4mm West Dorset lost line

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by BR Group, 18 January 2021.

  1. BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Hello from the Blackmore Vale.

    We thought it best to introduce ourselves to the layouts thread, it began some twenty two years ago and has faltered rather badly along the way although the original shed is still the home of the layout. One of the originators* is undoubtedly infamous on other forums but illness and incapacity have taken their toll and we (other retirees) have taken over.

    The concept started as junction on the WoE mainline near Wayford in Somerset but this was blighted by the untimely passing of the builder, Bill Jones and it was all but abandoned, it only came back to life thanks to an article on the Age UK Men in Sheds website. Only the baseboards and part of the backscene are original though a couple of Bill's scratchbuilds have been returned, we decided to rebuild based on proposal in Lucking's Railways of Dorset that was the Dorchester and Exeter Coastal Extension. We recycled the original name but shifted the supposed location to Whitchchurch Canocorium in West Dorset, other changes were to reduce the line to a single track and change the emphasis to a secondary cross-country line.


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    The reduction in status has had its consequences, all traffic reflects the bucolic nature of a line in decline, the motive power roster is similarly unassuming with an overwhelming proportion of tall chimneys, big domes and low boilers, except the Ruston, everything has pre-grouping origins. There are exceptions, Drummond's last express hurrah is obvious but its is, like all the others, merely working its last days on the line.

    *Curating our blog is his only input.


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    Thank you
     
    Last edited: 29 January 2021
  2. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Sounds like tales of the Withered Arm in Dorset. What scale are you modelling in?
     
  3. Threadmark: Railway Buildings
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Building a layout based on a 'might have been' presents as many problems as it solves. We borrowed the general idea for the station from our local station, Shillingstone, though somewhat stunted to fit the available space, it did help us to choose similar sized buildings, thankfully fate would lend a hand with the generous return by Steve of Bill's scratchbuilt Downton station on the S&DJR.

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    The remainder of the buildings are kits and RTPs that have been modified or simply built as intended, the best example is the Ratio ARP signal cabin whose utilitarian charm is a reminder that the line is supposed to be a functional entity rather than a backwater.

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    The next episode will try to explain the non-railway structures.

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: 29 January 2021
  4. Threadmark: Tilly's Garage
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Within living memory, most large villages had an independent motor car repairer, possibly a legacy of the local blacksmith. These establishments would attempt repairs on most motor vehicles, supply and fit tyres, coal, paraffin, even fix your bicycle.

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    Max Allen's Garage in Peter Tavy demolished 2011

    Away from the coast, West Dorset, is somewhat off the beaten track and Tilly's Garage would have been typical of the area, just a single wooden building with an attached office, it would serve the community until Mr Tilly's retirement.


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    It started as a Wills garage, the roof has been painted to represent corrugated asbestos with the moss starting to gather. It has a fully detailed interior of correct period advertising and piles of old tyres outside.

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    For those who can remember Arthur Daley, a tatty caravan is the ideal office for Mr Tilly, it has room for a desk, a tiny kitchen and a toilet. The caravan was acquired in lieu of a large repair bill, it was intended to be used for family holidays unfortunately it slowly deteriorating over the years and now it sits in Mr Tilly's yard.

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    The model was a pristine Oxford Diecast until it met MIG Green Decay Wash
     
    Last edited: 29 January 2021
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  5. Threadmark: Road vehicles for Beaminster Road
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    The timeframe for the layout is based on the formative years of BR, a somewhat dour choice as it precludes the use of BR built stock and locos but it does allow the use of transition liveries albeit shades of black, moreover some useful pre-grouping stock was still extant.

    Most, if not all the road vehicles originated in the 30s, with a couple of early post-war models for variety. We followed the example of Adam C by combining RTI’s Fordson 7V cab by RTI with the Fordson Thames ET6 chassis from Classix. It is a useful basis for a local tradesman vehicle rather than the seemingly endless offerings of heavier haulage vehicles.


