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This Time I May Be Committed.....




I mentioned in a previous posting   Shifting Sands  that recent developments in RTR had tempted me to consider a possible 009 layout. Things have now moved on...


In the end, the Bachmann Baldwins proved rather too tempting to resist. I think the tipping point was when a little internet research revealed that 2'6" gauge was a de facto British military standard up to WW1, accounting for the Admiralty operations at Chattenden and Devonport and the RNAD explosives factories and depots. 9mm gauge is of course just as "accurate" for 2'6" gauge as it is for 2' gauge. But lines like the Welshpool & Llanfair and the  Leek & Manifold were very much more "proper railways" in character compared to some of the 2' gauge quarry and industrial operations, or the traditional 009 "rabbit warren" layout - and as I noted in the earlier posting, I am after something a bit more substantial than the usual cute 0-4-0Ts and 0-6-0Ts. (The Festiniog was (and is) a substantial operation, but it's loading gauge is very tight - witness the saga of Russell's cab - and this makes its stock seem rather more modest.)  Now one Baldwin was re-gauged for the 2'4 1/2" Snailbeach, so re-gauging  to 2'6" ought to be possible... And if it was possible, why wouldn't a 2'6" gauge line operated by the British military have done exactly that? There must have been hundreds of Baldwins going spare....


In short OOn3 representing 3' gauge would have been a significant hassle to do, but 009 representing 2'6" gauge is now dead easy, and would have some prototype justification. The Peco 009 "main line" track would be ideal for this look.


So - the Dogger Light Railway it is to be. The back story is more or less as described in my original posting: the need to bring fuel, munitions and stores in by sea, and move them up from Doggerport to the RAF base provides a raison d'etre for the line, and a justification for running plenty of freight trains. The fact that the Great Dogger Mole is the only causeway linking the two islands will tend to force inter-island traffic onto the train, justifying some local goods (how else would you move livestock from one island to another?). In the inter-war period there would be hardly any private cars here - probably little more than motorcycles and bikes


I can also justify running prototypical vehicles from other English narrow gauge lines. Some re-equipment would have been needed during re-armament in the late 1930s - the ex WD WW1 stock would have been nearing 20 years old by then. What would be more natural than that the Dogger Light would buy serviceable rolling stock from lines that were closing down, like the Leek & Manifold (1934 - and the same gauge) or the Lynton & Barnstaple (1935) and the Welsh Highland (1936)? In Ireland the West Clare - as the last 3' line to close - ended up with a motley collection of survivors from other 3' systems operated by CIE. A quarter of a century earlier the Dogger Light might have done something similar - after all the Longmoor Military Railway collected quite a few cast-offs from BR as well as its own ex WW2 WD-ordered equipment


I have been quietly buying a modest amount of 009 RTR. I am now the proud owner of two Bachmann Baldwins. A decision has been taken to standardise on Bachmann WD opens , and Parkside kits for ex WD vans - not least because getting lead weight into vans is easy , and the Bachmann open wagons have the merit of weight. (This was after I bought 1 Parkside open wagon kit).  I bought an L&B open in plain grey, and an L&B composite in plain Indian Red. The latter was something of a mistake. I meant to buy the brake composite to give an instant passenger train. And these are really rather big vehicles - a slight embarrassment on tight curves. 


An error when clicking to add to basket resulted in my buying two of the Golden Arrow Models whitemetal kits for the Southwold's 0-6-2T "Wenhaston" when I only meant to get one. Still they are entirely credible as locos ordered as part of the Royal Navy's pre-WW1 buildup. I assume that the railway's earlier locos - or most of them - were worn out by intensive use during WW1and the Baldwins represent replacements in 1918 or so, using what was then readily available. A scout round Newark show at the weekend produced a Minitrix 2-6-2T off a second-hand stall for a bargain price of £30 - it runs very nicely, though I'm a little daunted by the need to cut down the chassis block. Provisional names for these will be "Dogger" and "Fisher" ("German Bight" was vetoed as too long for the side tanks and conceding rather too much to the opposition... )


I also acquired a Dundas 4-wheel passenger guards van at Newark - the composite needs a brake, the goods trains also need a brake and this option was cheaper than buying a Peco Glyn Valley brake and repainting into Indian Red - as well as an Irish 4 wheel open to go with it. This latter is no doubt a relic of the pre WW1 railway... I have a resin kit for a Southwold van tucked away somewhere, and I bought a pair of Peco flat wagons recently because you get two wagons for £17.25... Two whitemetal kits for IoMR bogie coaches (brake and full) from NNK  are tucked away as well. These are more modestly proportioned than the Peco L&B stock.


Liveries of Bauxite/Indian Red for coaching stock and grey for wagons have been adopted.


The concept for the layout is shown here - unusually for a concept sketch this one was drawn to scale.


Dogger Light.pdf


I have my eyes on the Airfix RAF Bomber Re-Supply set: a fuel tanker and trailer is needed to move aviation fuel from the railhead to the RAF station, bombs can be wagon loads, and many of the other items can find a use on the layout. Motor transport on the island is likely to be military. Having bought a boxed set of four Airfix 1/72 aircraft kits cheap a few years , I'm very tempted to have a Mk1 Hurricane coming into land dangling from a little fishing line. They became operational with the RAF in 1938, so that sets the date for the layout - military activity is presumably being prompted by the Munich crisis. Clive Mortimore suggested at Newark that a Bofors gun would be appropriate as both anti-aircraft and anti-shipping defences - Airfix do one of those, too.


I haven't tried any Airfix military kits since I was a young lad - this gives me a chance to dabble in another branch of modelling


I have also acquired two semi-circles of Peco 009 Setrack curves. So I now have a basic circle on which trains can run round on the dining table . Table-top railways indeed!




Fortunately the IoMR coaches are at least a centimetre shorter than this one...

Edited by Ravenser

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