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Is Minories operationally satisfying?


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On 10/02/2019 at 09:26, TomJ said:

Every time I’ve seen a Minories layout, either on here or in the flesh, I’ve always thought ‘I want one of those’. So something about it must really appeal. 

 

I like the the idea of minimising stock handling so as I model in N two options seems a possibility. One would be to have a standard minories with a reversing loop as fiddle yard. So trains leave, then later return - engines can be sent round the loop as an off stage turntable?

 

 

Ideas, ideas, ideas.....

 

 

 

A return loop was one of Cyril Freezer's original suggestions for Minories. It was actually published the month after TT-3 was introduced by Tri-ang and designed as a super portable folding layout just five feet long in that scale demonstrating that a compact main line layout was now possible. Peco etc. had of course known about TT-3 for some time before its launch and the scale was supported from the outset by track from at least three manufacturers and even some building kits and papers. 

Tri-ang's  initial offering included just  a 3F Jinty,  suburban coaches, and a small selection of wagons. Tender locos and main line coaches came later so, as suburban trains tend to be very similar, he reasoned that a departing train could pass round a loop and reappear as another train with all the actual operation on the station board itself and fairly intense. 

 

The return loop idea had been used by Bill Banwell and Frank Applegate in the final exhibitions of their pre-war O gauge layout Maybank. This was the first terminus to fiddle yard layout to be exhibited and a regular feature of the MRC Easter show.

 

Maybank represented a main line Great Central terminus and made a huge impression on the young Cyril Freezer. The four platform terminus  was fed by a four road motorised sector plate traverser hidden under the high level MPD. This  would have had to be loaded for each demonstration of the layout and completely reset between showings (so acting more as hidden sidings than a fiddle yard where trains were made up) Adding a return loop to Maybank would have made exhibiting it a lot easier and in line with a common practice for garden railways with an indoor terminus. I don't know whether Maybank's return loop was a bare boards off-stage affair or a developed scene allowing trains to be seen running. I think it was only used for its last showings before the war (It was damaged beyond repair in the blitz) but they probably include the times when Cyril Freezer saw it.

This was Maybank's trackplan from August 1934 when it was featured in MRN 

1339312093_Maybankplanconsolidatedm.jpg.c4c15ca3255cbe03ce3047f5303a357f.jpg

As a home layout it lived in a ladder shed at Bill Banwell's home and would have used the traverser. The platforms had a capacity of four main line coaches plus a medium sized tender loco. 

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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I have been looking at some Great Eastern and other suburban termini in the London area on that 1896 map, which have the potential to inspire a Minories style station, or alternative to a Minories style station.

 

First on the list is Enfield Town. It has three platforms, a goods shed, some carriage sidings, run-around facilities and a small turntable. This is perhaps not entirely typical Minories style operation, but perhaps an interesting alternative for a slightly larger layout.

 

The next is Chingford. This seems to have had four platforms: two longer platforms and two bays. The station is arranged as if it was intended to make it a through station to destinations further north at some point. There is one full length siding and two locomotive spurs. There are also run-around crossovers. The presence of both spurs and cross-overs makes it ambiguous as to whether run-around or kickback working would have been used; perhaps run-around off-peak and kickback on the peaks?

 

The Ongar line seems to have been single track in this era: that terminus has more of the feel of a rural branch line terminus of the sort that is almost a cliché in railway modelling (although nobody seems to model 19th century Ongar!)

 

Moving west and into Great Northern territory, we have High Barnet, with three platforms (the centre two of which are arranged as if they were intended to be through platforms for some continuation that never materialised) with a release cross-over at the end of the main pair, some fairly substantial sidings and a pair of Minories-style locomotive spurs on the western side of the station.

 

Moving south, New Cross was (and remains) a mixed terminating and through station: the through section is on a four track mainline; the terminating section comes from an additional pair of tracks and has a single platform face with a turntable at the end of the platform and what looks to be a small goods yard.

 

The neighbouring New Cross (Gate/LBSCR) [corrected: thanks to 73c in the next post] had a low level station marked as "disused" on the 1896 map: it had just two terminating platforms, but no sidings or crossings of any sort are marked on the map, perhaps on account of these having been lifted as the station was disused. The main part of the station is very large, with significant sheds and depots, but one can plausibly model the low level station on its own.

 

Finally for the GER, Blackwall is a very small terminus with a single full length platform and two docks: perhaps a good location for an urban branch line setting, but likely to have less operational interest than a Minories style affair.

 

Moving to more westerly climes, Richmond is a much more substantial station: in 1896, there were four terminating and two through platforms, and carriage sidings between one pair of terminating platforms. There was also a large goods shed beyond the through lines, a turntable, some sidings and a short branch to the "Corporation Depot".

