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Stoker

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  1. Will be watching this with interest, for obvious reasons. Par is probably my favourite station, period. Many, many fond memories of that spot and St Blazey, evenings well rounded off with a stop in one of the many local pubs.
  2. It's been a while since I worked in N scale so I had to think about this! The clayliner was a mixed pool of standard BR 5 plank 10' wheelbase wagons which are readily available from I think all 3 manufacturers, and highfits which are available as a kit from the N Gauge Society. Alternatively it's a pretty simple kitbash to cut the wagon ends out of a Farish 5 plank and insert some corrugated styrene. The N Gauge Society does also have the metal bodied version if you'd like to add a bit of variety to a rake. Subtle differences between brake gear types are simply too small to appreciate in 2mm scale so I never even bothered - once weathered they're such a close fit that nobody notices anyway. Use masking tape for your sheet, with a simulated load underneath to create the "bulge" - sheeted opens were always loaded above the wagonsides to create a "hill" so that rainwater wouldn't pool on the sheet. The sheets were various shades of grey, black, dark blue, etc. but if you're feeling adventurous, use some clear tape for a couple of the sheets, and give a light mist of white weathering with an airbrush - there were some experimental clear plastic sheets for these wagons and that adds a little interest. For the roller bearings, I just used a sharp knife to remove the old friction bearing, and replaced it with a piece cut off the end of a styrene rod of appropriate diameter. This is pretty crude but to be honest with N scale it's so small that this actually does the trick at normal viewing distances.
  3. Boring or interesting really depends on the individual. Personally I find passenger operations to be unbelievably boring, but they seem to be incredibly popular and I'd guess that's because most people in Britain have experienced a passenger train at one time or another and have nostalgic memories. For myself, I have many fond memories of standing trackside watching clay being loaded, particularly at Burngullow Dryer, or as rail buffs know it, Crugwallins. Watching the little Sentinel bring a few wagons at a time into the headshunt, and then propel them into the loop, then bring the next three into the covered loading area... that had a charm to it. So for me the idea of modelling this has more appeal than it might for some. That said, there are ways to create more operational interest in a china clay layout. Clay comes in both bulk and bagged form, and those two were usually loaded in different parts of the works, so there's a bit of operation there in splitting up a train and placing the appropriate wagons in the appopriate spots. There might also be sidings where empty and loaded wagons are staged. Then there's non-clay traffic that was brought in to wharves such as Nanpean - this saw calcified seaweed loaded and pipes and valves from Stanton Ironworks unloaded for ECC's Drinnick Engineering Stores. In other locations, coal was brought for drys, power plants, and coal merchants. There's also some potential for "what if" traffic - Sulphuric Acid tanks on the Wheal Rose branch were once considered for receiving the liquid by rail. Oil depots have also been proposed but never came to be.
  4. I suppose it's entirely possible that there was some kind of store at Quarry Close - it's just that if there was, I don't recall seeing any photo of it, or have any memory of Maurice talking about that. The railway carried bulk dry lump clay in their hudson skips - everything they had was ww1 WDLR surplus including the simplex and possibly even the tracks. The tracks ran inside the dry rather than beside it, so if they also had a store as well presumably they just did runs in gaps between rain. A rather charming little operation. Based on what you've been saying it sounds like you want a little more operational interest than just narrow gauge bringing clay between a dry and a siding. For this my recommendation would be a china stone works, with narrow gauge bringing china stone from the quarry to the mill, and another narrow gauge line bringing dried processed china stone from the dry to the standard gauge siding. A wharf is specifically a platform, but slightly taller. Most platforms are about 3'6" above the railhead, putting the platform about 6 inches below the carriage floor to allow clearance for doors to open. A wharf on the other hand is usually 4' or more and intended only for the loading of freight. Wharves were once a common feature on Cornish branch lines, with clay being brought by horse and cart (later lorries) from nearby drys that were not rail connected, and sometimes not even large enough to justify a siding of their own. Here's a photo of the wharves at Meledor Mill - these were originally open to the public for the shipping and receiving of general goods, and as such it was known as a "public goods station".
