Midhurst LBSCR Station 1866
Well it has been three years since I last posted an entry in my blog and this one will probably be my last project. Also I am having trouble with the blog, so have decided to do my entries by posting, rather than blogging, so apologies to anyone who has been following my blog. Thanks for all your support. I have reached the age of 84 and am now suffering from Parkinson's Disease amongst other things, which means that I am now unable to hold things still while soldering or detailing or lining. Other than that, I am fine, but had posted a request for help in completing some of the my kits which were still not completed and have had a good response offering help,
As a result I have been able to commence work on the one layout I have always wanted to build, which is Midhurst LBSCR Station as it was when constructed in 1866.
The early first map below shows the station and platform from the end of the line as far as the wagon turntables. The second map shows the other part of the yard and sidings
The map above has north on the lower side and shows that the station was built on a partially artificial embankment, as the original land sloped towards the south. The track at the top of the map was connected to the LSWR line by a bridge over the Bepton Road, although I have not been able to learn why the head shunt on this line was so long, as it stretched as far as the LBSCR signal box, a distance of several hundred yards. Immediately adjacent to the Bepton Road was a 42’ turntable at the end of the platform road, and locos coming off the turntable were straightaway on to a turnout which served the platform road and the run-round lines. A crossover connected the line from the LSWR to the run-round track just after the turntable area.
At the eastern end of the platform were three wagon turntables serving the goods yard, which consisted of three sidings, a cattle dock with end-on loading facilities, a goods shed and coal staithes on the single long siding. This siding also incorporated a turnout which could be used either to access the loco shed or for trains using the goods yard. The loco shed line ran through the shed, past a coal loading dock and connected with the main running line.
The baseboard has been constructed on top of a line of cabinets along two walls of the room, and this gives me a 10’ Scenic section and an 8’ fiddle yard.
The baseboard is 10mm MDF on a rigid frame and was originally fixed down to the cupboards, which was a bad mistake. A lot of time and discomfort was expended trying to work and wire under a fixed top, and after a year of doing this, I decided to remove the whole top with the help of a friend. A batten was fixed along the wall at the required height, and then the baseboard was laid back in place and fixed to the batten by a series of hinges. This meant that the baseboard could be lifted from the front and fixed in a vertical position so that we could work of the underside with it at face level. So I was able to completely rewire the layout in a sitting position
I have Ian of Perfection in Miniature to help me with laying the track, some buildings and scenery, many of my unfinished kits have been finished off by Simon Howard of S.H. Modelling and I have received a great deal of help and advice from members of MERG since I joined, especially from Dave in Rome, Rodney Hill, and Tim Pullan, and I am deeply indepted to all the above for their help, work and patience.
As a member of the Brighton Circle, and a life-long railway enthusiast, I have always read anything about railways that I could get hold of, and the South of England railway companies were what attracted me to modelling .I started as a fan of the LSWR, transferred to the SECR and it’s components, and finally decided to stick with the Brighton from it’s inception up to the end of the Stroudley era. I have a few later ‘brown’ locos, but most are IEG or various green colours.
I have found the Brighton Circle magazine and forum to be a very good source of information and advice. The Circle has Stewards for every aspect of railway operation and someone has always been able to answer any question I had. I have also been through the records at the NRM and National Archive at Kew and learnt a lot more.
My concept for the layout is not strictly proto-typical, so there may be times when rolling stock may appear which would not have happened in reality, and this gives me the option to run trains from lines that were proposed to run to and through Midhurst but the lines were never built.
The track layout has naturally had to be somewhat truncated due to the room available but still gives a good representation of the original
The layout is being built to EM gauge, as that is the gauge of all the stock I have built over the past forty years. Plain track is SMP and turnouts are mostly custom built by me using copper-clad sleepers, but with two or three ready made turnouts from Marcway Operation of the turnouts (at the moment) is by Tortoise motors on the approach and exit to the platform road, and on the runround. All other turnouts are operated by Mercontrol using slide switches to change polarity, but the possibility of changing some of these to servo operation is being investigated.
Track is laid on a 3mm cork base and Ian has ballasted it to my instructions to represent shingle ballast, using a mixture (in equal parts) of Woodland Scenics brown and buff ‘N’ gauge ballast held together with Cascomite powder glue. This makes for a quite realistic ballast as can be seen from the following photo.
Operation of the layout is by DC Analogue as I don’t understand or have the budget to change forty locos to DCC, and takes place from where the scenic section ends and is done with two banks of switches, one bank for the track section power and the other using slide switches for the turnouts. The system incorporates a potentiometer to control the turntable speed
This is from a London Road Models kit and was built for me by Simon. When it was installed I had a problem with being not able to see when the tracks were aligned, as it is ten feet from where I sit. Having joined MERG last year, I asked for advice on their forum and had a fantastic response from various members. A lot of advice and then Dave began asking me about various measurements etc., and the next thing I knew was that he had constructed a jig to replacate my set-up, had worked out an electronic indexing system and posted it to me from Rome. Then Tim got in touch and arranged to come and install it for me. Now I can run a loco on to the turntable from where I sit, press a couple of switches and the turntable rotates slowly until it is in line and then stops, so I don’t even have to be anywhere near it.
These were built and installed by Ian but do not rotate. (life is too short!). These are located on the LSWR headshunt, the entrance to the cattle dock and the back siding as per the map in Part 1. I subsequently constructed a walkway to join the three wagon turntables which allows the horse to negotiate the intervening track without tripping over.
Midhurst’s locomotive shed was opened on 15th October 1866 by the Mid-Sussex and Midhurst Junction Railway and later taken over by the L.B. & S.C.R., to replace the locomotive shed at Petworth. The shed was located to the east of Midhurst station on the north side of the line and was a timber built single track straight through shed with a pitched roof. The Facilities included a coal stage and a water tank. After the 1881 Midhurst station was built, the shed was left to fall into disrepair and was closed and demolished in 1907. In 1877 Midhurst shed staff comprised four drivers, two firemen and two cleaners.
Below is a photo of the shed built by me some fifteen years ago in place on the layout
Construction is on a thick card base, with the addition of real mahogany strips to represent the planking. These mahogany strips were obtained from a veneer supplier and stuck to the card base. End doors were fabricated from Plasticard scribed to look like planking. Finally all sprayed black to look like the pitch covered planks used for the original construction . The building has been wired by me and is fully lit internally and externally. The windows were made by Ian, I think using a laser cutter.
This was fabricated by Ian and is based on my interpretation of what might have been. I have added a working light to the stage for the loco crews to use during the long winter nights!.
For me, this is a work of art. Ian first made a dummy model of the box, which itself is good enough to be used elsewhere, constructed taking measurements from a photograph . He then made the final version from Plasticard using a laser cutter. The verandah was a noticeable variation from the standard Saxby & Farmer box of the period The interior is fully fitted with the number of levers necessary to operate the turnouts and signals yet to come.
A photo is shown below
Hopefully more to follow as it progresses