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    The essential of every layout is a bus, this was solved by reworking a Corgi Bristol L6B

    Southern National was formed to improve co-ordination of road and rail passenger services in the operating area of the Southern Railway. The result was an operating territory split into two areas: Dorset (based at Weymouth) and north Devon and north Cornwall (based at Barnstaple). The error is the headcode was intentional and the route is correct.


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    The Dorset Farmers Limited siding was based on Sherborne, their premises provides the excuse for the other large vehicle, we share memories of local produce merchants waiting at Sherborne. Below is a post war Fordson ET6 which replaced the 7V, this example has yet to be upgraded

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    An aerial view of Dorset Farmers Limited siding, Sherborne.


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    Thank you
     
    Last edited: 29 January 2021
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  6. Threadmark: Relics of WW2 in Dorset
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    In the 50s, remnants of static WW2 defences were still common throughout Dorset, as it was on the front line of defence against invasion along the South Coast - see Taunton Stop Line.
    A line of anti-tank blocks and a pill box buried in the hillside are reminders of the dark times in the 20th century although nature has begun to soften their outline, they remained a problem for farmers for many years. This is a line of concrete anti-tank blocks with a pillbox, the overgrown trench would have provided access under fire.


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    The little strongpoint is slowly returning to nature , soon it will be all but invisble.


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    Last edited: 29 January 2021
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  7. Threadmark: Non-descript wagons
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    The stock of wagons on the layout is member's contributions, invariably dull and at the cheaper end of the scale. There are pitifully few special purpose wagons, just two older 14t tanks, but building vans seem to be a popular past time.

    The first was inspired by Adam C's masterful build on the other channel


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    Just a couple or more opens

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    Apples from Normandy from Poole Quay

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    The next episode - the ballast train
     
    Last edited: 29 January 2021
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  8. Threadmark: The next episode - the ballast train
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    The 'Meldon' breaks cover

    After two years of searching, painting and bodging, the train of six* 40t ballast hoppers from Meldon is complete.


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    The wheels have been replaced with RP25 11,5mm wheels from Germany, the couplings replaced with discrete wire hooks/loops and everything nicely painted early weathered BR black. Pedant alert, wrong bogies.

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    Bringing up the rear is a venerable exLBSC brake van that must be 40+years old.


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    And finally, 31844 a west country denizen and appropriate motive power *Six hoppers were the limit for exSECR N class, eight hoppers for 4-6-0s and BLPs.

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    Thanks to Dave and Mike for all the help

    That just about completes the layout, bis bald.
     
    Last edited: 29 January 2021
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  9. BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Beaminster Road is merely a plausible fiction, therefore to ensure continuity we have 'borrowed' from the S&DJR and other locations in Dorset. the larger station buildings are Downton (just in Wiltshire) and this is the lock-up that once stood beside the lavatories and the main building.
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    A trackside view

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    And finally, the model


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    It is a card inner, with Slaters corrugated plasticard bonded to the shell, all dimesions were guessitmated from the few available images on the S&DJR blog

    Next episode Dorset Farmers Ltd
     
    Last edited: 29 January 2021
    Brocp likes this.
  10. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer

    That is a delightfully minimalist footbridge in the trackside picture. :)

    Jim.
     
  11. Threadmark: Dorset Farmers Ltd
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

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    The society was established in 1917, operating from Dorchester. In 1919 it amalgamated with three smaller farmers' societies. By 1958 it had ten distributive branches in Dorset, Somerset and Devon, animal feed compounding mills at Poole and Sherborne and a farm equipment depot at Blandford. The company owned rail-served premises at many locations in Dorset, which despatched locally grown produce by rail.

    Similar companies still exist, Mole Valley Farmers which acquired the well known Southern Counties Agricultural Trading Society (SCATS) who once had a small number of distinctive feed warehouses including the best known in the yard at Alresford station (below).


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    Our homage to the local company is a siding to a busy yard with a variety of typical agricultural store .

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    Next - small details
     
    Last edited: 29 January 2021
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  12. Threadmark: Small details
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    The layout is progressing but there is the need for an occasional small scene to catch the eye, more important - something that anyone can achieve.

