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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!
Everyone, After much procrastination and an abortive attempt to describe my layout project on another related thread I have been encouraged by Jeff "Physicsman" to take the plunge and start a layout thread. My 2017 New Year's resolution is to maintain some modelling momentum with this project and provide regular updates as I make progress. The story so far: My interest in the S&C started in the 1980s as a teenager fascinated by the line and threat of closure. After several short holidays to the area, staying in Kirkby Stephen and Hawes, I resolved to build my next layout based on Garsdale. A start was made in the loft of my parents' house using Peco Code 100 and got as far as track laying and electrics, but little else. University, jobs, girlfriend (wife to be), multiple house purchases and moves, children, cats, dogs, cars and other distractions successfully constrained my modelling commitments: in terms of time and money. Over the last 5-6 years these constraints lifted and having a 31'x8'6" garage ripe for conversion to a railway room, I began to scheme. The garage conversion started 3 years ago, together with the planning of the layout. After much deliberation, I determined my best option was to arrange the layout on 2 levels. The basic configuration is a "roundy roundy" with recreations of Dent (thanks to Mike61680 for much inspiration) and Garsdale. I want to be able to run near prototypical length trains (9-10 carriages) and for the layout to recreate trains running through the landscape. My preference is to model 1950s-1960s practices and I already have an overly large collection of relevant locos (steam and diesel), coaching, parcels and freight stock. Baseboards are 9mm ply on softwood frames provided by Harry Maynard from The Model Shop in Woodchurch (usual caveats apply). The upper level is 110mm above the lower level, I hope this will give enough depth to recreate hillsides falling away below the line into Dentdale/Garsdale. Track is a mixture of Peco code 75 large radius points in the scenic areas and Roco Geoline code 83. Other RMWeb threads suggesting that Roco could provide more reliable single and double slips needed. Time will tell! The lower level will be dedicated to storage, effectively representing Leeds and Carlisle, each location would have 7 x 20' lines with a Peco turntable half way to dissect each line into 10' lengths. An 8th 10' road will provide a loco storage/feeder. The lower level will also have a 3 x 10' storage area for the Hawes branch from Garsdale. Overall this should provide over 300' of storage. I had wanted to model Hawes station, but the space would not allow this indulgence. The storage roads will be fed by single lines (with passing loops) on a 1:90 gradient at the rear of the boards and concealed with scenery. Initially I had planned to use Woodland Scenics 2% gradients (1:50) but as pointed out by Peach James, the gradient was too steep (Thanks James :-)). In plan A, the storage roads were to be at the front of the layout. This has been abandoned in favour of siting them at the rear in front of the gradients feeding the storage roads. This will allow for more scenic potential at the front but makes the storage roads and turntables inaccessible. To solve for this issue, a number of small cameras as used on Liverpool Lime St. have been acquired to be linked to a 22' TV screen to reveal what might be going on! The turntables will be motorised and aligned "by eye" using the suitably located cameras. Note the use of term storage roads - as no trains will be marshalled here, everything will be in fixed formations. The upper level will be effectively two dioramas, one of Dent station and the other Garsdale. The latter will include an "impression" of Dandry Mire Viaduct at the far end of the layout in a lowered section. An "impression" because it will be significantly shorter than the real thing. I will upload some new photos in the coming days and provide regular updates. I would also like to extend my thanks to a host of RMweb colleagues for endless inspiration and their ongoing guidance. Steve
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