  5. In both the case of Hendra Light Railway and the Gothers Tramway, and indeed all other cases of the use of tramways, clay was brought directly to waiting standard gauge wagons. There was no intermediate store. The only railway that used such a store was the Pentewan Railway, but that's because the clay was brought to the railhead in St Austell by horse and cart, and it took some time before there was enough stockpiled to ship to the harbour. Also like much of the early industry all of these lines were "weather working", in other words they didn't cover the wagons so they could only run when it wasn't raining. There was one and only one case in the Cornish clay industry where material was brought from the quarry to the works as a dry lump, which is with a lesser known material called China Stone. This is partially decomposed granite, not quite all the way to china clay, but a good source of feldspar useful in pottery with some added whitening properties from the partial kaolinisation. This material was produced in three distinct areas; the Luxulyan Valley, the area immediately around Nanpean, and the Tregargus valley stretching down from near Goonamarris to the village of St Stephens. The process involved bringing the china stone from the quarry, in the case of Tregargus via narrow gauge tramways, to a water mill, which would grind the stone down to a dust while adding water. The resulting slurry was then channeled to small settling tanks behind a diminutive pan kiln. Locomotives were never used in this process, the works being in a valley meant that the quarry floor could be accessed directly, and the mills were built downslope of the quarry so that gravity could be used to bring material to them, and horses to bring the wagons back to the quarry. In the early 20th century however, the industry began to modernize somewhat, building more modern crushers, trommels and screens, although the drying method remained the same. It's entirely likely that if output were to have increased at all, locomotives would've been brought into use. It's also likely that the industry would've looked at laying a tramway from their drys to the GWR. So that would give you pretty much the scenario you imagined, with a mill small inbetween. An especially large example of the older style water mill - this mill is still extant today: The newer 20th century crushers: One other industry associated with the clay industry is mica. Mica is a by-product of the clay industry, which for the longest time was discharged as waste into local rivers. Mica did in fact have industrial applications, so enterprising Cornishmen set up lagoons to divert, capture and settle the mica from the rivers, which was then dried in a traditional pan kiln. The Pentewan Railway served two such mica works just south of St Austell, and others existed dotted around the clay country, with the practice fizzling out by the second world war. Environmental regulations eventually required that these "tailings" be impounded in lagoons, permanently putting paid to the mica works. With regards to Ball Clay, this is a material that can be found in Devon. It is essentially kaolinised granite that has undergone a special weathering process. This is a secondary deposit - that is to say, it is not found in it's host rock, instead it was washed millions of years ago from the kaolinitic granite on Dartmoor down into the Devonshire valleys where it was deposited as a sediment. It is mostly dry mined, and in many cases can simply be taken directly out of the ground with no further processing required. The bulk of these works can be found around Newton Abbot and Bovey Tracey - a formation in the area known as the Bovey Formation is thought to be a sedimentary deposit in excess of 1000 feet deep. Of course, another thing to keep in mind is that many tramways also had a return flow of coal, timber, and equipment from the GWR. Some lines were also somewhat a common carrier, bringing multiple freights over their metals. The Pentewan Railway for instance carried coal for a gas works and coal yard, mica, clay, china stone, barrel staves, and timber.
