(the following explanation is intended to help any new readers to find their way around this blog)
Since I started this blog in 2013, I have used it as a diary to record my progress in creating a Victorian GWR branch line. Since the blog follows the meanderings of my mind, it has no real structure and this 'introduction' is, therefore, an attempt to help a new reader to find his/her way around.
There are two main strands: firstly, the documenting of my exploration of the construction techniques needed to create 19th century locomotives and stock, of types that are not readily available. This includes descriptions of how I have constructed kits and also developed some 'scratch-building' methods, including home-made lettering and lining.
The second strand describes the creation of a local scene, which includes the buildings and landscape features and, equally importantly, the personalities who determined what services were needed from a railway serving the local area.
My 'train set' started many years ago as a Hornby Dublo layout for my then young son. The plan was taken directly from the Hornby Dublo Handbook of 2-Rail Track Formations (1st edition) and I added a narrow-gauge (009) section for additional interest. This has evolved into the plan shown below:
Layout Plan with Vignettes
A 'back story' has gradually evolved, in which my layout has come to represent North Leigh station on a never-built branch from the Cotswold main line towards Witney (planned in 1849 but never executed). This fictitious line diverged from the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway, near Stonesfield, and then headed southwards, through North Leigh, to Witney.
1849 Map showing unbuilt line to Witney
My layout represents a junction, just outside North Leigh station, where the line from Witney emerges from one of several short tunnels along this hilly route, with a cut-off route towards Worcester, diverging through a narrow cutting, while the original Oxford line enters the station, where there is also a passing loop. Two sidings serve the local creamery and a cattle dock.
The narrow gauge section represents an equally fictitious system, serving the local stone quarries and a saw-mill, which brings traffic to an interchange with the main line at North Leigh.
As well as imagining the railway, I have also devised a number of local characters to populate the scene. There is a real manor house at Wilcote, with mediaeval origins, where I have created a fictitious Victorian family, including the Lord of the Manor: Sir John Wilcote, and his daughters Amy and Blanche, and (probably) a younger son: Charles. Other characters will no doubt appear as I establish further details of the scene.
The 'contents list' at the right-hand side of the blog provides some guidance to the various topics that I have covered so far.
Edited by MikeOxon