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Lydford, The Layout of a Lifetime?



blog-0304175001409712642.jpgLydford Station has always stricken me as being an almost ideal location for layout, with plenty of prototypical interest; the combination of Southern and Western region lines running parallel to each other, the great views onto open moorland in a old mining area, to name but a few reasons. For me it is also ideal as it only requires a handful of buildings in this sparsely occupied corner of the country. Along with Lydford, I can only think of Exeter St David’s and Plymouth North Road as the other examples of where it was possible to travel to London in either direction either by WR or SR.


Several different scenes will hopefully be recreated along the layout:



Given the many viaducts and embankments along this section of line it seemed a shame not to include one, when a return curve would be needed to access the fiddle yards anyway. Lydford Viaduct is a good candidate for this, as it isn’t too big and is the first viaduct towards London from Lydford. The start of the curve will also be where the unusual home repeater will be placed on the opposite side of the track.


The GWR track from Liddaton Halt climbed relatively steeply through an embankment, Thus I envisage that the track will emerge from the side of this, the return curve being placed below the layout as I have yet to think of a better idea, particularly if a valley prevents me from running the track below the baseboard to the same location as the SR main fiddleyard.


The track highlighted in yellow was the original yard at the station, which originally acted as the transfer yard between the broad gauge GWR and the standard gauge LSWR. Hence why there were two sidings entering the goods shed, and no road access. Before the connection was reinstated, it was possible to divert trains through this yard to reach the other companies tracks.

The station itself is very small, being able to hold 7 coaches, perhaps unsurprising given that the ticket sales were very low owing to the distance to Lydford proper.



Immediately south of the station, the SR-GWR junction was reinstated during WW2, having been originally built as a means of the standard gauge LSWR traffic to access the mixed gauge GWR Launceston branch before the PD&SWJ built their own line from Lydford to Plymouth. The reinstation allowed trains to be diverted to Plymouth depending on the availability of either line.


In ‘The Okehampton Line’ by Nicholas and Reeve, it is suggested that additional siding capacity was built during the second world, in order to act as a staging point for Plymouth. In later days a large amount of withdrawn stock was stored, awaiting its final journey. I have reduced the siding space considerably, as for one I doubt I could ever build enough stock to fill these and I wanted to keep the original station road access. In the real world, the SR station was accessed by using the GWR access and crossing over the footbridge.


With all the distinct features of the prototype this layout is unlikely to be small coming in at 8.4m x 85cm and over 30 points needed between the four different yards. It’s quite likely that it will be under construction for at least a decade, possibly two, any suggestions of things to leave out would be welcome. In the meantime I will still be continuing with my other PD&SWJ layouts “Congdon’s Shop,” and “Hingston Down Halt,” as testbeds for the larger project. The mockout confirmed just how much of a project this will be!


In the meantime there is lots of new stock that will be needed for the layout. When the WR line at Dawlish was closed, due to storms say, services would be diverted along the north of Dartmoor, allowing for a good variety of SR and WR stock to be passing through the station. This eventuality was well prepared for as a WR train would be run over the SR metals at least once a week to keep the route refreshed for the drivers. It’s my intention to run traffic from one of these occasions, perhaps twisting the axe a little to keep both the Southern main and Launceston branch open.

Progress recently (last few years really!) has been focused on building rolling stock for the potential layout:



Masterclass Maunsell BCK:

Finally the start of a prototypical train for the Callington Branch... There isn’t too much to say about this really as I haven’t departed too much from Chris Higg’s MK1 instructions the different shape of the brake compartment does make the construction interesting however. The replacement chassis for the Ivatt 2-6-2T is waiting in the wings (and has been for the last 3 years…)



Worsley Works Class 118:

The ongoing saga with the Class 118 continues having started and binned a BHE kit and moved onto the Worsley Works scratch aid, but thanks for Jeremy for giving me the impetus to get started again. I’m still hoping to finish this before Dapol get theirs to market however the progress made 3 years onwards doesn't look promising. The Bodyshell of one of the driving units has been soldered together in order to get the correct measurements for a 3D printed roof and headcode box. I’m still working out how to draw a 3D printable representation of the bogies and the engine details, and reassemble the TPM motorising kit inside the WW shell.



Mineral Wagons:

A recent addition to the gloat box is a load of Stephen Harris’ mineral wagons. Again I haven’t strayed too much from his kit instructions and they are going together nicely. Hopefully you can see the improvement from the Parkwood kit (That came from the Starter pack!) although I’ll readily admit that the biggest improvements are below the solebar.




Two more lowfits have joined the fleet. I have a plan to 3D print some loads for these, to be added to the next order (the mystery continues… I will reveal that they would’ve been made in Cornwall and are yellow, guesses on a postcard please.)



Mink A:

Finally another of the Resin Minks joins the fleet albeit still needing a roof. This is a little more off piste that the predecessor on the left, as I was trying to recreate a V24 diagram, using the RCH 10ft wheelbase chassis, with steel solebar conversion, etched layered RCH axleboxes and a piece of scrap etch from a coach bogie kit for the running bar. I have another couple of Mink bodies, but I need a research trip back to the UK to consult my Atkins et al.



Whilst I’ve been here 3 packets of DG’s have arrived, and a can of etch primer purchased from the Hardware shop. I should really get around to using them soon!

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You'll be needing some seats for that DMU of yours then :)


...and I know where you can find some nice bromine tanks to go on your Lowfits if you want a bit of variety.

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good luck

Thanks Nick. I think I'll need it..



You'll be needing some seats for that DMU of yours then :)


...and I know where you can find some nice bromine tanks to go on your Lowfits if you want a bit of variety.

I already have some... and you can put other things on Lowfits other then bromine tanks... :no:

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Like Holman's 'Compair' compressors . . .

Perhaps... I think that the ones I'm looking at are pre-Compair though.


Off to a good start I think some interesting stock.

Thanks Don, hopefully a lot more interesting stock is still to come..


Best Regards,



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What do you need to know from Atkins? There's at least one copy here and I am capable of reading information for models later than the mid 1920's but not great at retaining details later.

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Sorry Rich, this seemed to fall off the world fairly quickly and thus I missed it!


I'm not too sure at what I'm after yet to be honest... I have another 16ft and 17ft6 body, but I was thinking of doing a different diagram from the V14 and V24's that I've already done. I always have an agent to consult my copy anyway, and plenty of other stuff to be getting on with.


Best Regards.



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Hi Chris, somehow I missed this one. Nice to see your 118 started, I need to make a start on mine sometime. I'd be interested to see your 3D printed roof and headcode box.

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Thanks Jeremy, hopefully I'll get something done on it soon! The printing list is certainly long enough to justify the postage costs.


Best Regards,



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Chris, it’s several years since I saw any progress report. How are you getting on with Lydford? I’ve been collecting photographs taken in 1966 with a view of creating a layout but I was looking at post 1943 when all the extra sidings were added and links between SR and GWR lines were created. 

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Here's hoping @MinerChris can find and reload the images that the RMWeb's (un)helpful ISP have lost.


I too fancy Lydford as a location, just for being able to run GWR and Southern alongside each other.



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