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RITES OF PASSAGE FOR A MODEL RAILWAY - 27: THORPE CARR, A Space-saving Mini Layout In Progress

Updated on June 27, 2017

Progress so far - work comes on apace (see below for more)

Backscene mounted. I used two, either side of the middle bridge, with suitably wooded themes
Backscene mounted. I used two, either side of the middle bridge, with suitably wooded themes | Source
Looks a bit dark and interesting at the moment, but at least you can see the 'wrinkles' on the embankment and in the recessed level in front. With painting on the stone abutments and in the underpass, scatter and other features things will take shape
Looks a bit dark and interesting at the moment, but at least you can see the 'wrinkles' on the embankment and in the recessed level in front. With painting on the stone abutments and in the underpass, scatter and other features things will take shape | Source
Poppy's sleeper-built buffer stop finished off with this recently creosoted appearance - behind is one of the North Eastern buffer stops at the end of the coal depot rails
Poppy's sleeper-built buffer stop finished off with this recently creosoted appearance - behind is one of the North Eastern buffer stops at the end of the coal depot rails | Source

What's in a name? If you create a freelance location, fit a station name to an area to make it 'authentic'

A view of Star Carr in the Vale of Pickering, an archaeological site near Pickering, once at the edge of the lake that extended across the width of the dale east towards Scarborough.
A view of Star Carr in the Vale of Pickering, an archaeological site near Pickering, once at the edge of the lake that extended across the width of the dale east towards Scarborough.

First things first, find a name for the beast: how 'Thorpe Carr' came about.

Remember what I said about finding a name for a layout that would be apt for the area or region represented by your layout?

In the case of this little layout, I thought I'd set the scene in a fictitious location near the Yorkshire Wolds. Many village names in the region involve the word 'thorpe', the adapted Danish word ['torp') for a settlement smaller than a 'by' or town, and bigger than a 'toft' or 'garth', meaning farm. There's also 'kirk', or church, that features in countless place names. That's got one part of the name fixed. Again many villages have double names. A physical landscape feature might come in handy. The small layout I did for my son involved the word 'rigg', dialect for ridge. There is a fair amount of reclaimed marsh land around Ryedale (between the North Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Wolds) in North Yorkshire, named 'carrs', also from the 9th Century Danish settlement of the region and originating in the word 'karre', carried on in the dialect word 'carr'.

So I settled on the name 'Thorpe Carr' for the station, coal and goods depot that would serve a farming community and its local area. The theme harks back to an era when the railway still fulfilled a social function in providing a means to get to market towns (Helmsley, Malton and Pickering were the market centres in Ryedale - Kirkbymoorside to a lesser degree). Farm produce had to be forwarded to urban centres such as Scarborough, York and further afield. There was a whole cluster of woollen mill and business centres around Leeds and Bradford etc.

Most small stations had some function to handle coal for small industry, heating homes, businesses and schools. This is just before the decade of closures, (railways, local schools, cottage hospitals), where village life went on as before when the railways first arrived and 'wagon load' was still the railway's ethos, before block trains and bulk loads saw a marked change in transport.

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In the map below, navigate around north-eastward and eastward from Malton along the edge of the hills, the Wolds. Take a look at the names and see if you could come up with an apt name that would fit,

Malton, North Yorkshire

Back to basics - this page will be added to for you to check on progress until the project is complete

Seen from the projected Thorpe Carr station end, the track formation's been arranged but not yet fixed down. Bottom right-hand corner is the coal depot with space for four bays (to accommodate two twin hopper wagons)
Seen from the projected Thorpe Carr station end, the track formation's been arranged but not yet fixed down. Bottom right-hand corner is the coal depot with space for four bays (to accommodate two twin hopper wagons) | Source
Station platform building (Aherne trophy, 2015) in situ to show where platform goes, with coal depot in front. Open area to be completed with scenery and ramp to main road. Latitude for scenic detail.
Station platform building (Aherne trophy, 2015) in situ to show where platform goes, with coal depot in front. Open area to be completed with scenery and ramp to main road. Latitude for scenic detail. | Source

Material was recycled from an earlier layout.

An ample supply of timber was at hand, mainly 2 X 1 inch, 2 X 1/2 inch and 3 X 1 inch for battens.

These will be added at either end to secure against undue pressure in manhandling the completed frame. The aim of the game was to put together a small layout I could transport on the back seats of the car I currently drive. Measuring lengthwise gave me a comfortable 48 inches with a depth of 15 inches (as on Thoraldby), which gives ample space for track area and scenery. Layout height should be no more than, say 12 inches from footing to backdrop top edge. It will be a single table-top unit anyway, so there's no problem with support.

The frame was assembled with four intermediate cross-braces, to which the risers were screwed to support the 'ground level'. The coal depot area was sunk below the main level, attached to lower risers and linked to the main level by a narrow ply 'road'. This in turn will be linked to a road ramp up to the bridge that divides the two halves. Another ramp will descend to the goods shed yard on the far side for delivery vans or four-wheeled flatbed lorries.

After building Thoraldby I still had a sizeable cache of Peco Steamline and Setrack points, and plain track - straight and curved - in different lengths. (Even after this exercise there'll be enough for a longer layout). I still had to buy a few shorter radius right-hand Setrack points and shorter track sections to fit into the space allotted.

