Jump to content

Skeleton in the Cupboard



A very long time ago, I went to one of the CMRA Workshop events. The bookseller was selling a copy of "Tramlink - Official Handbook" published by Capital Transport. (It was Geoff Gamble - I told you it was a long time ago)


Anyway I bought the thing, discovered that Alphagraphix were doing card kits of light rail units, and I got fired up with the idea of building one , and making a working model. This obviously would need somewhere to run, so the idea of building a small layout based on Tramlink was rapidly born. The overhead was fairly simple posts, concrete sleeper track could be used... Ravenser Mk1 was visibly a problem - try again with some proper boards


This whole thing occupied much of my modelling in the early part of the millenium, along with the club project and the Boxfile. The baseboards were constructed in a one bedroom flat using a junior hacksaw and a plastic benchhook - the main plywood plates being cut to size by the timber yard. (Never again... I bought a Black & Decker Workbox not long after. And the timber yard has now closed and been flattened for redevelopment as housing. No-one within 15 miles can cut time to size as far as I know)


The basic design can be seen from the photos:


Each board is 3' x 11" - they box up as an opposed pair, and the idea was that they would just about be carriable on public transport as a boxed unit. At that time I didn't have a car, as I was commuting daily by train .


Here is Elmers' End. Two Wills kits are still in stock for the platform canopy. The photocopy mock-up of the Goods Office is still in place, pending the rework and building of the full kit...






And here is the second board, labelled as Beckenham. I know you can't actually run from Elmer's End to Beckenham on Tramlink, but this was not conceived as  finescale layout. In fact Beckenham was originally conceived as the fiddle yard, until I thought that a terminus in a station forecourt could be suggested, and therefore I could have a fully scenic layout:





The "unique selling point" was that it was to be an all-card layout


I built the first LRV . It was successful - sort of . It has a Tenshodo at one end , it runs - but it's very light weight and propelling trailer first into (or was it out of?) the cripple siding at Elmer's End it came off every time. 



The system of articulation  was shall we say basic, and would never feature in MRJ. I think the idea was to have one trailing bogie live vto one side, and the other to the other rail. These were A1 etched H frames for wagon bogies, and I cadged some bogie castings off Mark Hughes, who makes a respectable whitemetal kit




But it did get written up in the DOGA Journal (also a long time ago)


Then I attempted proper Croydon cars from an Alphagrapix kit. These are skirted vehicles, and the skirts fouled the H frames and it wouldn't take a curve at all.... Since the body is a sealed unit there is no way in bar tearing it apart....


(That photocopy mockup really needs replacing. The back of an advertising hoarding was to go in the gap)





Oh and one end sat too high....


About the last thing to be done was a push to build super-detail semis from Bilteezi sheets, which stalled:




There was even briefly a thought of expanding it with a representation of the depot inserted in the middle




Tramlink (Kent) has been stored, boxed up, in the study with an ever growing pile of Railway Modellers on top for more years than I like to admit to. For some years it was occasionally hauled out for use as a DC test track, The wiring was always very, very, basic with hand thrown points and something has come adrift and the Beckenham board is dead.


After I built the external CDU for the Boxfile external CDU and connections I had good intentions of sorting out poor old Tramlink with a rewire. Suitable DIN sockets were sourced from Maplins (remember them?) to take the connectors from the Boxfile. I even sourced a new small radius point , to replace the troublesome Settrack  point at Elmers End, with a view to lifting and relaying and realigning the lead into the cripple siding . Not to mention two solenoid point motors - might as well fit a point-motor while I'm doing it , and then we could see if a point motor could be retrofitted at Beckenham.


I have all the bits - nothing has been done, as I have a long list of jobs with more urgency and more obvious reward.  When I still haven't fixed the W Yorks 155 , Tramlink is unlikely to get priority.


Once or twice the idea has crossed my mind of scrapping it and reusing the boards for a shunting layout to give the stock off the Boxfile more room to breath (and maybe some of the kettles a chance to use it, too) . But to be honest I don't really want to destroy all the buildings which took a lot of work and scrubbed up well, and I can't see how any kind of meaningful shunting plan could be arranged without doing that. Come to that I don't actually have a meaningful 6' x 11" shunting design


So poor old Tramlink stays in its box buried under the magazines....







Edited by Ravenser

  • Like 7
  • Friendly/supportive 1

1 Comment

Recommended Comments

  • RMweb Gold

Nice concept and use of materials. Good thing you wrote it up for DOGA and posted it here, there's lots of inspiration in there I think. 


As for burying it under old mags, I believe you are in breach of the UN Rights for Model Railways. Layouts have rights too! :)

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...