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Fourth bite: The Stables

Mikkel

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Work has started on the fourth layout in the Farthing series. This will be named “The stables” and continues our meandering walk through the goods facilities at Farthing in the early 1900s.

 

The layout is inspired by my interest in GWR stable blocks, including the larger variants of the standard design that began to appear in places like Slough and Park Royal around the turn of the last century.

 

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 Slough, 1928. Source: Britain from Above. Embedding permitted. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW021896

 

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Park Royal, 1930. Source: Britain from Above. Embedding permitted. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW033806

 

 

Searches on Britain from Above show that stable blocks tended to be located near the entrance to goods yards. This provides an excuse to incorporate another favourite scene of mine, namely the roadside views into Vastern Road yard in Reading – including those lovely trees in the foreground, as seen in the excellent  GWRJ articles on Reading goods by Chris Turner and John Copsey (Nos 81 and 82). 

 

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At this point you are probably expecting a large sprawling layout with an intricate trackplan - but, er, this is the trackplan:

 

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The layout will be a micro and follows what I call a “matchstick” design, i.e. a few very short tracks.  Ridiculously small, I know, but I like the challenge of making such a seemingly dull trackplan scenically interesting, and working out a shunting puzzle for it. My goods depot layout (below) followed a similar concept, and  has become my go-to option when I need a quick shunting fix after a long day at work.

 

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So I want another one! With the new layout, the idea is to use roadside trees, fencing and the goods yard entrance as foreground view blocks and “see-through” structures. The stable block will be the main event in the middle distance, while the trackbed behind it will be raised to a higher level. An Inglenook style shunting puzzle will be applied.

 

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That said, it would be nice for the locos to stretch their legs on occasion. So I've allowed for the option of a possible future modular approach, whereby some of the Farthing layouts could be joined up for occasional running sessions in our living room, e.g. as illustrated below. Whether that ever happens remains to be seen, I’m taking it step by step.

 

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As usual, the baseboard was made from 10 mm foamboard. This time I used actual Kappaboard, which is clearly a better quality than the imitation product I used before. 

 

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The basic baseboard in place, braced inside with more foamboard. Neoprene foam will be used for noise reduction.

 

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I’m now at the mock-up phase, testing the scenic ideas. As some may remember, the stable block has already been built and is a model of the prototype at Park Royal. The one at Slough was almost identical but a little shorter. Incidentally, both of these prototypes had sidings crossing close by at an angle (hard to see in photos of Park Royal).

 
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The layout fits on my workbench but will have to be packed away frequently. The 66,5 x 48,5 cm baseboard is therefore designed to fit in an Ikea “Samla” bedroller, which can be stored under the bed - or stacked with other layouts in the attic. I’m aware that longer boxes exist, but they tend to be quite narrow and I like visual depth. The backscene and major structures will be stored separately.

 

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The Ikea version may not at first seem ideal as it has sloping indents at the ends. However these conveniently hold the baseboard in place whilst allowing room for fingers to be inserted. The bottom does have a slight curve at the middle – not a problem for me as my baseboard has legs at the corners, but it won't work for everyone.

 

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There remains the issue of the fiddle yard. I can’t use the normal one I have, as this will be a two-level layout (part of the fun). So I need a fiddle yard arrangement that allows me to move stock vertically as well as horisontally.  The simplest option would be to move a fiddle stick back and forth by hand, but I'd like to stabilise the movement somehow. One option is a flexible arm of some sort. There’s a whole world of these, including holders for monitors, keyboards, tablets, smartphones, microphones and lighting. The challenge is to find something that is cheap, of reasonable quality and – importantly - does not require too much fiddling with alignment. 

 

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Another option would be to do a sliding cassette arrangement with a slope. A few tests showed that, contrary to what I thought, the stock stays put on a light slope.

 

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Sides might help too! :D

 

 

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An old angle-poise lamp might be cheaper than a new monitor stand. 

 

I have no doubt this is going to be another delightful layout.

