7mm Beaufort Mill

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by daifly, 26 September 2021.

  1. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    The background.

    My family moved to Swansea in 1963, missing the end of the Swansea & Mumbles Railway which closed in 1960, but the Swansea Harbour Trust lines around the docks and surrounding streets were still in use (just!). Track ran at two levels in places between the King’s and Prince of Wales Docks area and westwards across the River Tawe to South Dock with its coal hoists and fish market and allowed freight to move between the large goods yards around the town. (Swansea only became a city in 1969 – after the late-50s/early-60s period in which the layout is set)

    A visitor to the area in the early-1930s would find no fewer than 6 terminus stations and 7 sheds within walking distance of the town centre. Even though there were a couple of closures over the years, by the late-50’s, 4 of the stations and 5 of the sheds were still in operation. With reference to the map above, North Dock closed in 1930 and was filled in over the next few years. The red ring shows the area being modelled.

    In reality, the upper level lines served Weaver’s Mill (the blue ring on the map) and connected the goods yards on both sides of the river. Following the closure of the ex-LNWR Paxton Street shed, they allowed locomotives to route between Swansea East Dock shed and Victoria Station and also to access High Street Station when Landore was closed to become a diesel depot. I shall take the opportunity to have varied light-engine movements on this route to indulge myself!

    Pete Stamper produced several suitable locomotives for this area in his Agenoria range and there is no shortage of suitable ‘50s and ‘60s British Railways rolling stock available from Slater’s, Parkside and others so all of the elements are there for a Swansea Docklands-inspired layout. Minerva have also produced a suitable Peckett 0-4-0 for the SHT lines.

    This very modestly-sized layout can only hope to give a taste of the location and spent far too long being sketched, drawn, redrawn and Templotted but, finally, I was happy with the compromises and the plan so now it’s getting built. Some C&L FS track and printed Templot templates were manipulated to help the process.
    The baseboards were built 6 years ago for a smaller version of the layout.
    There is a good reason for the odd-coloured board top. The boards came as kits from Model Railway Solutions in Poole. I ordered 2 off 4’ x 2’ and 1 off 3’6” x 2” to create my original ‘mini-Swansea’ layout. Having assembled the frames, I went to fit the tops - supplied at the same time - to find that one of them was too big (or so I thought). A quick check with a tape measure found that the 3’6” frame was, in fact, 3’ 5”!

    A quick email to MRS got an apology and a replacement frame set within days giving me a correctly-sized board. However, I still had the slightly small frame to which I’ve now added a 1/2” packer to each end and provided the extra top which is not birch ply like the rest - hence the darker colour. Still, an extra baseboard for £7.50 (the cost of the ply sheet) was a bargain but also gave me the better length of 15’ overall to play with. The reason for putting the packers at each end is to cover the previously drilled recesses for the pattern-makers dowels. They are in the wrong place at the business end and not now needed at the other end.

    My original intention had been to build to O-MF standards but, since I will need to build all of my own pointwork anyway and have several locos and wagons still to be built then I might just as well do things properly and build everything to S7 standards.

    The track plan
    As can be seen, there are effectively two layouts with no physical connection between them. The upper level (on the right) has a siding which serves the flour mill. The lower level has a couple of sidings and a loop. There are small fiddle yards at each end on both levels.

    A few days ago I had a severe boll***ing from my wife. I was sitting on the sofa in my man-cave - a 5m x 5m room upstairs containing baseboards, books, tools, workbench etc. - when I got a visit from her. SWMBO complained about the ‘mess’. (It isn’t messy but there is a lot of stuff in there!) Her parting shot was “either build the b****y thing or get rid of it all”.

    Work begins.

    Thus, earlier last week, the boards were moved to the garage and placed on some adjustable trestles and work commenced.
    The pattern makers dowels were fitted along with bolts, washers and wing-nuts to hold everything together. The outline of the viaduct walls was marked on the baseboards and they were cut to shape. Risers were cut, levelled and installed at the end of each of the four boards. Some scraps of hardboard were placed in position to aid the 3D view.
    Further bodgery had more supports added. This is where I had got to by Friday.
    The fiddle yards will use cassettes. The necessary materials are in stock in readiness.

    Yesterday, the viaduct wall backings were cut from some old flatpack 3mm drawer bases from my daughter’s flat which were salvaged to the ‘might come in useful one day’ stock. Some of the rear viaduct backings were attached. Some 4mm hardboard was also used to act as a cassette restraint. The viaduct walls will have cast ‘stonework’ added in due course.
    So, that’s where things are at the moment. My intention is to get the basic structure as complete as possible over the next few days before moving everything back to the warmth of the man-cave for trackbuilding and tracklaying to get underway. Winter is coming!

  2. Dan Randall

    Dan Randall Western Thunderer

    It’s great to see this happening at last Dave and I’m looking forward to further progress reports. :)


    daifly likes this.
  3. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    Wonderful Dave!

    Are you going to measure progress against the Beaufort Scale?

    best wishes, Graham
    Osgood, daifly and Dan Randall like this.
  4. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    Good to see it all coming together Dave, have you got enough wheels now ?:D.

    daifly likes this.
  5. Alan

    Alan Western Thunderer

    As someone whose parents were born in Swansea and as youngster in the 50s and 60s visited my realatives several times a year I will be following this build with great interest.
    daifly likes this.
  6. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad


    Great to see the genesis of an interesting concept based upon a fascinating area, a super setting for all that Agenoria-ery.

