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Well the secret’s out now - welcome to the official start of the ‘Hills of the North’ project! (otherwise known as ‘Carlisle’) It was over two years ago now that myself and Barry O of this parish were having one of those fatal ‘chance’ conversations. It went something like this: ‘For the 2017 Warley show, we’re thinking of putting together a 1967 themed area to celebrate 50 years of the Warley club. Any ideas, thoughts?’ ‘Hmm. What about a layout depicting the railway ‘as it was’ 50 years ago?’ ‘Well, I’ve got a few green diesels I could make available’ ‘Fascinating time on the big railway 1967 – not too many places left where steam was still active … hang on a minute!’ ‘What?’ ‘Well, I do actually need to build a section of the line up Shap anyway for the Carlisle project…’ Thus was the die cast. This is the concept drawing. We would make use of the Grantham fiddle yard (to save time) and build six scenic boards, the 4 ‘straight’ ones depicting the ‘classic’ spot at Shap Wells that are part of the Carlisle plan, plus two additional curved boards depicting the scene at Shap summit to make it into an exhibition layout. This was duly accepted by an equally enthusiastic show manager (Paul Jones); all we had to do now was to build the thing under a cloak of secrecy! Construction started in earnest in March last year (following Grantham’s appearance at the Nottingham show). I was keen to set the thing on a gradient and replicate the banking arrangements. As well as adding to the spectacle, this would add some operational interest over and above being a pure ‘parade’ layout. Some initial calculations showed that a true 1-in-75 would have been just a bit too difficult to make work satisfactorily in roundy-roundy format (too much height to lose round the back, through the fiddle yard) so I eventually settled on 1-in-90 as a reasonable compromise. The arrangements at the summit, although somewhat compressed, allow the basics of the operation here to be replicated, centring around the bankers ‘dropping off’ (whilst the main train continues onwards) and then crossing over to return back down the bank to Tebay. The siding alongside the box where a banking engine can be held pending a path back down the bank is included, as is the up freight loop. To enter the scene at the bottom end, the bridge at Greenholme was far too good a device not too use, particularly as it curves the right way. Thereafter we have just simply chopped out the following three miles of railway to take us on to the Shap Wells scene. Just to prove that we do run the diesels as well! Although my own preference is for pure 1950’s steam. My grateful thanks for others who have contributed so willingly to enable us to put together this madcap scheme. Special mentions therefore to Paul Bolton, Tom Dewdney and Craig Thompson, comprising the scenic team. Also Tony Wright who willingly took on the challenge of creating preserved LNER No.4498 in 1967 guise, as well as making some other locos available, including two ex-Stoke Summit Brush Type 4s(!). Not forgetting Barry ‘the ballastmeister’ himself of course who could be found on ebay acquiring blue/grey Mark 1s like they were going out of fashion, as well as subjecting some stock to his weathering prowess. Copious pictures taken of the build, so I’ll gradually post those over the next few months to tell the full story. The layout now goes into storage for six months as we revert to some further work on Grantham but Shap already has its own diary of show bookings beginning to take shape so, if you weren’t able to make it to Warley then hopefully it will be appearing at a show near you in the not too distant future. Welcome aboard!
Folks, As part of my wider reading for Duddon Bridge (see 7mm section for the layout), I’ve started to become a bit of a fan of the Maryport & Carlisle Railway. There doesn’t seem to be many books published on the line - I’ve ordered myself a copy of the Oakwood Press book from 1947 from Amazon, but I’m not sure what else is out there. Any suggestions as to suitable books please would be greatly appreciated? I’m also after suitable drawings if anyone knows of any please. My collection so far comprises of the 6-wheel All-Third (Model Railways April 1980), Horsebox No.4 (Model Railways February 1974), and the 10T low sided wagon (no clue which magazine as it came in a job lot from eBay). I’ve started a sratchbuild of the latter in 7mm scale, to add to my collection of pre-grouping Cumbrian/Westmorland rolling stock for use on Duddon Bridge. There is a long term plan in thefuture for a pre-grouping layout project in this area: Any and all assistance greatly appreciated please folks
Can anyone out there provide information about the transition to electric haulage on the wcml north of Preston in the early 70's. I know it was about May 1974 but would like to know if it was a quick change over, ie did the wires get switched on for the whole route or was there a period where trains ran to Carlisle say and changed to diesel. It would make a most interesting focus for a layout with electrics being changed for class 50's at Carlisle. This presumably happened further south at some point. Dates times pictures would be very interesting. Thanks