The Skebawn and Castleknox Light Railway and Tramway

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IrishPeter
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Post by IrishPeter » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:09 am

I do not recall making a conscious decision to make the railway go through the landscape - it just came out that way.  That said, our yard consists of the end of a low ridge and an array of granite boulders.  I basically have to go around or through stuff - it isn't really practical to move it!

Anyway, the general idea came from the Irish R.M. series of books by Somerville and Ross, who lived down in Castletownsend near Skibbereen in Co Cork, and the fact that the area had several light railways.  The West Cork origins of the authors gave me the idea for a line based somewhat on S&S.  Their creation, Skebawn, is a small town with few pretensions which seems to lack a BG railway.  So I came to the conclusion that the nearest station was some miles away, and that the town had had the misfortunate to be always the bridesmaid and never the bride when it came to the local BG railway schemes until one fine day, the 1883 Tramways Act, Clan Knox, several bottles of 'the Mischief'; and the local capacity for skullduggery got together and produced the S&CLR&T.

As the project developed the "&T" part of it grew less important so that, like the Cork and Muskerry, it ended up mainly light railway with the odd burst of tramway.  The tramway sections being where the course of the railway coincides with the garden path.

Anyhoo...

The railway specifics ended up coming from a variety of Irish lines - mainly T&DLR and S&SR, but not exclusively so. The IMR will be thrown in when I start thinking about buildings because I think the original wooden Peel line buildings sort of fit in with the Tramway and Light Railway ambiance.  I am surprised that there is not more Manx influence given my narrow gauge up-draggings.  The goods stock tends to be fairly standard stuff.  My assumption is that after an initial 'bulk buy' from Oldbury the S&C bought three wagons here and three wagons there as the need arose. However the 4-wh passenger stock is S&S inspired -extra carriages for the tramway section when it finally opened, whilst two of the bogie vehicles are T&D inspired, one is freelance, and one is derived from a Clogher Valley 24' all-first.  There may even be some Ballycastle or Manx Northern Cleminsons before long as I have always fancied having a go at a Cleminson underframe.

My thoughts about the buildings tend to be Isle of Man inspired.  I have a suspicion that something Crosby like will appear somewhere along the line, and that Skebawn will get something based on the original Peel station.  The minor halt at Shreelane will be getting something in wood and wiggley tin.  I was originally think of wooden and tin for all the buildings, but the initial round of building on Irish lines tended to be fairly substantial, so loco sheds and goods sheds may well be rough local stone structures.  

The original idea was definitely mainly a Tramway, based largely on the Schull and Skibbereen, but the Skebawn and Castleknox has developed a more 'light railway persona as it has been constructed mainly as the line moved to a safer location in the yard.  The first idea was to build it alongside the garden path, but this was abandoned for two reasons.  One, that side of the garden is vulnerable when it does rain, and secondly, the grades were horrible - up to 1 in 20!  After that I tried a line over the rocks route which was much drier, but had a high summit level meaning a sustained 1 in 24 against northbound trains.  No much better!  Version 3 went back to paralleling the path, but required too much in the way of engineering, So - after a geological survey with a screw driver or an old steel knitting needle (I forget which) I discovered I could lowered the summit level by about foot at the expense of some winding track.  This had the bonus of  shortening the amount of heavy gradient against northbound trains down to about 1 in 36.  I am about halfway through track laying on that version right now.  The winter saw me get to about two-thirds of the passenger stock built, but still only a quarter of the goods stock.

As for buildings I think some, the most elaborate, will have to live inside in the worst of our weather, but I am going to try one or two test structures outside and see how they fare.  I think detail is going to have to be sacrificed to some degree to promote durability.  If I can get small section hardwood, then I will frame build the goods shed, loco shed, and the other structures will be marine plywood shells well lathered in preservative to keep the bugs off then faced to resemble rough stonework.  If I get 5 years outside with any of them I will consider a minor victory over the insects. :D

Peter in AZ
Last edited by IrishPeter on Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by IrishPeter » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:12 am

I got on with a little bit of construction work widening the embankments on either side of Rickety Bridge, so I could ease a nasty bit of gradient. The summit section is one where I keep tipping spoil in the hope that I'll eventually get the gradient consistent enough that trains will have a fairly steady climb into the summit station. I also carved a shelf for the first intermediate station.  The latest version (11.2) of Skebawn station left me with a set of homeless right hand points so they have been used to provide a siding just before the summit of the line on the short straight between Rickety Bridge and the summit.  