    Even I have a (1/32) W4 Peckett from that stable. Part built for longer than I care to recall, it currently sits on a shelf in the khazi that time forgot, I might promote it to the shed now its got a workbench in it!

    daifly likes this.
  7. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi Dave,

    great to see that construction has commenced, I like the 'two level' idea. Have you started to consider what you can do in the space left by the 'stash' when that disappears?


    daifly likes this.
  8. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    An unlikely scenario, Mike. The stash may get slightly smaller but will never disappear. I've spent too long as an accumulator of kits (I've bought several from you) to make much of a dent in the collection.
    I'd like to build some of the kits that I have but, with nowhere to test run them, I've shied away from constructing any. With a layout which will give me an end-to-end test track, that obstacle will disappear so that I hope to become more productive in the future.
  9. Deano747

    Deano747 Western Thunderer

    A rather unusual and unique layout of which I will follow with interest.


    ps I like your car!!
    daifly and jonte like this.
  10. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Little progress this week due to a self-inflicted injury to a thumb making life difficult.

    I have instead made a little progress with the pointwork which had been started a while ago. When I created this in Templot I spotted an error.

    Fortunately, easily corrected.
    I was determined to have an 'interesting' formation for the challenge of building it in S7. There will also be a crossover incorporating a single slip on the upper level.

    However, starting on one of the simpler points seemed a better place to begin.
    Timbering was cut to length. This is all C&L timbering and sleepers
    Stained and laid. Double-sided tape used to hold it all in position.
    I prefer to build pointwork in modules off the layout and then position as a unit when ready.
    The staining was done with a Colron wood dye thinned with white spirit. An old sieve drained the surplus dye and they were left to dry (and lose the odour!) for a few days.
    The paxolin common crossing jig is one of the S7 stores items. These are also available (to members) in O-MF. I have plenty of roller gauges. I just need to get some more chair threading done but that proved to be a bit tricky with my damaged thumb.

    Hopefully there will be more to show in a few days.

  11. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    It's not mine - it's my wife's Lexus RCF Sport and she doesn't like me putting it outside in the rain while I'm working on the layout baseboards. Hope it stays dry this week!
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  12. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    14" timbers under the 3C? (and maybe also under the slide chairs for the switch toe?)
    12" timbers rather than 10" sleepers at the toe of the turnout?

    Good idea to do a simple lead before starting the tandem. If you can do the crossings of the tandem by the year end then I can copy your ways and means.

    regards, Graham
    Last edited: 4 October 2021
  13. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Actually Graham, your comment above made me get out the vernier calliper only to discover that all of the turnout timbers are 14”!

    I used C&L laser cut timbers without actually measuring them. Also, having checked the label I find that I’ve used the pack of 14” timbers. Fortunately, I do have some 12” timbering as well so I’ll be able to use that. Luckily I hadn’t started fixing the chairs.

    The narrower 10” timber at the toe is correct as it is beyond the actual toe of the turnout. When I build turnouts, I generally go a few sleepers beyond the limits of the turnout at each end. I find that this avoids having an actual rail joint close to a potentially critical position. The template is part of the track plan rather than just a B6L on which it is based.

    Deano747, Dog Star and jonte like this.
  14. NewportRod

    NewportRod Western Thunderer

    The “interesting formation” bears an uncanny resemblance to my entire S7 layout!

    Great progress Dave
    daifly likes this.
  15. PMP

    PMP Western Thunderer

    If he does I hope the progress won’t be long winded.
  16. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    I shall follow with interest, this is looking good!


    PS. Have a similar car storage problem despite all the work this past summer, SWMBO’s Audi keeps dry while my RME stays under cover outside.
    daifly likes this.
  17. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Following @Dog Star's timely intervention, I've cut new timbers in the correct 12" material. The 3C timber is 14" wide. The other stained sleepers are normal 10" width outside of the turnout formation. Just got to get them stained up now. I feel it's easier and more convincing to 'fade/bleach' a dark surface than to darken one that is too light in the first place. Your mileage may vary.

  18. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    Great Western Study Group publication Switch and Crossing Practice... 14" timber for the slide chairs under the switch rail toe. Maybe you have photos of the pw in the Swansea district which shows otherwise - this comment is not a criticism of what you are doing for I have come to realise that the GWSG book is generally authorative... with some questions about the details pre-WW1 and the continuing use of existing materials alonside of new designs / standards.

    Aspects of the book which have given me cause to pause in constructing turnouts are the width of timbers... use of chair types which are circa 1900... rail lengths for Edwardian turnouts.

    regards, Graham
    Last edited: 5 October 2021
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  19. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Switch & Crossing Practice Page 81 would suggest otherwise where it says:
    "From this time (1936-ish) the use of 14" timbers in leads, elbows and compounds was officially confined to the noses of common crossings and fixed-elbow point rails to support the BC (3C) chairs. This remained the position until 1941 when a directive was issued that, because of wartime shortages, the use of 14" x 6" timbers should be kept to a minimum and 12" x 6" timbers substituted wherever this was practical"
    I haven't found any useable photos to show either way what was actually in place.

    I see you have edited your comments while I was responding!
    Wagonman and Dog Star like this.
  20. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    Precisely, just so.

    GWSG is rather silent on just how long some of the individual practices remained after design changes / directives. Usable photos of timbering and chair usage are very difficult to find and often reveal unexpected pw opportunities.

    Given that turnouts could have a life span in excess of 20 years - where circumstances are beneficil - then layout renewal inen t (say) 1937-8 could still be in place until circa 1960 maybe even 1965. So how about a compromise... turnouts on the main may have been renewed in which case restrict 14" to under the 3C and turnouts in sidings get 14" timbers under the switch toes.

    regards, Graham