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Trainspotting at Little Benton Sidings, Newcastle.


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The link above works fine. That's a really interesting photo. The idea of a Glasgow to Tyneside and return service train or excursion pulled by a Class 20 is pretty mind boggling. I recall a school trip from Newcastle to Edinburgh when I was 11, being very excited to see what would pull our special, and finding an 8 coach set of 2 x 101s waiting at Central. We returned in darkness but left the mainline at Morpeth and got back to Newcastle via the Blyth and Tyne. What would I give to do it now.
John

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I had an similar experience with our school trips during the early sixties.

 

The first was, I think in 1963 when Blyth station was still open. We also had a 6 or 8 coach set of 101 dmus via the Blyth & Tyne to York.

 

The most memorable was 1966, with Blyth station closed the excursion began at Newsham, a class 40 and coaches arrriving via Morpeth and then we went on to Windermere, returning to Newsham very late at night.

 

 

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Not a great picture, but it shows the sort of effect I'm looking for in order to re-create my childhood spotting memories. The J27 is an Alexander kit at the head of a rake of 20T hoppers, while the North Tyneside Parcels Car heads back to take the loop through Benton Station to South Gosforth Sheds.

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The J27 has deposited its' hoppers in the sidings , where a 3 - coach Kitchen/Restaurant Car set ( etch sides on Hornby donors) await transfer to Heaton.. Aren't photos cruel? The ballast work on the sidings in real life was much coarser than on the adjacent main lines, but not as crude as they appear in the photo. Remedial work awaits.

 

The J25 heading North on the cattle wagons is the excellent London Road Model kit, and it will be heading for Morpeth then onwards along the Wansbeck (Wannie) Line towards Bellingham.

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Testing and scenic work continues. Haymarket used its' single chimner A2's extensively on Top Link duties to Newcastle in the early-mid50's but they latterly became fairly rare birds, presumably as a consequence of the  double chimnet programme on their A3 and A4's. However Trimbush has been entrusted to the down Queen of Scots today. The loco is a GBL body on a Hornby Brit chassis - not one for the purists.

 

It is to be hoped that the J77 got a move on with the Gresley Kitchen.Dining set, en-route to Heaton. North Eastern Kits loco.

 

The spotters will be in ecstasy to see the O2/2. What on earth is it doing here? York have pinched it and sent it North to pick up vans from the Rowntree Factory at Fawdon, and it runs light having been serviced at Heaton. NuCast kit. Actually, I just wanted to run it, but this is my excuse.

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"Spearmint" heads back to Edinburgh with my wholly un-prototypical LMS rake, which is out for a trial spin now the track is fully laid bar a couple of fiddle yard sidings, 60100 is nothing more than a re-numbered Hornby, which has lost its RH cylinder cock- not an unusual occurrence for me. LMS rakes were common at Newcastle, but less so north to Edinburgh, There are, however, pictures of them, usually on specials, excursions or reliefs of some kind. My 5 coach rake is predominantly Comet sides on Airfix donors.

 

The J50 is only on test before going into works, I actually intended to sell it, but discovered it had a missing buffer and handrail on the tank side. It was still regarded as surplus , until I discovered Darlington had 5 of them in the late 50's, Quite why, or what did did with them, given its' plethora of J71,72,77 and 94.s, is a mystery. Though I doubt if they got to Tyneside, it's an excuse to repair the body, weather it, and represent the GN interloper.

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Edited by rowanj
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  • 2 weeks later...

Changing of the guard at Litlle Benton - right in the middle of my spotting years. "Crepello" heads a down express - a GBL body on Lima chassis. while Type 2's (to become Class 24) has usurped D20's and the like from Berwick- Newcastle stoppers. D5096 was one of the first Darlington-built locos to go to Gateshead. This one is Bachman, repainted from two-tone green, and re-numbered.

 

Although there were still plenty J27 and Q6's plodding along, much coal traffic was about to be taken over by K1's or Ivatt 43000's. The K1 is standard Hornby.

 

John

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Although Little Benton North is a major compromise through lack of space, I wanted to have a decent representation of the wartime signal box, the adjacent hut and the 3 way distant signal. I had a picture of the box from the north, and have now found a front view.

 

I'm not sure what this box controlled - presumably the sidings at the north end, and the home/distants to Benton Quarry Box. But the building seems elaborate for just that. It also looks as though it was built with a potential air-raid in mind.

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In any event, I'm pushing on with it, and it should eventually give the spotters another view of the passing trains..

