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Firecracker

Sedbergh, as a preserved railway

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As threatened, here’s the return to the hobby for me. Basically it’s Sedbergh, on the Low Gill - Ingleton line, as if it was rebuilt as a preserved railway. The reasons go roughly as follows: I’ve always wanted to model what I see around me and if I do modern image on those terms, it’s a bit depressing (as the previous effort, Teesside Coil, a modern image (uncompleted) P4 effort showed, all dereliction and graffiti). Sedbergh is local to where I grew up, and I’ve always fancied modelling the line, because I feel it’s ideal (regular scenic breaks, fantastic bridges and lovely tiny stations (literally, one platform at Sedbergh was only two coaches long).

 

A little history, the line was intended as an alternative route to the North, due to rivalry it only ever was an unremarkable rural branch line. Closed in drips with the track finally lifted in 1968, most of the formation and structure survive. This is where fiction starts.

 

Rebuilt north from Sedbergh to Low Gill due to a missing road bridge south of Sedbergh (TRUE), this 4 mile line was later extended south to Barbon, where the track bed is blocked by a housing development (TRUE). The roughly 7 mile long line then entered into a period of consolidation, building a new motive power depot to the south of Sedbergh (replacing the use of the goods shed at Sedbergh, allowing the development of the goods yard into something that bore less of a resemblance to Steptoe’s yard. Now, following prolonged negotations, a deviation line, avoiding the housing at Barbon is on, so the railway pushes southwards.....

 

A bit about the model, it’s in finescale OO, using the new Peco bullhead track, plus some flat bottom for a little variety. Control will be DCC with peco (or similar) motors on the points, kaydee couplings on the stock. Rolling stock - the aim is that ‘preserved’ feel, so it’s locos that went to Barry (Standards, a pannier, LMS designs etc). There’s a few diesels, including an ex fragonset 31 that’s been ‘borrowed’ for Pway work. Most of the coaching stock is the ubiquitous mk1’s, there’s an assorted goods fleet, plus a selection of Pway stuff, including some newer designs (well, if the SVR can acquire a Rudd or two...). The look I’m aiming for is again ‘preserved’, so the standard tank is clean, but there’s tatty Pway wagons plus that 31 needed a repaint several years ago and hasn’t improved with keeping...

 

Anyway, there’s a few photos of the latest progress, enjoy.

 

Owain

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And a few more, giving a better idea of the track plan (apologies for the background clutter of the garage). The Hornby goods shed is a pageholder, ditto the battered ratio concrete store.

 

Owain

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This looks interesting. I know very little about the area but I hope to be educated. Modellling preserved railways has not been a particularly common or popular practice but it seems to be gaining momentum, which I think is a positive thing. I am quite tempted to have a crack at it myself. Will you be strict in your choice of locos and rolling stock, i.e. using only those that are preserved in the real world, or are you allowing yourself some 'modeller's licence'?

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The idea with the rolling stock is to have classes that have survived into preservation, standards, black fives etc. Nothing too oddball, possible 3 LMS compartment non-corridor coaches may form one rake alongside the mk1’s (purely because I’ve got them and like them) also a LMS pug (assume to be ex industry, probably owned by a volunteer, emerges on high days and holidays to shunt or trundle around with a brakeman or two). Concerning numbers of individual locos I’m not intending to model stuff that’s already preserved, it’ll either be something where classmates survived (such as the standard tank) or one of ‘the ones that got away’, say 76080 scrapped at Barry, or 44781, ex 15 guinea special, scrapped after being used as a film prop. Basically it’s intended to feel like somewhere you’ve visited, whilst being complete fiction ( and unless someone very rich buys the station and goods yard, demolishes a house and rebuilds a bridge, never going to become reality).