  6. That was taken at the west end of Burngullow sidings, at the old slurry loading area. This was abandoned in 1990 when it was replaced with the new slurry plant, which consisted of a covered slurry loading shed and a covered tank wagon washing shed. 'Images of Industrial & Narrow Gauge Railways - Cornwall' is a different book. Maurice produced another book titled Cornwall Narrow Gauge through the middleton press. You might be able to find a copy through amazon or ebay. With regards to how the dries operated, I have attached a photo of a scale drawing of a cross-section through a typical dry as a visual aid. As you can see, the dry was built into a hillside, with the settling tanks at a higher level on the right, and the tracks at a lower level on the left. This was not the absolute rule as some were built differently, and there were variations in the difference of height, but this is generally the way it was done. The area with the piled clay was known as the "linhay", pronounced linney, and the raised section beside it was known as the pan. The total section width of the building would typically be in the region of 35' to 55', with a total length (for standard gauge rail served kilns) of 210' to 350', however non rail served and narrow gauge served kilns were typically smaller, sometimes only 100' to 150' in length. The settling tanks "behind" the dry would be approx 7' deep, circa 40' wide, and as much as 100' in length, their length being perpendicular to the long axis of the dry. Note that "dry" and "kiln" can be used interchangeably, with their official name being "pan kiln". A "hypocaust" style heated floor ran the length of the dry, made up of brick flues on 18" centres spanned by special porous pan tiles - this was the "pan" and it would usually be some 9' to 18' in width, 18" to 24" in depth, and usually approx 12' shorter in length than the building. A furnace house at the "fire end" would consist of one grate per 4 flues, and this was usually housed in either a lean-to or gabled structure, it's floor often being level with the linhay floor, but sometimes slightly higher depending on the steepness of the hillside the dry was built on. At the opposite end was the chimney, generally 10 feet in width at the bottom, tapering to 5 feet at the top, and around 75' in total height, with two thirds of it's structure being of stone, one third brick. Between the chimney and the pan flues would be a damper, simply a large steel sheet operated by a lever or counterbalanced rope. The damper would be used to strike a balance between keeping heat in the pan and drawing draft for the fires. Too much damper and the fire burns weak, too little damper and you end up with entrained ash dropping out of suspension in the flues. A periodic maintenance task with dries was to lift up the pan tiles to shovel out ash, not a pleasant task. Clay slurry would be piped to the feed end of the settling tanks, which was the end furthest from the dry, and allowed to settle. The doorways between the settling tanks and the dry would be boarded with so called button boards, which possessed holes for placing corks. The cork holes would remain unplugged as the tank filled, allowing clarified water to flow out into the drain gutter inside the dry. As the tank filled, the cork 'buttons' would be placed in the holes, and so the next board up would allow the clear water to discharge, thus the tank would build with settled clay. Once this process finished, tracks in the settling tank allowed settled clay to be trammed into the dry from the settling tanks in the small wagon pictured in the diagram, which would be positioned on the travelling bridge and moved to the appropriate spot along the pan. Here it would be dumped out and allowed to dry. Moisture would typically be drawn through the pan tile, such that both steam and smoke emerged from the chimney. Once dry, the pan would be shovelled off into the linhay below, where it would sit in piles to await loading for onward transit. The drop-off between the linhay and the rails was usually known as the loading edge or wharf, and it's depth generally depended on the type of wagon or type of packaging being used. For instance with casks or bags, it was usually preferable to have a loading edge height of 4' above the railhead, as this put the linhay floor level with the wagon floor. But in the case of lump clay, a loading edge height of 6' to 7'6" was preferable, as this put the linhay floor level with the top of the wagon. By the 1930s many of these pan kilns had been adapted to work with filter presses. The process of shoveling wet clay into wagons and then tramming them into the dry was known as a "muck wagon kiln", but when a press was used they were known as "press kilns" or "press house kilns". These presses, usually a pair contained within a structure called the "press house" generally located centrally among the settling tanks and against the back wall of the dry, consisted of circa 100 approx 4' square cast iron recessed plates hung on an I-beam girder suspended between two cast iron bulkheads. The plates, dressed with filter cloths, would be mechanically or hydraulically pressed together to form a watertight seal. Clay slurry would then be pumped in to the press plates by electric centrifugal pumps from the settling tanks at pressure. Each plate had a hole in the centre through which the slurry could move from plate to plate until the entire press was full. Clay would then build up in the space between the two cloths as pressure increased, with filtered water on the other side of the cloth leaving the plate through drain holes at their bottom corners. Once pressure reached a certain point indicating that the press was full, the pump would be stopped and the feed valve closed. A drain valve would then be opened, allowing the unfiltered slurry in the centre of the press to escape and return to the settling tanks. Once this cycle had been completed, the press would be opened, and the "filter cakes" would be dropped down onto wagons waiting beneath the press. These wagons would be run inside the dry onto the traversing bridge and dumped onto the pan, with the cakes to be broken up into smaller lumps. The former doorways leading into each settling tank would be bricked up, and pipes would run from them inside the dry to bring settled clay to the press house. The clarified water would be skimmed from the tank using a contraption known as a "banjo", this consisted of a pipe in a T shape, with the head of the T having a slot through which water could enter. The banjo was fitted on a pivot so that it could be raised and lowered using a rope on a spool, and the operator would watch for the colour of the water exiting into the gutter to make sure he hadn't lowered it too far. Since the clay tended to settle uniformly across the floor of the settling tank, men would be tasked with "shyvering" or "poling" the tanks - this task involved using a long pole with a flat blade at the end to "push" the settled clay toward the drain. This was an arduous task which had to be conducted in all weathers. This settled clay was usually pumped to a smaller tank immediately next to the press house, and it was from this tank that the presses would draw their feed. Within the linhay, by the 1950s sometimes small front end loaders were employed. Usually this would be a Muir Hill LH1. Some dries had a conveyor belt bringing dried clay up to a bagging machine, which was a big hopper with a screw conveyor beneath it - a bag could be slid over the end of the screw conveyor, which could be run until the bag was full, greatly reducing the amount of time it took to shovel clay into a bag. This stuff is possibly a bit ahead of your intended era. I would strongly recommend looking into the Gothers Tramway (pictured below) and the Hendra Tramway, the details for which can be found in Maurice's books. The dry in the picture is 250' x 45', but a much smaller one existed at the Gothers complex a mere 150' x 38'. There were several rail served dries in the Bodmin area apart from just Wenford. You are correct that they are not well documented, but I do believe Maurice Dart mentions them in his East Cornwall Mineral Railways book.
