedback will be greatfully accepted and I might add a bit more fictional background for the setting at a later date.
Matt

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mpeffers
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:02 pm
Location: Fairview, Cheltenham

Postby mpeffers » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:38 pm

Seen a few people stuck for names for layouts too so I'll just add where this one came from:
http://www.tafweb-trainz.co.uk/namegen.html

It's intended for a train simulator, Trainz, but can be used more generally. It didn't actually generate Birchley itself, but I ran it a few times to get ideas flowing (think Birchley was a combination of Great Birchton and Weyley, which NameGen both generated). I generally check the names I come up with on google maps too to make sure that they're relatively fictional themselves and the only match in the UK found for Birchley is a small road in Pontypridd.
Matt



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mpeffers
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Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:02 pm
Location: Fairview, Cheltenham

Postby mpeffers » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:49 pm

History

Birchley is a small town situated on the north coast of Devon in a small bay flanked by cliffs to the east and west and with the steep slopes of Birchley Common rising behind it. The Birchley and Callbrook Railway Act was passed in parliament in 1878 to allow the construction of an 18 mile branch from the village of Callbrook, where it joined with a GWR secondary line, despite the link never being used until the line was taken over by the GWR, to Birchley itself. Work began in 1882 and was completed, in two phases, in 1886 as far as Birchley Road. The line beyond Birchley Road was to be steeply graded, winding and feature several cuttings and a long tunnel to reach the town and, due to lack of funds, the decision was to make Birchley Road the temporary terminus of the line so services could begin to generate enough revenue to complete the route. A steam bus service was arranged to operate the final 2 miles over the hill into Birchley itself.

Unfortunately, Birchley's businesses were reluctant to have to arrange transport for to get their goods and supplies to and from Birchley Road and passenger numbers were significantly lower than expected too, so the final extension to Birchley was never completed and the Birchley and Callbrook Railway Company eventually ran itself into the ground in 1901.

The GWR, who too saw the potential that Birchley held for rail traffic, took over the line and set about routing their own line down into Birchley before finally deciding it probably wasn't worth the money it'd require. Birchley Road was renamed Birchley Road (For Birchley). They set about making repairs to the poorly maintained track left by their predecessors and slowly began phasing out traffic from 1910.

In 1913 though, the line got a new lease of life. The winding country roads made exporting goods beyond Birchley itself slow and costly, making the railway a potential alternative. A small factory manufacturing machinery for fishing boats relocated on Birchley Road, above the town itself, within a stones throw of the railway. in the following years, several other small businesses followed suit and the GWR added a second siding to allow for more frequent trains to operate, as their length was still governed by the short loop. With these new industries came a cheap, reliable, frequent bus service to transport people from the town to the factories, boosting the passengers travelling from the station too. Consequently, the branch quickly came out of its decline and began running at maximum capacity on Summer weekends and market days. The station was renamed once more to Birchley in 1928.

The railway survived into British Rail but freight traffic began to decline in the 1950s as lorries became more advanced, mounting a big challenge over the railway and, by the Beeching Axe, there were a handful of infrequent passenger trains still running and freight was by and large only house coal, transported by truck from the station into the town and, inevitably, closure followed shortly afterwards. The last passenger train ran in Auguse 1963 and goods traffic ceased a year later.
Matt



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mpeffers
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:02 pm
Location: Fairview, Cheltenham

Postby mpeffers » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:12 pm

Seems a little quite round here... Having said that, there's not much to see just at the moment I guess. I've bought all my points now, hence the slight increase in the progress in my sig (although I must point out the overall progress precentage is an average of the catagories, not based on how long it'll take). I've resized the pictures to allow IMG tags to be used so they're now a lot more friendly for those on slower internet connections:

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Anyways, unfortunately, this week my dad's away on a skiing trip with his school and I forgot to ask him what I need exactly to cut track and where he keeps it, so this next half week of holiday'll be more or less wasted. As a result I thought I'd keep the interest and ideas flowing with a review of my current stock:

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From left to right:
-5960 Ex-GWR Modified Hall 'Saint Edmund Hall' - Whether or not it'll fit in the headshunt will come down to how much space the buffers take up. In all honestly, it may look rather weird on such small trains, particularly in such a clean early BR livery and I have no intention of weathering it.
-7825 Ex-GWR Manor 'Lechlade Manor' - Again it may not fit due to the headshunt length, but should look more at home on small duties than the Hall would.
-5328 Ex-GWR Churchward Mogul - I based the headshunt lengths on this so it will definitely be able to run. Likely to be employed on a pick-up goods which splits at the junction and runs 2/3 wagons up to the sidings at Birchley before returning, with the guards van, light engine back down the line to rejoin the rest of it's train.

