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Introduction


Gingerbread

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Having drifted away from the hobby many years ago, after playing with O gauge (clockwork) and various early forms of N gauge (including OOO push along and Treble-O-Lectric), I recently returned and decided to take up the challenge of 2mm Fine Scale. I used to be quite happy doing simple kit-bashing and scratch-building of rolling stock on proprietary chassis and bogies, but had little experience of soldering (and what little I had was long, long ago).

 

Choice of prototype wasn't too difficult. I've always had a liking for the GWR. In recent years I've had a strong preference for steam over diesel, though that wasn't true in my earlier years, when I looked upon steam as being old-fashioned, dirty and generally second-best to the then-new diesel and electric locomotives.

 

Initially I was intending to model the traditional branch line terminus, somewhere in the West Country, set in the golden age of mid 1930s. Looking around for somewhere specific, I couldn't find anything that inspired me, so I cast my net a bit wider. Going back to early 1900s introduces some interesting changes in the livery - not sure I really like the darker green on locomotives, but I do like the Indian red frames and the extensive brasswork, and the fully lined-out chocolate and cream coaches would be an interesting challenge to my skills and eyesight.

 

I had been researching my family tree for the past few years, and realised that offered an interesting possibility - Market Drayton, where many of my father's ancestors had lived. This is a town in the northeast corner of Shropshire, adjacent to Staffordshire and Cheshire, and with GWR lines running north to Crewe and south to Wellington, together with a North Staffordshire Railway ('Knotty') line eastward to Stoke. These lines all opened in the 1860s, and closed in the 1960s. Little remains - I believe that Market Drayton station is now buried beneath a superstore and its car park.

 

Even in a cut-down version, Market Drayton will be a fairly substantial undertaking - two platforms, two bays, two separate good yards (one for GWR, one for Knotty), a fairly large goods shed, and a small Knotty engine shed. Having made up a few lengths of Easitrac, just to confirm my expectation that there won't be any problems in that part of the project, I decided to postpone the building of points and baseboards and laying of track whilst I start on the rolling stock that I will need for the layout. I will probably build a smaller layout first, either one of the minor stations on that line, or more likely a simple shunting plank. As I don't yet have any locomotives to run, I don't feel any urgency with that part of the project.

 

I acquired two good sources for the area - "By Great Western to Crewe" by Bob Yate and "The Stoke to Market Drayton Line" by C R Lester. From these I could put together a reasonable picture of the traffic through Market Drayton. Nominally my target is 1905, though I might allow it to slip to 1910 if necessary.

 

Passenger traffic

Knotty

About five trains a day to/from Stoke. Probably still 4-wheelers, and hauled by a 2-4-0T or 2-4-2T. Bill Bedford provides some suitable coaches, whilst London Road Models is the only source I know of for the locomotive, and that would be in 4mm scale - not sure if it could be reduced to 2mm scale.

 

GWR

About six trains a day each way between Crewe and Wellington. Basically stopping trains, unclear whether these would be 4/6 wheel or bogie (Dean clerestory) during this period, but two of these trains would have slip coaches or other through sections attached. All should be available from Worsley Works, though the slip coach is in the 3mm range and would need reducing.

 

This service seems to have been regarded as a suitable "retirement" for engines working out their last days - the timetable is not very demanding, and gradients are modest. For example, various 2-4-0 tender classes including Stellas and Barnums in the 1920s, 481 and 149 class in the early 1900s. There is mention of Armstrong 2-4-0T engines in the earlier period - I hope this is a misprint for 0-4-2T such as the 517 class, which would allow me to put the Dean Sidings resin body on the forthcoming 2mm Association 0-4-2T chassis (they were certainly present on the line around 1920). The other possibilities will have to be deferred until my building skills are much-improved.

 

Cheshire and Shropshire were both substantial producers of milk, so there would be siphons (and the Knotty equivalents) attached to various passenger trains. There is a large dairy making muesli in Market Drayton now (adjacent to, or possibly on, the site of the old railway) - I don't think there was a dairy/creamery in my period, but at least two nearby stations had creameries.

