Bernard was much inspired by the canal system which had led Stoke on Trent to surpass him as a leading supplier of fine pottery to the dales, but was convinced that a light railway would be quicker and cheaper, despite warnings from his son Bringdur Housedown (Bernard's wife was Icelandic, hence his son's unusual first name) that "t'railways not exactly smooth sailin', is it? Won't t'ut pottery get smashed afore it gets out o' town?". "Oh, shut oop Lad" Bernard is alleged to have replied "I wants a railway, an' a railway I shall 'ave!"
As is so often the way with such things, once challenged by his son Bringdur, Bernard became like a man possessed; a railway engineer was appointed and planning began. Isambard (K.B.) politely declined Bernard's invitation, but a chance meeting at a local hostelry resulted in self proclaimed (and self recommended) rail engineer William Eckerslike (Willy to his friends) being appointed, on 'advantageous' terms.
Perhaps Bernard was unwise to tell Willy to "spare no expense" but that is exactly what he did, although at the subsequent bankruptcy hearing, it was not possible to identify where Willy had spent the Housedown fortune. Certainly, a track was laid, rolling stock was purchased and a fine causeway was constructed over Manor Bog, in tribute to Mr Madoc, MP - one of Bernard's life heroes. But the infrastructure and stock were valued at no more than a tenth of the expenses claimed - if only Willy could've been found to attend the hearing, perhaps some light could have been shed…
Despite the best advice of friends and accountant, Bernard got the railway he'd longed for. Unfortunately, the pottery business in the Dales had gone into permanent decline under the onslaught of cheap mass produced pots from Staffordshire. The first, and only, scheduled train from Breastfield left the pottery with its load just as the receivers entered Bernard's office. And, sure enough, on arrival at Bogg Bridge, most of the consignment had been reduced to shattered shards - just as Bringdur predicted…
All of the stock and property of the railway were sold to cover Bernard's outstanding debts. By the time the scrapmen and administrators had finished, all that was left of the line was the associated earthworks, and of course, Bogg Causeway.
Moving nearer to the present day; in 2014 a chance conversation in the local hostelry (The Punch Bag) revealed an interest in looking for remains of the route taken by the railway, with the obvious starting point being Bogg Causeway. From this inauspicious start, a new limited company, BaBBLR Preservation Group, was born. Couldn the railway be restored, and run viably as a freight and tourist led enterprise? Bogg Causeway - the land nearest camera has now been reclaimed as farmland. The causeway appears solid and useable. At 165 (scale) yards long, it was a major engineering triumph over boggy peaty land - especially for an engineer of Willy Eckerslike's dubious ability. Now to find the route of the rest of the line...
Having verified that the causeway was still usable, work began to identify the route taken between Breastfield Pottery (as was) and Bogg Bridge.
The old station area had been left to nature, and became very overgrown. The local grapevine, meanwhile, lead to a real surge in interest amongst locals - a work party arrived to help with clearing the station area - far more than tree fellers! Remains of giant Leylandii Eforvicia have been grubbed out.
Tireless work at Gretadale Reference Library, uncovered the route to Breastfield (now a wooded area outside the village) where the remains of the old Housedown Pottery were discovered.
Not being content with simply researching and maybe restoring a defunct railway, a man of vision in the community, Frederick Archibald Turnpike, realised the potential for a resurgence of narrow gauge railways as a low cost transport link to the wider world. Working quietly behind the scenes, Turnpike secured funding to establish a new light railway company - news broken to the local population via their own publication in December 2014 - Appointed as the new Railway's Controller, Mr F. A Turnpike said the name change was unavoidable, if the line wished to become recognised in the local area, and more importantly, to secure the financial input from the anonymous benefactor 'in perpetuity'. And so, in 2014, began the Greta and Wenningdale Light Railway, or GWLR, as it has become known.
Apologies to other forum members to whom this post won't make much sense, apart from those who have been here a while and might remember when LMSjools and SLRmidge still posted regularly. Phil is a member of the same 16mm Association area group as I am.
"It's a model icebreaker sir."
"It's a bit big isn't it?"
"It's a full scale model sir....."
We thought it was unique to the UK!