With restrictions things can get tricky, and options reduced. All the same in Double O Gauge (4mm scale body size with 3.5 mm track gauge, a weird post-WWII compromise that halved O Gauge track dimensions but used 4mm scale on other elements) you can still arrive at a workable solution. With some jiggery-pokery I reached a satisfactory solution. Eureka! I think the running should be interesting as far as shunting is concerned. I was still unhappy with one element, to keep a reasonable length of track that will take a small goods or passenger working.

Get help with your own projects

On the DOGA Forum. e-mail the members with your queries and watch the solutions crop up. alternatively you might be able to offer advice on projects from your own experience. This is the railway modelling group for modellers in far-flung places, or who haven't the time for weekly get-togethers. Regional groups are on the rise, and there are members across the globe who've joined to get help or suggestions with problems encountered in the hobby. Use the link to see if it's for you.

A step forward - getting the track sorted on the way into the station, and at the coal depot

Trackwork adjusted by inserting a large radius Peco Streamline 'Y' point where the right-hand No.2 radius point was. Single slip reversed to ease passage of pick-up goods locomotive around its short train..
Trackwork adjusted by inserting a large radius Peco Streamline 'Y' point where the right-hand No.2 radius point was. Single slip reversed to ease passage of pick-up goods locomotive around its short train.. | Source
The grey underlay foam has been roughly cut to shape for the track formation, track in the coal depot suspended over the opening between buffer stop heading and main area
The grey underlay foam has been roughly cut to shape for the track formation, track in the coal depot suspended over the opening between buffer stop heading and main area | Source
Coal depot takes shape. Track fixed down against the back support to allow space for gangway timbering. Struts along the tops of the cell walls will separate cells and support intermediate sleepers. Front ribbing to follow
Coal depot takes shape. Track fixed down against the back support to allow space for gangway timbering. Struts along the tops of the cell walls will separate cells and support intermediate sleepers. Front ribbing to follow | Source
A start has been made on the wall alongside the coal depot ramp. Next will be the outside edge wall down to the lorry park
A start has been made on the wall alongside the coal depot ramp. Next will be the outside edge wall down to the lorry park | Source
Things are looking up. Notice the white plastic sheeting against the back wall. This is where sheets of 1D self-adhesive printed scenery will be mounted
Things are looking up. Notice the white plastic sheeting against the back wall. This is where sheets of 1D self-adhesive printed scenery will be mounted | Source

Next steps, underlay and pre-ballast groundwork

Having decided on the track area, the underlay needed to be measured out, positioned and laid down ready for ballasting. The advantage of buying the foam underlay in rolls is that you decide how and where to cut. Use PVA or wood glue to fix it down. After I'd had it laid down for a few days I trimmed some off. Believe me, it did stick well! Spread the glue liberally over the area to be covered OR spread over the underside of your sheet. Do it the way you feel comfortable, in sections or in one. The PVA does not dry too quickly so you've got time, and remember to press down hard across the surface of the foam. Use a large steel rule if you've got one and push it steadily across the foam to ensure even spread. Leave at least over a few nights under weights. I used sawn 3 X 1 inch wood battens weighted down by hammers and other heavy items.

The track formation right of centre to the right of the single slip needed adjustment before ballasting, a large radius Streamline 'Y' point inserted where the No.2 radius right-hand point was, next job being turning the single slip around to facilitate movement between the platform road around the loop to the bridge for the return movement (to 'pick up' empty coal hoppers from the depot and shunt full ones into the coal depot, (see also removable loads in ROPFAMR - 13: Open Merchandise Wagons & Lift-out loads, and ROPFAMR - 14: Miniaturised Minerals as well as ROPFAMR - 8: Minerals, Processable Solids). Now I can make a start on ballasting.

If you remember the Poppy's Woodtech ballasting box on the THORALDBY page, (ROPFAMR - 18) with its web link, (and the 4D shop in Leman Street, London E1 for materials, see that link also), this will come in handy now for what should be the most important stage. It worked well on Ayton Lane, so let's see how it goes (get this wrong and there's an expensive clearing job to do and replacements to buy - they don't come cheap!). As mentioned on the THORALDBY page, be careful around pointwork, don't rush the job. Be sparing with the ballast, 'dribble' it in between the sleepers here but not near movable parts and drip in the diluted PVA or wood glue (the latter might be more expensive but it's stronger). I've got three syringes, bought at the 4D shop for the purpose. Well worth the outlay, and remember don't dilute it too much or you'll find yourself doing the job again. Add washing-up liquid to the mixture, this will help it to spread evenly through the ballast. Watch it doesn't spread towards working parts on the pointwork, take a scrap of cloth or a square-ended brush (size 3 or 4) and wipe off the flow before it looks as if it'll get there. Brush away loose ballast near point levers, allow an eighth to a quarter of an inch for movement either side. You can always carefully paint the area to disguise the gap.

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I shall add more information and advice as I go along with this page, so keep a weather eye out for it. Bookmark it and be sure to check back periodically after weekends after I've had a chance to push the project onward.

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Clearly written tips to achieve best results for small spaces, I've had a copy of this and several other books by this author on railway modelling. The concept works in O Gauge even, as shown in a number of pictures of Ditchling Green on the Southern Railway! Lots of diagrams of 'box' units and support frames with an eye on weight limitation. Decide on your choice of operating area, era and available space. Select your materials, light is best for handling - crucial if you mean to transport your layout to exhibitions. Work out your track, where signalling goes, and other permanent way features, basic scenics decide the general geography. Here's where your skills come in use, in woodwork, spacial conception and model-making. Then get to work on detailing features, road access, buildings etc All the advice and more to get you - and keep you - going, to the best solution for your needs.