John

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Build them and they will run" - sometimes eventually. 60506 was one of the first kits I built, bought at a Newcastle MRS show when DJH came with all their kits, and parts. This year, I couldn't even buy a tube of Miliput…

 

A2/2's from York certainly got to Newcastle, though I doubt they got any further North - certainly 64B wouldn't have been pleased to see them. But one of my abiding spotting memories is seeing 60501 standing behind Gateshead East Station waiting to go onto Gateshead Shed, It stood there for a good 15 minutes, and looked great, for all the criticisms the class get.

 

This loco, however, is a New England loco, and I have no evidence of them in Newcastle, though I'm sure they got there. However, though I need to check my books, a re-number to 60505 Thane of Fife might be OK as this was a 50A loco.

 

Still  much to do in this corner of the layout. Funny how the signal box doesn't look so rough in the flesh. It awaits an interior, and then a roof, plus railings for the stairs.

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The spotters will be pleased with the cop, but we would have had no idea of the provenace of the loco, thinking it's just another K3. It has been sent up after a "general" at Darlington on a running-in term, and is returning to its' Doncaster home with the weekly "Fish" from Eyemouth. The loco was built at Darlington, and sent to Scotland with an Ivatt tender, "Darlington" cab, and RH drive, and this was its' condition to the end after its' transfer back to England. These few locos lasted as long as most K3's despite them being non-standard.

 

The model is a GBL K3 changed to RH drive, running on a Bachmann V1/3 split chassis, with a SEF cab- the fret is available as a spare- and a resin tender from Graeme King. 

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The spotters will be pleased with the cop, but we would have had no idea of the provenace of the loco, thinking it's just another K3. It has been sent up after a "general" at Darlington on a running-in term, and is returning to its' Doncaster home with the weekly "Fish" from Eyemouth. The loco was built at Darlington, and sent to Scotland with an Ivatt tender, "Darlington" cab, and RH drive, and this was its' condition to the end after its' transfer back to England. These few locos lasted as long as most K3's despite them being non-standard.

 

The model is a GBL K3 changed to RH drive, running on a Bachmann V1/3 split chassis, with a SEF cab- the fret is available as a spare- and a resin tender from Graeme King. 

One of my most treasured  possessions is the works plate off K3 No 61858.  Apart from brief periods at St Margarets (1939) and Sheffield (1940/41) it was a Carlisle Canal for its entire existence.  New in April 1925 and withdrawn in April 1961 and right hand drive throughout.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just didnt have the space to represent even the short length of ECML between Little Benton North and South Boxes, and so North is a real compromise. But the pictures show a scene which is just about recognisable. The cabin and adjacant hut were built in 1941 or so when the sidings were installed to provide relief for Heaton Yard, seen as susceptible to Luftwaffe raids. The 5 loops on the prototype were always full of wagons when I spotted there, but the only time I ever saw them used was in 1962 when 60001, of all things, rolled in from the north with a rake of wagons.

 

The loco is J71 68264 converted from a Mainline J72 on a Mainly Trains chassis, now available again from Wizard Models. The 3 ventilated meat wagons, from Parkside, have, in my world, been collected from the abattoir in Whitley Bay and are being tripped to Heaton to join a rake to the south.

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A bit more trainspotting at Little Benton North, The J25 is a Heaton  loco, built from an LRM kit and is on a short trip working to Blyth. The D20 from DJH heads for Newcastle on a commuter train  from Morpeth, consisting of 4 Hornby Gresley Suburban with a Couple of Kirk Gresleys at the end. The whole rake can be seen representing a later train behind a renumbered Bachmann V3.That shot could have been taken from Scottie Bridge.

 

Heading north, 60060 "The Tetrarch" has a Car Carrier. I always seemed to see a couple of these vehicles outside Central, and of course, took no notice of them. Likewise The Tetrarch which was as common as muck when all we wanted were "cops".

 

For all its; compromises, this is why I'm enjoying this little layout... it brings back memories.

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B16 rebuilds from York occasionally ventured north, and there are a couple of pictures of them on trips to Edinburgh. 61439 even got across the Forth Bridge, presumably borrowed by Haymarket before returning south. The usual reason for progressing to or beyond Newcastle seems to have been York-Edinburgh passenger or parcels, plus the odd excursion.