This is intended to be the site of a station with a small wooden building, 'platform' and siding.  The building will be based on the drawing of a 'simple wooden building' for the Port Erin line in Boyd' book.  This is a bit shorter than the genuine article as the waiting shelter bit was made a little longer in practice.  It looks as though version one was about 24' by 8', but when built they came out closer to 30' to 8' as they enlarged the open fronted waiting shelter bit of the station.

Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by IrishPeter » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:24 am

This afternoon's "Iarnrod therepy" saw version 11.3 of Skebawn station was ballasted today, so I guess it is time for a round of photographs, so it will be out tomorrow with the camera. It was too dark this evening by the time I finished ("the nights are fair drawing in" etc..) to get the camera out. The next three objecties are:

1. More track to complete Skebawn station and push the head of steel further south.
2. Purchase the pointwork for Shreelane station
3. Start constructing buildings for Skebawn and Shreelane.

That should get me through the winter. My thoughts turned to that earlier this week as we had a bit of a storm. Nothing significant, but enough to remind me that we have only a few more weeks of reliable weather here.

Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by IrishPeter » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:02 pm

I had intended to have a major blitz on the railway at the weekend by this was aborted due to the weather - intermittent rain and snow showers, and after temps of 70-75F midweek it was "as cold as a witch's boob in an iron bra." As my wife put it.

Anyway, I contented myself with some reballasting on Thursday before the weather really deteriorated. Friday I ordered some Code 250 track from SVRR with the approprate clamps to join it to the elephant rail (Code 332) used in those parts of the yard with more foot traffic, discovering in the process that the bloke who runs it is another Limey. The idea for this winter's relay is to replace the elephant rail through the rocks, and recycle that down on the former lawn through Aussolas station. That should get the head of Aluminium down to just short of the lower terminus. I am giving the former lawn area the evil eye to see if there is enough room down there for a continuous run. I think it is going to fit, but may take more engineering than I want to put in. We'll see.

Lastly, I managed to test run the Cleminson, which was not an unmitigated success and resulted in a quick relay of the station throat. It was steering itself into the yard even when the points were set for the platform road. The Cleminson also gave me cause to undertake a fair amount of cross level checking.

Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by Keith S » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:55 pm

I'd like to see a picture of the Clemison when you've got a chance.

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Post by SapperAnt » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:10 am

Me, too!

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Cleminson Pix

Post by IrishPeter » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:30 am

Cleminson coach - 3/1/1/1/3

http://www.angelfire.com/ca7/ttac/SCLRTphotos8.html

When I get the final glitches out of it, the chances are that Clan Cleminson will expand by at least one more member as I have been cutting the sides for an all-third.  This vehicle will clearly be of MNR/Swansea design and a bit of a 15mm scale knee-knocker as the  MNR all-thirds were only 4'11" between seat backs.

Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by IrishPeter » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:52 am

Well, a shipping glitch at SVRR meant that the track did not arrive until Tuesday. However, it is really nice stuff to work with, and in the last three days the line has been relaid from Shreelane to Rickety Bridge - about 36' - which means there is just the section from Rickety Bridge down Aussolas Bank to go.

Extension of the line beyond the bottom of Aussolas bank will require some utility work in the form of shifting a sprinkler head and some of the irrigation system which has all the makings of a 'three trips to the hardware store' job, then it will be around the big bend and into Aussolas, which will mean ordering more pointwork. That will have to wait for another paycheck to come in!

Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by IrishPeter » Mon May 13, 2013 7:02 pm

The shed extension was completed just before Easter, so the line now has a mainline run of about 170' - which is quite enough - thank you very much! In the meantime I have been travelling a lot with work so that has tended to militate against my getting outdoors to run trains, but I have been able to tinker with rolling stock.

Van #2 got a coat of paint on its roof at long last
Van #3 got its roof finished. I left it a bit bubbly to represent a roof that is getting to the end of its life.