 

Wimbledon is quite interesting: it has four through lines (which can be omitted in a smaller model by placing the viewer where the lines go, as suggested above for Ealing Broadway) but only two terminating roads with a central run around line served by a tandem turnout from release cross-overs at the ends of the terminating roads. There seems to have been a very elongated spur and a long goods shed just outside the station, but the main design of the station throat appears to be very simple (with the unusual feature of the pointwork being some distance from the platforms themselves): the up line merges into the centre line with a single turnout and then there is a scissors crossing between the two remaining lines. The long spur is only connected a long way beyond the scissors crossing when the connexions to the through lines meet the suburban terminating lines.

 

Somebody mentioned Ealing Broadway, so I thought that that would be worth finding on the map. Interestingly, before the Central London Railway made its appearance, the District Railway station was a little distance from the GWR station (essentially, they were both where they are now: the Central London Railway had enough space to build two platforms in between the District's two and the GWR's four). In these Victorian days, the two stations seem to have been separated by some embankment or raised ground. There were two platforms, a wooden train shed roof (which is still there), a scissors crossover (with a separate crossover to the spur just before the scissors and a further one afterwards) with some sidings leading a little further up the line beyond the spur. The purpose of these sidings is not entirely clear. There might have been a water tower, as there is some small structure between the two lines at that point.

 

Out of these and those previously discussed, the highlights are, I think, New Cross (Gate/LBSCR) (low level), Enfield and Wimbledon. Hammersmith and Ealing are also interesting, although they would only have Metropolitan or District railway trains respectively; New Cross and Wimbledon would have three and two railway companies' trains respectively, whereas Enfield has some goods action.

 

Of course, modelling a fictional location loosely based on any of these places will give more potential for variety.

Edited by jamespetts
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Richmond terminal station would make a great model, if you like variety, because, to quote the summary given by Wikipedia:

 

"After electrifying its tracks north of Acton Town in 1903, the DR funded the electrification, completed on 1 August 1905, from Gunnersbury to Richmond.[11] The DR ran electric trains on the branch, while the L&SWR, NLR, GWR and MR services continued to be steam hauled." (MR in this context is the Met, not the Midland).

 

In another thread, I've previously suggested Kew Gardens as a model, not that anyone took up on it, because at this period it was a small country station, with all of those train services running through it.

 

Even today, both places are interesting from a railway viewpoint, and there is a good bistro on the platform at Kew Gardens.

 

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3 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

It defeats the minimum space idea, but a balloon-loop as a FY could be used to store trains nose-to-tail, with a “shuffle-along” push-button being used to connect a fixed low voltage to all subsections.

A double helix would be fun!

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11 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

A double helix would be fun!

For engineers to build :D

 

12 hours ago, jamespetts said:

 

Somebody mentioned Ealing Broadway, so I thought that that would be worth finding on the map. Interestingly, before the Central London Railway made its appearance, the District Railway station was a little distance from the GWR station (essentially, they were both where they are now: the Central London Railway had enough space to build two platforms in between the District's two and the GWR's four). In these Victorian days, the two stations seem to have been separated by some embankment or raised ground. There were two platforms, a wooden train shed roof (which is still there), a scissors crossover (with a separate crossover to the spur just before the scissors and a further one afterwards) with some sidings leading a little further up the line beyond the spur. The purpose of these sidings is not entirely clear. There might have been a water tower, as there is some small structure between the two lines at that point.

 

 That map of Ealing Broadway also shows the double junction connecting with the GWR which was used for a couple of years in the 1880s for District trains to work through to Windsor.  I read somewhere a long while back that GWR through coaches to Southend were also transferred onto the District at Ealing Broadway - can't remember the source off hand and it might possibly have been an assumption the author had made from  the through workings to Windsor?

 

The siding at the top is almost certainly for loco servicing while the one that ends up against the platform end almost suggests an end loading  facility but in all likelihood was probably for stabling an engine or spare coaching stock.

 

It was fortunate that space was left between the GWR and District stations as it provided room for the Central London Railway to construct its station when it eventually reached Ealing Broadway in August 1920 by dint of running powers from Wood Lane over the GWR's Ealing and Shepherds Bush line (the electrified part of which transferred to LT ownership in 1948)

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10 minutes ago, jamespetts said:

Interesting indeed.

 

I have a series of books on the L&TSR, and none of them mention through running to the GWR, although there is a lot of information on the Ealing Broadway to Southend services.

I don't think it was ever a through train but a through coach.

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Interesting. There is still no mention of that in the L&TSR books, at least that I recall, although it is possible that the author missed it. I presume that the carriage would be detached from the rear of the train at Ealing and then attached to the rear of a local train on the relief lines at the GWR station?