  7. Hi Dick, You're in luck, there were actually two narrow gauge feeder lines in the 1930s connecting clay drys with standard gauge. These were the Gothers Mineral Tramway and the Hendra Light Railway. Both are covered in detail in Maurice Dart's excellent book Cornwall Narrow Gauge, a recommended read. The former ran from the Gothers complex, westward across the Goss moor, to a loading wharf alongside the St Dennis branch north of Parkandillack. The latter ran from a dry at the southern end of New Hendra pit, southward toward Nanpean, to a loading wharf on Quarry Close siding, also on the St Dennis branch west of Drinnick Mill/Nanpean wharf siding and east of Treviscoe. One smaller and lesser documented line existed in the Luxulyan valley near Ponts Mill, with a much shorter run between a dry and a wharf on the Ponts Mill siding. This was steam worked although sadly no photos are known to exist. The industry in the 1930s was in the beginning stages of modernization, but not much really visually changed since the previous decade. The power plant at Drinnick was built in I believe 1936, and this saw an increase in the use of electricity (lights, conveyor belts, etc). Drys were all still coal fired, although with electricity now readily available some were equipped with mechanical stokers, a feature that became more common through the 40s and 50s. Some electric pumps were in use, but many Cornish steam pumping engines and waterwheels still worked the pits into the 40s. The first "mechanical shovel" front end loaders could be found in some drys, and the industry was making greater use of lorries. Drys that bagged clay were also being fitted with mechanical bagging equipment, loaded by front end loader and conveyor belt. Many drys at this time also had their settling tanks converted to work with filter presses, which mechanically dewatered the clay pumped from the settling tanks, rather than waiting for it to settle out and be trammed out of the tanks. These filter presses produced "cakes" somewhat like giant flat sticks of butter, which were broken up and spread over the heated "pan" floor of the dry. These dried to a much lower moisture content much more quickly than the thick blocks of the old "muck wagon" method, thus requiring less fuel and increasing the output of the dry. Another recommended book that goes into more detail is Charles Thurlow's China Clay: Traditional Mining Methods in Cornwall, which can be found on Amazon for the price of a cup of coffee. As for my own book, I am still working on illustrations, captions, and written sections for it. It may be a few years before it sees print. If you have any more specific questions, you can always reach out an ask. I'd be happy to answer as best as I can.
  8. Yep that's Maurice. I think we wound up taking him to the William Cookworthy pub after this for some lunch.
  9. Here are some photos I took around no 8 jetty in 2004. You can clearly see the old GWR loader and how it's been added to over the years. The red brick building is the old generating station, which used to receive coal by rail. Maurice Dart told me that the ramp up to it was incredibly steep, and they always had problems getting trains up it.
  10. Yep no 8 jetty loader is still extant, over the years been added to and modified a little bit. Knocking on 100 years old now!
