Rites of Passage for a Model Railway - 31: Let Me Introduce You to Ainthorpe Junction
Take a look at the real world as it was - close to home or away. Use old images, get a diagram or map, work from that
Current features completed: up to trackbed level on Unit 3 - in situ. Unit 4 near basic (structural) completion
[If there's a group of you, maybe you could hire a mini-bus and go to survey the site of a station or other railway site feature as it is currently. This could be a locomotive or goods depot, or it could be a livestock dock close to a mainline as there was near the East Coast Main line station at Grantham in Lincolnshire. There might be one or two buildings or structures still standing - maybe a weigh office near where livestock, goods and coal depots shared a common entry point - and maybe there's a station building/office still there... or more. Photographs, maps, track diagrams from OPC and from other proven sources]. Take photographs, make measurements by pacing along and across open ground.
Whatever you do, don't trespass as it makes things harder for others at the same location or elsewhere.
The Plan - where the 'fun' started
As a contrast to the rural feel of 'Thoraldby', 'Ainthorpe Junction' is to be on the edge of an industrial town...
Dreamed up whilst in a hospital bed in early March, 2018, 'Ainthorpe Junction' has been furnished with sidings, some features associated with towns such as a large livestock dock for the sale of animals for meat or dairy, and a goods depot next to the exit from the displayed part of the layout to a fiddleyard and possibly another display section as before. Along the way there may be a double track viaduct, relief lines for slow traffic to allow faster trains past.
There are endless possibilities that can be entered into the planning, and I've thought of a brickworks to be added into the corner where the main running lines pass on a wide curve.
Work started 25th September, 2018 - easy does it.
A number of short lengths, "risers" of 4.5" attached vertically, will give the base height and provide support for a stable 'floor' on the front fiddleyard (divided into two, front for goods and mineral traffic, rear for parcels and passenger traffic. It will also be the working level for the layout. Scenery around the track bed can be úndulating and provide a basis for short viaducts. There will be a short intermediate unit before the awkward corner where the main running lines follow a wide curve. On the other side of the corner unit another straight length will be inserted before the overbridge that will be skewed across the layout to carry a main road or bypass around the town. Counting the u nits starts from the front end this time (on 'Thoraldby' I worked from the other direction) and the sequence numbered anti-clockwise. There are a few details that need to be sorted out, but it's on its way. The first fiddleyard has started to take shape, with only assembly left before the board decking gets measured and screwed down (lots of hardware in stock, luckily), with a few metal right angle braces to buy.
Fiddleyard unit 1 will be on two levels, the rear half at 5.25" with a baffle between them to prevent stock from accidentally falling through. The track from the rear fiddleyard section will be lowered on a falling gradient to the main layout level in the distance to the junction on the level. Signalling will be added on the falling gradient before the junction and in the opposite direction for the double track turn-off.
Let's see how long it takes before there's something recognisable, and something to test new locomotives (my A1 conversion for a start, and a couple of BR Standard classes I bought second-hand from Hattons - see pictures below)..
Board will be fixed down onto the 'risers', underlay glued with spreadable wood glue where the track is to be laid in order to dampen the noise. That's a little in the future yet. First things first: unit assembly, fit, test and lower into place. A lot of thought will go into the assembly stage, believe me.
Follow progress below the next set of Unit 1 pictures....
Fiddleyard - Unit 1 - takes recognisable shape
Planned additions to the Ainthorpe Junction 'fleet'
Rites Of Passage...
Make your way through the series and see how you measure up. Some of you may already be 'further along the road' than I am, some enthusiastic beginners. Whatever stage you're at, you'll find something in this series to interest you, maybe re-enthuse you if you haven't been involved for a while to try your hand again. You might enjoy assembling units and laying track, pointwork and building bridges for others to 'pretty up' with scenery. You might enjoy scratchbuilding structures, as I do, or you might enjoy 'kit-bashing' to adapt kits to suit your own purposes. Like making wagons and other rolling stock or locomotives either to drawings or with kits? There'll be something for you. There are some links on the right of this page that you'll find handy, and enable you somehow to navigate your way through the series at your own pace.
Just remember you're in this to enjoy yourself... Or go out and get yourself another job.