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    Thank you for looking
     
  13. Threadmark: The permanent way depot
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    The permanent way depot


    Beside the long siding in the tiny goods yard there is a tiny Permanent Way depot. It consists of no more than a exUS Army Quonset hut and a grounded tool van. The yard is used by the local track maintenance crew, the gentlemen below were employed on the S&DJR between Verwood and Daggons Road

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    Only very few exWD Bedford OY were employed by railways and it is an unlikely vehicle in the PW yard, in the early 50s most labourers were unable to drive and the bicycle was the most common form of transport.
     
  14. Threadmark: Rosie the riveter
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Rosie the riveter

    The group all share a military background, we thought it appropriate to incorporate subtle reminders of their proud history in Dorset. For the small holding, there is a backstory - a few months ago, an elderly lady was found, by Social Services, to be living in a exRN corrugated mess hut. She had served in the WRNS at nearby HMS Dipper, Henstridge and after the war, had settled into a corner of a Dorset field near Marnhull.


    She was almost 90 and utterly independent, living off her small holding, this is Miss Rose Miggins as she was in 1949 and this is our tribute to her.

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    All the buildings are resin castings and they are superb, MiG weathering decay wash has been used extensively to tone down the finish, the climber that is attempting to envelop the old garage is all that remains of a Silhouette product bought some thirty-six years ago during a posting in Munich.

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    Yes, that is a nesting box in the eave of the garage



    Cheers, Jack

    Next episode, the model gardens of West Dorset
     
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  15. Threadmark: Gardens of Beaminster Road
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Gardens of Beaminster Road



    There are a few gardens on Beaminster Road, starting with the 'big house' -

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    This has a vegetable garden that has been recycled from the original Beaminster Road, another of Bill Jones's creations.
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    Whilst the overgrown lawn has a rather nice summerhouse

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    On the other side of the layout, Rosie Miggin's small holding has the essentials of rural life.

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    We first met Rosie when buying fresh eggs and honey at her gate -

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    Next episode- boundaries
     
  16. Threadmark: Boundaries
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Boundaries



    Boundaries, whether they are walls, fences or simply a notice are distinctive. Beaminster Road is set in West Dorset, not particularly well known for dry stone walling or deep hedges, nevertheless, it has its own personality.

    One local plant has colonised the walls in these parts, to the extent that it is called 'setwall' but its name is wall valerian.

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    The lane to Dorset Farmers siding, the walling is typically overgrown.

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    More industrialised premises sometimes use closeboard fencing, two packs of Wills SS41 were more than sufficient and were carefully painted with grey plastic primer washed with copius quantities of Lifecolor underframe dirt suitably thinned to allow the primer to show through.

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    Quite a lot of effort for a simple but very visible feature of Beaminster Road
    Finally, a simple notice that delineinates the extent of railway property, the entrance sign to the station.


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    The Southern was prone to bouts of self publicity such as station entrance boards though Ashford rather than Eastleigh was more likely to be the culprit.
    Next episode - the Army
     
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  17. Threadmark: Ryall Military Railway
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    As previously mentioned, the group has a shared background, we tend to leave subtle reminders of the proud military history of Dorset. We are two dark blues and a brown job, today is the turn of the latter, this is his contribution:-

    The Ryall Military Railway

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    The hamlet of Ryall is situated roughly 1km to the south of what was Beaminster Road station on the Dorchester & Exeter Railway. It was here that a small military training camp was established in 1914 as a for local militia regiments.

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    King George the Fifth on a visit to Ryall Camp to inspect the Royal Loamshire Regiment

    Initially, there was no connecting railway involved in the construction of the accomodation huts at Ryall but due to the extreme rural nature of the lanes, construction of a 1km long light railway from the mainline some 900yds from Beaminster Road station was deemed essential and approved by A.W. Szlumper, the LSWR chief engineer at Waterloo in early 1915. The civil engineering company of Stuart & Co. were specialists in the building military camps and the railway was soon finished and opened for inspection on 15th October 1915 after Lt.Col. Drewitt had approved it on behalf of the War Department.

