4mm Podimore, possibly

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by AJC, 20 July 2018.

  1. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    With the usual caveat that this may or may not happen, though we are (finally) in a position to have a house - and thus walls - of our own and I have one, and possibly two, walls of the end of garden office (10' 6" x 10' 6").

    Going all the way round is out and I want to do something that will be a suitable home for my somewhat eclectic tastes in stock and is flexible yet self-contained. Having spent a long time absorbing the works of Iain Rice, pondering what sort of railway I'd find fun and floated various ideas to myself, here's my latest flight of implausible nonsense which for the moment goes by the name Podimore. Now the real Podimore is a small village just outside Ilchester in Somerset, a town on the Fosse Way with Roman origins which flourished before the Black Death and then declined in subsequent centuries, mostly to the benefit of Yeovil. So far as I'm aware there was never a scheme to serve Ilchester with a railway so I've devised one. With one eye on Chard and Wells, I've imagined that the town's population was rather more than the thousand or so souls it actually had and merited the attentions (just) of both the GWR and the LSWR, much as Chard did. The GWR would have approached from, perhaps, Somerton while the LSWR, rather than climb over the ridge from Glastonbury via its share in the S&D or do complicated things with running powers to access Yeovil Town, I reckon they'd have taken off from Sherborne coming cross country via the Cadburys, roughly following the route of the A303. Like Chard, the two would have met at an end-on junction and a slightly uneasy cross-country route would be the result.

    Now even the LSWR wouldn't have been mad enough to try this and any Ilchester Railway scheme would probably have foundered before the 1896 Light Railway Act breathed a bit of life back into it whereupon it would almost certainly have failed. That said, there was a madcap enabling act for a roadside tramway from Somerton across to Castle Cary which I've mentioned before (and if OS mapping is to be believed, may even have been started!): The Somerton, Keinton Mandeville, Castle Cary and Evercreech Tramways but if this Wurzel-Wantage, could generate some local support and parliamentary time, then why not Ilchester?

    So why Podimore? Well there's obviously scope for a station (or two!) at Ilchester but I haven't the inclination to build a branchline terminus. Now, if a branch existed, I imagine intermediate stations 'serving' Bradford Abbas (or possibly Trent) and another lying inconveniently for North or South Cadbury but Podimore? Probably not. Or at least, not initially...

    Google Maps

    Add a dairy (not unlikely - there's a large cheese factory at the other end of Ilchester these days and this is good dairy country) and a halt would be sensible though common sense would indicate that the passenger traffic on the route would have been seen off by the motor bus fairly early on. And yet, and yet, the tramway... In my imagination, this bizarre scheme was rescued by limestone deposits at Keinton Mandeville proving rather more substantial than they actually are and concentrating its efforts on transfer traffic to the LSWR with a line in roadstone. And where should this meet the branch but Podimore? And then, of course, the Second World War happened and so did RNAS Yeovilton and the branches, marginal at best, became all of a sudden, useful.


    After all that warbling here's the scheme in 6' 6" x 2'.

    In evolutionary terms, first the single line arrived and with that, the siding. The dairy came along a bit later and rail access required a new signal box to look after the crossing shortly after the grouping, a mirror image of the one at Fawley (Hants) which might also offer a sense of the general aesthetic I have in mind. The single platform was, owing to the needs of the military, joined by a loop and a second platform in Exmouth Junction's finest concrete product. In this diagram, the right represents the line towards Ilchester (closed probably before Beeching, though milk and roadstone kept the line open until the early '70s, latterly contributing to the lengthening of Yeovilton's runway c.'67 and the dualling of the '303 a couple of years later) and the left towards Sherborne. The mineral branch has an exchange siding behind and below the platform road and the branch to the quarry dives under the road with the 'main' cut into the side of a shallow hill.

    Now I reckon this can be operated without a fiddle yard as a shunting exercise, with a yard at one end in post-normal passenger closure (the FAA might call for leave trains or other specials and who knows, their own loco-worked siding, off-scene?) or subject to a bout of exhibitionism, or relocation (or having the door open in summer) we could operate a full branch service with the odd through train from the Western.

    That should keep me busy...

    Last edited: 29 January 2019
  2. Dan Randall

    Dan Randall Western Thunderer

    I like it Adam and look forward to the start of construction, whenever that may be. :thumbs:


    AJC likes this.
  3. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Well in some small way, it is. First the beginnings of a mock-up - I'll add some more to give a greater sense of topography but it's clear enough on the railway side, I think.



    More substantively, here's one of the first bits of physical infrastructure:


    The battered template behind isn't because I'm stockpiling plain track panels but because I've just finished loading a Salmon (more of which anon, and on my workbench thread).

    chrisb, Dan Randall, PMP and 4 others like this.
  4. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    Hi Adam,
    That is certainly an intriguing trackplan that I think would be great fun to operate. Your sketch is right out of the Rice works!
    Good luck with this.
    AJC likes this.
  5. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    There's quite a bit of school of Rice there, I admit! The fun of it (I hope) is that there'll be a fair range of traffic, requiring different stock and different movements. The potential is also there to go around the corner with the mineral branch and model the quarry - which is the kind of thing Jas Millam did with one of my favourite model railways, the Yaxbury Branch. I'll develop this theme once I've had the chance to think about it some more.

    allegheny1600 likes this.