 

My B16/3 is returning south on a relief using my rake of LMS stock, which was a regular occurence during summer months,There is plenty of photographic eveidence, though none of a B16/LMS combo (until now)

 

The Elizabethan heads north behind "Seagull" with its' cropped tender, adapted for use on the SR durimg the 1948 exchangs. The rake, which needs some tidying up, is Southen Pride sides on Bachmann Thompson donors, with a couple of Mk 1's at the rear for the Aberdeen portion. It is my only 10 coach rake, and running it is a squeeze , but I was pleased enough with it when I built it.

 

In the passing loop, 5 locos wait to return to their home sheds - a J71, two varieties of J77, a J72 and J27.

 

Best wishes to all who read this for Christmas and 2019.

 

John

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I dragged out my Nu Cast K2, built many years ago, and put it into works. The chassis is the original whitemetal lump, which I had filed out to fit a Comet/Mashima gearbox, but it is still an erratic runner. I have now fitted brakes and draincocks, but fear a return to works to have the gearbox looked at will be needed, as it is  STILL an erratic runner.

 

K2's were not  regularly seen on Tyneside, and when they were they were usually en route to or from Cowlairs for servicing, They could be used on running-in trips, or working light, or, infrequently, on service trains. I've just come across a splendid photo of an Eastfield "namer"  61789 heading through Little Benton for Tyneside on a fitted freight in April 1957. My K2 moved between Colwick and New England, and I have photos of Colwick K2's on Heaton shed. So I have an incentive to get it running properly other than the nostalgia of having one of my earliest kits still in (occasional) use. In my world, a trip to Cowlairs has seen it purloined to take a short" fish" north.

 

All the best for 2019

 

John

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Edited by rowanj
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I took these photos for another purpose, but thought I would also share the here. The Dave Alexander Q7 is really "superpower" on the short LOCO train. heading towards Heaton. The train is made from 4 Parkside wagons, - 2 ex-LNER LOCO coal wagons, a 21T mineral, and 24T mineral pressed into service, prototypically, for this traffic. The Airfix Brake van has been converted to the earlier LNER build.

 

The shot of LB North shows the compromises I had to make at that end. But the long sidings do come in handy - I need every bit of storage I can get.

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Though you may be sick of the sight of the Aberdeen Fish, this photo was taken to test the front pair of wagons which I have just built from Parkside kits.They seem to be fine alongside the far too clean Hornby RTR versions.

 

The A1 is just a re-numbered Bachmann. "Marmion" was the second-last A1 I saw, shunting a pick-up goods of all things at Chathill. Watching a massive A1 shunting the tiny goods yard was a sight to behold. The loco was at Tweedmouth at that point and presumably had little work by that point.

 

The last one I saw was St.Mungo, running light without nameplates in, I suspect, June 1966. I was keeping goal for our U18 team, and was astonished to see it passing, just north of Heaton, I think it was already withdrawn by that stage.

 

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I have been fighting with the DJH A8 for some time, but it now runs, so here it is, on test, doing the sort of job it was designed for before going into the paint shop. The first coach is a Kirk Gresley lavatory composite, with the rest bog- standard Hornby.

 

Another Insulfish from Parkside has now been completed, - it is the first wagon in the set - and so it too has been tested through the pointwork, headed by a Heaton B1 as it heads South. One more still to build, and that will complete the rake,

 

John

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I dont suppose I'm alone in having accumulated far too many locos over the years, particularly if modelling a fictitious location "somewhere on the ECML". Now my layout is centred on a real prototype just north of Heaton, I'm a lot more fussy, and have begun to dispose of RTR which would never be seen there. Of course, I'm hanging on to my kit- builds and RTR conversions...

 

Among the RTR collection are some ex-LMS and BR Standard designs which made an appearance around Tyneside .For some reason, there was a 2MT 46xxx loco at Heaton, and several 4MT 43xxx in the area. Standard 73XXX .76xxx and 77xxx , as well as 80xxx and 82xxx tanks were also allocated to NE sheds. "Clans" were at Haymarket on a couple of occasions and were seen at Newcastle .I am currently in the process of checking their running, as it's a while since they turned a wheel.

 

Incidentally, I also need to re-number my ancient J94 to the single class member allocated to Heaton. Quite why it was thought necessary to send one to a shet full of tank loco beats me, Perhaps for driver experience? I have never seen a photo of the loco in action.

 

Some of the above, which I have, need re-numbered. However this is not the case with 42085, which had a short spell at Heaton,  and then Darlington, where it spent a good few years.

 

John

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The LOCO coal is now complete, though if I spot another Parkside kit, I probably wont be able to resist. I quite like these short trains, which ran round the outskirts of Newcastle either build up longer rakes or breaking them down from the yards around Tyneside. This train is heading north and will leave the ECML at Little Benton Quarry Junction and head up the Bltyh and Tyne, The splitting signal confirms this.