Coaches 3 & 4 and the Brake Van have been repainted to the earlier version of GSR livery, whilst 6 & 7 are due to end up in the dark brown paint of the independent Skebawn and Casteknox Light Railway. I have generally moved the era of the line back about 10 years to 1925-27.

On the loco front No.4 - the Millie - has been handling the bulk of the traffic, but No.1 has made an occasional appearence. I need to order a cab for the 'Millie' one of these days as the crew was not overly thrilled about working through the winter with only a weatherboard between them and the rain.

That's it for now.

Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by Andrew » Tue May 14, 2013 8:49 am

Hello Peter,

Nice to hear the latest progress from the S&C - 170' does sound like a decent run...

I'm confused though - I thought your line had uprooted itself, crossed the Irish Sea and laid itself back down somewhere in Northern England, gaining a new name in the process?

Looking forward to further progress reports...

All the best,

Andrew.

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Post by IrishPeter » Tue May 14, 2013 5:33 pm

Yes, that was the plan but progress slowed to something less than a crawl. Two months to get anywhere with a brake-compo suggested that although the head liked the idea, the heart did not. So I decided it was time to put that idea aside and return to Plan A and go back to the S&CLR&T. Given the rate of progress over the last few days that may well have been a smart move, as there now seems to be some hope of me getting things knocked into shape this side of retirement.

Cheers,
Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by Narrow Minded » Tue May 14, 2013 5:43 pm

In this enlightened age of equality then, here's proof (if any were needed) that changing ones mind is not the sole prerogative of the fairer sex ;)
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Post by IrishPeter » Tue May 14, 2013 6:46 pm

I usually like my first thoughts on most things best, and this has proven to be the case with the garden railway. The thing that tipped it was that the shed extension reintroduced an element of very obviously roadside running. There is only about 3' between the fence and the shed, so the garden path and the railway parallel each other closely at the top end of the yard. This will be even more obvious when I eventually lay slab for the garden path.

The idea I am currently toying with is building some slightly longer, and somewhat freelance 4-wh tramcars based on the Castlederg trams to represent the original stock of the S&CLR&T. The three four wheelers I use are all a bit on the bijou side being more or less 17 scale feet, and they will be renumber 8-10 to represent some Castleknox rebuilds of 17' ballast wagons to provide some additional rolling stoock for the summer rush.

However, the big need right now is for me to finish the stock that is currently runnabe but unfinished, and to get the track laid. The problem area to some extent is going to be Castleknox as that will require the fabrication of some 79mm gauge track to stand for 'the rest of the (GSR) world.'

Cheers,
Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by IrishPeter » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:43 am

The two projects for this weekend are to get a little further with the new upper terminus, mainly by building the retaining wall above the engine and carriage sheds, and to work on brake-third No. 8 so that it is reasonably complete, and ready for the summer season, which starts in earnest when the schools throw out in July.

The S&CLR&T has drifted back towards the original concept of short trains and tramway like atmosphere.  The C&VBT and the Schull and Skibbereens have come back to be the major influences on this phase of construction.  Quite fun getting back to the original concept.  Guess I got too ambitious somewhere in between! It is quite nice to have Millie, and a mixed train of a few wagons, a first saloon and the bogie brake-third trundling along.

Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Post by IrishPeter » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:59 am

The last few weeks have been nice, not too hot with a good hour of daylight after dinner, so I have been running trains. I find it very satisfying to listen to 'Millie' barking up the 1 in 24 of Aussolas Bank towards Rickety Bridge. The scary thing is that she does this with the regulator hardly off the face with the usual train of two-three wagons, a four-wheel first, the bogie third, and a brake van! So just how much power is there there?

I need to order quite a bit of pointwork to enable me to finish Skebawn. This is a cramped V-shaped terminus loosely based on Castlederg. Like Castlederg it has a loop split with a crossover. I have decided to put the engine shed and the carriage shed on side under the retaining wall, and the goods yard on the other side, as the yard needs to be easily accessible for the delivery of goods, and for the 12" to the foot sacle operator to do the shunting.

Aussolas will be a straightforward loop and siding station, which will likely owe something to Colby and Santon on the Isle of Man. I suspect that Casleknox will be somewhat Victoria Bridge-ish but with a runround loop.

Pictures threatened when I have tidied up a bit!

Cheers,
Peter in AZ
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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