This layout will be titled "Rosevear" and will be a fictional clay drying works siding, set in a flexible time period from 1965 to around 1995-2000. The approximate geographical location will be the Bugle, Bowling Green, Rocks area. My goal with this layout is to capture the "feel" of clay country without modeling a real location, something easier said than done it's turned out, but I think I'm finally making good progress.
The track plan will be fairly straightforward, and broken down into two main sections. The first section will be an 8' by 2'6" board which will fully encapsulate the works loop, and the second section will be another 8' by 2'6" board which will have the BR exchange sidings and branch line. Additionally, there will be a small fiddle yard beyond the second section, from whence trains can "enter stage left" however I'm not yet sure whether this will be a traverser, casettes, or more traditional yard. When operating the 1965-1969 period, a class 22 locomotive will be permitted to enter the works and do the necessary shunting, as was common practice at the time. From 1970 onwards, the Sentinel will operate within the works, with BR locomotives only coming as far as the exchange sidings. This operation will be complicated by the need to divide the trains into bagged and bulk, and as we all know, "complicated" is a euphemism for "interesting"!
Operational interest was one of my major concerns, given that most china clay sidings fall into one of two categories: 1. complex and enormous, and 2. small and boring. Neither "enormous" nor "boring" are particularly helpful, but thankfully, there is one prototype, that of Moorswater, which is both small AND interesting. This is where I drew the inspiration for the shunted works loop and BR exchange sidings.
During the planning stages, I've slowly been building up some bits and pieces in preparation for a layout. It's been a challenge as a lot of the things I want (mostly rolling stock) are discontinued. This is what I have so far:
I would've liked to've gotten the white liveried tiger in pristine finish, but all they had was weathered. The weathering job is, uh... well it's just a quick pass with an airbrush, so it doesn't really look right to me. I'm going to have to revisit this. Apart from that though I'm pleased that I was at least able to get a couple while they were still in stock. If finances permit I may get a couple more of each. I'd also really like to have more Cargowaggons and Polybulks, however these are both hard to find and, in my opinion, very overpriced when they do surface. Particularly true for the Polybulk, I believe I paid around 60 pounds for mine on buy it now, but I've seen some on ebay go for as much as 150 pounds. They are nice but that's just ridiculous.
I also just recently scored this Sentinel for a mere 45 pounds, a real bargain. The fact that it's in MSC livery is irrelevant to me as it will be resprayed into a more appropriate livery. ECC's Sentinel shunter "Denise" was painted in an orange, yellow and black scheme that originated with it's previous owner, British Steel. I don't want to model "Denise" specifically (I may do that in future) but I would like to use the British Steel livery, because it's a nice "what if" scenario to imagine that ECC bought two Sentinels from BSC, rather than just one. Apart from a repaint this will also be getting a driver and some laser cut glazing. I'd also like to tackle the ugly panel gaps around the valance and between the cab and walkway panel. Oh, and DCC, that's another factor.
Here's one in BSC trim. I'm told that when ECC first took delivery of Denise, she was outshopped, which included a fresh coat of paint. I'm not sure why they chose to retain the original paint scheme rather than change it to the corporate blue and white livery... maybe BSC sold them some paint to go with it!
Also on it's way is this small wheel loader, which is a pretty good representation of mid 60s to mid 90s loader. These were used in the linhays (bulk stores) for loading wagons and lorries.
Then we have this chap, which is a Terex dump truck. ECC used Terex for quite a while before they settled on Caterpillar - I don't know if they ever had this specific model, but it's close enough. My plan is to have this one in the background of the second section, traveling down a haul road.
Still to purchase:
Bachmann Class 25
Dapol Class 22
Hattons Class 66
Bachmann VBA.VAA. VDA. etc.
Hornby Ferry van
Parkside Palvans and BR vans
More Heljan Cargowaggons, Bachmann Polybulks, and DJ models PBA hoppers.
I can hear my wallet's muffled screams coming from my pocket.
As for track, I'm going to be using Peco's new Bullhead product for all visible trackwork, and might have a bash at hand laying for the track that will be set in concrete. Couplers will either be 3 link or Dinghams, I haven't quite decided yet. I like the idea of using a magnetic shunters pole to pick up the chain and drop it onto the hook. The trackwork will feature very gentle curves and large radius turnouts, so buffer lock won't be an issue.
As for creative progress...
One of the things that I've been most proud of is sussing out the typeface/font that ECC used on all their signage. The answer should've been obvious; it was Futura (specifically Futura Heavy). Of course, almost everything mid-century used Futura, it was an incredibly popular font back then. So that's rather nice, I'm now able to make any signage that I want for the works. The next challenge will be getting to grips with home printed decals...
Lastly, we have this tantalising preview - I've taken to drafting in 3D modelling software. Of course, there's a lot of detail missing here, it's just a draft, but putting it together in 3D like this helps me get a general idea of what will work and what won't. This is especially important as, like most china clay works, it's built into a slope, so I need to take account of the gradient and consider how people, trucks, plant, and equipment will move around the site. It's also allowed me to get inside the head of ECC's engineers, and see some of the logic behind the way the buildings were put together.
The layout won't have a back panel, and is intended to stand in the middle of the room so that it can be viewed from all sides. I suspect many won't particularly care for this view and will prefer to focus on the trains, but personally I find the works as interesting as the trains, if not more so.
So that's all for now. I have a bit more work to do on the trackplan yet, mainly for the second section. The first section will be taken up with the dryer and linhays, but the second section will have a large open area and I'm not quite sure how this will be used yet. I'm contemplating putting a sulphuric acid terminal there, as there was such a thing at Great Beam on the Wheal Rose branch, and there was talk of reopening the branch to serve it by rail. Of course, I'm open to suggestions!