 

Another idea that’s kicking around is to create a feeling of the site having evolved. For instance, there’s going to be an inspection pit on the goods shed road, outside the provendor store. This dates from when the goods shed was the loco shed, before the MPD (possible subject of an extension) was built and has been taken over by the wagon group (may have something under repair parked on it). To add interest to the operating there’s lots of little ideas, such as the outer of the two yard sidings extends into the car park, to be used for low loader delivery’s and also pway wagons are loaded there by hiab lorry. South of the station is single track with the second line going to the shed (shades of Grosmont), north is a stretch of double track (shades of GCR). The track plan is pretty much the south end unchanged, originally there were other sidings at the north end plus much shorter platforms, the platforms have been extended for 5&6 car trains, the space formerly occupied by the sidings is now the car park. The only major change is I’ve moved the south crossover slightly north (originally on the road bridge beyond the yard throat)for two reasons, one model, one full size operating. First point motors on a bridge - no point making things difficult and by moving these to inside the yard points (remember, south it’s single track) reduces the number of facing points that a passenger train encounters, hence making HMRI/ORR happier.

 

Anyway, hope this helps. If anyone wants to find out a bit more about the prototype, two books to find are ‘The Ingleton branch -A lost route to Scotland’, Robert Western, Oakwood press and ‘The little north western railway’ (also covering the Skipton-Heysham line), Martin Bairstow. At Sedbergh the goods yard has been taken over by a coal merchants, the goods shed and provender store survive (google should chuck up some photos) and the station building is now a holiday cottage (photos also on web)

 

Owain

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Have you managed to find drawings or at least photos of all the sides of the buildings from which to do yourself some drawings?

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The station building is going to be low relief, so no bother there. There’s photos of three sides of the goods shed on the web. The missing side overlooked a siding that’s now a platform and I’ve assumed the goods shed is a museum/tearoom (Goathland anyone?), so they’ll probably have knocked a door through onto the platform anyway. The provendor store I’ve assumed is a workshop and will emerge from two ratio kits (the Bachman one is too wide). The only other builiding (apart from huts and the odd shipping container) is going to be a bit of a nod to the history of the line, it remained as a rural branch line due to the Midland a) failing to provide connecting services and b) building the Settle -Carlisle, so in preservation it’s acquired a Midland signal box...

 

Owain

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And tonight’s thrilling episode - Making a start on the wiring! I’m a firm believer in every bit of rail has a wire going to it, do not rely on rail joiners and point blades alone. The new peco points are dead easy to wire if you’re on DCC (like me). Feed to each stock rail, drop the frog wire through the baseboard for later connection to a switch on the point motor and unless you’ve hacked them to get a true 6 foot cess on your double track (I’ve got a second crossover to do later, I’ll show the hacking in a bit more detail then) that’s it!

 

Owain

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And a few more, to prove a) progress is being made and b) my garage still looks like a bomb site. One board now has all the droppers from the track done, these now just need linking up with choc blocks and suitable cable. The boxes for the inter-board jumpers (courtesy of b&q’s discount box) have been fitted and the battens that will form the foundations of the platforms glued down (hence the g clamps).

 

I’m starting to ponder the fiddle yard, I like cassettes instead of fixed sidings, but haven’t had the greatest reliability out of using aluminium angle as the ‘rails’ of the cassettes. So I’ve dummied up a cassette, with some scrap flextrack, to look at, width etc. I’m starting to think that only the single track mainline will have a cassette, the second (being the road to the off stage MPD and headshunt for the yard) will be track. Reasoning goes as follows: it’s going to be fun getting two cassettes in alongside each other and on the second road either a light engine appears or departs, or something trundles down it whilst shunting.

 

In the way of these things, I’m already planning an extension and I haven’t got all the track down, nor run anything. The extension is to add a third board in between the station throat and the fiddle yard. This will feature first the line crossing a road overbridge, then the line enters a cutting, before disappearing under a convenient occupation bridge. As a bonus, this is all true to the actual geography south of the station and would only be slightly compressed. O’course, there’s also a second fiddle yard board, this is a through station you know....