This will be an ongoing 'report' on progress, a major feature as you can see from the distance covered along three cellar walls.
'Ainthorpe Junction' will be treated differently to 'Thoraldby' insofar as this will have a townscape as a backdrop, and industry will figure to a degree
Instead of a mostly single track country branch line with a passing loop and other NER station features at 'Thoraldby', this will be double track throughout to enable through running, with sidings for wagon storage, a coal depot, probably a couple of level crossings and over/under-bridges, the junction itself and a goods depot with larger cattle dock at one end next to the exit from the scenery. A canal may be hinted at, with a tunnel mouth to face front (it's on the cards to have a commercial narrow boat about to emerge from the gloom) and maybe a lock... Who knows how the scenery will go?
Aside from a lineside coal depot, several features will be incorporated into the eye-level view, such as bow girders, level crossings, sidings and foundations for structures such as signal cabins and assorted smaller buildings, gates, lineside low relief terraced housing, corner shops, pubs, high walls, spearpoint fencing and so on. Under-bridges and pedestrian underpasses will be added for interest, a ramp to the back of an old (abandoned) station as an example. On the far side of the tunnel/modern overbridge will be a cattle market and goods depot. Passenger trains will be through-running unless held at signals on slow lines to allow higher priority traffic through. This might mean investing in the odd Class A1/A3 Pacific (Peppercorn Class A2 such as 'Blue Peter' were based largely in Scotland, although some Thompson A1/2 rebuilt Class P2 2-8-2 engines were shedded at York North - 50A - prior to scrapping in the mid 1950s) and as this will be a diversionary route that will be the odd thrill for schoolboy trainspotters on a footbridge (known these days as 'anoraks' for obvious reasons) or lineside, who collected engine numbers when they weren't at stations (where they were known as 'platform enders', with their Ian Allan pocket books into which they could enter the different class loco numbers. Halcyon days, eh? There'll be lots of signals to make, such as late LNER brackets, the odd signal bridges (that's how they were described in the North East, gantries elsewhere) and ground signals.
Next to be started is Unit 2, the first of several scenic units. This will be a short one, at 4 foot about half the length of Unit 1, to lead onto Unit 3, the corner 'L' unit that will carry the junction itself as well as a few features such as coal depot, underpass, canal lock leading to the canal tunnel. Unit 4 will be the next connecting unit to the gap in the wall and Unit 5 with its goods depot and livestock dock. Unit 6 will be the far end fiddleyard.
Let's see how this develops. Unit 1 has been completed by securing the plastic 'L' sections that cover the gap between levels and the gap between the lower level and front wall and is now in situ. Time to start on the intermediate, 3 foot 6 inch long Unit 2.that will see the upper level gradually drop on a gentle gradient to join the lower on Unit 3. Freight and heavy goods traffic enters on the level over a curve. I've had thoughts of carrying on the back level to the corner on a wide curve. This should be where a factory or parcels depot occupies an upper curve. That would be an ideal continuation of the upper level and give visitors something to look at when taking in the back and corner area if nothing's happening on the main line.
I'll see to completing the basic Unit 2 and develop the embankment into the fiddleyard. Hey-ho, here we go! . .
The short 3 ft 6 inch long Unit 2...
Unit 2 is basically complete, some minute adjustments made to align track base with Unit 1
The unit only needs front and back facing boards to complete the structure. As with Unit 1 the felt base for the trackbed will the dealt with when I've got at least as far as the 'divide' (the box inset in the abutment wall). The rest is plain sailing, compared to this at least. The scenic plans I have in mind will test my ingenuity - or what passes for it - in building the corner of the 'L' shape and bringing the two levels together on the junction. A coal depot will be built at the front, as with 'Thoraldby', to show the simplicity of the hopper bunkers at their best. A ramp will be included from road to depot level. Units 3 and 4 will be 'busy', with a level crossing, road-under-rail and canal tunnel mouth. Let's see what I can squeeze in, eh?