Goods traffic

This is rather more interesting than my original proposed branch line terminus. There were about three local trains a day in each direction, but the Crewe-Wellington line also saw some fairly heavy through express goods traffic, about fifteen trains a day in each direction. These included manufactured goods between Wolverhampton and Manchester, fruit and vegetables from Worcester (and broccoli from Cornwall) to Crewe/Manchester/Lancashire/Yorkshire and meat from Liverpool to London. I've also come across a creosote tank wagon which ran between Manchester and Hayes, via Market Drayton. One form of traffic mentioned in later years was cigarettes from Bristol to the Potteries.

 

Local traffic included two cattle trains, one in each direction, on Monday mornings. There were at least two breweries in Market Drayton, so the transportation of beer by rail seems plausible. There was at least one foundry, making agricultural implements, so coal and iron from the Potteries and finished machines outwards would be likely.

 

So as far as the GWR goods traffic is concerned, it will not follow the "standard" pattern - few Private Owner wagons, few unfitted open wagons, mostly fitted vans and fruit vans. Most of these should be fairly easy to make/convert from the Association kits.

 

Locomotives would probably be Dean goods for the express goods, and various 0-6-0 saddle tanks for the local goods, whilst the Knotty used an 0-6-0 tender locomotive for their freight traffic. As with the passenger motive power, Dean Sidings offer a resin 1701 body which should fit the forthcoming Association 0-6-0 pannier chassis. I have a chassis kit for an 0-6-0 tender locomotive, which doesn't quite match either the Dean goods or any of the plausible Knotty classes, but might be adequate for a first attempt.

 

More powerful locomotives were used in later years - Aberdares, 28xx 2-8-0s, 43xx moguls, 72xx 2-8-2Ts, all the way up to 9F 2-10-0s. Of these, I think only the Aberdares would have been present in my period, and I will defer any attempt to scratch-build one...

So I'm making a start by building up some GWR goods vans and open wagons, with about 30 currently in the queue, to be followed in due course by a few coaches and then three or four locomotives when the chassis kits are available (and my confidence/competence is a bit higher).

 

I am also debating whether to use one of the "might-have-been" alternatives for my initial layout, before moving onto the full layout of Market Drayton (assuming that my patience lasts long enough to complete the project). From what I can see, the Knotty enjoyed a very profitable monopoly over goods traffic to and from the Potteries, and local businessmen vigorously supported the provision of alternative routes to break this monopoly. In particular there was an interesting possibility in the Wellington, Drayton and Newcastle Railway proposal of 1861 (which would presumably have been taken over by the GWR in due course) - the potential for this line to bring china clay from Dorset for the pottery industry was apparently very popular. There were various proposals for the Potteries Junction Railway between Shrewsbury and Stoke on Trent, via Market Drayton, which did eventually obtain Parliamentary approval in 1865 - but never obtained the finance to construct the line.

 

For anybody who is still reading, and wondering where the Gingerbread Line fits in - Market Drayton was famous for its gingerbread. The Market Drayton Railway Preservation Society was formed in 1992 with the aim of reopening part of the Nantwich to Market Drayton line, apparently using the name "Gingerbread Line" - web site is at http://www.the-gingerbread-line.co.uk

 

Finally a word of appreciation for the modellers whose blogs here inspired me to make the attempt to follow in their footsteps, with suitable modifications. In particular, credit (or blame) is due to Missy whose Highclere shows what can be done in 2mm (but too modern with those new-fangled diesels), and Mikkel whose Farthing layouts showed how interesting the earlier period can be (though I'm not sure that I will follow his example in adding beards to my passengers!).

 

David

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this looks interesting and, may I say, ambitious.

 

I wish you well in your endevours.

 

I have been taken by the appearance of 2FS for some time, and , having produced nothing forover 20 years, wish to go down the 2FS route.

 

This, I will follow as they say, with interest.