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From right to left:
-4134 Ex-GWR Large Prairie - Parted with £30 for this 'professionally weathered' 'guaranteed to work' Hornby loco. If I ever get it working it'll work goods trains.
-6622 Ex-GWR South Wales Tank - A little far from home, but I do like these engines so it'll find employment on goods traffic.
-4566 Ex-GWR Small Prairie - Requires a new buffer. Anyone know of anywhere I can get one from?
-9735 Ex-GWR Pannier Tank - In need of new couplings (which I'll buy later today)
-D2223 BR Class 4 - Not sure whether this'll find work really. The station's way too small to warrant it's own resident shunter, but the branch is possibly too long to run trains directly end to end.

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From left to right:
-Ex-GWR Autocoach - The lack of a 14xx means I wouldn't be able to use it as intended (I'm fairly sure 9735 and 4566 weren't autocoach fitted). Some autocoaches were used by non-autocoach fitted trains after the usual 14xx for the service had been withdrawn, but 14xx withdrawals didn't begin until 1956, so this is pushing the era boundries slightly. Also, the Western Region didn't adopt maroon on coaching stock until 1961, again, out of era.
-BR Mk1 BSK - Unsure what to do with this because it's numbered as Eastern Region stock and looks slightly odd owing to the fact there's only space in the loop for one coach therefore the brake compartment takes up about half the train.
-Ex-GWR Collet Stock - Will be the main coach for passenger stock owing to its short brake compartment giving more seating space and it's the right livery and perfect, era-wise.

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I will possibly ditch the Standard BR van because it's labeled Eastern Region and I think the single Toad will probably suffice for all goods services. There isn't enough room in the sidings to store the van on sight really, so it'll be detached and run out with the engine whenever goods stock is left in the sidings. The rest of the train is ventilated vans, one for fruit and the other 2 will presumably be used as general goods destined for Birchley.

There are a few gaps I want to fill:
Locos
There's plenty there variationwise (possibly more than's prototypical), but a few livery and number variations wouldnt go amiss, most likely for the Bachmann small prairies and panniers. A 14xx would be good too, along with Bachmann's 46520 (built at Swindon and turned out in lined green, perfect for this kind of branch). A first gen DMU or early diesel will be considered, but as I don't like the look of any of them before small yellow warning panels, they're slightly out of era.

Coaches
A Chocolate and Cream Mk1 BSK or BCK and a Mk1 BK (for parcels) would just about cover everything I could want here.

Freight Stock
With general goods and coal pretty much all that would be running by the era the layouts set in and the former of those already covered, a rake of BR coal wagons and possibly another BR(W) brake van is just about all I need. I may look at adding other less usual freight traffic at a later date.

That sound about right for the location/era I'm trying to represent?
Matt



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mpeffers
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:02 pm
Location: Fairview, Cheltenham

Postby mpeffers » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:25 pm

Had a few minutes today and I've more or less given up with xTrkCad, so I made a mock-up on Trainz 2006 of what I'm intending to do (Please excuse the untidy edges, the simulators intended for much larger areas to be tinkered with than I did):

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The station end of the layout, showing the the rural setting.

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The fiddleyard/yard end. The trains will literally be taken off the track by hand and moved to storage under the hills to the left during opperation and I felt it'd be better shown as a cutting than a tunnel, although the back of the cutting will be more substancial when I model it, I just couldn't do this on the sim.

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1366 runs round a short van train. Most of the loop isn't in the station so passenger trains will need to run around outside of it. Prototypically, was this done before arrival, between arrival and departure or after departure, does anyone know?

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1366 and its brakevan depart.