 

Owain

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And following this mornings visit to Monk Bar Models for some bits, here’s the latest planning. Footprints for the goods shed and store have been worked out off photos and the track plan in Western’s book, they're then drawn onto the baseboard. Some flexi track has been flopped down and some wagons arranged to check. Where the shark brake is sat a short pit will go in. The buildings - the goods shed will be scratchbuilt and the store kitbashed from two of the ratio offerings. The idea with the goods shed is that it’s a museum/shop/cafe with two or more open wagons sat inside in the style of Goathland with seats and tables in them. The back wall (the only bit of the shed I can’t find a photo of) will have a doorway onto the platform.

 

In the platforms point locations have been confirmed and as can be seen in the last photo, to get a true 6’ cess they’ll need trimming slightly. Kaydee magnets have also been installed as track’s gone down.

 

Owain

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And just a few more bits, as progress continues. First up, as I said earlier I’m trying to create a feeling of the site having a bit of history, where stuff has changed over the years. One idea (and a bit of worldbuilding, if you will) is that initially the line was rebuilt north to Lowgill. So the MPD (such as it was) was centred around the (surviving) goods shed. To service a locomotive, you need a pit. Now the MPD has been resited, the goods shed transformed into a shop/cafe/ museum (think Ingrow meets Goathland). But, in the yard, the old pit is still there and has been taken over by the wagon group, working out of a shipping container and the old provendor store.

 

So, a pit. We have a sample of the peco effort, saved from the one of the previous layouts. But, that uses flat bottom rail and the siding is laid in bullhead. So, first remove the rails and all the fixings, then fit some bullhead in C&L chairs. For a little variety I then decided that the short stretch to the shed door would be on concrete sleepers, so some more C&L chairs (I believe these should actually be 2 bolt, rather than 4, but I doubt it’ll be noticed) and some shorted sleepers (trimmed to reduce the apperance of ‘narrow gauge’). Then jigsaw a suitable hole, and in it goes.

 

Then, once suitable cork has been laid, the rest of the yard track can go down. At this point I can’t resist digging out some bits to see how it looks. A few points, the goods shed and provendor store will be larger than the page holder structures, hence the gap. There will not be a continuous track through the goods shed because a)I’ve nicked from Goathland the idea that there are several open wagons in the loading dock with seats and tables in them, so to shunt these out in reality would be rather a complicated operation and b)if I can start when building it with a solid floor it’ll be easier and able to be completely built on the bench. There will be a short track beyond the shed, to contain two 12t vans used as storage. One of these is going to be a heavily breathed on (certainly with a new chassis) airfix ‘fresh eggs from Westmorland farms’ and due to a gauntlet being thrown down the second is planned as a pallvan in a definitely non authentic but appropriate livery (and may feature my first attempt to print transfers).

 

At the other end, a prototype cassette is in development and the headshunt/road to offstage MPD has gone down. The wiring is starting to take shape, so stuff moving under it’s own power is getting nearer...

 

Owain

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And to give an idea of where it’s going, these photos of the site nowadays should give an idea of the relative sizes of the store and shed plus the appearance (wills rough stone sheets seem to be a good match)

 

Photos used from http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/webmap/thelakes/html/lgaz/lk13552.htm and https://railscot.co.uk/onthisday/10/28/ with full credit given to original photographers.

 

Owain

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It lives! It lives!!!!

 

OK, maybe that’s best delivered in the middle of a raging thunderstorm in the bowels of a gothic castle whilst your minions cower around you. In a hot garage in July, with a complete absence of minions (cowering or otherwise), it’s not quite the same....

 

Anyway, following a lot of wiring, stuff moves around as required. On wiring, a few pointers a)splash out on reels of two different colours, rather than using up that reel of lilac wire for everything and b)troubleshooting said wiring whilst a pint of old Rosie cider settles in your stomach ain’t going to go as well as you think.

 

Anyway, just two snags so far, both on baseboard joints have appeared. The uncouplers work fine (there’s a few wagons that need their steel ballast weights replacing with lead), the pannier needs its pickups looking at (running on a straight testbed isn’t the same as running over points and curves) and the control system needs tiding and stuffing into an enclosure, but it works.