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Less really is more! Such a great idea Mikkel: I look forward to seeing The Stables progress. The building looks wonderful.

 

Kind regards,

 

Nick.

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13 hours ago, Stubby47 said:

An old angle-poise lamp might be cheaper than a new monitor stand. 

 

I have no doubt this is going to be another delightful layout.

 

Thanks Stu. Such a lamp is what gave me the idea. Problem is, my wife rather likes the ones we have :D  I could have a look for a secondhand one though. The ones used by architects in the 1970s are really good but have become retro fashion here so tend to fetch high prices.

 

10 hours ago, Brinkly said:

Less really is more! Such a great idea Mikkel: I look forward to seeing The Stables progress. The building looks wonderful.

 

Kind regards,

 

Nick.

 

Thanks Nick, I am looking forward to knocking some provender wagons etc about. I seem to remember that fodder for the GWR's stables was brought in via the system rather than purchased locally. Need to check up on that though.

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Just now, Dave John said:

Good ideas and a very neat start Mikkel. 

 

Thanks Dave, it gives me an opportunity to add a bit of greenery to Farthing, i.e. the trees in the foreground and probably some grassy banks. My other layouts are a bit bleak in that respect!

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How about a traverser on a slope? The rail tracks are level, but the traverser rails are angled to match the height difference. 

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

Like this you mean?

 

traverser.JPG.21cbad6cd5a5206d3b910b966728f8eb.JPG

 

That's a good idea, hadn't thought of that!

 

Edited by Mikkel
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Hi Mikkel, really looking forward to seeing this develop, I was wondering what was going to happen with the stable block. Those foreground trees will be a challenge, I chickened out and nearly all mine are at the back of the layout:-)

 

Have you decided upon which season of the year “the stables” is set?

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

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I like the idea of viewing through railings and trees - should bring lots of photographic opportunities.  tree-modelling is an art-form in itself and should provide you with a load of new modelling challenges/opportunities.

 

That poor elephant is beginning to look rather moth-eaten :)

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Excellent project Mikkel!  I especially like the modular idea and hope you carry it through.  Really looking forward to seeing this section develop- love the intended view from the road.

DrDuncan

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I'm trying to be convinced by the split-level. Goods yards tended to be flat, for all sorts of reasons. 

 

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14 hours ago, wenlock said:

Hi Mikkel, really looking forward to seeing this develop, I was wondering what was going to happen with the stable block. Those foreground trees will be a challenge, I chickened out and nearly all mine are at the back of the layout:-)

 

Have you decided upon which season of the year “the stables” is set?

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

 

Thanks Dave. I'm not sure about the season yet - I have considered doing the trees without foliage but I wonder if it might look a bit odd and austere. Maybe autumn... 

 

5 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

I like the idea of viewing through railings and trees - should bring lots of photographic opportunities.  tree-modelling is an art-form in itself and should provide you with a load of new modelling challenges/opportunities.

 

That poor elephant is beginning to look rather moth-eaten :)

 

Ha ha, yes it is taking some time to devour that elephant - I suppose this could be the trunk :-)  I do look forward to working on the trees, although as Dave says they will be a challenge. There seems to have been some developments on that front recently though, so am hoping to use some of the new tips and materials.

 

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, drduncan said:

Excellent project Mikkel!  I especially like the modular idea and hope you carry it through.  Really looking forward to seeing this section develop- love the intended view from the road.

DrDuncan

 

Thanks Dr D, glad you like the idea. The modular approach is growing on me, as long as it doesn't become too much of a straight jacket. There is also the option of doing it for the passenger side of things instead, which might be a better idea given the challenge of how to model the mainlines at Farthing in a small space!

 

5 hours ago, Miss Prism said:

I'm trying to be convinced by the split-level. Goods yards tended to be flat, for all sorts of reasons. 

 

 

You are not wrong of course.  The difference in levels was partly inspired by this, although those are private sidings at the rear.