Getting underway, what do you need for ballasting work?

The tools for the ballasting job: large syringes suitable for pushing through dilated PVA/wood glue solution + washing-up liquid, jar of ballast (ash) and Poppy's Woodtech box with its 'chute' and lateral slot to allow an even flow of ballast
The tools for the ballasting job: large syringes suitable for pushing through dilated PVA/wood glue solution + washing-up liquid, jar of ballast (ash) and Poppy's Woodtech box with its 'chute' and lateral slot to allow an even flow of ballast | Source

Nothing's worse, having got your platform face and surface in place, than to find locos or stock getting stuck negotiating curves (convex or concave)

And if you want to exhibit it's embarrassing. I've seen it for myself at an exhibition, where.the scenery, stock, locomotives were first rate. Everything was finely detailed, but passenger trains wouldn't move because the builder hadn't taken care his platform outer edges allowed trains to pass smoothly. As it was based on pre-WWI North Eastern Railway (Northumberland) practice I'd looked forward to seeing the layout. That flaw left me disappointed. I don't think the operator was too happy with it, either.

Going on, a good way to judge clearances on curves - if you haven't got a diagram from one of the railway modelling magazines or sites - is to run a locomotive and carriages along the proposed site of the station and mark with a joiner's pencil where carriage or brake van step-boards, or locomotive cylinders stick out over the sleeper ends. In some places platforms were lower than the passenger step-boards, which make the modeller's job easier. Then there were the bogie step-boards. The NER/GNR and GER had them, the LNER continued the tradition and British Railways Eastern or North Eastern Region only did away with them by the 1960s. If your LNER/BR layout is based before the 1960s you have to take this into consideration.

Then there are also the side and overhead clearances. Again the diagram shows you how to achieve the 'mean'. On many branchline routes in Britain clearances were fairly close in tunnels or under bridges (something the railway engineers in the New World, Australia, Southern Africa or New Zealand didn't have to consider in most places, except for getting through the Appalachians, the Rockies, Blue Mountains or New Zealand Alps). Model railway clubs and railway historical societies have the diagram somewhere in their literature.

The only affected places on this small railway layout are the station, beside the goods shed, under the approach bridge and the single track tunnel mouth at the station throat, so engineering work isn't unduly stretched. You decide on your parameters.

Work continued lately on the station area as a prelude to ballasting. A wall at the back of the coal depot was built to incorporate a dividing wall in front of the station platform. The North Eastern Railway often raised walls to prevent passengers being deluged with coal dust when the wagons dropped their loads into the cells (see picture above). At the same time the bridge abutments were added either side of the running lines. Signal posts will be added wide of the ballasting profile, so ballasting can be begun as and when. I shall keep you posted...

Track and basic scenery, ballasting progress, platform clearance and low level work

With the platform road ballasted, time to work towards and around the pointwork. Use heavy-ish tools to weigh down ballasted track until it's set. Give it 24-48 hours in dry cellar conditions
With the platform road ballasted, time to work towards and around the pointwork. Use heavy-ish tools to weigh down ballasted track until it's set. Give it 24-48 hours in dry cellar conditions | Source
Intermediate results look good. Ballast needs to be added and fixed down to the right of the track formation here. This is a day after work continued.
Intermediate results look good. Ballast needs to be added and fixed down to the right of the track formation here. This is a day after work continued. | Source
Ballasting done past the pointwork on the 'Up' end  At left is the way into the goods shed where a wagon weigh bridge should be added in front of the office window. Centre is the shunt road, right is the 'Up' road out (probably under a skew bridge)
Ballasting done past the pointwork on the 'Up' end At left is the way into the goods shed where a wagon weigh bridge should be added in front of the office window. Centre is the shunt road, right is the 'Up' road out (probably under a skew bridge) | Source
The goods office and doorway where a Pooley goods wagon/van weighbridge should be added in due course
The goods office and doorway where a Pooley goods wagon/van weighbridge should be added in due course | Source

Aids to good ballasting

You have to be careful on ballasting, as you do with your clearances. The first consideration should be for tools to make the task easy. I've added the web site above for the Poppy's Woodtech ballasting hopper (you make it up yourself using pva or similar adhesive).

At the 4D shop in Leman Street, London E1 you'll find the large syringes to apply diluted pva (make sure you add household washing-up liquid so that the solution spreads over the ballasted area. As I've mentioned on the Thoraldby page, be careful around pointwork/turnouts. The 'minimalist' approach will see you right. Where necessary apply with a small brush (size 0 or 1) by dripping the diluted mixture. You can always wash out the pva with warm, soapy water and squeeze away the residue to use the brush for painting.I shall use ash ballast on this short branchline, as the NER and its successors did until the 1960s in some areas where the expenditure on high grade granite ballast was not considered warranted. I've ordered Woodland Scenics' Medium Cinders (pack 883) for the job, as I used it on Ayton Lane Shed (Thoraldby layout).

Get a good plastic or unbreakable glass jar to pour in your ballast and scoop it out when needed. Packets are easily dropped, contents scattered. Great for suppliers but not for you. Likewise get a jar for your pva solution, to draw up into the syringe. Experiment with your solution, but don't make it too thick or it clots up the syringe. Too runny and you'll find yourself doing the job again. Where I've used it on Thoraldby it sets like concrete and the only way of undoing errors could be costly, resulting in the purchase of new points/turnouts. The ready made ones are pretty pricey these days.