 

Owain

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And a few more, to prove a) progress is being made and b) my garage still looks like a bomb site. One board now has all the droppers from the track done, these now just need linking up with choc blocks and suitable cable. The boxes for the inter-board jumpers (courtesy of b&q’s discount box) have been fitted and the battens that will form the foundations of the platforms glued down (hence the g clamps).

 

I’m starting to ponder the fiddle yard, I like cassettes instead of fixed sidings, but haven’t had the greatest reliability out of using aluminium angle as the ‘rails’ of the cassettes. So I’ve dummied up a cassette, with some scrap flextrack, to look at, width etc. I’m starting to think that only the single track mainline will have a cassette, the second (being the road to the off stage MPD and headshunt for the yard) will be track. Reasoning goes as follows: it’s going to be fun getting two cassettes in alongside each other and on the second road either a light engine appears or departs, or something trundles down it whilst shunting.

 

In the way of these things, I’m already planning an extension and I haven’t got all the track down, nor run anything. The extension is to add a third board in between the station throat and the fiddle yard. This will feature first the line crossing a road overbridge, then the line enters a cutting, before disappearing under a convenient occupation bridge. As a bonus, this is all true to the actual geography south of the station and would only be slightly compressed. O’course, there’s also a second fiddle yard board, this is a through station you know....

 

Owain

Well, thanks a bunch for that - your project means I'm going to have to edit my life! I'll have you know that the cutting south of the station is where I used to meet certain ladies from Kendal High School - not for immoral purposes, but for the trading of real coffee, decent kippers and smokes, and other commodities not readily available to a pupil of Sedbergh School but obtainable in Kendal! I don't remember these trysts being disturbed by a volunteer tracklaying gang!

 

In fact, at the time (early 70s) the Settle-Carlisle was, as usual, under threat, and the whole town was convinced, on no evidence at all, that BR would relay and reopen Low Gill - Clapham and close the S&C. The coal merchant, incidentally, was already there and I think had been when the line was still open.

 

My late father was at school at Sedbergh during the war, and his beginning of term journey from Fencehouses, Co Durham, (grandfather being CE of the Lambton, Hetton and Joicey) took anywhere between 8 and 12 hours involving changes at any full perm of Durham, Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Kirkby Stephen and Tebay. Oh for the chance now!

 

I don't suppose you could take your representation just a little further south to 'Jackdaw Bridge', which is a magnificent structure? I'm sorry to admit that I 'liberated' an LNWR 'No trespassing' sign from there, which curiously is about the only relic of my school days I have left.

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Well, thanks a bunch for that - your project means I'm going to have to edit my life! I'll have you know that the cutting south of the station is where I used to meet certain ladies from Kendal High School - not for immoral purposes, but for the trading of real coffee, decent kippers and smokes, and other commodities not readily available to a pupil of Sedbergh School but obtainable in Kendal! I don't remember these trysts being disturbed by a volunteer tracklaying gang!

 

In fact, at the time (early 70s) the Settle-Carlisle was, as usual, under threat, and the whole town was convinced, on no evidence at all, that BR would relay and reopen Low Gill - Clapham and close the S&C. The coal merchant, incidentally, was already there and I think had been when the line was still open.

 

My late father was at school at Sedbergh during the war, and his beginning of term journey from Fencehouses, Co Durham, (grandfather being CE of the Lambton, Hetton and Joicey) took anywhere between 8 and 12 hours involving changes at any full perm of Durham, Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Kirkby Stephen and Tebay. Oh for the chance now!

 

I don't suppose you could take your representation just a little further south to 'Jackdaw Bridge', which is a magnificent structure? I'm sorry to admit that I 'liberated' an LNWR 'No trespassing' sign from there, which curiously is about the only relic of my school days I have left.

Well, I’ve spannered on a LH&JC loco, in the form of Kitson No. 29 at the NYMR. Jackdaw bridge is being considered, the spans both there and at Waterside are superb. Da Plan (such as it is) is to build a third and forth board, to go either side of the current effort, to take the line through your cutting to the south and also into the cutting north of the station. This gives decent scenic breaks at both end, a bit of ‘train in the landscape modelling’ and a bit of further interest.