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3 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

For engineers to build :D

 

 That map of Ealing Broadway also shows the double junction connecting with the GWR which was used for a couple of years in the 1880s for District trains to work through to Windsor.  I read somewhere a long while back that GWR through coaches to Southend were also transferred onto the District at Ealing Broadway - can't remember the source off hand and it might possibly have been an assumption the author had made from  the through workings to Windsor?

 

The siding at the top is almost certainly for loco servicing while the one that ends up against the platform end almost suggests an end loading  facility but in all likelihood was probably for stabling an engine or spare coaching stock.

 

It was fortunate that space was left between the GWR and District stations as it provided room for the Central London Railway to construct its station when it eventually reached Ealing Broadway in August 1920 by dint of running powers from Wood Lane over the GWR's Ealing and Shepherds Bush line (the electrified part of which transferred to LT ownership in 1948)

This is slightly OT but the District Railway's Ealing  station is interesting and, while run by  loco hauled trains, distinctly Minories like even to the high level station building connected to the ends of the platforms by stairs. This is common enough in a through station but less so for a self contained terminus, The local topography may have favoured that but I do wonder whether the Distric Railway had visions of striking further west than Ealing Broadway? Stairs to the platforms apart the building is apparently  remarkably intact internally and the train shed is interesting. 

 

I'm not sure if the space left for the Central Line Platforms was fortunate or planned. The GWR had obtained parliamentary approval for the Ealing and Shepherds Bush Railway in 1905 so may have already been looking to expand Ealing Broadway Station before the District Railway opened their branch to Ealing in 1879. The E&SBR is described as being a goods line to connect the GWML with the West London Railway but I'm not sure what advantage it would have had over North Pole Junction. There was a slight oddity in that, from 1920 to 1961,  the Central London Railway/Line  and the  District Railway/Line were both part of the Underground (the Electric Underground Railway of London and then the LPTB)  but the Central Line platforms were part of the GWR's Ealing Broadway station rather than the separate District Railway Station. 

 

However, until 1948 the route used by the Central line extension was  actually owned by the GWR and used by its goods trains until the double line connection to the GWML closed in  1938.

 

The two stations were combined in 1961when the GWR station was demolished and replaced by the nondescript concrete structure containing shops and a ticket hall, opened in 1965 (and now being rebuilt)  with a high-rise office building above. I knew it well as the office building- Villiers House- housed the BBC's Education Departments until the early 1990s.  The fire escape stairs emerge onto platform four and the office building isn't actually above any tracks. 

 

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Slightly OT but I’m finding all

the talk about the early London railways fascinating. I didn’t realise that what’s now London Underground wasn’t originally a self contained intensive passenger service but a railway line carrying through traffic from several companies. 

 

And through traffic (coaches at least) from West to Essex - sounds a bit like Crossrail!!

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32 minutes ago, TomJ said:

Slightly OT but I’m finding all

the talk about the early London railways fascinating. I didn’t realise that what’s now London Underground wasn’t originally a self contained intensive passenger service but a railway line carrying through traffic from several companies. 

 

And through traffic (coaches at least) from West to Essex - sounds a bit like Crossrail!!

 

Quite - and that is without touching on the fascinating history of lines such as the North London, the London and Greenwich, the London & Blackwall, the Tottenham & Forest Gate (with such delights as through excursions from St. Pancras via Walthamstow to Southend!) and the Whitechapel & Bow, and then all of the various short-distance freight facilities and dockyard railways - I am sure that one could have another entire thread on small urban freight termini that would be good inspirations for interesting model railways in relatively limited spaces; the number of small terminal freight depots on the 1896 map used extensively in this thread in east London alone is very great.

 

19th and early 20th century urban railways are especially fascinating and their delightful and intricate detail sometimes overlooked in favour of main lines, provincial towns and rural locations.

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8 hours ago, jamespetts said:

Interesting. There is still no mention of that in the L&TSR books, at least that I recall, although it is possible that the author missed it. I presume that the carriage would be detached from the rear of the train at Ealing and then attached to the rear of a local train on the relief lines at the GWR station?

Yes but having looked in several books today I can't find the reference.  Plenty about District trains running through to Windsor and GWR trains running over the District to Mansion House (and over the Met t Liverpool St) but nothing about that through coach so I do wonder - as it would inevitably have been a secondary or tertiary source if the author misunderstood the Windsor workings.  And there's definitely nothing about coaches being slipped at Ealing Broadway to run over the district in another source which is pretty comprehensive in respect of slip coach working on the Paddington suburban 'network'.

 

The running junction between the GWR and District at Ealing Broadway was removed in 1898 so none of my public timetables from back then are liekly to say anything and i suspect my 1891 STT (the GWR equivalent of a WTT) would be too late to include anything as the District's Windsor trains had finished some years previously.