 

Regards

 

Ian

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Well David, this ticks every box for me, and I shall follow this with great interest. It has certainly got a lot of operating potential and the stock alone will keep you busy for some time.

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  • RMweb Gold

Welcome David,

 

Even though I am a strict new fangled diesel fan ( ;)) I am always happy to see and follow a new 2FS layout on the forum.

 

Watching with interest...

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Hello David :)

 

That all sounds really interesting. I agree with your apporach to try something a little smaller first to get a feel for the scale before tackling something a little more ambitious, its how Highclere started out.

 

I love your choice of engines, its something that Im sure we could help each other out with.

 

As Pete says, Im watching with interest, just dont blame me for everything!

 

Missy :)

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I've been building a set of the four wheel coaches (available as a set of four only) from Worsley Works on to some 18' coach underframes that I got from David Eveleigh. I suspect that the further your time period slips the more likely it would be that 6 wheel stock was the norm, interspersed with 8 wheel stock. One thing I've been puzzling for a long time is how to make a decent Dean style bogie for the Worsley Works and Blacksmith 2mm body kits.

 

I'll be keeping an eye on this too.

 

 

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Thanks for the kind words everybody.

 

Ian (Landlord) - Yes, it's fairly ambitious, but I hope that I have broken it down into sensible steps, with the "easy" ones at the beginning and the "hard" ones later where I hope my improved skills will make them more manageable. There's plenty of 2mm FS modellers around, so I'm sure that when you start your own 2mm project there will be lots of help and advice on offer.

Steve - I've been watching your progress too, still looking for gingerbread-flavoured jellybabies for my line...smile.gif

 

Pete - The line closed before your beloved blue diesels were around, but I did see a few early green diesels during its latter days. Actually it was quite interesting at that time - electrification of the west coast main line led to diversion of traffic onto the Market Drayton line around 1960-5, including the Pines Express (Manchester-Bournemouth) during 1962-3. I assume that the china clay traffic from Cornwall to the Potteries would normally have gone via Shrewsbury to Crewe, then over the Knotty line to Stoke, so unfortunately I don't think much would have gone through Market Drayton. It might have been different in some of those alternate realities that I mentioned...

 

Missy - I doubt that I will have much to contribute to any partnership on making those engines, but look forward to trying. I have recently been investigating options for GWR cattle wagons, so perhaps that might be of interest to you for your new cattle dock.

 

Rich - Agreed. I've seen a suggestion that one of the Worsley 4-wheel coaches was actually a 6-wheeler, and have bought a cleminson 6-wheel chassis for that (and another for a 6-wheel siphon). Saw David Eveleigh at Watford recently and he said he has some etches on order, for his coach underframes, early toad, and small prairie, so I hope to be able to add them to my growing pile of work-in-progress sometime soon. Best answer I've come up with so far for the early (6 feet 4 inch) Dean bogies is to start with the Association 7 foot generic bogie, but adding suitable detailing is going to be a challenge...

 

David

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Good luck- Sounds really interesting. I thought about pre grouping as the livery variations are really interesting but came to realise that my present skills were not up to the kit building required! I too have found those modellers you mentioned an inspiration. The work done in 2mm FS lately has been amazing.

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Hello David

What an interesting project. I worked around Telford at one time and could see the path of the line. There was some interting bits of railway round there. I have just restarted in 2mfs after a lapse of 25 years whilst I have been playing with 0 Gauge Cambrian and GWR around 1907-1910.

Not sure about the Armstrong 2-4-0T the only 2-4-0T i know of are the Metro Tanks which I've always thought were a Swindon design.The 2-4-0 may have been a tender loco rather than a tank the GWR had quite a lot in those days such as the Barnums, Queens etc. I have a set of etches for GWR 4 wheelers which were reduced by Stewart Hine from his etches for the 3mm soc. I believe someone still does them. As well as the Dean Goods the Armstrong version with outside cranks would have been around great looking loco.