From the same source (John Dutfield at Chelmsford) I've ordered the Wills coarse stone (plastic moulding) for the coal depot and overbridge walls. To attach plastic to wood I use wood glue, similar to pva but stronger, (for furniture joints) and drip superglue onto the surface before 'mating' the plastic with the wood. Once it's set, try prising it apart!

Ballasting's almost completed, buffer stops to be added before being 'half-buried' in ash ballast

The track on the right will be covered by another road after the Peco power clips have been added, and 'bled off' to fiddle yard. Centre is the wagon headshunt, left the 'stub' at the goods shed's back door.
The track on the right will be covered by another road after the Peco power clips have been added, and 'bled off' to fiddle yard. Centre is the wagon headshunt, left the 'stub' at the goods shed's back door. | Source

A few hints to avoid disappointment

It can't be said too often: take your time, take care and don't overload the ballasting hopper before you move it along (firm and steady, but not heavy-handed). You can always add a bit more, but too much at the outset can lead to problems getting rid of excess.

Do the ballasting in short sections between pointwork (turnouts), be sparing with the ballast but not miserly or you'll find you have to repeat the process, and before you get carried away with the 'white stuff' consider where the power input will go. There are a few ways of doing this, the obvious being a power clip.

As I have used Peco track, this manufacturer offers handy power clips that fit under the rails and can be hidden (and screwed down) under or immediately behind a bridge abutment, a building or trackside feature off scenery. Keep the clip clean, and install it in a way you can extract it for whatever reason. Other manufacturers have similar products. Or before you start any ballasting drill down either side of your track and insert cable to link up with an ac/dc power unit. I've seen several layouts this method has been used on, and it works. Consult a railway modelling electrics manual, or section in a book/magazine to see how this kind of power input is installed.

Back to ballasting: on ballasting around pointwork dribble small amounts of ballast below blades and drip in the adhesive mixture with a small brush (size 0-1), making sure none comes into contact with moving parts. Once a blade is bent out of true it is near impossible to correct and you'll find you have to extract the whole point unit, or put up with a faulty connection. Around points add ballast until it is level with the tops of adjacent sleepers, no more. When detailing surrounding scenery at a later stage, imperfections can be disguised with a bit of judicious paintwork or scatter (to look like weed or grass between rails).

The goods and coal depots

The goods shed's been secured in place, granite sets added to front. A connecting road needs to be laid in to the coal depot under the access road via a tunnel. Front 'bleeds off' the layout.
The goods shed's been secured in place, granite sets added to front. A connecting road needs to be laid in to the coal depot under the access road via a tunnel. Front 'bleeds off' the layout. | Source
The first access doors are wide open to receive deliveries or collection vehicles. Brick footings need to be added to the wall bottoms.
The first access doors are wide open to receive deliveries or collection vehicles. Brick footings need to be added to the wall bottoms. | Source
The end view overlooking the back door where the Slater's North Eastern Railway buffer stop will go
The end view overlooking the back door where the Slater's North Eastern Railway buffer stop will go | Source
This is where the wagon weighbridge will be added, in front of the large - slightly ajar - window of the office. Balsa was added and painted to improve the appearance of the window sill
This is where the wagon weighbridge will be added, in front of the large - slightly ajar - window of the office. Balsa was added and painted to improve the appearance of the window sill | Source
Supports for the timber decking on the coal depot have been added, the decking laid on to show how it will look before the guard rails have been mounted. Buffer stop to add at the right, past the last cell drop.
Supports for the timber decking on the coal depot have been added, the decking laid on to show how it will look before the guard rails have been mounted. Buffer stop to add at the right, past the last cell drop. | Source
You can see the black-painted slopes in the coal cells. These will be coated with pva and generously layered with coal, to spill out beyond the cell walls (business is brisk for coal deliveries with factories, businesses and schools)
You can see the black-painted slopes in the coal cells. These will be coated with pva and generously layered with coal, to spill out beyond the cell walls (business is brisk for coal deliveries with factories, businesses and schools) | Source
The ramp fans out by the coal depot to avoid collision with lorries being loaded at the cells. This was an afterthought, I have to admit, although it looks right
The ramp fans out by the coal depot to avoid collision with lorries being loaded at the cells. This was an afterthought, I have to admit, although it looks right | Source
The plastic slopes have been covered with real coal - still some left after all this time, from the lump I took from a small pile at North Woolwich Station (down the road from Silvertown and the Thames Barrier)
The plastic slopes have been covered with real coal - still some left after all this time, from the lump I took from a small pile at North Woolwich Station (down the road from Silvertown and the Thames Barrier) | Source
The long view - the bottom of the road ramp (right) and the buffer stop (left)
The long view - the bottom of the road ramp (right) and the buffer stop (left) | Source

Steps toward 'proper' scenery

With ballasting almost complete and buffer stops to add, it's time to concentrate on basic, ground-level scenery. The goods shed has been secured on a 'platform' of plastic sheet, allowing space to support the Wills granite sets (SSMP 204) on a 'ramp' (for drainage). More was added around the building. The access road to the overbridge will be 'bled off' the scenery, and a tunnel for coal lorries created. A pedestrian underpass may also be added, using the Wills Cattle Creep kit.

The coal depot's coming on, supports added to the back wall for the nearside and offside timber walkway decking. See the image above that shows how the decking fits in. A ramp will be added adjacent to the high wall to ease access by foot from track level. Station masters usually had the coal merchant's concession, often trebling their pay packet.