    Due to the topography, the line was not easily worked and required the services of a Peckett B2 'Westminster'.
    Post-1918, the line survived to serve the strategic store established on the site but the line was placed on 'care and maintenance' succumbing to rationalisation with the closure of the camp and railhead in 1945.

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    After nationalisation of the railways, the remaining railhead was sold into industrial use by Dorset Farmers Ltd and all traffic line entrusted to a BR 48DS DS1169

    Finally,

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    Memories of DonRs (Dispatch Rider) and David's father served as a DonR in the Royal Army Service Corps (R.A.S.C.) and this scene is a tribute to thier service.

    Next episode - the lumpy bits of Dorset
     
    Last edited: 2 February 2021
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  18. Threadmark: The lumpy bits of Dorset
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Homemade grass mat



    We like using static grass but steep sided hills are a problem and there are lots of steep hills in Dorset.

    A simple combination of hanging basket fibrous liner and static grass was tried to overcome the problem of applying static grass to near vertical surfaces.

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    A piece of liner was cut to shape, then placed on a sheet of old newsprint, slathered with diluted PVA and finally givern a liberal coating of static grass in the normal manner.
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    It is intended that the liner shows through grass, because that is the reality of hillside grass.

    The hillside is painted with the same diluted PVA, the mat is quickly transferred to the hillside and with minimal contact, pressed into place and whilst still wet, more static grass can be applied, then left to dry.

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    Now, step back and admire the result.

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    Do not touch for at least 24hrs, then run over with the Dustbuster. There will be more detailing to come but not yet.

    A previous example, fully dry and rather good.

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    Jack

    That is about it
     
  19. Threadmark: Trackside flora
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    Railways are a micro community, often bringing rural flora and fauna into urban environments. two of the most common plants common to railways are shown below.

    Tragopogon pratensis, Jack Go to Bed or Meadow Salisify, the plant is distributed across Europe, commonly growing in fields (hence its name) and on tracksides. The local name derives from its habit of the flower head closing before noon, it is found in the south of England. It can grow to over a metre in height and is a prolific weed, the milky sap can be dried and used as chewing gum.

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    The other endemic weed often associated with railways is Chamerion angustifolium, Rose Bay Willowherb. Its tendency to quickly colonise open areas with little competition, such as sites of railway and forest fires, makes it a clear example of a pioneer species. Plants grow and flower as long as there is open space and plenty of light, it is found throughout the south of England.

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    This is merely a test to see whether an idea will work, a bristle from a brush, the tip was covered in PVA and dipped in pink flower scatter from Greenscene. Only when it was fully dry was it then planted in a blob of PVA and the blob hidden with a dusting of Woodland Scenics grass.

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    Finally, a lovely Buddlia, made from copper wire, handcut leaves and foam flowers.

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    Sorry but seems to be a full tour of Beaminster Road, unfortunately no banter, just modelling.
     
    Last edited: 4 February 2021
  20. Threadmark: Barracuda
    BR Group

    BR Group Active Member

    There was no intention to continue however a chance encounter led to the purchase of an ancient Skaledale RTP, a 30s bungalow released maybe 15+ years ago. Its significance is its similarity to our old home, a 30s bungalow on the south coast, as English as a custard creme and almost as plain.
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    The plan is to recreate 'Barracuda'* as we first moved in, replete with tiny garage, concrete coal bunker and strange 'shed' at the bottom of the garden. For those who are familiar with rural West Dorset, a bungalow in the corner of a field in not a surprise much as almost every farm has at least one semi-abandoned caravan quietly returning to nature.
    The garage will be a mix of Taxi Hut and Domestic Garage by Wills but the 'shed' will be scratchbuilt as was the original.

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    'Something' was lurking behind the garage, not so much a shed as an accident in corrugated iron and rotting wood. No doubt the new owners have removed it, my grandfather could not bear to do so because it had character. The shed usually contained, my father (see below), the larger garden implements, an armchair with horsehair stuffing and rats under the floor. It will be a rather fun to replicate.
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    Dad in 'Sunday' mode
    *Barracuda was an unlikely name for a bungalow but that was how we found it.