 

In my mind the MPD is then between the cutting and Jackdaw Bridge, in the field to the west of the line, immediately after the A683 road bridge. So that’s another two boards and then Jackdaw bridge is the next landmark, so watch this space. But considering that’s going to lead to something that’s at least three times the length of the current effort...

 

Your telling of the coal merchant tallies with my understanding, there’s a reference to a dispute between them and BR in one of the books following closure of the line, concerning rent and delivery charges to the goods yard.

 

Owain

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And just a few more, after a day of play..I mean development and testing. The control system now lives in a suitable box (rescued from a skip many years ago). The mockup cassette has been worked up to a prototype (power comes through the two leads with croc clips on into the ally sides, at the far end there’s two jumpers screwed to the sides and soldered to the track. The track is some old scrap flex track, so ignore the missing sleepers. There’s still some work to do on the vertical alignment of cassette to track. The first point motors have gone in, with their control box (peco solenoid type, driven off the power supply for the DCC system) (wires alongside the box show where the second’s going). It’s coming along...

 

Owain

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Finally some proper model making, to give a break from the electrics and wood butchery. The goods shed has started to emerge, 5mm foam board carcass with Wills rough stone sheets and their excellent corbelling. As mentioned earlier, the lack of a through road can be seen. Also the addition of a doorway onto the platform (originally the platforms were roughly 2 carriages long, and stopped before the goods shed). As a distraction whilst sorting some boxes of assorted junk a rather battered forklift of unknown provenance was discovered. So with a little TLC, a new paint job and the overscale roof replaced with something a little more to scale, here we are!

 

Considering the monsoon yesterday revealed several leaks in the garage roof where the felts dried out over the last 6 weeks, so this afternoon was spent sorting that...not a vast amount of progress, but it’s moving

 

Owain.

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And a bit more proper modelling - had these wagons on the bench and couldn’t resist getting the paints out. The 16t mineral is based on one I remember seeing (think at the East Lancs) which was doing sterling service as a mobile bin. The effect on the conflat was unintended. - the aim was something nearer the 12t dropside, but I was a bit eager removing the excess wash, hence the original colour coming through. Can’t say I dislike it, to me it suggests someone painted the floor and that’s what remains of the paint. The sequence here is a coat of a light buff/tan, add different light greys, then finish with a dark grey wash. Still playing with it, but I think it’s getting there.

 

Yes, the TE 20 will be getting roped down, just looking for some pictures.

 

Owain

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I think the effect on that conflat is incredible! Very natural looking. I'd plan to model a preserved line myself at some point but with far less self control so I'm looking forward to seeing yours progress!

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I think the effect on that conflat is incredible! Very natural looking. I'd plan to model a preserved line myself at some point but with far less self control so I'm looking forward to seeing yours progress!

Well thank’ee, I can’t say it was the intended result, but I do like it (especially the results on and around the chain pocket lids, just what I was aiming for). There’s a second on the bench (along with another 16 tonner and a wooden body open) that’s going to emerge in a cleaner state (more recently overhauled) with a container on board, just need to find details of the securing chains for the container.

 

The preserved line is proving to be a lot of fun, from the world building, to working out the operational details (based firmly on prototype opps) to deciding what locos and rolling stock the line has, to the buildings (what survived and didn’t, what would have been added, what buildings would be used for in the preserved era) and station layout.

 

Owain

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Right, following a couple of hectic weeks at work, followed by a week at GDSF, here’s a quick update. Following a lot of thought the layout is going to double in length, with a board added to either end. This is to give a bit of a run of track plus to add a scenic break at either end with two accommodation bridges (both of which exist in reality). There’s a bit of compression here, but hopefully it won’t be noticeable.

 

The major effect of this is that the north crossover will now be on the (currently) unbuilt board, so the last of the track on the two station boards has gone down. For those who’re wondering, (1) shows a sketched track plan (which due to being sketched away from the layout shows the boards as wider than they are in reality, so it’s not gospel. Plus, the track on the southern, road bridge board will be laid in a gentle right hand curve, as per the original) with the proposed extensions and (2) is taken from Western’s book, showing the original layout.