Anyway, back on topic -
In the space of just three years, my railway has had three layouts! This plan is as it was at the beginning of 2016 The track initially consisted of the portion from 'Black Burton', to the end of the garden, then along the field wall (which is ground level in the garden and represents Bogg Causeway) before going around the west loop (which represented Bernard Housedowns old pottery site) to return to Black Burton. A small retaining wall was built along the flower bed to retain the soil. Here's a photo from when a friend became the first 'visitor' to the line, showing the section where Bendam station is. And another shot of the whole stretch up the side of the garden. This was taken 12 months after the shot above, and shows the stone is starting to weather nicely. This is the tunnel entrance to Black Burton yard, which is built in the base of a large former quarry. Below is the current view of Black Burton. I had removed the doors of the station building to repaint the cream. The rest of the building is a sedate beigey cream, but the door panels were painted with railmatch WR cream, which is just too custardey for me. I'll do a separate post on the building itself. The low relief engine shed is made from foamboard and a Jackon's door and window. This has been outside since 2015, and seems to be surviving the rigours well. The turntable consists of a round planting tray sunk into the paving, and a centrally pivoted table made from some decorative sheet metal (for radiator covers, I think), and plastic card railings. PTFE washers on the ends of the table allow a low friction operation of the turntable The loop at bottom right in the plan was built in summer 2015, to provide the facility of a run around circuit, and represented the link to Ingleton Mountain Railway. This was negotiated with the Planning Authority to allow continuous running on the line, without the need for running round at Burton. Certain conditions had to be met - it had to be removable (so it was built on a filcris ladder 'frame'). This also meant that another short sharp gradient was required, as this placed the loop two inches above the other track, with only 3 feet to achieve the height gain. it was achieved, and seemed to work well; except for free running The only picture I have of the loop was taken during the winter - to my shame, I didn't take advantage of the conditions to run anything The sharp incline (deliberate) is where the lower green cross is on the plan above, whilst the green cross at top right is the site of another steep gradient, on a bend which was due to poor engineering on my part. It was dissatisfaction with the running on these gradients that lead to the current arrangement. Despite all my good intentions trying to keep the gradient to the straight, and to utilise the whole length to lessen the slope (upper right side in the plan), I failed The gradient is gentle for most of the straight down from the tunnel, but then becomes too fierce approaching the bend, and worse still, continues into the bend - this has led to several derailments, and also makes it impossible to run without radio control, because sufficient regulator to get up the slope causes the locomotive to career wildly down the slope. This photo shows the offending corner, with the rockery behind. The board (left in the picture) is not (yet!) attractive but is very necessary - it stops (real) cows destroying the rockery My plan was to paint an image of Ingleborough onto it as a small 'backdrop'
"It's a model icebreaker sir."
"It's a bit big isn't it?"
"It's a full scale model sir....."
Thanks Grant. There are a couple of spots on the layout now that are particularly photogenic. Hopefully more will develop as it matures
If only there were room behind that engine shed - unfortunately it would be subterranean if I were to use it like that!daan wrote: ↑Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:02 pmNice layout, I like the half buildings at the station. The front of the shed could also be a nice way to hide an entrance into a storage siding in a garage or something. Apart from that; gradiënts are annoying, certainly for live steam and even more when you want to run without the electronics. Could it be possible to take the grade and decent again with a momentum van? I saw that someone else on the board sells these and that they can help getting steamlocomotives to behave..
As for using a momentum van - that is exactly what I did initially, but this is a sort of catch up thread at the moment. I solved the problem with some re-engineering (some of which is still ongoing) which I shall detail in other posts.
Haven't run a thing so far this year Christopher, but I shall eventually, and an invite will go out to the NWAGers at some point. You'll be welcome to brave the torrid weather of the windswept western dales!
An unexpected bonus has been that she now appears to view the railway as an asset, rather than a liability
Discussions led to an exploration of what we would both like to see in the garden. For my wife - wider flowerbeds, and a pond - which I also liked the sound of - and a reappraisal of how the railway sits in the garden. In particular, the Ingleton loop was discussed. At the time it was seen as a space limited solution to solving the problem of eliminating end to end running - the intention had been to fill the loop with flowerpots in the summer. Perhaps the railway would be less intrusive if the loop was removed and it ran along the front of the patio, and down a widened border on the SW side of the garden?
Perhaps it would, I said, and how attractive the pond would look with reflections of trains passing lazily in the summer sun? And if the line was raised by only a few inches at the bottom of the garden, all the gradient issues could be solved for good
Not receiving a no to these musings resulted in a rethink of how the line should be routed. The result was 'Plan B' - Ta - da!!
This would require a connection to the loop at Housedown (below) as well as raising the line in the loop and over Bogg Causeway by some 3 inches (a scale 4 1/2 feet) or so, as well as provision of a water reflective viewing platform (commonly known as a bridge!).
At the following planning meeting, tensions ran high as the result was awaited, but thankfully, there was unanimous agreement to the proposed changes
So, in the space of four or five weeks from early June 2016, the civil engineers and permanent way gangs were hard at work.
The Ingleton Loop was torn up - the cutting that led to it and one of the notorious inclines was levelled and track relaid to the same level as Black Burton.
The long flat run across the patio was laid (although it is only about 50% ballasted in this image) and already there has been an alteration, with a run around loop included (approved at an emergency planning meeting only this afternoon!)
In addition, a major geological event resulted in the appearance of a substantial expanse of water - (or is it a small pond, to represent a local major waterway?)
That extension to the line means we have now reached one of the lines long awaited goals - a crossing of the River Lune! Plans were drawn up for the bridge to span this illustrious waterway!
So, still to do:
1. The line and West Loop at the field end to be raised 4.5 scale feet (3") along it's length (the salvaged filcris from the Ingleton loop will be utilised for this).