Work on the station platform and 2D access to be continued once the back and end scenic walls have been added to the unit.

With June in progress work has come in leaps and bounds. No bank holidays until the end of August, no more birthdays this year and holidays away not before mid-September.

En-casing the joint

Behind the goods shed cut-outs were made where the 'back road' comes in and leaves the scenery, the batten serves to screw the corners together and support another to build the smaller overbridge onto.  Cut out near the corner for exit to fiddleyard
Behind the goods shed cut-outs were made where the 'back road' comes in and leaves the scenery, the batten serves to screw the corners together and support another to build the smaller overbridge onto. Cut out near the corner for exit to fiddleyard | Source
The front casing has been cut to depth, the gap between the stone sets and the front to be covered with plastic filler
The front casing has been cut to depth, the gap between the stone sets and the front to be covered with plastic filler | Source
Close-up of the coal depot corner, with the casing cut out to ground level and modelled around the end wall - the gap here also to be filled in.
Close-up of the coal depot corner, with the casing cut out to ground level and modelled around the end wall - the gap here also to be filled in. | Source
Where the twain meet - the back support for the goods/coal depot access road covers a small gap between the two board halves.
Where the twain meet - the back support for the goods/coal depot access road covers a small gap between the two board halves. | Source

Board work

A 4' X 2' sheet of .quarter inch ply (to keep the weight down) was cut at the shop into three 8" depth lengths and cut further to approximate size for the back, sides and front of the layout.

A separate fiddleyard will be added to feed trains onto this scenic unit, but first I need to get to the point where I've made satisfactory progress on this unit. Markings were made on the board, for further cuts. When I've got to the point of working on the backscene, I can do some more cutting for roof-lines etc.(if needed). The board still needs to be screwed on all the way around the unit, although you can see from these images roughly where it'll go from here. Cuts were made where bridges/road embankments enter and leave, for the low level coal depot and access road frontage (maybe part of a carr/marsh) as well as around the front of the goods shed.

Lots still to do. .

Roads, bridges, embankment, trackside detail... and carr

Bird's eye view of the girder bridge from the back, shows the ramp at the front of the layout that leads down to the goods depot.
Bird's eye view of the girder bridge from the back, shows the ramp at the front of the layout that leads down to the goods depot. | Source
The brick bridge seen from rail level. Abutments to be added on the left side either side of the bridge as well as 'fill-ins' between the pillars and the layout back. There'll be cutting walls between this bridge and the exit point
The brick bridge seen from rail level. Abutments to be added on the left side either side of the bridge as well as 'fill-ins' between the pillars and the layout back. There'll be cutting walls between this bridge and the exit point | Source
Looks a bit chaotic at the moment from the goods depot side, the underpass for coal lorries has been started. That's the main thing
Looks a bit chaotic at the moment from the goods depot side, the underpass for coal lorries has been started. That's the main thing | Source
And here it is in close-up with the buttresses on either side. Pillars will be added to finish off, after the embankment is in place.
And here it is in close-up with the buttresses on either side. Pillars will be added to finish off, after the embankment is in place. | Source
From the goods depot side, the styrofoam has been pushed into place - cajoled more like - and fixed down with pva. A wall of coarse stone   will take the access road down (and 'bled off'' the scenery)
From the goods depot side, the styrofoam has been pushed into place - cajoled more like - and fixed down with pva. A wall of coarse stone will take the access road down (and 'bled off'' the scenery) | Source
Another view of the criss-crossed card onto which the working surface will be laid. The 'carr' is bordered on one side by the road down to the coal depot and the coal depot lorry park. There will be a Pooley weighbridge here, with weigh office
Another view of the criss-crossed card onto which the working surface will be laid. The 'carr' is bordered on one side by the road down to the coal depot and the coal depot lorry park. There will be a Pooley weighbridge here, with weigh office | Source
Beside the goods shed walling has been added and gaps filled with the plaster material pressed in small amounts. The material lends itself to this technique.
Beside the goods shed walling has been added and gaps filled with the plaster material pressed in small amounts. The material lends itself to this technique. | Source
Stone abutments worked in and clamped until set across the road from the goods shed. Medium Wet'n'dry sandpaper will be fed through the underpass and down the ramp to the coal depot
Stone abutments worked in and clamped until set across the road from the goods shed. Medium Wet'n'dry sandpaper will be fed through the underpass and down the ramp to the coal depot | Source
Here the cornflake box strips have been covered. It looks fairly bland and featureless at this stage, but given time...
Here the cornflake box strips have been covered. It looks fairly bland and featureless at this stage, but given time... | Source
Looks different again doesn't it.  A dense layer of vegetation will hide much of the 'water' content . 'Scenic Water' from the 4D shop in Leman Street, London E1 is to be carefully heated and dripped in. All manner of detritus can be added for effect
Looks different again doesn't it. A dense layer of vegetation will hide much of the 'water' content . 'Scenic Water' from the 4D shop in Leman Street, London E1 is to be carefully heated and dripped in. All manner of detritus can be added for effect | Source
The view along to and under the brick bridge. A stone abutment on the left shows where an older bridge might have stood - removed to make way for the goods shed and siding
The view along to and under the brick bridge. A stone abutment on the left shows where an older bridge might have stood - removed to make way for the goods shed and siding | Source
Seen through the access point from where the fiddleyard will abut, a short piece of older stone walling shores up an unstable embankment beside the brick bridge
Seen through the access point from where the fiddleyard will abut, a short piece of older stone walling shores up an unstable embankment beside the brick bridge | Source
The corner seen across the road bridge. The gap has been filled with styrene foam and will be topped by a small piece of 'Terra Forma' plaster-impregnated sheet
The corner seen across the road bridge. The gap has been filled with styrene foam and will be topped by a small piece of 'Terra Forma' plaster-impregnated sheet | Source

Just to see how the road links would work, I cut some plastic roughly to shape and pinned them down onto the formers behind the bridge abutments (where the road will cross over the railway on a vari-girder bridge), and on a descending gradient to where a ramp drops to the goods depot. Further to the right another, shorter, bridge will cross over the railway to take another road that will 'bleed off' the scenic unit behind the good depot. This will be a brick-sided bridge, and scenery will rise at the end to cover its rear.