 

1 hour ago, jamespetts said:

 

Quite - and that is without touching on the fascinating history of lines such as the North London, the London and Greenwich, the London & Blackwall, the Tottenham & Forest Gate (with such delights as through excursions from St. Pancras via Walthamstow to Southend!) and the Whitechapel & Bow, and then all of the various short-distance freight facilities and dockyard railways - I am sure that one could have another entire thread on small urban freight termini that would be good inspirations for interesting model railways in relatively limited spaces; the number of small terminal freight depots on the 1896 map used extensively in this thread in east London alone is very great.

 

19th and early 20th century urban railways are especially fascinating and their delightful and intricate detail sometimes overlooked in favour of main lines, provincial towns and rural locations.

The Ealing and Shepherds Bush was a fascinating railway apart from representing at one time part of the GWR's (very limited) electrified mileage.  The big separation came in 1937/38 as part of the plans to extend the Central Line to Ruislip and in consequence of that the E&SBR was quadrupled between North Acton and, effectively, the divergence of the original (electrified) lines at Wood Lane thus completely separating GWR trains from those of what was by then London Underground' Central Line.  The connection at Ealing Broadway to the E&SBR was removed in 1938.  It seems that there was never a regular passenger service of GWR trains over the original E&SBR but it was used occasionally by passenger workings;  it was of course completed far too late for the GWR services to Victoria which might well have been what was in mind for it at the time it was authorised?

 

The big advantage of the E&SBR as far as the GWR was concerned was that it avoided the flat junction onto the Victoria Branch at West London Junction/Old Oak Common East and of course it remained accessible from the GWML after the removal of the Ealing Broadway connection as trains could turn off at Hanwell over the Greenford branch thence to North acton to gain the 1937/38 additional, non-electrified, pair of tracks to Viaduct Junction.  I  can even remember, back in my school days, seeing a train on the WR lines while on a trip up to Paddington and some of the Kensington milk workings used it as well.  However just to rub it in seeing trains on that line was never anything like as exciting as seeing a 97XX pannier running through Baker St station witha. Smithfield train - something quite possible to see on a Saturday.

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I wonder if discussion of these small metropolitan stations (lowercase "m") and the companies that created and ran them should be split out into it's own topic? It seems like a very rich area and increasingly divorced from "Is Minories Operationally Satisfying".

 

I'd like to know more about their pre-grouping days, what sort of traffic they supported and what the rolling stock and loco fleet was like.

 

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Here is a Liverpool Street based track plan that can (just about, if the lower baseboards protrude a little from the upper baseboards) fit into the remaining unallocated space in my shed.

 

Unlike my earlier plans on this thread, the fiddle yards have a much tighter minimum radius of 438mm (2nd radius), although this should not be a problem if representing the electrified era, as everything would have bogies.

 

I have not yet modified the fiddle yards on the left from the terminus version of this plan: allowing them to go to 438mm minimum radius rather than the current 600mm might allow a little more space for more fiddle yard roads and scenic area.

Underground 2.png

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Getting back to the original question “Is Minories operationally satisfying?” is an interesting question and of course, I think we have established that it is and if the station throat is laid out correctly it can look splendid. We have seen designs with passenger only or mixed passenger and goods and also somewhere, I have seen goods only. With regard to the design, then CJF did an excellent job over 60 years ago and in the above comments we have seen some very interesting tweaks to the design from David “Pacific231G” and Phil “Harlequin” which enhance the CJF design. The thing is that I keep being drawn back to the superb Bradfield Gloucester Square, in case you’re not familiar with BGS here’s the track plan;

 

 

265612973_BGSTrackPlan.jpg.908859cd9c5ccee826f691ead0240c4e.jpg

And a link to BGS in the Layout topics;

www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/28198-bradfield-gloucester-square-br-1962-ish/&

 

 it is agreed, BGS is not Minories but it is immensely enjoyable to watch (*), of the three platforms, platform 1 is departures only, platforms 2 and 3 are arrivals and departures. I am not too sure that I have seen an arrival and departure at the same time but due to the track plan that could only happen with a departure from Platform 1.

 

(*) Here’s a couple of videos of BSG in operation.

 

 

Considering the above, if I were to build a small terminus I would probably lean towards a duplication of Bradfield Gloucester Square, sure, there are no goods or loco facilities, there’s not even a turntable. I’ve tried several times to improve the design but I don’t have the skill for that, I did think that a crossover in the carriage sidings would be advantageous for running round the ECS but that is achieved by use of the crossover in platform 3 so a pointless exercise that would take away from the operational enjoyment of the model.

 

I have seen a number of Minories in operation and they are very good, I just think that Bradfield in better from a playing trains prospective but I am not at all sure whether it could be built using Peco track.

 

Ian

 

Edited by Ian_H
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