This might be blasphemy....

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Katabatic
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:30 pm

This might be blasphemy....

Postby Katabatic » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:42 pm

Here is one of those preposterous "what if" imaginings.

In a nutshell, I am trying to accommodate a GWR branch line that goes AROUND Box Hill to Chippenham and Calne (as in reality) but terminates at a Bath main line station (as in my head). Because there appears to be no other way, such a foolish thought requires the branch line to follow the path of Brunel's main line from Bath along the River Avon, causing me to pretend that Britain's first passenger line (from Paddington to Bristol) went by some other route! What, replace Brunel's seminal main line so I can run branch line only trains between Chippenham and Bath?! If ever there was a bad idea....

Whilst clearly deranged, I haven't (yet) lost all my marbles. Put simply I want to build a tiny little piece of Bath (c.1960) where I can swap around as much of my rolling stock as possible (please scroll down, if interested, for an outline description of the proposed model railway).

Part of the pretence is that the Bill for the Paddington to Bristol main line was tragically derailed by those pesky Box Hill tunnel doubters who thought (wrongly) that the length and depth of the planned tunnel was impossibly ambitious, that passengers would suffocate inside or even runaway trains emerge from it at break neck speed. Had parliament agreed then Brunel would have been denied his flattest and fastest route and the world's costliest and greatest engineering project of it's day would never have happened. So would Brunel have given up meekly, cowed by his detractors? No of course not - but lets pretend he did (or else I'm wasting my time on this) and, in case of just such an eventuality, that the newly formed GWR had drafted a Plan B. What then might this Plan B have been? Well.....

London to Bristol (and Bath) via:

Swindon and Mangotsfield perhaps with an extension to Bath?
Newbury and Westbury then Bath?

These later railways did eventually wind their way down to Bristol (with passengers having to change trains) but would Brunel and his backers have considered them as plausible main line alternatives? Not sure.

Perhaps you can help me uncover another better route (apart from the one that was built I mean!)?

Your thoughts and suggestions are highly welcome!




An Outline Description of the proposed Model Railway (a shelf in N)

Key Parts
The railway will include a small part of a (former) GWR 4 platform passenger terminus (an attempt to re-imagine Bath Green Park as a GWR station instead of Bath Spa but with a later Midland / S&D extension added), a depot and pick up goods bank (instead of Wetmoreland Road Goods), a single road pilot shed, a 3 or 4 road Fiddle Yard (with traverser) and a long hidden track forming a 3 block approach.

Operation
Only the first 4 coaches on each of only 2 of the platforms will be "viewable" (the rest of the train, which could be any length, will simply not exist). One platform will be for regional express' and specials, the other for locals (Bath - Bristol main line and Bath - Chippenham branch line). After uncoupling in the FY, arriving steam locos will run around (using the hidden approach when needed). Pick up goods (sundries and the odd single wagon load e.g. cement or bricks) arriving from Bristol will be transshipped for the branch (and vice versa) or collected at the load bank. Other end points will include a parcels office, coal siding and cattle dock. Yard operations will be facilitated using simple shunts (e.g. pushing wagons uncoupled along reasonably straight and level tracks). Shunting will be needed at the short arrival and departure sdgs (load bank, depot etc) and on the depot road (with empties frequently added at the arrival end of the building to move things along inside). There is space for a turntable and for the covered part of a coaling bank.

How it might look
Using an approximate rule of thirds (where 1 & 2 are on the main shelf (80 x 12 inches tapering to 7 inches) and 3 is on a dogleg extension (27 x 8 inches)):

1. Platforms (part of), train shed (part of) and LR station building (part of) plus the depot
2. Main yard area including the modest pick up goods load bank (with cattle dock and single wagon load end dock) and a customer collection vehicle track
3. Small engine shed (for 2 x 0-6-0T's; one a pilot), coaling stage (part of) and a small turntable

The 4th, er, third will comprise the FY and the hidden approach track (both of these will be on the main shelf)

The uniformity of the terrain (flat and dirty) will be a problem. Grassy-shrubby bits and the odd small tree if possible will help break things up. The hidden line will be disguised behind lift-off LR buildings. The FY "might" be partially covered over by the train shed.

