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Back to the Drawing Board



Regular readers may have observed a certain 'theme' to some of my wagon building over the past few years and perhaps even wondered about the reason behind my seemingly incessant fixation with tank wagons.


It's not a huge secret that I've been intending to do something based on what most people in our community will know as 'Hayle Wharf', so here, finally is the start of it.


There are actually several wharves at Hayle, so I've decided to use the more specific name 'Hayle North Quay' as the title for the layout - basically this is the part that is of most interest to the likes of us, being home to a number of rail connected industries including the power station, bromine works, an oil terminal and a domestic coal depot.


For those unfamiliar with the place, there are several nice Aerofilms photos online. The one that best sums up the bit I'm intending to model is...




My plan is to use the old hotel and the limekiln as 'book ends' for the layout because they are (or rather, were) both interesting old buildings. The power station and the main (and very big) process buildings of the bromine works will be off stage to the left.


To do this to scale would need about 6 feet but I'm squashing it down to 4'6. Actually that turns out to be surprisingly hard to do because it's a pretty busy place with lots of trackwork so when you chop some length out of one section it usually messes something else up.


After winding up with some unexpectedly vicious radii in places on South Yard I was determined not to make the same mistake again so I opted for the pain of trying to learn Templot. It's a pretty strange beast but I think I have finally coaxed something out of it that I'm starting to be happy with.


Step 1 was to load up some OS maps and an Aerofilms vertical photo as background images and use these to try to trace out the real track layout.
Step 2 was to do some selective compression. I didn't find Templot was a particularly good fit for this job so instead I went low tech by printing the plan out and then taking a pair of scissors to it.
Step 3 was to stick the plan back together and bung it on the scanner, import it back into Templot and then try to produce a track alignment that actually works in the reduced space.


The third step has taken quite some time - a lot of nudging bits of track around a little, fiddling with crossing angles and curve radii but I think I'm finally getting there.


The key bit seems to be the central 'loop' including the two turnouts and the diamond crossing that provide the connections to the bromine works and the oil depot. The word 'loop' suggests a run-round but in reality it was not used like that - all trains were propelled onto the quay. I might occasionally break that rule though.


The latest step has been to print the loop section out at full size, stick the bits together and have a long hard look at them on the table. I'm now on the third version.


There is still plenty more to do before the plan is finished - I haven't yet decided on the front to back dimension - I'm aiming for 22 inches but that might be too tight a squeeze. There is also the vertical dimension to take care of - in spite of appearances, the trackwork was not on a level playing field - it was definitely uphill to the bromine works.


Some photos...


Some tank wagons on the first version of the loop alignment. The bromine tank is on the connection to the Octel bromine works.


Versions 2 (right) and 3 (left) from the 'rest of the world' end. The loop curve on V2 was 3 feet radius but it wasn't happy with the way it looked. Version 3 has a slightly bigger radius. The way that the left hand line rejoins the 'main' line at the far end looked pretty odd in version 1. Version 2 was an attempt to fix that but it still looked odd.


Versions 2 (left) and 3 (right) from the 'power station' end. The loop has more 'breathing space' on V3 although the real thing had more room still. The odd track alignment on the loop end isn't too obvious in this photo but it was really bugging me.

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Hi Andy,


Exciting new project :good:


I won't offer comments on the differing versions as I think that's a personal thing and you will opt for the one you know feels right. Will it have a FY at one end or both...if one I am guessing you let the tracks run off the end...or possible future extension?


I think I recall seeing some pics of class 25's on milk at Hayle...


Good luck and am staying tuned,



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Hi Pete,


It's not so much 'feel' but just a question of whether the trackwork 'flows' in a railwaylike manner and whether it looks kinda like the real thing in spite of my having chopped six inches out at various places (including the 'town' end of the loop). I think that other people seem to be able to get this sort of thing right without making quite such a meal of it.


I will probably just have a fiddle yard at the 'town' end. The tracks carried on along the quay to the power station coal stockpile area but I suspect there was not too much interesting rail activity there - the coal came in by ship from Barry, was unloaded by four socking great travelling cranes  and then reached the power station by conveyor belt.


I doubt that milk tanks would have been on the quay branch (but the station, yes). Plenty of other tanks over the years though - Esso class A and B, chlorine, bromine, ethylene dibromide and sulphuric acid. The bromine works closed in 1973 so class 25s would have had only a year or two in Cornwall by then. There are plenty of photos of class 25s working to the Esso depot though - this was open until the early 1980s.


Regards, Andy

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Whats 18" between friends... "Tolerance,"




Hopefully the difference between needing just a single baseboard and having a board joint half way along the quay :)

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Hayle Wharves have long been on my personal map of interesting places in Cornwall. I'm sure you'll make a great job of it.


Presumably you will have to build a fair bit of inlaid track?



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Hayle Wharves have long been on my personal map of interesting places in Cornwall. I'm sure you'll make a great job of it.


Presumably you will have to build a fair bit of inlaid track?




Thanks David. I certainly have my work cut out!


There was certainly some inlaid track where the lines coincided with the roadway along the back of the wharf. Much of the rest of it was buried by wind blown sand whenever I visited, so that will be another thing to replicate. Then there will be track buried under big piles of coal.


There were also small sections of granite sleeper blocks (even in 2012) surrounded by what I can best describe as brickwork 'setts'. I guess that these date back to the Hayle Railway. The 1950s aerial photos show some of these blocks with rails still in place although the turnout geometry is err... primitive so I doubt whether they were in use.


So plenty of variety for trackwork 'finishes'. I'm not too worried about the sleeper positions on the Templot plan because I reckon that most of them will be invisible for one reason or another.


I can't seem to find the option in Templot for granite block sleepering ;)


Regards, Andy

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I'll wait until I get around to that horse worked tramway layout... for which I also need working 2mm scale horses so it may be a while yet.

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