Back panel board's screwed in place, front panel awaits cutting to attach Ratio Retaining Wall and Wills' brick wall with arched factory window cavities. Wills' Factory Window Frame units are in stock. They can be glazed, or the backing timber painted patchy black to resemble broken or dirty glass. Lichen to be attached at a later date to suit. 'Ideas time' will follow when the foam trackbed is fixed, with rails laid down and ballasted.(brown for dirty ballast, black for ash in sidings. .
Profiled plastic Ratio retaining wall and Wills' factory wall fixed in place. Lugs were cut off at the back of the Ratio sheets that are designed to give a 'leaning' effect in a cutting. As they've been used to resemble a viaduct side they were unnecessary. On the factory walling, due to an accident in breaking off waste the sheet split. This proved a lucky break, to show a deep crack in the wall (see picture above) that might have been brought about by bomb damage in WWII. The effect was improved on by adding plastic backing and fixing the window part to the unit side as pushed away. On another unit damage to the retaining wall parapet can be shown as broken off and opened out. A plain painted false backing wall and 'flooring' can give the effect of factory floor bomb debris, with bits of painted plastic and rubble within, window frames blown out or in, discarded, dirty red 'UXB' signs (hopefully the bombs had been defused on discovery), boarding on some windows and 'Keep Out' posters on the walls.. Lots of options in modelling a fictional location using photographs of bomb damaged property.
Easy does it.
* For our friends across 'the Pond', in the UK we put the day of the month first, then the month. For example your 12/3/18 is 3rd December, 2018, ours is 3/12/18. Simple really.
Unit 3: Assembly, the basic framework with risers (Unit 3 to Unit 2, Unit 3 to Unit 4)
Unit 3.progress from cutting to assembly..
With Unit 2 set on the supporting framework (some minor adjustments to make), Unit 3 is to be tackled. I can take my time, some materials still need to be bought, and curves marked for the trackbed from the front fiddleyard end.
3/12/18: Stretchers have been cut, some marking out for where they meet the sides and other stretchers still to be marked. That's - as they say - a five minute job. Drilling on the inside edge of the unit and stretchers needs to be done before the screws can be driven in. Some counter-sinking needs to be done, some longer screws to be bought. This is not the only unit where angles need to be taken into consideration. Units 5 to 6 will be linked by a narrow 'bridge' to carry double track to the far (6'-0") fiddleyard, although that will be no issue. Fairly straightforward (sez 'e). Still, it's a challenge, innit.
The framework has been clamped onto the 'Workmate' for completion - addition of risers and possibly two extra stretchers on the outer side to carry the outer curve and 'back road' to the depot/factory with a run-around for a locomotive. We'll see how it works out. Still a fair bit to do on this unit, but it's fairly straightforward now I've got my bearings.
2/1/2019: The main trackbed layer of 6mm ply has been fixed down, screwed to the end risers and a jig-saw blade used to cut down the middle. Another box of 1.5 inch X 6 countersunk, crosshead screws has to be bought. Unit 3 took a fair number of the previous box and I ran out of them. About another score needed to finish the unit. ten for the 'back road' to the warehouse/depot including for the three 5.5 inch risers. I might scratchbuild that, or use a Metcalfe kit as it's far back enough. What's at the front of the layout will be more detailed, 2-dimensional for what's fixed on the front and 3-dimensional for free-standing structures such as signal cabins, lineside buildings and so on. The canal lock gate will feature here, a short double track viaduct further along towards the break between Units 4 and 5. I might add plastic detailing to the front of a brick Metcalfe viaduct unit to catch the light, weather it and add vegetation in the edges and on protruding features. Terraced house backs to the rear and a road emerging from an underpass. Ideas, ideas eh? Got the get the basics done first though. More soon.
4/1/2019 Got the back road fixed down as shown in the images above. Next job is the side walls, straightforward at the back, with two lengths of 1 ft deep 4 ply. At the front it'll be three shorter sections of 4 inch deep 4mm ply to accommodate the canal lock. I might make a long 'U' cut, about three-quarters of an inch deep with a chisel and insert a perspex canal 'surface' over some painted board. Some studies of emerging canals with towpaths and locks should come in handy..
