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Chris Chewter

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To Tetbury, or not to Tetbury! That is the question!



Welcome to Tetbury station


There is one thing that I've always fancied modelling, and that's a real location.  However, try as I might, I have always been thwarted by a lack of space or the need to scratchbuild buildings.


I got close with Princetown until I realised the line was run by 44xx and too much scratchbuilding was required.  To make things worse, I found someone had built a model of Princetown in Australia! 


So I gave up and decided to model something fictitious.  However whilst shopping for a goods shed, I came across Timbertacks kits of Tetbury and it set me thinking, which is always a dangerous thing!


I had the Tetbury plans, photographs and drawings in Paul Karus book, so off the shelf it came and I started to plan.  As a bonus, Tetbury is a 45min drive, plus the site is fairly undeveloped, with the goodshed and cattle dock still surviving!



Sadly the station building is no more, and a circular monument marks the spot.



A general view across the site as it is today


Timbertracks provide nearly all the buildings required to make Tetbury!  Station, good shed, engine shed.  The only thing missing is the signal box.  A little bit of research showed this to be a bit like the Wills ground level signal box. (In fact, with a bit of work and two kits, you could make something very close!)  A visit showed that the cattle dock is remarkably similar to the Ratio kit. Therefore it would appear that its easily buildable.



The distinctive Tetbury good shed. Thankfully Timbertracks provide this as a kit



The cattle dock looking remarkably similar to the Ratio kit!



Another view of the Cattle Dock.  The ramp does appear to be splayed which the Ratio kit is not but I think that a minor issue.


So, would it fit?  With a bit of old-maps.co.uk plus a few hours of Anyrail and yes, it will fit into the space I've got.  However after a visit to wet and windy Tetbury, the layout would work better if reversed. Thats not something I can do with the space I've got, so its got to be a backscene of Tetbury as viewed from the steep hill directly behind the station.




How about what to run?  14xx, 45xx and railcars.  Well, we all know that Hornby and soon DJModels do the 14xx.  Bachmann does a very nice 45xx, and Heljan currently do the railcar required.  The autocoach appears to be a Hawksworth design similar to Bachmanns latest release.


So, I have the space, can get the buildings, and the stock required to run on it is readily available. Excellent, but here's the rub!  I'm already half way through my current project.  So its a case of rip up the work so far, or shelf the idea of Tetbury?  Looks like I've got some thinking to do!


Just one question.  Whilst walking the site, I found this:




Any ideas?

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Why would the layout work better reversed?   I believe in later days after the 517's etc operation was by non auto fitted locos such as 74XX  58XX and 16XX.  Swindon had several 58XX which did Highworth and Tetbury branch duty as well as shunting around the station. I am not aware that Swindon had any auto train work but auto trailers worked to Tetbury without auto fitted locos, possibly because of low platforms which their steps made accessible.


Mixed trains were common but I believe the only connection with the Branch involved setting back into the down side bay. 


I did research Kemble the Junction and it was very unusual in having no goods sidings.  There were marshalling roads for the branch traffic for Cirencester and Tetbury branches but the goods sidings were almost a mile north, north of the A429 Foss Way.


No signals at Tetbury and just a ground frame, one engine in steam, not that exciting,less so than Ashburton traffic wise, but quite pretty.


The trackplan is probably a better basis for a pastiche generic GWR station than a faithful representation.   Especially as it was intended to be a through station, like Fairford and several others...

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I like the idea of making it an exhibition layout, but I don't think my modelling skills are that good!  However the current boards are split into three, more with the intention of house moves rather than exhibitions. 


I also like the idea of the lack of signals! That saves the cost of buying a load of Ratio kits!  I'm quite happy with the one engine in steam principal.


After walking the site, I thought the embankment would make a better backscene than trying to make a bespoke backscene of Tetbury.  The problem is that in the room the model railway is planned to go requires it to be viewed as if your sat on top of the embankment.  Modelling Tetbury as a backscene may be a bit of a faff, but I have very little choice on that one!  My intention is to model Tetbury as closely as I can.




My big problem is what to do with this...




Looks like there will be some lifting of track and rewiring, and that's whats holding me back!



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I've been planning over the last few days and have hit a couple of headaches:


1/ I've scaled the 1920 plans to find its exact length.  For some reason it comes out as 18ft in length.  Thats 3 more than I have.  Therefore it looks like if this project goes further, it appears that the goods yard shall have to be shortened and the curve possibly tightened.  Probably not a big issue really if thats the only area of compression I need to make.  


