The train shed: Liverpool (Cheapside) G.W.R.

Discussion in 'WR Action' started by jonte, 16 April 2018.

  1. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    It’s been a while since I did any modelling and frankly the inertia left me cold-turkeying.

    Recently, I succumbed, and dug out ‘the shed’ that has been piquing my sporadic interest ever since I started it a couple or so years back. It will be modelled in its post Great War condition, so lot’s of grease ‘n’ grime to smear on that would no doubt have caused Brunel and the directors of this once proud railway company to spin in their graves.

    Some of you that may remember it - there won’t be many - will recall it’s a no-expense-spent affair formed of odds and ends and bits ‘n’ bobs, including lengths of old rail, grey board and chopped up greetings cards in the main. To be fair, I did recently purchase four - yes four- Dapol water tower kits to the astonishment of the Sales assistant at Hattons, that will join the previous water tower kit that I bought as a test for the project last year. These will be plundered for their beams, and more importantly, the cast iron posts that are intended to support the centre sections of the shed to stop it crashing onto the rails below. They are indeed remarkable likenesses for the original. I count my blessings.

    Over the past week or so, I have been braving the overpowering stench of white spirit while brushing on countless washes in an attempt to secure that smoke and steam worn paint look of the interiors of those old train sheds in their later years. I hope and trust you agree that I think I’m on the right lines; I don’t think I can take much more of it, compounded by the fact I still have little time for serious modelling, so to have to do it again would break my heart.

    Anyway I’ve attached a couple of photos to show you were I’m up to. The roof sections are just placed against the supports to show the general effect. The front/ rear interior/exterior sections and pillars have been primed and under coated. They will be painted and weathered next.

    I hope one or two will find it of interest.

    Best wishes,

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  2. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    How big is this thing? It looks impressive in the pictures, but I've no sense of what you're actually dealing with as there's no sense of scale. I'm suspecting that the usual 'photo with a coin in it' routine may just lead to us playing an extended version of 'spot the coin'...?

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  3. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Steph, thank you for interest and kind compliment; also those members who’ve liked it. I’m touched.

    Apologies for the lack of a benchmark to scale it by. I’ll no doubt be in trouble with Lyndhurstman yet again for this obvious omission.

    It’s wider than it is longer at just 25” x 30”. Train sheds were comparatively shorter as you will know, Steph, in the early days of the railway so that’s my excuse. It’s wide due to the presence of a small turntable at the terminus end of the station as per many early stations, which not only turned the locos but allowed them to run round their stock along an adjacent release road.

    It will be a 4mm scale model, although the gauge is still under review.

    I’ve built ( but yet to wire up neatly and dress) the sector table to go beneath it which I’ve built to P4.

    The problem is, I don’t have sufficient time, resources or skill set at present to build the stock to complement it as I would like. Even if I successfully managed to solder one of those wonderful brass kits without ending up in the serious burns unit of Whiston Hospital, I doubt I’d get it to run properly. Thus far, I have one loco - a Bachman Pannier with Ultrascale conversion wheels, on top of which I was thinking of plonking an SE Finecast 1850 Saddle Tank loco. Not a lot to go on I’m sure you’ll agree.

    In reality, I will probably just opt for Peco and build it to OO gauge, although I’m not sure whether to set it in the depressive thirties or towards the end of steam period.

    The only certainty is the track plan, which was at the end of a small single lined branch, which handicapped small termini that in reality, should have been mainline termini serving cities.

    I’ll try and post a picture of the sector table for your info. Apologies to those who’ve seen it before.



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    Last edited: 16 April 2018
  4. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    Thanks for the details; that's certainly an impressive thing! I look forward to seeing how it progresses. :thumbs:

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  5. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    I’ve attached a couple of photos to show the roof covering laid on top of the shed prior to painting.

    The first is pretty obvious, apart from to show how the rooves will not meet at their apexes.


    The earliest trainsheds seemed not to enjoy the luxuries of north lights or louvred vents, which must have made them pretty dark and acrid affairs. In Cheapsides case, the maintenance men were simply instructed to get up there and open it up to the elements at the least expense, which created a somewhat agricultural affair.

    The second shows the pattern of shadows and penetrating shafts of light created by these impromptu holes in the roof.