 

The rake are all Parkside, other than the modified Airfix Brake van,backdated to the LNER version. The loco is the North Eastern Kits Worsdell-cab J77.

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Sunderland had a couple of N5's, which i suspect they didnt want, and seem to have done little work before being despatched to Peterborough, where they were used for trip workings and station pilot duties. I had a SEF kit, which I was about to sell until I discovered the Sunderland connection. It built into a lovely little model.

 

I dug it out today, and noticed some damage to the paintwork on the tank side, so took the opportunity to repair it, add some additional weathering, and a front dummy coupling. Here it is on its; test, held in the sidings  waiting for an Up express. It's sods law that a loco I have little excuse to run is one of the prettiest and best runners I have.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Class 40's were common at Little Benton, though the split-headcode versions tended to be to the West. I was going to dispose of this one until I saw it had been painted at the front to back-date the full yellow nose to the half -yellow version. As I'd been watching a Right Track DVD where Tom Wright used artists chalk for weathering diesels, I thought I'd have a go on this one - using Tamiya as the base.

So the loco heads south on a fully-fitted freight from Edinburgh back to the Midlands.

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I've been busy with a PDK B16/2 (and a dose of shingles) so not much time has been spent on the layout. However, the laying of another storage track in the fiddle yard means the oil train can leave the storage sidings behind the Hornby Q6. I've done nothing to the loco, but will re-number it one day. The wagons, however, were a motley bunch of colours from Bachmann and Mainline, painted black and lettered with Modelmaster transfers to be suitable for trains which ran through Little Benton.

After one more siding is laid, I'll concentrate on more scenic work to try to get the basic layout completed, befre thinking about detail such as point rodding, telegraph posts, barrow crossings, etc.

On another thread, I posted a link to a pretty dodgy video of loco kits on the layout, so I'll copy it here too. It's not very long, you will be relieved to know.

 

 

John

 

 

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Edited by rowanj
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When we "spotted" at Little Benton, known locally as The Powder Monkey, the signal by the bridge was our guide for "down" trains. Usually, only the Home was pulled off, and a J27 would trundle by. When the Distant was also pulled, we assumed an express was due, and excitement reigned.

 

Here, we spotters were in luck, and the train is head by 60086 Gainsborough, from Neville Hill. I often saw the loco at Newcastle, where Leeds locos invariably turned round and went back south. On this occasion, it is heading The North Briton to Edinburgh, and possibly on to Glasgow. Apparently the timing of this Leeds-Glasgow service was so poor, it was known as the Ancient Briton.

 

The loco is a re-named Hornby from Sandwich. Like many folk, I accumulated for too many locos, and now I am trying to make them suitable for the location, I have been disposing of a number. Sandwich was due to go to Ebay, when I noticed it was missing the dummy front coupling and vacuum pipe. As I already had plates for 60086, I decided to just repair it and renumber it to a more likely visitor than was Kings X's original. Why people pay other folk to do such simple tasks is beyond me.

 

The 9- coach rake includes a number of etch sides on Hornby donors, and includes the 3 coach dining set of Kitchen Car, FO,and SO, operating as unbranded dining cars.

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As this layout is essentially a diorama to run my kit - built or modified locos, here is a sample of the stock. More will follow. 

 

The G5 is an old Nu-Cast kit, originally built out of the box years ago. as my "skills" improved, I dug it out, replaced the motor with a Mashima/High-level combination, fitted brakes and added detail.

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The D20 is a DJH kit with Dave Alexander tender - the frame  cut-outs are incorrect for a D20.  I lengthened the smokebox to reflect those carried in BR days.

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The J71 is a modified Mainline body on a Mainly Trains chassis. The main change is to shorten the bunker by about 2mm and added new splashers to accommodate the larger 18mm drivers.. The first run of J72's were also "shorties" and I have a few bodies and a MT chassis kit in the "to-do" pile when I get some 16mm drivers. This one runs with a cheap Mitsumi motor in a High-level gearbox, and runs well, though I'm not sure how reliable those motors would be if pressed into service on long heavy trains. None of my locos work very  hard.

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The B16/1 is a PDK kit, and was the first etched kit I built. The chassis always ran well, but getting the bogie to stay on my dodgy track took some doing. It is a Neville Hill loco, and will be re-named to a more appropriate Heaton B16/1 when I get round to it.

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Edited by rowanj
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