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A bit of S & M....

2mm Andy



No! Not that sort!laugh.gif - this sort of S&M;




I made reference in my first blog posting to my 2mm Golden Jubilee Layout Challenge entry which never made it as far as the Expo at Oxford. I’ve been asked if I would post a bit more information on it, so here goes….


The original idea came from Roger Carpenter’s book on the Criggion Branch of the S&M (published by Wild Swan) – idly re-reading this one Sunday afternoon just after the GJLC had been announced rekindled my enthusiasm for this delightfully decrepit and obscure backwater of the railway system and so a plan was hatched….




The location was based on Llandrinio Road – a simple wayside station just short of the terminus (and quarry) at Criggion, but with a slightly altered track plan to try and give a bit more operational interest (basically the siding was reversed and extended 'off-scene' to allow it to be used a part of a run-round loop).


The Criggion branch was a real backwater of the railway network. It served a roadstone quarry, which possessed it’s own shunting locomotive – a vertical boilered Sentinel - to shunt the quarry traffic. Passenger services were in the hands of the infamous petrol railbuses and the bizarre and delightful ‘Gazelle’, which operated with a former horse-tram as a passenger coach. There was a severe weight restriction on the branch line due to a bridge at Melverley which was in poor condition.


In my 2mm world, I assumed that the line was taken over by British Railways Western Region and the bridge strengthened to gain access to the quarry traffic. It's all a bit implausible, but I didn't feel quite up to the challenge of building some suitable stock to a deadline as well as the layout. In the event, things didn't quite go to plan....


The boards are for the most part birch plywood and of fairly standard construction. The scenic part of the layout is one board, and the backscene is integral with the board. The fiddle yards bolt onto each end of the main board and the whole lot drops onto the top of the legs. These and the shelves beneath the baseboards are Ikea ‘Ivar’ shelves, with metal diagonal bracing from the same source. Adjustable feet have been fitted to the bottom of the legs to allow for uneven floors and supports for lighting and a fascia fit onto the back of the legs.




The layout baseboards were almost complete by the summer of 2009 so I offered to take it to the 2mm AGM at Bedford in October 2009. Most of my spare time then promptly disappeared and a few evenings before the event I just about managed to lay enough track to get something moving on the layout – albeit only over about 6â€!


After that, the enthusiasm just dried up. The boards suffered a bit of cosmetic damage in the car on the way back from Bedford to York, and were unceremoniously dumped in the spare room at home. After a few months I put them back together (they took up less space assembled and the shelf space beneath was useful!) and used them as storage space for all my unfinished 2mm stock (and the space below for modelling tools and equipment).


I learnt a few things from taking the layout to Bedford (which was the first time I’ve every exhibited a layout in any form), namely that layouts are a lot of hassle to dismantle and move, especially when car parking is awkward/non-existent, and that having the fiddleyard at each end is too awkward for one person to operate. I suppose that's why I'm building a one-person shunting plank now!


One day the enthusiasm will return and it will emerge (and I'll have to find a home for all those part-built wagons) - anyone for a Diamond Jubilee Layout Challenge?!laugh.gif




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Hi Nick,


I haven't been to the museum at Tenterden, but have visited the website a few times. There is some interesting information on there.


Hi Missy,


One day.... I did learn a lot from the work I did on the layout, so it hasn't all been wasted


I'm due some holiday from work soon, so might take a trip over to Shropshire to see where the line used to be - it's a nice part of the world and exploring disused railways is always fun!




For some reason, the military never really got involved in operating the branch line from Kinnerley to Criggion - it was left to the quarry company to work the trains down to Kinnerley. Perhaps I can bend the truth a bit more and run occasional military specials on the layout. Thanks for the links to the photos.



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  • RMweb Gold



Shame it didn't make it to Expo. Nice simple plan and a nice sized layout.


Any chance you can upload a few more photos? Would like to see it a bit closer into the fiddleyards and scenic area and also have a nose at all those wagons :P





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Hi Nick,


That looks a nice loco, but one for the future perhapswink.gif ! The problem with a lot of the Colonel Stephens stuff is the size - that would be difficult (but not impossible) to motorize in 2mm scale.


I've visited the K&ESR a long time ago - but it was before the museum opened (and thinking about it, before the extensions to Northiam and Bodiam opened!).


Hi Pete,


I'll try to take some more photos - the light in my spare room isn't very good, so I'll wait for a nice sunny day. Having been inspired to have a look at the layout last night, I discovered that the track on the fiddle yards has moved out of alignment and one of the traversers is jamming, so more work will be needed in due course I think!





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  • RMweb Gold

Christopher Payne came up with a good solution to the fiddle yard problem with his Port Pryn layout the far end curved round and run along the back to join the fiddle yard at the other end. It would need a tight curve but if you are running S&M stock I reckon you squeeze it down to 18" or even less


If you fancy a terminus fiddle yard layout the station at Shrewsbury looks a good bet to me.


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Hi Don,


I think I have an old Railway Modeller with the article in that you're referring to - I'll dig it out. The idea of putting a fiddle yard behind the layout is an interesting one, and would certainly go some way towards solving the problems of one-man operation. Christopher Payne's articles are always interesting and thought provoking.I have the Middleton Press book on the S&M so I'll look up the maps and photos of Shrewsbury Abbey.


Having said that, I didn't really set out to model the S&M Lt Rly specifically - I just liked the rustic charm that it seemed to possess and wanted to try and capture that somehow. Half the problem is that everytime I see a nice photo of a railway somewhere I start thinking about modelling it! Result - lots of half-finished projects and relatively little completed stuff.


Anyway, I laid the first six inches of plain track Easitrac on the shunting plank layout last night (must think of a suitable name for it!), so I ought to keep focussed on that for now! Hopefully I'll make more progress on it tonight.



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Thank you for taking the time to write this up. As someone who grew up in the shadow of Criggion quarry, this layout is of great interest to me. I hope it will progress in the near future and look forward to following your thread.

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Hi Nick,


I think you'd struggle to get enough room in that in 2mm scale for a motor (and some weight to allow it to pull a decent load). Anyway, I have about 5 years worth of loco projects at the moment without you tempting me with more:D !



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