    This was the effect I sought to enhance that feeling of dark, dank and careworn urban stations of the time. I hope it serves to show you what I mean.

    Additionally, I hope this remains once the station buildings and stanchions are in place. Time will tell.

    Last edited: 17 April 2018
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  6. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer


    I forgot to post this shot the other day which shows the roof as a whole.


    It should help to give you a better idea of the size.

    Apologies for posting basically the same pictures.

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  7. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Going back a bit, here’s what the front fascias looked like:

    271ABF60-81AF-4CBE-A595-44C60A32C5BA.jpeg 7A71D95E-1D4A-4CD1-BFF3-3523B85DCE20.jpeg

    And more recently after several coats of weathered dark and light stone paint:

    568AC3CD-7E5E-4BFE-B1C5-55D4A8E1D77D.jpeg 248C6466-1E4C-4DF3-B34F-77D8F8E6E761.jpeg

    Now, this masking business to simulate worn/chipped paint is old hat, but nevertheless is a quick way to create the effect over a large surface such as in this case. Most WT-ers being far more experienced than I in this sort of thing, will also be well aware that it can be overdone - again, as in this case.
    In my defence, however, most of it will be covered with soot and other pollutants produced by hot exhaust gases spued from the chimnies of passing engines so won’t appear as exaggerated. Unfortunately, until the tracks are layed, I won’t know precisely where to form the plumes, so a general sooty covering will have to do in the first instance.
    Eventually, other worn effects by a variety of means will hopefully enhance the grimy look I aim for.
    In the meantime, I can finish off the upper bargeboards now that my new piece of veneer has arrived; in between everything else, of course :)

    Thanks for looking.

  8. PMP

    PMP Western Thunderer

    Very interesting, the light fall through the roof is fascinating and I can imagine the atmosphere that could create. Do you have a track plan sketch we could see please?
  9. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Paul and thank you for your interest.

    The short answer, Paul, is: no I haven’t; or more accurately, I have, but can’t quite decide the period in which to set it. This will dictate which plan I eventually opt for.

    Now follows the long-winded bit.

    Historically (and hope I don’t unintentionally insult your intelligence by saying so), Cheapside like many early railway termini, would have sported a turntable beneath the wide central span. A centre exit or escape road for the loco at the head of the train would have been flanked by an arrival road and a departure road to either side. Additionally, a further arrival road would have been located on the opposite face of one of the two platforms beneath the central span to increase its capacity.
    A replacement for the turntable in the form of a sector table (see photos above) would have been in place by the early 1890s which remained until the early years of the 1930s, by which time falling demand (in part due to the popularity of road transport compounded by a severely restricted footprint that hindered the operational potential of this single lined branch) would have seen the expensive-to-maintain ‘table’ fall out of use.
    This would have been the end for Cheapside but for its strategic value in the impending WW2 (especially with its warren of adjacent tunnels that carried an alternative route to the subterranean levels of a shared RAF/USAAF base situated between Liverpool and Manchester about which, in these somewhat unstable times, I shall say no more ;)), the existing trackwork being replaced by a simpler plan involving only three points and the use of a pilot engine by the military.
    This final arrangement remained, even when later the station was pressed into service during the eventual electrification of the WCML as an alternative to Lime Street, until closure soon afterwards. Phew! (pause for breath).

    Now, the dilemma as to which trackplan.

    If I opt for the early 30s version, my preferred version, I would elect to do it in P4.However, as mentioned above, time nor resources nor skill set are presently on my side, therefore, this is probably a non-starter (especially with only one loco and no stock) for now at least, so I shall almost certainly plump for the later, early 60s period in ‘OO’ gauge - now I’ve jinxed it.

    As mentioned, this would mean that I would go for the simple three points plan, which could be assembled over the summer (optimistically) so that I’d have something to play with for now, and which could be squeezed into a length of approximately seven feet (yep, this means short ‘Capital’ destined trains that were assembled into larger trains at Chester, which at least kept up some sort of link between Liverpool and London while essential upgrades were carried out).

    If you’re still with me at this point, Paul, I’ll rough out a sketch of the trackplan for you and post it over the next couple of days or so.