Once the access roads and bridges were worked out, it was time to add more detail, The Vari-girder bridge received its outer walls, the road was taken from the bridge to the front of the scenic unit and fascia amended to support one side of the ramp, a piece of 1mm thick plastic cut in shape and wedged under the half-finished ramp to 'bleed' the road off in front of the goods shed. Buttresses will be added at either end of the Vari-girder bridge, and gate-posts to show it's not a public road.

Closer to the way off the scenic unit the base was added for the brick bridge, Wills' flexible brick sheet added to the wooden block that supports the scenic side of the bridge and a roadway formed - to be completed when the bridge is finished - with a brick-faced supporting wall (that Wills' flexible brick sheet again).

Styrofoam infill has been 'bullied' into place and fixed with pva glue around the underpass and embankment sides. Coarse stone plastic sheet has been added to the down wall by the goods depot, away from the embankment, as well as to the inside edge of the coal depot ramp. Next will be the outside edge walling down to the coal depot lorry park that's been added (more plastic filler to add to smooth out the gaps).

When the pva and styrofoam have set it'll be time for covering material: 'Terra Forma' (from Tasma Products, Unit 1, College Farm, North End, Meldreth, Royston, Hertfordshire SG8 6NT) will be added. I used some of this on the Ayton Lane motive power depot (Thoraldby layout, see ROPFAMR No.18) and it's done its job. What's more when the basic job's done you can scoop up the residue and use it to fill spaces. You can also press sheet together and create smooth slopes where it might have been uneven, or vice-versa. Imagination is the key.

I've had a notion to fill in the gap at the front of the scenery with a corner of a 'carr', standing water and marsh grasses, the odd (white metal) swans and ducks. The options are open. To achieve this aim I filled the area with crossed strips of card from a store cornflake packet. The next stage is to spread the 'Terra Forma', plaster impregnated sheets cut down to size over the area and allow to dry before painting adding scatter. Both areas can be dealt with together at the scenic finishing stage.

Before the plaster sheet has been added below the sloped coal depot road, I've fixed some coarse stone against the side. As it is now it looks bland and featureless. Bear with me, spray painting with Railmatch (1406) Sleeper Grime will change that for the interim. It can pass for mud as well as earth and with masking will be applied in the 'carr' as well as on the road embankment, and looks right for the area beneath scatter. It's the colour of that rich earth on land reclaimed from waterlogged marsh or fen, what's called 'clag' in the North (you know, the stuff that attaches itself to your boots when you've walked along fields after heavy rain, and in no time gives you the feeling of walking on stilts).

Vegetation will be added above and below after a low imitation steel vehicle barrier has been fixed in place on the edge of the slope covered with grey wet & dry sandpaper to look like asphalted road.

Station site, structures and 'masks' - how far do you want to go, scratch-building, kit-bashing, un-modified kits or 'out-of-the-box'?

Bird's eye view of the station area. A curved back-scene former has been added for the self-adhesive 1D Back-scene to curve around from the back to the side to avoid that odd appearance of 'cornering'.
Bird's eye view of the station area. A curved back-scene former has been added for the self-adhesive 1D Back-scene to curve around from the back to the side to avoid that odd appearance of 'cornering'. | Source
Here's the AEC Park Royal railbus parked at the platform. Thi's vehicle's been bought to provide passenger services. Goods services may be worked by an 03 diesel shunter, alternating with steam
Here's the AEC Park Royal railbus parked at the platform. Thi's vehicle's been bought to provide passenger services. Goods services may be worked by an 03 diesel shunter, alternating with steam | Source
Poppy's Woodtech sleeper-built buffer stop with ballast 'topping' (this would be infill) that masks the power clips on the...
Poppy's Woodtech sleeper-built buffer stop with ballast 'topping' (this would be infill) that masks the power clips on the... | Source
Platform side, the buffer stop still to be secured and durable enough to withstand transit.
Platform side, the buffer stop still to be secured and durable enough to withstand transit. | Source
The Peco twin power connecting clips, applications shown here in diagram form (can also be applied for isolating track)
The Peco twin power connecting clips, applications shown here in diagram form (can also be applied for isolating track) | Source

This is the stage where the platform detail can be worked on, i.e., the surface to begin with before platform 'furniture'. Wills' Victoria Stone Paving (SSMP 221) can be used around the station building and fine grey wet & dry sandpaper to resemble asphalt further down the platform towards and under the Vari-girder bridge. With the building held firm on the plastic base, a line can be drawn around the front of the building to show where it'll go. Wills' platform edging will be fixed to abut the brick platform face with the paving behind. Lots of possibilities... We'll see how it develops (this isn't chiselled in stone). There are North Eastern style platform lamps, benches and other platform 'furniture' to be considered, including a platform signal cabin. There will be a 'capped' dressed stone platform back wall, (Wills' again, SS36) to apply after the backscene has been applied. Maybe a few trees or bushes to improve the scenery. Behind the station building will be the foreshortened approach road, surfaced with dark grey 'wet&dry' sandpaper. Got to cut and position the backscene first, though. Smooth plastic has been positioned against the backscene wall for fixing down. The next stage on this front is to cut the printed 1D backscene to size and shape.