  11. Thanks Pete, I do hope so. I've been trying to start a layout for, oh... 10 years? It's been so long that I've forgotten what it's like to even run a train! But I'm getting closer and closer to a CAD that I'm happy with, so hopefully it won't be much longer. The nice thing about waiting is everything has advanced a lot in that time. I've got much more historical clay industry information now than I did then, and there's been a lot of model releases. We're also a lot further ahead in terms of DCC, especially in the sound department. The Tang Band speakers are absolutely incredible - these are the speakers that Hattons have chosen for their 66, and the bass you get on them makes a huge difference to the realism. I still remember when sound first came out, it sounded like it was being played through the little speakers you'd get in novelty greetings cards, and it was so bad it was almost comical. They aren't so much to sniff at now though! The Tang Band speakers don't fit too well in HO scale locos, with the exception of "cowl bodies" like F units, but they fit just fine in most 4mm scale UK prototypes. This combined with the great work Legomanbiffo has been doing with ESU Loksound makes this a great time to build a layout. Even better though, is that thanks to the EM Gauge Society, we now have EM gauge ready to lay bullhead track. It looks so good that I'm going to feel bad about burying so much of it in concrete! At any rate, not having to build trackwork is a massive bonus, as it frees up a lot of time that would've otherwise been sucked into an extremely mundane task.
  12. Yep from 1920s to 1960s not much changed. Through the 70s the industry changed so much that by the end of the decade it was beyond recognition for the old boys. Fowey included.
  13. Miss it? I'm still up to my knees in it. I'm actually 4 degrees further north than I was in London ON, but the snow amount here is about the same.
  14. Hello all. I'm sure some of you have been wondering where I've gone, or noticed that it's been a while since I posted to the blog. If you've been following my exploits in this forum for any length of time you'll know that in 2015 I emigrated from Cornwall to Ontario to move in with my then girlfriend, now wife. At the time she was in university finishing up her biology honours degree, so we had to stay put for a while, but both of us had ambitions to move to the west coast. On October 31st this goal became a reality, and so we set off from London, Ontario on the first leg of our 5 day journey across the second largest country on earth, arriving in Sault Ste Marie a little worse for wear thanks to having been awake for well in excess of 24 hours and hitting a nasty snow storm on the way: We were looking a bit better by the time we got to Medicine Hat, AB: The trip was supposed to take 5 days, but when we arrived in Calgary a rather nasty storm was passing over the mountains, making passage over highway 93 unlikely. We decided to wait an extra day, and crossed the Rockies on the 6th. Road conditions were not ideal, towing a trailer through some 2 or 3 inches of snow along partially cleared mountain pass roads. But it was at least sunny, so we got front row seats to one of the greatest shows on earth: Finally, after 6 days and more than 4300km of travel, we arrived in Quesnel, British Columbia, at our new bungalow. And before anyone asks, no the BMX ramps aren't mine, they were left by the previous occupant! Important feature to note though, the garage is almost as big as the house! Once we got the house unpacked, it was time to start looking for work. Extensive background in heavy industry landed me a job as a plant technician at Pinnacle Renewable Energy's Meadowbank biofuel pellet plant. Here we turn waste forest product into fuel pellets, which ship out by rail to both foreign and domestic markets, with a large share of our product going to the UK. The team here is a great, and the job pays well enough that the wife doesn't have to be in an immediate rush to find work herself... something that is a little harder for a biology graduate than an old industry dog like myself. I found myself fairly high up on a platform at the plant recently, thankfully in nice weather, so took the opportunity to snap some photos to give you guys some idea. Apparently I'm going to get trained on the trackmobile, so I'll have the chance to play with real life trains at some point! The more observant among you might recognize the big round thing as a rotary dryer. Funny how I never seem to be able to get far from one for long! Now that we finally have internet here (and pretty good for rural BC at 300mbps) I've been back on the forums and starting to think about how best to use this space: It's a bit messy right now, and pretty cold, so I'm not sure that I'd want to do anything other than build the benchwork in here. We do have a decent sized spare room which right now is only being used as a place for the birds to live (so no cats allowed), so that could be a good candidate for layout room. So that about wraps up the last few months, hopefully the next post I make will be more model focused as that means I will have actually gotten to do something with it.
  15. Hi Sebastian, didn't realise you were on RMweb! We met on the Facebook HO Scale Shelf Layouts group, I was the guy who correctly identified your method for trees! Nice layout, I shall be following this thread.
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