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Tim V

Radstock - Midford Tramway at Wellow

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Considering a cameo layout, based on the Tramway that ran from Radstock to Midford, along the towpath of the Somerset Coal Canal. Gauge was 3'5 1/2". I'm envisaging a scene, based on the wharf at Wellow, including the tunnel portal. Built in about 1815, ran for about 56 years, the replacement S&D only lasted 90 years.

 

The fact that everything will have to be scratch built is a minor obstacle. Deciding on a scale might be a problem, but using Alan Butler's figures means any scale is possible. The big problem is the horses. A steam loco was tried in 1826, but was withdrawn rather quickly - usual problem of broken rails. However, it was two years before Stephenson's Rocket.

 

But the sight of an early steam loco, crossing a horse drawn train has a certain fascination, and will challenge the perceptions of some people who have fixed ideas of trains in Somerset!
Here is a copy of the deposited plan, superimposed on the modern (1902!) map. Interesting that Mill Lane was built by the S&D.

post-7177-0-42595300-1494524296_thumb.jpg

 

There is a demonstration wooden edge railway at Beamish, but the waggons on that are similarish. The distance from the tunnel mouth to the bridge at the bottom of the lane is about 8' in 4mm, so there will be some compression.

Edited by Tim V
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Fascinating idea, wasn't there a very early steam locomotive trialled in the coalfield whose history could be "adapted" or was that the 1826 machine?

 

I hope you do, and I'm sure you'd get extra points for working horses!!!

 

Simon

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Here are the waggons at Beamish. These are running (!) on wooden edge rails.

 

Two coal waggons, and looks like a horse waggon so the horse could travel down behind the train. The Ffestiniog had these. Since the Radstock branch was built as a summit canal, most of it was level, only the last part dropped 135' to the wharf at Midford. So I only need to build coal waggons.

post-7177-0-92216800-1494530197_thumb.jpg

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Initial experiments show that brass strip 2mm x 1mm could represent the track, soldered to copper clad to keep the gauge. The stone blocks would be representational - because it was normally horse drawn, the ground was built up between the rails. Biggest problem so far is the wheels, looks like they are about 2' in diameter, going on the Middlebere Plateway waggons - similar gauge. I've tried turning down some N gauge wheels, but I can't produce the profile. Might have to do more thinking on this.

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/conjectural-painting-of-iron-and-wooden-plateway-waggons-49321

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Tonight I assembled the first piece of sample track. Still a problem with the wheels, but maybe a 3D printer might be able to help....

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What about using 009 wheels turned down if you want flangeless? They'd need to be re-axled but that's no problem.

Brian Harrap did a wheel re-profiling demo at Scaleforum a couple of years ago. Just keep going that bit further until there;s no flange left!

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The problem with 009 wheels, as with N gauge wheels is they are too thick. I'm looking at 3D printing of them at present, maybe with a turned metal rim. However, it's a work in progress.

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2mm association wheels are much finer than n gauge so may do the trick

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I am considering those, but plateway wheels have a thick boss, going to a thin Tyre - like a cart wheel. It is after all what they were derived from.

 

The Fayles Tramways Clay mining on Purbeck book includes some useful drawings of stock on the Middlebere Tramway.

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Tempted with two of Tim Horn's baseboards http://www.timhorn.co.uk/1ft305mm-wide-baseboard-modules/ making a layout 6' long by 1' deep, or one board 5' by 1'6" http://www.timhorn.co.uk/1ft-6ins457mm-wide-baseboard-modules/ . Curves could be down to 5" radius - yes I think it's possible. The deeper board would give more scope for scenery. A sketch of the layout makes it look feasible, not sure whether to include a siding.

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The wheels are such a feature, that I think you would be best to cast them from 3D patterns. The wagon in the painting looks like one from Outram's Peak Forest Tramway. It's in the NRM:

http://www.nrm.org.uk/ourcollection/locomotivesandrollingstock/CollectionItem?objid=1975-7053&pageNo=24

 

for horse power, you might try this:

I think I have a copy of an article by Simon Hamlin showing how he did it, if that would be of interest?

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Coincidentally, someone mentioned today about working horses, so yes please to the copy. PM me please.

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Some new information has come to light, this is an extract of the official 40' to the inch plan of the doubling of the S&D between Writhlington and Radstock, showing a passing loop on the SCC tramway. The S&D is the upper tracks, the lower is the more interesting SCC tramway. According to Down and Warrington, this was one of the last parts of the SCC mainline in use. Measuring at 140' over clearing points, gives me the loop at Wellow.

post-7177-0-20266900-1497785412_thumb.jpg

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Did some site surveys today. The area I'm modelling is destroyed, apart from the tunnel (which makes the spot interesting). So I looked at an unspoilt part of the Paulton arm of the SCC, and at the loop in the canal north of Wellow S&D station. The canal and tramway there are incorporated into gardens, but the two spots gave me enough of a flavour to indicate a 10' wide tow path, and a 5-6' deep canal.

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What with you being the new editor of the most illustrious Snooze and all, is there any chance you might be able to correct your sort of "post cider" spelling? 

 

as in "Rastock - Midford Tramway at Wellow"

 

Or this some cunning subterfuge to prolong pondering and pontification around the considerations concerning the very highly unlikely building by your good self of an imaginary model of an imaginary tramway that never existed?

 

and "more interesting than the S&D" indeed - pshaw!

 

Perhaps you have been on the cider after all...

 

Yours as ever,

 

a concerned Scalefour member

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Duly done.

 

I'm afraid the S&D is a well covered (in the press) railway, there are no known photographs of the tramway - unless you know of some? So any information on the SCC has to be more interesting than the latest book by XYZ publications "The Convenience of the Somerset & Dorset" is it still due out next year?

 

Scalefour member, yes, I heard you had joined the ranks - finally, after 40 years, seen the light...

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"The Convenience of the Somerset & Dorset"

No Gentlemen would call it that.

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"The Convenience of the Somerset & Dorset" is it still due out next year?

 

 

 

No Gentlemen would call it that.

 

Some here would just refer to it as a "Stubby".

 

Sorry Stubby.

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Site survey with 100' tape this time, towpath 10' wide, canal 36' wide. Hmm, that makes 8" width, which is quite a lot out of my proposed 12" deep layout. Have to put my thinking cap on.

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So make your layout wider, or just model half the width of the canal.

 

Gordon A

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I know that!

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Bits of the puzzle are coming together, editions 45 and 46 of Weigh House http://www.coalcanal.org/wh.php (The SCCS magazine) give me drawings and dimensions of the tunnel. Back of an envelope planning (no Templot here!) suggest I won't be able to get as much in as I would like of the scenery, so the backscene becomes more important.

 

At the other end I'm proposing to model a stone bridge like the one at Midford on the Paulton arm (one of only three surviving on the canal). It isn't known if permanent bridges were ever built on the Radstock arm of the SCC, but whose model is it anyway!

post-7177-0-15038400-1498417232_thumb.jpg

 

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Not directly connected, but there is a nice photo of wooden colliery tubs being hauled out of Norton Hill Pit, in 'The Mendips in Old Photos' compiled by Chris Howell. There is a rope on rollers in the middle of the track and a couple of pitmen helping the short train along. What puzzles me is that between each wagon there is a cylindrical post projecting from the track at an angle. There's lots of interesting material in the book. The photos are, in the main, early 20th century, with some older ones.  As I don't own the copyright I won't upload it here, but message me if you would like to see it - or buy the book - it really is full of delightful detail, if you are modelling the area or the period. 

Edited by phil_sutters

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