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So what size are yours - flagstones?

Posted by Silver Sidelines , 11 April 2012 · 2,786 views

paving flagstones platform station
The list of jobs to do is endless but finishing off the platforms must come near the top.

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This could be quite a long task but first what size to make the paving? The British Standard suggests that paving stones should preferably be 900 x 600, 750 x 600 or 600 x 600 (mm). However my layout represents the late 1950s, early 1960s, long before metrication. In those days, and for some considerable time after, the standard size of paving stone was 3ft x 2ft equivalent to 12mm x 8mm in 00 scale. Perhaps not surprisingly this is the size modeled by Superquick for their station platforms.

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However the 3ft x 2ft pressed concrete slab is relatively modern and a lot of railway platforms constructed in the 1800s will have used natural stone, probably York Stone in the north of England or maybe Purbeck or Cotswold stone in the south of England. The decision to standardize on 3ft x 2ft for the new concrete paving seems to be based upon the commonly available sizes of natural stone which in turn is likely to have been related to the maximum size and weight of material that could easily be handled manually.

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A search online indicates that natural stone paving is currently available in a range of sizes with widths up to 3ft. It would also appear that in addition to the standard 3ft x 2ft size, a larger 4ft x 2 ft slab is offered, perhaps as used above historically at Chester General Station?

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So much for what is currently available but what was used in the past? I guess those of you in the more populous parts of the UK will have the option to go and measure up some real station platforms. However for those others like myself, living in more distant and rural parts, this luxury is not available and it is back to searching through pictures in old books. The picture of Holywell above is good example of the type of view available and shows different patterns of paving for different areas of the platform.

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In addition to printed pictures there are vast numbers of images available on line. One of the most readily available sources must be that of the Flickr web site. The 'screen shot' above shows just one page of views obtained by typing 'Ramsbottom Railway Station' into the Flickr search bar. Just type in your favourite location and see what is available.

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In due course I will have to mark out my chosen patterns of paving. This is likely to be a long and tedious process. Not surprisingly the view above of Coldstream station is one of my favourites. I like precedents and if you get tired of marking out individual flagstones, well how about using some cast in situ concrete.

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I also like the above view of Barnard Castle Station. I think the modern Codes of Practice recommend that the platform slopes back down from the platform edge to prevent prams and platform trolleys accidentally rolling on to the track in front of trains. None of this in the view above. The platform surface obviously falls down to the platform edge to allow easy drainage of rain water. I seem to recollect that in those days each platform trolley was equipped with a cast iron 'wedge' attached by chain for chocking one of the trolley wheels. I guess also that in those days no one ever left their pram unattended?

To be continued.
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gazmanjack
Apr 26 2012 12:08
Great pics and a wealth of information. I was wondering in regards to the 'in situ concrete', whether it was a light slurry of concrete over the existing gravel infil ?? Much the same could possibly be said about the bitumen infil at Barnard Castle. Looking at this photo, it seems that who poured the bitumen, left the pot plants in place !

Cheers, Gary.
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Silver Sidelines
Apr 26 2012 13:14
Gary, good points. Slurry sealing is not a common practice in the UK. However I think you are correct that at Barnard Castle the planters were obviously too heavy to move when the old cinder surface was 'improved'. It looks like a rolled asphalt surface, rather than macadam and I would guess from the age of the picture that it would have been tar bound rather than bitumen as used today. Cement bound slurries do not have frost resistance and I would suggest that the picture from Coldstream shows a cast in situ concrete slab, probably containing some light steel reinforcement to reduce cracking and to save on concrete thickness.

Ray
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gazmanjack
Apr 27 2012 11:54
Thanks for your extra information. I had never thought about the heavy frost etc, that you experience in regards to the use of concrete slurry and the effect frost can have on such surfaces. Much to be learnt yet !
Having just trawled Google for some ideas of sizes for flags, I happened across this blog post - perfect !

I shall be using these images for reference for my military loading bay on Treamble.

Thanks !

Stu
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Silver Sidelines
Aug 14 2012 13:09
Very good, I still have two stations to tackle - even after this summer.

Regards

Ray
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Steve Taylor
Oct 08 2014 15:38

The NERA reprint of the NER standards book of 1908/9 details platform copings (edge stones to us plebs) as being 3'0" wide by 4'0" long and 6" deep at the outer edge and 6 3/4" deep at the inner edge. These key together by means of a shallow point at one end and corresponding reccess at the other (approx 1") and are described as a cement cope (2.5:1 PC concrete, and "the surface to be stamped or checkered to roughen it in approved pattern"). It further details these as the outer edge being 2'3" from centre of the railhead and the top of the slab being 5'0" above it. additionally any over hang of these slabs should be 1'0" making the platform face 3'3" from railhead.

 

My site measurements from Broomielaw showed edge slabs measuring 30"W x42"L x 5"D (outer edge). These were perfectly rectangular concrete slabs replacing the original sandstone edging and overhanging only by as much as the radius of the curved edge of the slab. The main circulating area was indeed a tarred surface of some sort while the less used western end was left bare ash until closure. There was a slight slope to help move water off the platform onto the cess but its on a drawing somewhere not readily to hand.

 

Hope that slightly OCD effort helps and thanks for the decent sized Barnard Castle pic.

 

Steve

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Silver Sidelines
Oct 08 2014 15:59

Thanks Steve

.......Hope that slightly OCD effort helps and thanks for the decent sized Barnard Castle pic.

 

Steve

I am particularly interested in the idea that concrete was sufficiently established in practice to be central to the CoP.  Six inches deep equates to 2mm in 00 scale, 'half' the thickness of my balsa.  Never mind,  I should think there will be a prototype somewhere.

 

Thanks again

 

Ray

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