2. Construction of the Lune river crossing.
3. Establish a permanent way from the Lune down the west border to the west loop.
4. Establish a 'river' (the Greta) at the rockery end, with associated crossings.
5. The station for Nether Kettle will now be located at the patio end, utilising the new run round loop.
6. Make it all look fantastic so she doesn't regret her decisions!
In this shot, the problematic curve near the rockery has not yet been raised and levelled - still work to do there. However, the 'coo' proof backing board has seen some attention - a local mountain has come into view, though this is still a work in progress.
As you can see, my inquisitive friends are near constant companions during the summer months!
Because the causeway has been raised, the West loop has also been raised by a similar amount. The existing track work has been cut out (by the derelict pottery and near the piece of broken flag), ready to accept the points that will create Housedown Triangle, to join up to the crossing of the Lune (an amendment to Plan B that means I probably need to move onto plan C!). I re-used the filcris from the removed Ingleton loop for the line supports, but used plastic waste pipe for the uprights to support it. These were concreted into place - 12 months on, they seem to be working.
Work on the river crossing was unfortunately stalled somewhat, and I'll cover the building of that in a separate post.
*Although I live in North Yorkshire, I am as far west as you can get and still be in an 'eastern' county. Morecambe (aka Moribund) Bay is only 10 miles away as the crows fly.
To create the bridge piers, I was tempted to try a technique used in the construction of stage scenery, which involves applying a cement based render coat over polystyrene 'blockwork' applied to my foamboard piers. To put it mildly, I did not enjoy the process, which proved to be frustratingly slow, and in my opinion, not that successful either.
The fine summer conditions of late June 2016 resulted in a low flow for the river, making construction work easier (or I took some water out of the pond ) The buttresses/piers were the first order of work - the core is my favourite material - foamex board, which has the advantage of being tough and waterproof.
I had a rough sketch to work to, but needed to produce cardboard templates to accommodate the uneven lining to the pond. Once I had one of the piers as I wanted them, the other was produced in the same fashion, at a faster rate. Assembly was initially with superglue, but I reinforced all the joints with a high tack grab adhesive. Because of the curve leading into the crossing from the patio side, I had to make the 'throat' of the pier much wider than I originally intended to allow for swing on engines and stock.
I then proceeded to clad the foamex cores with foam to represent blockwork.
Mistake number 1 - I used open cell polyurethane foam, instead of closed cell. The main result here was that it didn't provide a rigid enough base for the applied cement render - but I didn't realise that then, so the render was applied. And re-applied, and re-applied. Well, you get the idea - no matter how many coats of render I applied, it just wasn't 'firming' up. It looked good, but was simply too prone to damage.
I was growing increasingly frustrated with it, and my enthusiasm for the technique really took a dive. I decided to try and stiffen the coating with PVA, and apply yet more cement render. The piers, together with several castings for various detailing items (causeway wall, other walling) were left in the garden under my gazebo overnight to dry.
On the morning of July 2nd I had to go out, returning about midday - to hear my wife calling urgently for help!
The gazebo had just gone walkabout - castings everywhere, table and chairs flying, and some damage to Burton station.(fortunately, the damage to the station area was minor and cosmetic, and easily repaired. However, my castings were trashed, apart from the wall section, where only a corner chipped off, so I will be able to use most of it, thank goodness. The gazebo had two broken legs, and one of the plastic feet had broken, but I think I was able to repair it sufficiently for 'light weather' use. Before leaving that morning, I had checked the tiedowns and pegs because the wind was gusting as showers came in. I thought, being as it's summer that it would be okay. Muppet! Thank goodness my wife was in, and sprang into action when she heard a crash - otherwise I've no idea where the gazebo would have landed!
The two bridge piers were the most annoying - one of them had the backing board broken in two places, and the stone effect had been scuffed off and through in several places on both. In the end I used the carcasses as a mould to make two piers from concrete, and then painted stonework on (though not very artistically). Whilst it's not as good as what I had hoped for from the rendered items, it is passable; and has proved to be durable in the 12 months since.
In the foreground of the above image are the components of the bridge deck. The main span is an old fluorescent light body, with two angle bars to provide rigidity. Once bolted together, the sleepers were bolted in place, with every third one being extra long to act as supports for the stanchions which would support the handrails. I made sure these were wide enough to clear the widest running stock I had, but - Mistake Number 2 - I forgot to allow for having to drill holes to support the stanchions This led to a rather tight clearance on my largest loco - a Ragleth...
The Health and Safety team insisted on walkways either side of the permanent way - they weren't impressed wit the idea of PW crews leaping from sleeper to sleeper. The resulting span also seemed to satisfy the Controller, as well as the railway's chief Civil Engineer, Trevor (despite the stern looks here! ) Since then, the bridge has seen service in all weathers, as these pictures show
And so far, no PW staff have fallen off!
Thanks for the blow by blow ( ) account of construction.
Re the foam board, a very useful tip I picked up from, I think, JOhn ( FBGR), is to use the adhesive sold to plumbers to solvent weld waste pipes. You have to get it from behind the checkout at B&Q, Wickes, etc but it works like a charm. It will also bond ABS, HIPS and ply to the foamboard as well.
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