 

One extension that has become reality is the second fiddle yard board (3) and extra cassettes (4). The point motors have all been wired up and commissioned, following extensive testing, I’m happy with them. A start has also been made on scenic matters, with some landscaping with plaster bandages and the track receiving its base coat of Matt brown as part of the weathering process (5) (paint used is from a spraycan of ‘chocolate’ from the Plasticote range). To my eye it’s a near as match for rail match sleeper grime, it’s cheaper and comes in a more reliable spray can.

 

Owain

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And a few more - where something that could almost be mistaken for scenery is starting to take shape! The plaster once dried has been treated to a coat of diluted brown acrylic where it’s going to be greenery and a rummage in the boxes has produced this gangers hut (cooper craft?) which seems to have found its new home. A tedious evening with dental tools and modelling clay has seen the cess defined (the brown square is where a sleeper stopblock is going, there’s also a ground frame plus rodding to the yard exit crossover to go in, the frame will end up near to the edge of the board) and the hut bedded in. The road/track/dusty mess up to the hut has started to emerge.

 

Owain

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Love this, it's a discussion that crops up every now and again about modelling preserved railways and what inspiration to take from them, I like your approach of keeping it real and not an excuse to dream of what could have been (not that there's anything wrong with dreaming!). Subscribed!

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Love this, it's a discussion that crops up every now and again about modelling preserved railways and what inspiration to take from them, I like your approach of keeping it real and not an excuse to dream of what could have been (not that there's anything wrong with dreaming!). Subscribed!

Well, thank’ee, too kind. This is something that intrigues me, if you set off to build the stereotypical bucolic GWR branch line (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it’s automatically panniers and small prairies, the morning milk doesn’t have a king on the front with two castles double heading the morning ‘all-stopper’. But as soon as anyone mentions modelling a fictional preserved line, then it’s dean singles, midland Pullman’s and gawd-knows-what-else before you can blink (and if that’s what you enjoy and want to model, then bully for you. It’s just not my beverage of choice). Just because it’s a preserved line, why should it be treated any different? Treat it as a prototype, with one major advantage, you can actually go and see this one in the flesh.

 

So, when (just to take an example) you’re working out how the yard exit would be signalled and worked, goathland on the NYMR gives you a good idea for rodding runs and point lock provision. I’ve assumed it’s a ground frame released from the box (to get the release, both crossovers have to be set for through running) because it would be used for shunting, and being at the opposite end of the site from the signal box a ground frame would be the easiest, safest and for a preserved line, cheapest. For a similar yard exit controlled by a lever frame within spitting distance of a signal box, look at New Bridge on the NYMR.

 

When you’re planning buildings, again, treat it as a prototype. Would a small NCB colliery have a loco shed that resembles Crewe works to house 2 austerities and a diesel? No, it would have either a wood/corrugated tin shack, or a minimalist brick building. So why would a preserved railway have palatial brick buildings? There would be any that survived, or possibly a replica if demolished, some built on the ‘as cheap as possable’ and the balance would be of the shack, container or portacabin variety. Look at the WHR, only now putting permanent buildings in at some stations, or the SVR with its portacabin buffet at Bridgenorth.

 

With Sedbergh I’ve assumed that what survives now (station building, goods shed, bothy, weighbridge hut and provendor store) exist. (I’ve ignored the house that’s been built over plat 2 and part of the track bed). The rest of the buildings are a Midland signal box (a lot of these came up for disposal from BR/network rail, they’re movable and it’s also a bit of a joke of the history of the line, LNWR vs Midland) (originally the block instruments lived in the station building, points were controlled by a lever frame on the platform. I can’t imagine HMRI/ORR liking this arrangement, so they’d probably insist on a separate signal box), a wooden hut (the sort of building a volunteer station group could or would build up) and several 20 foot shipping containers (the storage facility of choice of most preserved railways, easily delivered by HIAB lorry).

 

Anyway, it’s fun and keeping me out of trouble, so that’s OK.

 

Owain

Edited by Firecracker
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