Countryside Backscene

Behind the goods shed a stretch of backcene has been applied to the board. In front of that the gap between layout and backcene board, filled with styrofoam as a prelude to a low 'Terra Forma' embankment. Fencing will top this to give a 3D effect
Behind the goods shed a stretch of backcene has been applied to the board. In front of that the gap between layout and backcene board, filled with styrofoam as a prelude to a low 'Terra Forma' embankment. Fencing will top this to give a 3D effect | Source
That station view again. Since this image was taken Wills' dressed stone walling (SS36) has been fixed against the backscene, along with a short piece of fencing at the roadside at the back, either side of the building.
That station view again. Since this image was taken Wills' dressed stone walling (SS36) has been fixed against the backscene, along with a short piece of fencing at the roadside at the back, either side of the building. | Source

Two long strips of photographic printed backscene have been mounted on the back board, trimmed to depth and overlapped onto the back for continuity. They were bought online from 1D. I'll add the website below for the product. The range is extensive, with soft card or self-adhesive backing and in a variety of scales from 2mm-7mm. I trimmed the initial 9 inch (22.8 cm) depth to the four inches (roughly 10 cm) I needed. Instructions tell you to coat the back board with pva, I coated the sheet backs and used a spreader because I didn't want to slop over the track and existing scenery. You choose. I've got some left over for another job if I need it.

Ancillary buildings, gangers' huts, coal offices etc

A couple of small buildings that can be located around the railway, one of which (on the left) after addition of a brick chimney or smoke stack would be suitable as a coal office
A couple of small buildings that can be located around the railway, one of which (on the left) after addition of a brick chimney or smoke stack would be suitable as a coal office | Source
The two huts complete with chimney stacks, guttering and downpipes, painted, at the lineside, fixed down on white plastic bases, ready for scenic work to be undertaken around them. The choice is broad, what would you make of their surroundings?
The two huts complete with chimney stacks, guttering and downpipes, painted, at the lineside, fixed down on white plastic bases, ready for scenic work to be undertaken around them. The choice is broad, what would you make of their surroundings? | Source

So far only two huts for the station yard, both bought at the John Dutfield trade stand at a model railway exhibition some ago and modified by me before 'planting' at Thorpe Carr. More to come in the form of weigh office and weighbridge.

On to signalling and other trackside 'furniture'.

The end of the line... One of the pairs of cast brass North Eastern Railway style buffer stop sides from Slaters now completed, with plastic posts and beam from the Evergreen strip styrene range... seen from from front
The end of the line... One of the pairs of cast brass North Eastern Railway style buffer stop sides from Slaters now completed, with plastic posts and beam from the Evergreen strip styrene range... seen from from front | Source
And from the nearside back, painted up to look like the cast iron and timber they were built from. These will be grounded in ballast (over to the top of the bottom horizontal).
And from the nearside back, painted up to look like the cast iron and timber they were built from. These will be grounded in ballast (over to the top of the bottom horizontal). | Source
At the back of the goods shed and on the end of the short siding, a pair of buffer stops below the back road
At the back of the goods shed and on the end of the short siding, a pair of buffer stops below the back road | Source

A trio of buffer stops was built using the Slaters' North Eastern Railway styled cast brass side pieces and a few elements of Evergreen's styrene strip. The vertical posts that stand against the triangular units are not solid, they are channel, 'closed up' with thin styrene strip and topped with Squadron Products' fast-dry formula White Putty from the 4D shop (see link elsewhere on this page). As it says on the tube, it dries quickly and can be easily sanded within a short time of application. Try it.

The beam is '[' channel with wide solid strip inset after being rounded at the ends. A drawing by D. Fenny on page 54 in the NORTH EASTERN RECORD Volume 1 shows how the unit was assembled and 'bedded'. A black & white photograph below shows a later NER rail-built buffer stop.

Again more to come in the form of signalling (ground and post-mounted) and telegraph posts amongst other structures.

Railway associated cast 4mm metal 1950s road vehicles from the 'Classix' range

Laden coal delivery lorry ascends the road away from the depot after weighing
Laden coal delivery lorry ascends the road away from the depot after weighing | Source
A pair of local delivery vans. They also collected from rural offices after lines were closed, such as between York, Gilling, Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside in Ryedale and the Vale of Pickering
A pair of local delivery vans. They also collected from rural offices after lines were closed, such as between York, Gilling, Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside in Ryedale and the Vale of Pickering | Source
A Royal Mail Land Rover Series II 'hard-top' (van) delivers locally collected mail for collection by the evening pick-up goods)
A Royal Mail Land Rover Series II 'hard-top' (van) delivers locally collected mail for collection by the evening pick-up goods) | Source
'A pre-WWII 'mechanical horse in early (1948) B R livery reverses onto its laden tarpaulined trailer
'A pre-WWII 'mechanical horse in early (1948) B R livery reverses onto its laden tarpaulined trailer | Source
Again in early B R livery, a heavy goods delivery/collection van pauses outside the goods shed
Again in early B R livery, a heavy goods delivery/collection van pauses outside the goods shed | Source
Another Land Rover Series II, B R this time in pre-1956 crimson and cream. Used for cross-country routes - farm tracks unsuitable for normal road vans or bad weather (lots of hilly land and fords)
Another Land Rover Series II, B R this time in pre-1956 crimson and cream. Used for cross-country routes - farm tracks unsuitable for normal road vans or bad weather (lots of hilly land and fords) | Source
Post Office Telephones & Communications repair/maintenance van. The railway services didn't maintain their own telephone systems, so called on the Post Office for any necessary  jobs.
Post Office Telephones & Communications repair/maintenance van. The railway services didn't maintain their own telephone systems, so called on the Post Office for any necessary jobs. | Source
Land Rover Series II again, long wheelbase (109") this time, lineside signalling engineers
Land Rover Series II again, long wheelbase (109") this time, lineside signalling engineers | Source