If I can develop these embryonic ideas until I'm happy with them then I'll work things out properly!

Katabatic
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:30 pm

Re: This might be blasphemy....

Postby Katabatic » Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:30 pm

I just stumbled on this helpful thread posted in the Bristol Railway Archives Forum:

http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/forum/vie ... f=3&t=2310

It discusses many of the alternative routes to Paddington, both after Bristol Parkway linked through to Temple Meads and from earlier times. There are quite a few!

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knottinbotswana
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Re: This might be blasphemy....

Postby knottinbotswana » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:23 pm

Haven't you basically described the Chippenham - Thingley Junction - Melksham - Holt - Bradford on Avon - Avoncliff - Dundas - Bathampton - Bath Spa line?

The first bit of the line up to Bradford on Avon is definitely branch line size, also nice canal aqueducts as you get closer to Bath if you like that kind of thing!

Katabatic
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:30 pm

Re: This might be blasphemy....

Postby Katabatic » Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:31 pm

knottinbotswana wrote:Haven't you basically described the Chippenham - Thingley Junction - Melksham - Holt - Bradford on Avon - Avoncliff - Dundas - Bathampton - Bath Spa line?

The first bit of the line up to Bradford on Avon is definitely branch line size, also nice canal aqueducts as you get closer to Bath if you like that kind of thing!



I hoped that the Bath to Chippenham line could be a branch line all the way and just as you have described (but terminating at Calne). So I'd pretty much settled on the Paddington main line going via Badminton instead of Box (with passengers having to change at Temple Meads for " My Bath Station"*). The problem which remains is the Bradford Junction where the "Wilts, Somerset & Weymouth section" meets the "Bathampton & Bradford branch"

* "My Bath Station" is a shared terminus at Green Park, as previously mentioned. I'll call it "Bath" from now on.

To fix things....

Option 1.
Turn the whole Chippenham to Westbury main line (part of the Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth section) into a branch line so that trains from Bristol to Westbury, Chippenham or Devizes do the following:
Temple Meads to "Bath" (branch)
"Bath" to Bradford Junction (branch) for either Westbury (branch) or Holt Junction (branch)
Holt Junction (branch) to Chippenham & Calne (branch) or Devizes (branch)

Option 2.
Turn the Bathampton & Bradford branch into a main line so that trains from Bristol to Westbury, Chippenham or Devizes do the following:
Temple Meads to "Bath" (main)
"Bath" to Bradford Junction (main) for either Westbury (main) or Holt Junction (branch)
Holt Junction (branch) for either Chippenham & Calne (branch) or Devizes (branch)

The first option allowing trains to run on branch lines all the way from "Bath" is overblown (too many connecting branch lines). The second option adds branch line trains to the main line as far as Bradford Junction (e.g. an hourly service each way from Bristol and Chippenham), though having already removed the direct link to Swindon(!), there should also be fewer main line trains to Westbury and beyond. Whilst option 2 means special dispensation for some of my rolling stock, it also provides more locomotive and rolling stock permutations at "Bath". For example, passenger trains (in 1960) departing from the platforms to be modelled, might include:

Bristol via Oldfield Park (main line; former GWR route)
Weymouth via Westbury (main line; former GWR route)*
Chippenham & Calne via Bradford-on-Avon (main line to Bradford Junction then branch line; former GWR route)*
Gloucester via Mangotsfield (branch line to main line; former Midland route)
Bournemouth via Templecombe (former S+D route)

I doubt I'd run more than an occasional goods up to Devizes.

* I'll need to imagine a wye into Bath Junction somewhere near the path of the S&D at Twerton in order for branch line and Weymouth trains to call at the "Bath" terminus.

One things for sure: The railway (if built) puts the mockers on Chippenham's rise as a commuter town. Is that a bad thing?

Early days....


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