8/1/2019: with the back and front panels (side walls) cut and clamped in place completion was straightforward to drilling and insertion of round-headed screws with washers so as not to foúl the insertion alignment. More screws had to be bought to complete, and hopefully forty will be enough. Taking the layout around the corner, Unit 3 was structurally more complicated, thus absorbed more material including screws. Three types were used for assembly, 2 inch X 8 to link horizontal strakes (drilled through the 2 X 1 timber), 1.5 inch X 6 to fix down the 6 mm track base boards and risers to the horizontals, 1 inch X 8 round-headed cross-and slot-headed to fix the back and front 4 mm panels to the unit frame. Setting Unit 3 in place on the supporting framework was tight and needed minor adjustment before I could contemplate Unit 4.
[More Peco Streamline (and some Setrack) flat bottomed rail and pointwork also needs to be bought to complete the junction, including at least one double slip - not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but necessary. Another, plus possibly a single slip, is needed for the goods depot and livestock dock junction on Unit 5, out to the second fiddleyard near the stairs. Lots of scope for logic and imagination, observation and research. The logic is needed to calculate for the shunt movements, the imagination for the scenery, observation and research come together for signalling and secondary junction. There will be a second level crossing and I shall also need to study signalling arrangements].
That thinking cap still fits since I completed 'Thoraldby'.
Three units in place and the trackbase has turned the corner.
On to Unit 4: 'Easy street'...? Maybe not. I aim to add a double track brick or stone (Metcalfe) viaduct before the next unit break
Fun and games in the offing for Unit 4, although not in the basic construction. A number of features are planned, 1) railway junction and sidings/headshunts, 2) nearside coal depot, 3) double track viaduct before the unit end, 4) low relief (Metcalfe) terraced house backs at rear.
Question is, will I get it all in? Let's get the basics done first.
13/1/2019: Side-pieces measuring 83.5 inches were clamped between Unit 3 and the abutment (where the hole in the wall served the 'Thoraldby' layout); end pieces were cut to span at either end; the spacers cut to length were inserted, pushed into place.
22/1/2019: Risers cut and fixed to spacers, falling gradient prepared and ready for the trackbed board to be mounted and cut to size. At front and back will be two end-shunts, front longer - with pointwork for the coal depot shunt. Entry to the coal depot and access back to the running lines will be from Unit 3. [Locomotives will draw wagons onto the coal depot siding, detach, run forward and reverse, run forward again to draw empties back, push empties to the back of the rake of laden wagons, attach and draw back. Final movement will be to push laden wagons onto the depot deck, detach and reverse with empties, re-attach brake van and away again].
24/1/2019: 6mm ply board set in place, screwed down in places, jig-sawn along cut lines between the shortish end-shunt at the back of the layout, the main line down the incline to the tunnel and the long head-shunt at the front. This is where the coal depot will be on a spur (locomotives were not meant to run onto the decks (too heavy), so shunting empties and laden wagons will be interesting as I've mentioned above. Hopefully I can get three tracks in, and be able to use the third as wagon standage or storage ('cripples', spare stock etc) with some scope for rusty old NER/ LNER rail-built buffer stops and earlier types, grass and bushes between rails. That's for later.
25-27/1/2019: Got the weekend off for an AGM near Skipton on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway aboard the 1903 NER Autocar that was recently 'out-shopped' amid great railway press fanfare. I shall experience it for myself.
5/2/2019: Change of plan, the viaduct will be positioned on Unit 6, a double track affair beyond the goods and livestock dock, that spans waste ground to the second fiddleyard, Unit 7. So what will be on Unit 4? A shunting road past a twelve cell coal depot for six hopper wagons in three pairs on the nearside. Next to the coal cells at the lower road level will be a weigh office and weigh bridge with protective girder to prevent lorries accidentally hitting it when reversing onto the weigh bridge (if they've accidentally passed it). A ramp road will lead along to a two lane road underpass. Nearer to Unit 3 will be a high brick wall with brick-infilled window arches (more under-track factories abandoned after WWII). On the far side is a short single-track end shunt for 'cripples' etc. Between the two level shunts is a falling gradient to the tunnel mouth/overbridge (still haven't made my mind up, there's time enough for that). Make a start on Unit 5 by this weekend or beginning next. Fit Unit 4 into its space first, set it right and work on securing the 'deck' that joins Unit 4 to Unit 5. Enough to keep me occupied at least until the weekend.