    I suppose I could have just written this in the first place to save on the waffle, but at least the meanderings and ramblings-on have helped focus my thoughts and led to a realistic conclusion. Thanks for that.

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  10. Threadmark: Spindly offerings.

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Early morning shots:


    These will need weathering before fixing.

    Also shown, the non hi-tech method of fixing down although they will still need some persuasion to sit vertically.

    Being of soft plastic, several were bent on opening the packet. Luckily, most of those affected were straightened by being immersed in a bowl of hot water prior to being bent back to shape between my pinkies.

    Their origin:


  11. PMP

    PMP Western Thunderer

    I think I can envisage the type of terminus you mean, and yes il like to see the plan, with three points and a terminus, you’ll be doing Futers out of a Job! :)
  12. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Perhaps that’s where he got the idea. :)
  13. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    There’s not a lot to report by way of an update fellow Westerners, although I have tried to push on despite the recent warm spell that makes modelling outside nigh on impossible.

    Weathering can never be rushed, especially when it’s just trial and (mostly) error, but the fascia is taking longer than expected.
    The frame sections haven’t proved too difficult to work on, but the Obechi panels are a pain and seem to make the process a chore. Additionally, I don’t whether masking fluid is a help or hindrance for representing peeling paint. No matter how much care is taken to keep the pooling of the fluid to a minimum, it still comes off in craters.

    Remedial work will require a little more attention to this aspect of the weathering process, especially to the panels, including the creation of islands of paint to reduce the overscale creators. Then it’s on to grimy washes of black and gunmetal with a little dry brushing here and there before I can even think of moving on to the smaller side fascias.

    The barge boards have also been fabricated and attached and are shown in their base coat. Applications of chocolatey/beige/black coats on top to simulate worn wood will be painted on before several washes of the top coat. Then it will be back to weathering them too.

    I haven’t forgotten about posting a track plan, and will do so soon enough. In the meantime, here’s a couple of photos showing my efforts to date in different lights. I hope they help to show what I mean better than au can explain it.



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  14. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    I hesitate to suggest it as my success with the technique was “rather limited” but what about salt mask?

    Dampen surface, sprinkle with sea salt (not because of any pseudo health giving qualities, but because the grains are bigger!), allow to dry, overpaint, flick or brush off salt with an old toothbrush or similar. Bingo cracked & peeling paint. Or in my case, a brake van that looked like it had been machine-gunned...

    Apologies if “granny & eggs”

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  15. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Good morning, Simon, and thank you for your valuable suggestion and kind expression of interest.

    Don’t worry about egg sucking grannies, Simon, as nobody is nascent-er when it comes to Model Railways than the nascent me. I need all the help I can get.

    The salt method is a valuable tool in the chipping stakes as you suggest, especially in the hands of somebody who knows what they’re doing, and I’ve seen some excellent results. My experiences have been mixed: some good, some not worth mentioning. Mostly, it comes off in chunks much the same as the Maskol has been doing here. In fairness, it’s a method that works better with an airbrush as with even the lightest of brush strokes, it can be disturbed or just end up gluing it into chunks. Perhaps I should get the airbrush out, but I’m just too lazy to clean out the brush at the end if I’m honest (plus I’m out of airbrush cleaning fluid!).

    Hair spray can also give excellent results, but again, it works best with airbrush applied paint and with acrylics (I still prefer enamels for some unknown reason, perhaps just habit). Before I started weathering the canopy, I squirted some of my wife’s stuff (that ol’ chestnut) onto an offcut of veneer which I’ve been using for the frame, but I’m afraid the paint just gripped the grain like the proverbial stuff to a blanket and refused to shift, so it was back to square one.

    In hindsight, I should really have built the fascia in plastic as my chosen method works quite well with it, as with the signal box windows of my ill-feted signal cabin project last year (or at least I think so but many may choose to disagree when I show the photos):


    Never mind.

    Finally, I have this little gem (or so I’m led to believe) in my armoury, but I’m going to save this for my loco. In this case, I will have to use paints from the acrylic range as it only works with acrylics (and airbrush applied):


    Thanks for your input, Simon, and I hope you will continue to follow my, aherm, progress.