I presume it was you who posted some comments on GWR locos on the VAG. I shall follow this with interest.

Don

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Rich - Agreed. I've seen a suggestion that one of the Worsley 4-wheel coaches was actually a 6-wheeler, and have bought a cleminson 6-wheel chassis for that (and another for a 6-wheel siphon). Saw David Eveleigh at Watford recently and he said he has some etches on order, for his coach underframes, early toad, and small prairie, so I hope to be able to add them to my growing pile of work-in-progress sometime soon. Best answer I've come up with so far for the early (6 feet 4 inch) Dean bogies is to start with the Association 7 foot generic bogie, but adding suitable detailing is going to be a challenge...

 

David

 

I've seen that suggestion too. I'm not sure though. I looked hard and found pictures of, I think, three out of the four as four wheelers. That left the first (iirc) as just a diagram in the Russel books on coaches. There may well have been a coach with the same dimensions as a six wheeler, or they may have been 'upgraded' at some point?

 

I believe that David has me down for a prairie chassis, when they are available. Not my first choice of locomotive, but closer than period to anything I have working to date.

 

The challenge with the dean bogie as I see it is the hangers for the springs. I don't want to cut them like so often seen on models - allowing curves to be easily negotiated.

 

 

 

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Devondynosaur - I think my skills are sufficient for the initial stages - building wagons and coaches from kits. Whether I can build good locomotive chassis remains to be seen - if not, I might have to modify my plans a bit, and my layout might finish up looking rather more like yours...smile.gif.

 

Don - Some of the "might-have-been" alternatives linked to Whitchurch, so the Cambrian nearly made it to Market Drayton. The reference to Armstrong 2-4-0T on the line also separately mentions the later 2-4-0 tender varieties - I don't think the reference is right, and 0-4-2T seems the most plausible interpretation. Certainly I have a photo of a 517 on that service from later times, but more importantly from a pragmatic perspective a suitable body kit and chassis for the 517 should be available shortly.

Agreed, the Armstrong goods is another one for the line, but I think outside frames will have to wait a little longer...

And yes, I inquired on the VAG about GWR around 1905, to find out what was available - result being the two loco chassis discussed above, plus the small prairie that is borderline in terms of timing and unfortunately seems not to have been used on the line. There's also a chassis for the Ixion Manor under development, but that's definitely too late for my period.

 

Rich - can't disagree with anything you have said there. If I stick with 4 wheels for the 4th Worsley coach, then I have a cleminson chassis free for another 6-wheel siphon.

 

David

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Hi

I'm a member of the Nantwich & Market Drayton Railway Society, which was formally the Market Drayton Railway Preservation Society. This name change coincides with a change of direction for the society, with a move towards more of a social & historical society.

 

We have a lot of information in our members archives, including copies of the plans of both stations the Original 1863 Drayton & Nantwich the 1870 Notty and the final GWR Building. we also have photo archives of over 200 photos. If you need any information there are a number of members that would be pleased to help.

 

Regards Glyn

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Hi I'm a member of the Nantwich & Market Drayton Railway Society, which was formally the Market Drayton Railway Preservation Society. This name change coincides with a change of direction for the society, with a move towards more of a social & historical society. We have a lot of information in our members archives, including copies of the plans of both stations the Original 1863 Drayton & Nantwich the 1870 Notty and the final GWR Building. we also have photo archives of over 200 photos. If you need any information there are a number of members that would be pleased to help. Regards Glyn

 

Thanks Glyn

 

I have already obtained the track and building plans from the Nantwich & Market Drayton Railway Society, and intend to order some photos "sometime soon". One quick question for you - are any of those photos in colour and including some of the station buildings? I'm not sure what colour the brickwork would be - using the working assumption that it would be mostly red, with blue "trimmings", like Kidderminster or Winchester Chesil which are in the same "French Renaissance" style.

 

Unfortunately I am too far away to attend the monthly meetings, but would be happy to join to make contact with members who could answer some of my questions.

 

Regards

David

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