Tuesday, 20 October 2015

It's Been A While 

With not having a permanent home big enough to erect it, the base boards of our South Pelaw layout have been scattered for some time. However last month we collected everything together and erected it in a hall in Middlesbrough - by the kindness of the Middlesbrough Model Railway Club.

The event enabled us to take stock of how far we have progressed and to remind ourselves how far we have yet to go. We also established that the layout will fit comfortably into a Transit Luton van, thus keeping expenses down when we take it to exhibitions. (Don't ask when!)

The first photo gives you some idea of the size of the layout. It's 39 ft x 18 ft. Unfortunately Richard's delightful pointwork at the approach to the fiddle yard is about as far away from the camera as it could be.

And that's Pete, the Slim Controller.

The most visible development has been the work done by Phil to lay down the scenic details. He's mastered the static grass techniques. Phil used to live in the area and used to cross the line every day to go to school. Phil needs no motivation!

Here follows a few photos of an ore train that we managed to actually get running up the climb towards Consett.
This shot shows the tail end of the  ore train pulling up to wait for a banker. The lines in the foreground are those of the South Pelaw Colliery. The colliery isn't on the model.

Beyond the 9F can be seen two buffer stops. One of the very few things left in real life, the remains of these two NE cast stops are still there in the undergrowth (along with old tin cans and the like!)

 The banker has arrived, has buffered up and is ready for the big shove.

 The eagle eyed of you will spot that neither of the 9F locos are Tyne Dock ones. We were interested to see if the models would climb the gradient behind Stella Gill Flatts box - and they did with ease. Unlike the real things which had a hard slog. They are re-gauged proprietary models. New bodies and new tenders will turn them into realistic, reliable performers.


Inside Stella Gill Yard there were two turntables. After building the Stella Gill Flatts bridge, Richard is building one of them.  We have used a bit of licence as to the positioning of it. The 38 roads in Stella Gill yard are just too many for us to model so this end of the model departs from the prototype. Perhaps another day! 

A J21 waiting to be turned after the fire has been cleaned.

Here is the view from off Stella Gill Flatts bridge looking towards Pelton Lane bridge.

We can glance back and see Rich's model of Stell Gill Flatts bridge, At some time in the future there will be a signal gantry spanning the tracks. This governed the passage of trains into the extensive yard. Behind the box can be seen Phil's embryonic NCB shed. This building is also still in existence but in a very dilapidated state.

Running back down to pick up another seven 21 ton hoppers of coal, is this Q6 and van. They used to bring 21 hoppers as far as South Pelaw then split the rake into 3 lots of seven and then take each set up the bank in turn.

Mark's model of Pelton Lane bridge nearing completion. The wooden skewers indicate the positions of the many signals, yet to be built.

Pelton Lane Bridge from the other side.

And this is the view from off of Pelton Lane bridge with the last surviving N9 climbing the steep gradient to the colliery sidings.

This must be a Sunday shot with the ore train (still the wrong loco) running via Gateshead and Ouston Junction when the line via Washington was closed. It closed overnight weekdays and all day Sunday but if an ore ship was in Tyne Dock, trains often ran almost continuously, going the long way round if necessary
One new model signal that Rich has made and has been installed is the rotating lamp shunting signal on the far left hand of the picture.

Just looking back, later in the day we catch the back end of the oil train, banked by a Q6. Again the eagle eyed will spot that the oil tankers are not of the correct diagram. These are yet to be modelled - but you get the idea! A friend once said that the oil train was the one to nip away from work on a lunch time to go and take photos of. Two Q6s on full chat weren't to be intimidated by their 9F stablemates.

This is a shot taken a few months ago It shows Mark's Pelton Lane bridge before it was painted but shows an empty ore train heading back to Tyne Dock for another load. We understand that the train loco would do one round trip before returning to Tyne Dock  for servicing and to be taken over by a fresh crew. However the banker (in this case a Q7 sat in the siding) would do three round trips before heading back to Tyne Dock.

Now the view towards what we call Pete's bridge (because he's building it). The line to Ouston Junction goes off under the left hand span and the line from Tyne Dock via Washington comes in under the right hand span. This bridge was still in place when we started surveying for the model.  We photographed and measured it thoroughly. A good job because it was demolished a couple of years ago. Pelton Lane bridge was extensively re-built a few years ago, retaining the stone abutments but filling in all but a cycle way where the original steel span was. The bridge at Stella Gill is still in place but the track bed beneath has been filled in right up to the underside of the bridge. We think that the structure only survives because it supports a gas main, (visible on Rich's model).

This is what it looked like in stone rather than Plastikard!

Our depiction of things beyond the bridge show the line heading off to Ouston Junction on the left and, the line on the right somewhat unrealistically but supposedly climbing to cross the old A1 at Birtley (another bridge which is extant but no longer carries a railway) and thence via Washington on to Tyne Dock. The buffer stops are at the ends of the two sidings which went through the centre span of the bridge.

Looking back towards Pete's bridge we catch a WD, at the end of the working day, hauling the coal empties back towards Tyne Dock.

And a lucky photographer caught a view of the same train from across the fields.
A suitable shot to close our session.

Sorry It's taken so long to update this but with the boards scattered across the North, the photos we've taken from time to time, haven't done the layout justice. However this assembly session was arranged for a number of reasons, one of which was to take photos for this blog. There will be others .

Thanks for looking.

Richard, Rich, Pete, Phil, Mark, Martin and Joe.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Bridging the gap

Here are a few more photos of the layout, showing some of the recent scenic developments and especially the bridges. Although there is still a long way to go with the scenics (ground signals, point rodding, yard lamps, people, several large buildings ... etc.), we feel that we are beginning to capture some of the atmosphere of the place.

First of all a couple of posed (the loco is not under power) shots of a Q7 setting off up the bank to Consett with a train of suspiciously empty looking hoppers. The main development here is the abutments for the bridge, which are now nearly complete.

Another couple of posed shots show a WD waiting its turn to go up the bank, while a K1 waits in the banker's siding.

At the other end of the scenic section the bridge at Stella Gill Flatts is now almost completed. Now someone needs to start thinking about building the impressive gantry that stood here. John Donelly has some great pictures of this gantry as well as lots more information about South Pelaw and the Consett line on his blog describing a P4 version of South Pelaw set in a later time frame than ours --  http://southpelawjunction.co.uk/wp/?page_id=556.

Meanwhile, the hard work of wiring everything up and setting up the CBUS continues, although it is very exciting that most of it seems to work extremely well first time.

And behind the scenes, the fiddle yard is gradually turning from Templot into reality

Happy new year!

Richard Clayton