Comments anyone?
Matt



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Infrontcat
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Postby Infrontcat » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:49 am

Hi there

Excellent mock-up mate :) Shows off the idea behind the model splendidly. I wouldn't worry too much about which region's stock you are running too much for now. As long as it looks right, it IS right! ;) Who's to say that the reason for ER stock is because it is a through coach from York or somat like that, lol!

Handsome looking fleet of locomotive power too by the way!

Cheers

Tim
"Kashi-mashi, kashi-mashi..."

Moorcroft (St Anthonys)

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Spavo
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Postby Spavo » Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:20 am

Yeah I agree with Tim, right now the important thing is that you're enjoying it, sorry I didn't comment before, this one sneaked under my radar....

Looking good though, make sure you keep the photo updates coming and I'm sure you get plenty of feedback from the guys, good and bad! :wink:

And the loco line up does look impressive, very nice.

Gav.
Watford FC For Me Since 1976

bsa77
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Location: Farnborough, Hampshire

Postby bsa77 » Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:57 am

Really good, nice to see a mock up of the layout, I did mine on Xtrak and although easy enough to use (I have CAD experience from a previous job) found it tricky to get an idea of scale given the limited space, for example I thought I'd be able to get a lot more buildings in the for ground than is possible!

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MiniMichael
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Postby MiniMichael » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:45 am

After seeing the Trainz version of your layout i was certainly more impressed with the track plan :D

Cant wait to see the end result, im sure it will look fantastic :P

Also what version of trainz is that?

mpeffers
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:02 pm
Location: Fairview, Cheltenham

Postby mpeffers » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:16 pm

I tried XTrkCad but struggled with it a bit. Probably haven't spent more than an hour with it though - need to learn a few of the tricks before I can use it to its full extent. Certianatly you guys seem to have knocked up some great plans that I've seen.
As for Trainz, this is 2006. To be honest though, it could be just about any version - I've only had 2004 and 2006, but from what I've seen there seems to be little difference between versions. Auran have rattled so many versions out that you could probably get 2004 quite cheaply these days.
I hope it'll turn out alright in the end but ballasting, landscaping and scratchbuilding scenery are new areas for me, so it's going to be a bit of a learning curve. Luckily my dad's an electronics teacher, so I can get a hand on that side of things. :D
Thanks for the comments guys
Matt



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chrisalddin
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Location: in surrey some ware.

Postby chrisalddin » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:41 pm

it took me about 6 tries before i got used to XTrkCad

if you play about with it enough you see little trick to make it do what you are trying to do!
This Hobby is going to make me pennyless :wink: :roll:
My layout. Lots of work done update 29/2/2008 New img's!

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MrT
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Postby MrT » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:45 pm

That looks like a great little plan. How are you planning to operate it? any thoughts of a timetable etc?

mpeffers
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:02 pm
Location: Fairview, Cheltenham

Postby mpeffers » Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:44 pm

Contradicting the scenario I had on Trainz, I think van and coal trains will run into the loop, leave the guards van in the loop and then push the wagons into the sidings, run round the guards van, couple back up and the run off, coming back to collect the wagons, once emtied, later on. Passenger and mail trains will run into the loop on the main line, run round their trains and then back them into the platform itself.
It may end up looking very busy for a branchline of such short trains, but if i use isolating fishplates at either end of the loop, I can run a passenger train in to the loop whilst a goods train is waiting to depart and vice versa.
As for timetables, it's still a bit early for that but, like I said, I can't work on the track at the moment, so I have time to work on those sorts of things.
Matt



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Big Al
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Postby Big Al » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:02 pm

That's looking good I like the, well thought out, plan. Its a handy sized layout board as well. Keep up the good work.

Cheers Alan
See my thread on personal layouts "It's a holiday park with no name"
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New name for layout now found. Chufferlands Holiday Park.

mpeffers
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:02 pm
Location: Fairview, Cheltenham

Postby mpeffers » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:18 pm

Out of interest, anyone know where you can buy sheets of materials? I have a few planks of balsa wood, so I'll use this for the structural work, but I want to have a proper 3D veneer for realism. There are printed sheets for brickwork at my local model shop and online on the main site here, I know, but this layout is tiny, so small details are important.
Anyone know about the Wills Materials Range - being related to Peco, theres very little info out there on the web.
Matt



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