 

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The railway history of Farthing is an intricate one, so perhaps the siding at the front in my track plan is an outlier siding from a lower level configuration that the GWR has decided to retain.

 

Edited by Mikkel
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I like the idea of a split level, it could help the composition no end, and Stu’s idea of an inclined traverser is ingenious. You do know, I’m sure, that the GWR had a central depot for providing provender, and you’re just keeping quiet about it until you’ve finished building a copy to tuck away in a corner?

https://m.facebook.com/DidcotRailwayCentre/photos/the-provender-store-at-didcot-in-october-1970-it-was-built-in-the-1880s-to-manuf/711322322227992/

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55 minutes ago, Northroader said:

...........You do know, I’m sure, that the GWR had a central depot for providing provender, and you’re just keeping quiet about it until you’ve finished building a copy to tuck away in a corner?

https://m.facebook.com/DidcotRailwayCentre/photos/the-provender-store-at-didcot-in-october-1970-it-was-built-in-the-1880s-to-manuf/711322322227992/

 

Some time ago, I asked a question about provender wagon loads and it led to an interesting discussion - particularly a comment by The Sationmaster about crops grown specifically for fodder

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12 hours ago, Northroader said:

I like the idea of a split level, it could help the composition no end, and Stu’s idea of an inclined traverser is ingenious.

 

Stu's idea is the way forward I think. Colin has also pointed me to Chris Pendleton's system as shown in Ian Rice's Light Railway Layout Designs, from which I may borrow some additional ideas.  The split level is first and foremost a scenic device, and I like the effect so it will stay. The prototypical issue is not so much the split level itself, I think - high and low level goods yards were not uncommon after all -  but the fact that I will be moving wagons between  them. Must see if I can come up with an excuse of sorts.

 

12 hours ago, Northroader said:

 You do know, I’m sure, that the GWR had a central depot for providing provender, and you’re just keeping quiet about it until you’ve finished building a copy to tuck away in a corner?

https://m.facebook.com/DidcotRailwayCentre/photos/the-provender-store-at-didcot-in-october-1970-it-was-built-in-the-1880s-to-manuf/711322322227992/

 

11 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

Some time ago, I asked a question about provender wagon loads and it led to an interesting discussion - particularly a comment by The Sationmaster about crops grown specifically for fodder

 

Thanks gents, yes I have been reading up on the provender side of things, and would like to model a couple of wagons like those shown in Mike's thread and in the pic found by Miss P. Apart from the references quoted in Mike's thread, there are some further details in the recently published "GWR Goods Cartage, Vol 1" by Tony Atkins - will post some of that this evening after the Easter celebrations today.

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I've posted some info from Tony Atkins' book in the forum thread:

 

 

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Looks like a good start, Mikkel, and I like the way the layouts could line up for a modular temporary layout. The traverser idea reminds me a bit of a cliff lift, though the wrong way round.

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14 hours ago, Charlie586 said:

The traverser idea reminds me a bit of a cliff lift, though the wrong way round.

 

Yes I see what you mean. I have gone ahead with Stu's idea. Have ordered two of these:

 

 image.png.e2b898dffbc2c1c37352e2f17d1e4084.png

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Just don't blame me if the traverser keeps sliding to the bottom :)

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

So far it looks like there is just enough resistance in the sliding blocks to avoid that. If it becomes a problem I think a simple stop of some sort can be introduced.

Edited by Mikkel
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The late Sam Bonfield had a vertical traverser on his Emwell layout in S scale. 3 tracks, counter-balanced with some weights. You didn’t want to get your fingers caught when you slid the licking bolts out.

one our members called it Madame la Guillotine.

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I had a play with the nelevation one at the scottish model railway exhibition a couple of years back. A nice solution if you can afford one. 

 

If you do decide to motorise it all give me a shout, I'll blog the circuit diagrams for the one I built. 

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Thanks Dave. No need to motorise this one though I think, hand power should be enough and I need the exercise anyway :-)

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