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  16. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Two more of the steadily corroding cast iron pillars almost on their way out of the paint shops (taken before bed last night so sorry about picture quality):


    Thankfully only the four leading posts will be that extreme as the others weren’t as open to the elements.

    Also working on the ‘H’ beams that will support the roof which have also succumbed to the elements at their leading edges.

    Elsewhere, you can just make out the plates column like - they’re stuck to a piece of masking tape for ease of handling- on the table behind. I used a compass point to suggest bolt heads on the surface. I’m hoping that they won’t be lost under the paint and crud.

    Thanks for looking.



    The paint on the posts looks a little brighter under the lamp. In reality, they’re a little more washed out. Here are a couple of shots of the front pillars after initial weathering, to show what I mean:

    5CE07848-7024-435B-A4C2-AFE4D3DE42E8.jpeg B8B97A7A-9B8F-4AF7-A5C4-C31E74069B6E.jpeg

    Additional weathering has since been applied, and apart from a dash or two of paint to add, I’m about to call it quits before I over-egg them.
    Last edited: 12 May 2018
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  17. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Well, (or should I be all modern and start my sentence with ‘so’? No.) I’m back again already fellow Westerners if, for no other reason, to report that a job I’ve been dreading for ages is thankfully over; that is the onerous task of trying to get my posts to stand vertically. So (aaagh!), here is/are the result(s):

    DFB73B3E-9C29-4662-9514-68B4AE51769D.jpeg E983AA66-7098-4206-ACD7-F4AB60D251D0.jpeg BFDCA51C-5DAD-4F5C-8EEB-902838D958C3.jpeg 9A195A14-E060-4C9B-9382-32F8AEA9C4B1.jpeg

    Well, as straight as I’m ever gonna get ‘em anyway.

    Elsewhere, I’ve taken the liberty of showing two different types of beam which are/were intended to sit atop the pillars.
    The first, and preferred, beam is formed of Evergreen ‘H’ section which seems to have taken on a life of its own and become serpentine in form once the paint was applied over the primer (I’ve included a short section atop two pillars in the shots to show what they used to be like!).

    It’s ironic that I decided to choose the Evergreen stuff over the (grey) beam sections that I had originally intended to use, especially as they came with the pillars in the Dapol kit. For those who have used them, they’ll know that Dapol’s stuff is made from a soft plastic that invariably arrives bent-to-b*gg€ry in the plastic bag packet, and despite hours of correcting twixt finger and thumb in hot water, I decided that they still weren’t true enough for purpose. Additionally, I’ve had to join umpteen shorter lengths together to form the beam length required which will still need further filling to pass inspection.
    Nevertheless, for all that, they’re still a lot truer than the Evergreen sections and I suppose for a pre-Victorian structure, the Dapol beams are more fitting - or perhaps beams also looked like Evergreen’s version in that period?
    Anyway, I’ve got to go with Evergreen now as the joining plates have been made to fit inside the web, which I’ll show for those who might be interested (hopefully) in the immediate following post.

    In addendum, the pillars and accompanying beams are for decorative value only, as the roof structure - which won’t be fixed - is intended to be supported by the three surrounding walls, and which is why I’ve chosen the thicker than intended gray board of the roof for strength. I hope that makes sense.

    Back in a mo’.

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  18. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    As promised, a close-up of those Blue-Peter type plates:


    I’m hoping that a touch of dry brushing will highlight the bolts/rivets.

    And on a rather random note, I’ll finish today’s entry with a ‘thought for today’.
    Does anybody remember that radio programme ‘Love Island discs’ or whatever it was called, where you had to select three(?) items to take with you? Counting Mr. Williams’ excellent three part journals as ‘one’, here’s what I’d take:


    Please notice the well-thumbed copy of MRJ No. 50. How I wish I’d have seen Ditchling in the flesh.

    That’s all for now, Westerners, and thanks for reading.

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  19. Lightman

    Lightman Active Member

    Seeing your copies of 'Great Western Branch Line Modelling' sent me to my bookcase to look through them again. I had not opened them in several years but they were a joy to reread. Fantastic books (the train shed isn't so bad either) no in fact it is surpurb!
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  20. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Good to see that at least these erratic ramblings have done some good then, Lightman :)

    Thanks for your interest and kind compliment.