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Michael Edge

Wentworth Junction

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With Herculaneum Dock effectively finished it's time to start on the next layout, using the same fiddle yard. 

Wentworth Junction was part way along the Worsborough branch of the Great Central, which bypassed Barnsley at the expense of a ferocious gradient. The junction (for Wentworth Silkstone colliery) was at the point where the gradient steepened to 1 in 40 and incorporated a siding for additional banking locos. In steam days these were mostly GCR 04 2-8-0s and of course the solitary LNER Garratt, all trains were banked up the hill since there were no catch points and there could be up to four locos for each train depending on the load. This was the first part of the MSW 1500v system to be switched on in 1951 and for a few years saw mixed electric and steam operation before the new Woodhead tunnel was opened in 1954. Even after the system went over to full electric operation the colliery trains were steam or diesel worked with no electrification of the branch itself. The colliery had no locos of its own, although the bankers, out stationed here from Mexborough, ran up to the screens for coaling.

Before anyone comments on this, the branch is usually known as "Worsborough" although the name of the locality is spelled "Worsbrough", the pit was known locally as Levy Tag or Levitt Hag - various spellings of this are seen.

Just to make things more complicated, the "up" direction is down the hill!

 

 

 

In order to fit in 25ft of shed this has been considerably compressed, all the track is there at the junction itself but large chunks have been left out at each end. The scenic break at the eastern end is the bridge carrying Gilroyd Lane, then Strafford crossing and the substation (on the site of Strafford pit) are included but moved closer to the junction. The western scenic break is Silkstone No2 tunnel at the end of a short cutting after the bridge over Moorend Lane. The tracks at A are at right angles to the baseboard joint, leaving open the possibility of an "exhibition only" extension here. 

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dodger5450/14227617468/in/album-72157630672613650/

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This trackplan should have appeared there:

 

post-1643-0-85301800-1533017813_thumb.jpg

 

This is a screenshot of the Templot plan for the junction pointwork - fairly complex in a small area.

 

post-1643-0-95524800-1533017915_thumb.jpg

 

Finally a view of the junction from the colliery branch as it is today, now part of the Trans Pennine trail. 

 

post-1643-0-12681800-1533018243_thumb.jpg

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Looks like a very good project, does this mean that the em1 kits will be ready soon,?

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Not exactly soon but this is the project they are required for. I do have enough steam stock to work the layout before the OHLE is completed though - I hope it won't take as long as the original did, I think the LNER started installing masts here in 1939.

 

post-1643-0-65338700-1533037062_thumb.jpg

 

For the moment Herculaneum Dock takes up a fair bit of space in the shed but there's room all round it. The fiddle yard was originally designed for use with with Wentworth Junction but still needs some pointwork to connect to the colliery branch - this will be just this side of the control panel.

 

post-1643-0-83442100-1533037243_thumb.jpg

 

 

post-1643-0-54719300-1533037271_thumb.jpg

 

The other side of the shed is a lot clearer, the new boards will be nowhere near as wide as Herculaneum Dock which is 4ft wide at the back end of Brunswick shed.

 

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Well I shall be reading this thread to keep up with the developments.

 

Regards Richard

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Looks a really interesting project. Electrification of the prototype was delayed by a world war, hopefully that won't affect your version !

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Looks a really interesting project. Electrification of the prototype was delayed by a world war, hopefully that won't affect your version !

 

Next best thing, Brexit!

 

I too shall be keeping an eye on developments, my Orgreave/Rotherwood might come back into prospect.

 

Mike.

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An excellent idea for an exhibition model, is the intention to keep to the 1939-60 period or also have BR blue days as well.

 

Personally I think the 2-8-0s were what made the route, a model of Dunford with permissive block working and trains buffered up to other trains waiting to enter the tunnel would be an interesting prototype to model.

 

But the EM1s in black had something about them too if a little less visually appealing.

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I doubt it will get to BR blue, that would need a second fleet of EM1s, minimum number to work the layout would be 10. Steam/electric transition period (1951-4) will probably be the most interesting but that would exclude green electrics. Nothing much changed until near the end when the track layout was rationalised following the closure of the pit in 1973 (last few years were all mgr operation, down the Wath rather than up the hill to Barnsley Junction).

I already have one electric loco for the layout - 26510 - even though it never actually got there it was intended for Worsborough and I can borrow a Garratt.

The Worsborough branch was permissive block up to Wentworth Junction, absolute block from there to West Silkstone.

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51-54 sounds perfect, I was right to assume this will be one for the exhibition circuit wasn't I?

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As a Barnsley lad I’m very much Looking forward to this Micheal

 

 

Brian

 

Dear Brain.

If there is one thing that upsets us Michaels, it's being called Micheal!!

 

Mike.

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A few photos from a walk along the line some years ago, starting at the right hand (Wath) end of the plan. Winter was a good time to do this without all the leaves on the trees.

 

post-1643-0-42345700-1533217872_thumb.jpg

 

This is Gilroyd Lane bridge which will be one scenic break, some OHLE bits remain in the deck. Like many of the overbridges this one was rebuilt for electrification with a new concrete deck.

 

post-1643-0-04231700-1533218501_thumb.jpg

 

post-1643-0-72409900-1533218060_thumb.jpg

 

These cottages will appear on the layout but there will be very few buildings, most of it is open countryside.