Essential non-railway railway services, the road vehicles that became the go-betweens for British Railways that had come into being at least a century earlier in the form of horse and cart or pony and trap (depending on the size of the consignment or nature of service). In the decades that preceded British Railways' existence the post-'Grouping' companies developed motor vehicles for particular services, preceded by steam wagons that had superseded the horse and cart. One famous type of vehicle owned by each company was the 'mechanical horse'. Largely the same company supplied these, the best-known being Scammell. Their shape changed over the years before and after WWII and the formation of the British Railways road fleet and its relatively short-lived successor, British Road Services. I have several of these mechanical horses from various stages of development by both Classix and Oxford.

The earliest variant has an arc roof, the newest is the more familiar Scammell of the 1950s/1960s.

Commer and Bedford, amongst others, produced a more recognisable type of road delivery vehicle, the shape being shared was the wedge-shaped engine housing with split bonnet, tapered cab and the load-bearing area optional (tarpaulined van, solid bodied van, drop-sided, high-sided open, flatbed).

The railways also had small vans used to deliver small consignments and collect for further shipment. In the early 1950s a new marque appeared on (and off) Britain's roads in large numbers. On offshoot of the Rover Car Company was launched in 1948 named Land Rover. A small number of the Series I were produced until early in the 1950s and on into the 1960s developments led to the Series II and further. British Railways, the postal services and other organisations latched onto an all-terrain vehicle that were not restricted to the roads.

Coal deliveries, pre- and post-WWII began to be mechanised using flatbed lorries for maximum load capability.

This was the scene in the 1950s when villages such as Thorpe Carr began to wake from the austerity years, although many rail services would suffer with competition from road services, bus travel to village centres and private car ownership.

Of course there's also the 'Old Bill' (police) who might turn up from time to time to keep a check on goings-on at the goods shed. Income from regular work is still not brilliant and there are still shortages. Who knows, that scruffy-looking clerk in the goods office might be 'at it', diverting various goods when he thinks his boss isn't looking,

"The village shop's reported the odd box being short of a packet or two".

"Right Constable, we'll keep a weather eye on things".

"Where's your boss, might I ask?"

"He's gone into the village to see somebody about an account matter".

"I might catch him there then. Cheerio".

In the course of time you'll see more of the range of cars, lorries and vans that should appear either at the station, on or near the bridge, the coal depot and goods shed or back road. There's an RAC Land Rover and an AA man on his motor bike to look out for. Only livestock will be missing, although pigeon baskets might appear now and then for forwarding as well as hen crates, and chicken trays for hatching in a warm, dry place.



Non-railway road vehicles in a rural environment

His lordship's chauffeur comes to arrange for the collection of hunt or shoot clients' luggage entrusted to the railway for advance delivery
His lordship's chauffeur comes to arrange for the collection of hunt or shoot clients' luggage entrusted to the railway for advance delivery | Source
One of two farm tractors crosses the bridge - there'll be a gate on the edge of the layout to show where railway premises end.
One of two farm tractors crosses the bridge - there'll be a gate on the edge of the layout to show where railway premises end. | Source
A private haulage contractor is backed up for loading. There would be a day when these would take over from 'wagon load' conveyance by rail.
A private haulage contractor is backed up for loading. There would be a day when these would take over from 'wagon load' conveyance by rail. | Source

Private enterprise and car ownership

On the subject of competition from road vehicles, there will be several road haulier vehicles and private cars shared with the Thoraldby layout. Various shorter model commercial vehicles and lorries fit in the doorways of the goods shed, which will be shown as having reversed in for loading. Of course some vehicles can be shown as parked outside the goods shed office, 'just visiting'. The number of suitable road vehicles for this layout is not unduly limited, the nature of services being wide.

There's a window cleaner for a start, an old-fashioned taxi - money's still in short supply, and in view of the small number of passengers willing to part with a couple of 'Bob' (shillings) for the mile-and-a-half taxi ride into the village. The driver will be a while yet, waiting for funds to update.

You might see either of a couple of tractors on the bridge, coming away from or on the approach to the farm gate.

In the last few years the scope of 1950s vehicles has been limited, although I've run out of space for road vehicles even if more are introduced in the near future (I'll have to get a bigger bread tray to put shelves in).


The competition for passenger services

Often stations were miles from the villages they served, whereas local bus services ran down the heart of the community. Thorpe Carr is no different. Yet railways brought goods and fuel to the community with distribution centres large enough to cope
Often stations were miles from the villages they served, whereas local bus services ran down the heart of the community. Thorpe Carr is no different. Yet railways brought goods and fuel to the community with distribution centres large enough to cope | Source

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