2/ The biggest issue is the level change between the railway and the stream known as "The Splash".  Here the fun begins.  Because its the lowest point, I would have to raise the level of the railway up.  However this has a knock on effect of raising the fiddle yard up.  That means some more significant disassembly to the existing baseboards and frames.


Lets hope a copy of "The Tetbury Branch" by Stephen Randolph can overcome my laziness... if it ever arrives!




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Its here!  A bit of light reading for the next few nights!  




A quick flick through provides missing drawings for the signal box which are not provided in Paul Karus book and some additional photographs showing a variety of different locos and rolling stock.  Also some useful images of the Tetbury Toad! Interesting stuff!

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What period do you intend to model? IIRC the signal-box was abolished in 1926 and replaced by 3 separate ground-frames. AIUI the box was later moved to someone's garden in the town, so you may well be modelling a period when it was not at the station at all anyway. It was last heard of in Derbyshire <g> in 2010, so you could always ask the present owner for info if necessary.


As regards your 'mystery concrete block', whereabouts on the site did you find it?  It looks as if it might be the base for a ladder fixing....

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I'm planning to model the railway in the 1960's period, so it give me the option to spin the clock forward slightly to run one of the Heljan railcars if I feel inclined. My research shows that from the late 1950s onwards there is a greater variation of panniers, prairies and 14xx's, so it gives more variety.


With regards to the concrete base, it sits towards the top of the site, the metal pins sit perpendicular to the old mainline track.  Its location is obscured in the historic photographs I can find, so its a bit of a mystery.  Its beyond the mile marker in Karaus book, and is shown as a triangle in Randolphs 1909 plan.  After thinking about it, I think its either a gradient post, or perhaps something S&T orientated.




You're correct about the signal box!  Randolphs book confirms that it was dismantled in 1926 and moves to Tormead House.  I now understand its been moved again and ironically owned by non other than Stephen Randolph himself, and now resides at his house in Derbyshire!



Edited by Captainalbino
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I would have said that a triangle was meant to indicate a mile-post, tho' I agree that the two books appear to have an MP in different places. It does not seem to have been far enough out to be the base for the ladder for the fixed distant. Is there nothing appropriate in either of the pix at the top of pages 70 or 71 in Randolph's book?

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Unfortunately its always obscured in those photos.  I probably need to go back to site again, with the book if necessary, and take a few photos with the concrete block in context with its surroundings. To be honest, its probably irrelevant in the scheme of things, but it is curious.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
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Well, its nearly the end of the financial year, and any excess annual leave at work has to be taken or lost.  So I decided to take the opportunity to make a start on Tetbury!  In preparation, using a bit of AuoCAD knowledge, the site plans have been plotted off at a scale of 1/76 to check that the layout will work.




I also couldn't resist trying out a few trains for size.  How about a Westonbirt Schools special:




Also, no layout of Tetbury would be complete without an AC Railcar, and this little Heljan beauty arrived in the post earlier today. Sadly one of the dumb buffers came away in transit, but its still in the box and looks like its simply come adrift.  Nothing a spot of glue cant fix! I'll try to get some better photographs on my diorama later today.




The old layout has now been lifted and I was surprised how quickly it came away. Thank goodness I stopped the old layout before I started the scenics!  Next job is to remove the redundant wiring to allow the baseboard tops to be raised up a scale 2 metres above "The Splash".  Something tells me that'll take a bit more time, but here's hoping it'll be as quick as lifting the track!







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Second day of operation use-up-annual-leave.  Redundant wiring stripped and raised baseboards formed.  


I've also been busy during the week.  The station store is nearly complete, and the station building is well underway.


I however had a brief panic earlier today when planning the shape of the trackbed by the station building.  I laid the scale plans out and thought the station building looked a bit small.  I then wondered whether all the plans were plotted incorrectly.  I quickly grabbed the station building and thankfully it fits the outline perfectly. Phew!



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Progress has been a little bit slower this week. Certainly starting on the store was a good idea, as the station building is far more complex. One things I've learnt is that less glue for the roof tiles is the way forward!


Since the last photos were taken, I've found that the application of detail to the awning and roof tiles have been very time consuming.  Awning details has taken about an hour, with the rolled joints another hour, and the roof tiles an additional hour to that!  Lets hope it looks just as good when painted!