10/2/2019: Unit 4 was completed, with a 'baffle' added on Friday 8th, set into place with some adjustments made today. I think one of the side walls was warped, so Unit 4 needed to be screwed into place on both sides at both ends. Heavy stuff! It involved crawling in behind the un it and pressing down whilst I drilled and screwed. Good job I left plenty of room when I built the framework for 'Thoraldby'. Foresight is better than hindsight..
Unit 4, Another twist to the tale - another falling gradient
Railway building and materials - real life
Scenery, as you've guessed from a previous page in this series, is important enough to write books about.
The books are listed in other pages, so I won't go into detail. It's enough just to give one a mention:
One of a series in the Silver Link Library of Railway Modelling that gives a grounding in model railway construction - CREATING THE SCENIC LANDSCAPE by Trevor Booth, (ISBN 978-1-85794-023-7), 95 pp, colour and b/w images and diagrams in sections on 1. the scenic base & ballasting, ground cover; 2. developing the landscape; 3. the urban scene; 4. signalling; 5. 'populating' the layout
*details of further books in the series can be found on Amazon UK
Unit 5 begun, 12th February
12/2/2019: Sawing has begun to get Unit 5 underway after buying the timber and a new box of 200 X 1.5 inch X 6 crosshead screws. I've had to get a number of new screws for specific tasks, 2 inch X 8 for horizontal hold through the breadth of 2 X 1 timbers (on Unit 3), some 1 inch X 6 screws for the side walls for the length to enable the unit side walls to be attached without fouling the gaps that sit on the support framework;
13/2/2019: Spacers were sawn from a length of 2 X 1 timber, the two 5 foot 3 X 1 lengths clamped onto the framework and the spacers fitted in. Next job is to screw in the spacers to the nearside length before taking off the part assembly and fitting the back length as marked up after the unit ends have been sawn to shape;
Other new 'belles' of the motive power pool drawn from around the region, (50A to 54D), and some 'old girls' from 'Thoraldby'
If you recall the motive power 'pool' from the 'Thoraldby' layout, it has already grown by three.
The 'new girls' will complement the selection with their older sisters (two are Bachmann products - mid-1950s Standard classes - the third a Hornby Peppercorn A1 Pacific tender locomotive), with a few more probable additions by the time 'Ainthorpe Junction' is complete.
I think maybe another K1, Q6 from around the Tees area, another Tyneside Peppercorn A1. A J27 is on the cards from Oxford Rail, and I think before I'm finished I'll hope to get at least three. One will have to be 65894, at the time a York allocation; another Q6 63395 of Selby and K1 62005 of Heaton on Tyneside (there's at least one other Heaton, in West Yorkshire).
I have another few wagons built, with more kits to complete as well as carriages to acquire (second-hand of course - have you seen the prices of Hornby and Bachmann stock?!), so the extra motive power will help. Standard Class 2-6-4 tank loco 80117 shows her LMS lineage in comparison with the Fairburn 2-6-4. These, the Stanier and Fowler locomotives were designed chiefly for suburban services, although they were also seen on rural services and latterly as carriage shunters in large stations such as Leeds Central or City (before City was demolished). 42096 may be seen on services out to the coast, as was 80117 after transfer from the London Fenchurch Street-Southend route. Standard Class 4MT 2-6-0 76036 is another locomotive that shows her LMS design lineage.
More soon. Meanwhile take a look at the other pages in the series, 'RITES OF PASSAGE FOR A MODEL RAILWAY' for ideas.
North Eastern signalling and signal cabin prototypes still in use from NER and LNER days
No north Eastern-based model railway layout is complete without a plethora of signalling and a forest of signal posts
Whether on posts or as ground signalling discs, every movement was controlled by the 'bobby' (signalman - in early days he would be a policeman, a force introduced by Sir Robert Peel and originally known as 'Peelers, modern policemen are still 'bobbies').
On branch lines a platform was often provided outside of or attached to a signal cabin by a walkway for him to collect the pouches surrendered by locomotive crew after passing through a single track section. The pouches might contain a metal disc or a signatory 'staff' issued by the signalman at the start of the single track section. That applied theoretically on 'Thoraldby', it will not apply here.