 

post-1643-0-24949300-1533218171_thumb.jpg

 

Next is Strafford crossing, there was small signal box and two signals here but very little left now.

 

post-1643-0-12575600-1533218372_thumb.jpg

 

This underbridge will make a nice feature.

 

post-1643-0-58763000-1533218608_thumb.jpg

 

This is the site of the large water tower at Wentworth Junction.

 

post-1643-0-35663300-1533218722_thumb.jpg

 

The siding on the up side at the junction (which appears to have been used to shunt the empties from Barnsley Junction) was originally a line into another pit. This was Sovereign pit, some of which remains in the trees at the side of the line.

 

post-1643-0-34285000-1533218963_thumb.jpg

 

The OHLE only went a few yards along the branch, one of the anchor posts was mounted on these concrete blocks. I've only found one photo of electric working off the branch, four EM1s visible in the shot but there must have been a diesel there as well to get the fulls from the pit.

 

post-1643-0-37337800-1533219178_thumb.jpg

 

Quite a few mast bases survive in the undergrowth.

 

post-1643-0-75142500-1533223235_thumb.jpg

 

Moorend Lane bridge, looking from the outside of the layout.

 

post-1643-0-90377500-1533223342_thumb.jpg

 

View from the trackbed, tracks were slewed apart here round the central girder.

 

 

 

post-1643-0-52676300-1533223480_thumb.jpg

 

Silkstone No2 tunnel forms the end of the scenic section, this one is quite short, No1 tunnel is longer and a little further up the line towards West Silkstone Junction where the branch joined the line from Barnsley. This latter is still in use to Penistone and Huddersfield, the only part of the eastern side of the system that still has passenger trains.

 

I do have plenty of photos of the line in operation but can't put them here for copyright reasons. Most of the views are from the junction, I've not found any of the up side of the water tower and WJ signal box, only one photo of Strafford crossing box and only one of the Strafford sub station.

 

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Difficult to realise it's been shut 37 years now. When we were doing site visits to Deepcar I sometimes took my son. I took pictures of all the masts we were going to build with my son standing underneath to give some scale on the photos, he was about 7 but I forgot to measure how tall he was at the time, d'oh!!

Looks an excellent project, to borrow a cliché, I'll keep an eye on it:-)

 

Edit: I think I'm right in saying this will be the second or perhaps third Woodhead exhibition layout based on a prototype location. I expected there would be more with the release of an RTR class 76/EM1

Edited by great central

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Ooh err...lots more coal wagons.....how many and what sort are required?

 

Baz

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We're still waiting.

 

Mike.

I've bought a shed load of Heljan EM1s from Hatton's of late.

Such a shame about the glaring errors but I suspect it will remain the best RTR 76 we'll ever get.

Thus, I'm more than willing to correct most of the issues.

Still grates though, the missed opportunity that was on a plate.

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There will be a kit without the errors eventually, for the moment I've acquired two of the DC kits mouldings to develop all the running gear with. The 5% overscale is less glaring than the errors in the Heljan model.

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Can I ask about the 1 in 40 gradient, are you going for a true 1 in 40, level or a compromise?

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I'm still thinking about that, the experiment with the fiddle yard boards was at 1 in 40 and everything seemed to work OK. However this means a similar gradient down in the fiddle yard (which would make the kick back sidings at this end more or less unusable) or a gradient in the wrong direction on the colliery branch. I think some compromise may be necessary as 1 in 40 brings the tunnel mouth nearly 4" above the junction. I've just cycled up there this afternoon and the abrupt change of gradient at the junction is still apparent so it has to be there. Silkstone tunnel cutting is mostly jungle now, this is the view from the inside of the layout, it's a deep steep sided cutting.

 

post-1643-0-30798900-1533487880_thumb.jpg

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Mike

 

I wouldn’t worry about the gradient on the layout. Unless I am mistaken the incline didn’t start until several hundreds yards further on from the junction. It began just after the Down starter (28) signal which was placed nearly 900 yards from the box. I think the change in gradient you can see and refer to above has resulted from mining subsidence. Remember the original track bed here served another colliery (or two) up the line here before the line up to West Silkstone Jn was built. I cycle on here quite regularly and you can still see where the two split (if you look hard enough). This is about where the starter signal was and you can see the significant change in gradient which I think is the start of the 1 in 40. I am also assuming that the 900 yards would allow a train to attach pilot and banking engines here and restart before having to tackle the gradient.

 

By the way I think this location is an excellent choice for a layout and look forward to the its evolution. Personally I have a real fondness for the Worsborough branch and have always thought that West Silkstone Junction and Wombwell Main Exchange Sidings along with Wentworth Junction would all make great layouts.

 

Happy to help wherever to make the layout as good as it can be.

 

John

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It's got to have a gradient somewhere, don't forget I'm leaving out a mile or so. I didn't notice the Moor End junction yesterday so it must be getting very hard to spot.

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Ooh err...lots more coal wagons.....how many and what sort are required?

 

Baz

 

Mostly what we already have (including the 24T ones) and coke hoppers for the Barrow-Northwich train. What we are really short of for this in its early period and Herculaneum Dock are lots of wooden coal wagons, preferably with degraded PO liveries.

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Got a few wooden Pos including two Upton ones. Will check various storage boxes and see what else is lurking

Baz

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