Tiles to the hips and ridges still to go, and some prep before painting, but its looking like Tetbury station!





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  • 2 weeks later...
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Well progress has been made but Easter has slowed things up at the moment.  I've been busy painting up the station building, but I've hit a slight snag with the brick colour.  




For those of you who don't know the history of the station, here's a brief history of the sites development.

  • Site is built in 1889 and comprises of the Goodshed, Engine Shed, a timber station building and signal box.
  • The timber station building becomes dilapidated and a new brick built building is constructed in 1916.
  • The timber signal box is dismantled and removed in 1926.
  • The tank to the engine shed is raised, although the date of this is unrecorded.  A mis-match of brick is used.

This is where things get interesting.  The colour of the brick used for the water tank extension, is the same or very similar to the station building and adjacent store, but this causes a slight issue regarding matching the colour, simply because existing examples of this lighter colour of brick is missing from site! In addition, I cannot find any colour photos of Tetbury station, so I have had to make do with DVD stills. I'm just awaiting a copyright request to use them on this thread.


I've been experimenting with colours against the photographs of the good shed.  The brick colour that I've used is basically too dark.  Humbrol 70 matches the good shed nicely, but I need a lighter shade for station building. Railmatch 424 (Oddly called "Dark brick") seems to look about right, but even Railmatch 423 could work.



The Good Shed - Note the use of blue brick in bands! That'll be a pain to paint!



Humbrol 70 - seems to be a good match for the goods shed.



Railmatch 424 - Seems to be a good match for the station building, but you'll have to take my word for it!


So, the station building shall need to be repainted. Never mind, I need to exercise a bit of filler on the chimneys and awning anyway!


As an aside, I was doing some of my volunteering duties and found this in the steam depts mess! Whilst the photograph doesn't declare its location, its unmistakably Tetbury!



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  • 3 weeks later...
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When trying to fit modelling around a young family and a busy professional life, I always feel jealous of those who have more time! Things have moved at a slower pace than I would have liked with the station building.  It was also hindered by family visits and my loco firing assessment last weekend.  Enough of the excuses.  With only pots, glazing, guttering and noticeboards to go, its nearly complete.




Unfortunately I shall have to admit defeat with the signage.  Timbertacks provide some very nice hanging signs.  However try as I might, I cannot paint them well enough.  I've tried several techniques including dry brushing, but they all look rubbish!


I've also turned my attention to the goods shed.  The main building shell and roof structure has been made.




Photographs of the real building from http://www.tetburyraillands.com/  show that the bricks internally are whitewashed, so I thought I'd better get this done before the roof goes on! Lets see if better progress can be made this week!

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This week consisted mainly of finishing the interior of the goods shed plus building the weighbridge extension.


post-7653-0-43134000-1461483738_thumb.jpg post-7653-0-48342300-1461483739_thumb.jpg


I decided that whilst I could weather the interior with mixtures of green and black washes, I concluded that no one is really going to see it very clearly, so a black wash was applied to take away the starkness of the white walls.  The shed doors were painted WR brown and glued into their runners.




Exterior plinths were also added. These were a little bit time consuming, but worth it for the effect.  The windows need to be painted and glazed before the roof goes on!




With the main shed ready for the roof to be fitted, I turned my attention to the weighbridge extension. 



This bit is unusual as it has a solid base.  The other kits suggest leaving the glazing to the very end, but if the roof goes on, and with a solid base, there is no access to glaze this part!  I've had to loosely fit the roof, and shall have to paint the windows and glaze before the roof goes on. (I'll probably do the main windows at the same time.)


The other oddity is that there are no internal doors between the main shed and the weighbridge.  




The instructions indicate that no doors exist on the real building between the main shed and the weighbridge office, but surley there would be one for the waybill store immediately above?  Luckily I had a spare door from the station building kit.  It'll probably never be seen, but it cuts out any excessive light through this part of the structure which could suggest that there is no intermediate floor!


Technically the steps from the weighbridge office were remodelled due to the installation of a replacement weighbridge, however the steps provided were too good not to use, and anyway the brick plinth is specifically cut for this option only, so to depart from the instructions would be a bit of a pain!


With the station building, I'm not too sure what the chimney pot are made out of, but its fairly hard stuff! Looks like it needs some action from the Dremel!


Looks like painting windows, glazing, and roof work should keep me busy for the next week at least!

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