Ground signals were situated in goods yards or stations to control the passage of shunters where speed restrictions apply. Sometimes short-posted, short-armed 'calling-on' signals were sited where a ground signal might not be easily seen. In all events a 'home' or 'starter' signal was red on the front face, with a white vertical stripe around a third of its length in from the outer, straight edge. On the reverse the red are was plain white, the stripe black.. The outer edge of a distant signal arm took the shape of a chevron, the main body on the face being bright yellow (for caution), a black chevron about a quarter of the length in. On the reverse the arm was white with a black chevron in the same position as the front. A black baffle behind the lamp ensured a crew coming the other way on a bend couldn't mistake the signal for theirs.
Close to every point where two lines diverged or came together was a signal post, sometimes guarded only by a home. Where more tracks diverged (double scissors) there would be a signal for each road. Traffic followed the semaphore code. A telephone box would be provided for crew to register their presence when joining a main line. Sometimes they needed to remind the signalman of their presence at busy junctions. This they did from telephone boxes at the railside. At no point were they to take it on themselves to ignore rules, and every movement was followed by a rule in the book that had to be learned inside-out to pass a stage on their rise 'through the ranks' (possibly to traffic inspector). You as the railway operator will need to have some sort of guide to run your railway in a more realistic manner. There's nobody there to give you the sack (fire you), so you need to keep your eyes open.
I shall be in touch again with Wizard Models of Barton-upon-Humber, North Lincolnshire in the near future for signal kits. Some I already have from them, of North Eastern Railway provenance (uprooted from 'Thoraldby', as the man who bought it from me intended to give it a new regional identity). The ones I shall need are of the later LNER era as shown in the pictures above.
Motive power will be wide-ranging around Ainthorpe Junction, with members of many classes from various sheds in the North East and North Yorkshire + Wishlist
Over the years - since I started again on railway modelling - I've gathered a fairly extensive range of ex-LNER and ex-LMS of motive power...
I started with the Hornby D49 4-4-0 'Yorkshire' 62700 in 1985, stepping into the Beattie's shop on Holborn (there was a signal mounted on the wall outside - anyone who was around at the time would remember) and walking out with a big smile on my face. Various other Hornby and Bachmann products later (including GMR, Mainline and Lima) I think I've got a representative 'allocation' of Class Peppercorn A1 D49/1 and D49/2 (conversion kit from Crownline), V1, V3, V2, B1, Q6, K1, J94, WD 2-8-0 etc to run on the projected double track junction layout. I'll post a few pictures of the models as and when.The ex-LMS motive power so far is a 4MT Fairburn 2-6-4 tank engine, and two Ivatt classes, a 2MT Ivatt 2-6-0 (nicknamed 'Mickey Mouse' for its size, and 4 MT Ivatt 2-6-0, nicknamed 'Flying Pigs' by crews on Teesside where several were allocated. There were numerous large Ivatt locomotives - as well as Stanier Class 8F built at Darlington and Doncaster in the latter part of WWII. The Class 8F locos, originally given LNER identities were allocated west of Leeds and stayed on the LMS/London Midland region of BR and handled freight on the Settle-Carlisle route and around Leeds-Bradford or beyond, etc. Class 2MT, both tank and tender locomotives found work in the York district after the regional boundary changes in 1956. My 2MT was one of the 50A allocations, the 'Flying Pig' is a Darlington (51A) engine and suitably weathered, see 'Thoraldby'..Along with a smattering of Stanier and Fowler 2-6-4 tank engines, the Fairburns were brought east to augment the tired pre-Grouping tank engine classes, although they were scrapped around the same time in the mid-1960s at different sites around the region by very efficient yards (unlike the one at Barry in South Wales, that concentrated on scrapping wagons first and made a 'killing' from the restoration societies keen to give GWR, LMS and BR Standard classes a new lease of life). Very few (2) North Eastern veterans escaped the cutter's torch, and one BR built Class J72 built in 1951 to a Wilson Worsdell design of the late 1880s (see also the 'NELPG' page on this site).