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Mainsforth Terrace - West Hartlepool in the 60s


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I normally model the West Riding in the 1950s but with the recent proliferation of suitable RTR NE prototypes (Q6s, K1s & J94 along with some stuff I already have – WD and an Ivatt 4MT) I’ve been thinking about a side project based on West Hartlepool MPD as it’s my home town. I’ve kicked around ideas for a couple of years ranging from full layouts to static dioramas.

 

West Hartlepool was a sprawling shed complex, so the original idea was for a simple static diorama concentrated around the coaling stage. The coal stage model was started a couple of years ago, but before completion I paused and evolved the idea into a larger working scene including the water softening plant, water tower and diesel point. The modeled area is 5’ x 1’2” with a small fiddle yard at either end. The size of the layout is determined by a spare shelf in my modelling shed. The setting will be around 1964-67.

 

I intend to present the layout in full Iain Rice-style with proscenium arch, with a curved front and a drop on lighting rig lid. The back scene will be quite simple since behind the coal stage were the main running lines, a wall and the sea beyond.

Here’s the coal stage:

 

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishswissernie/26395578668/in/album-72157690450489312/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishswissernie/39556612704/in/album-72157690450489312/

https://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/photos/670910_1.jpg

 

And a couple more can be found in this post here:

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/126628-50-years-since-the-end-of-steam-in-ne-england/page-2&do=findComment&comment=2883890

 

And the water and treatment facility:

 

https://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/photos/670910_2.jpg

https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishswissernie/43915046884/in/album-72157690450489312/

http://www.hhtandn.org/relatedimages/12405/locomotive-mainsforth-terrace

 

This is the final plan and concept:

 

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This is the construction of the coal stage. A few bays have been omitted due to space constraints. I still need to make the hinged coal chutes. Since the layout will be in a shed it is prone to occasional damp conditions so, from experience, extra precautions must be taken with card buildings. Once all card stock has been cut it is sealed with a spray lacquer before brick papers are added and further sealed with matt varnish. So far, this method seems to be holding up with the two-year old parts of the coal stage showing no adverse reactions to the damp. The rafters are 3d printed.

 

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That was the state of play at the start of summer. Since then the baseboard has been constructed (all ply) and most of the track has been laid.

 

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I would normally make my own turnouts with C&L/Exactoscale components but for ready availability in the local model shop and speed of construction I’ve gone with Peco bullhead pointwork and plain track. I’ve removed the webbing in several areas where it will be more obvious, but I’ve not bothered everywhere as most of the track will be gunked up with muddy ash up to the base of the rails. The Peco bullhead rail joiners can be a little fiddly but are very robust and look surprisingly good. The Exactoscale ones look better but I find them too flimsy. As well as the actual rail joints I also slide the Peco joiners onto the rail at regular intervals to represent track panels. For droppers I use a copper clad sleeper with etched-brass folded chairs (Pete Harvey). The dropper wire is inserted into the space beneath the chair and the whole lot soldered.

The turnouts have been modified slightly: the butted-up sleepers have been removed and replaced with a single long sleeper and the diverging curve from the vee has been straightened at the same time. These bad photos illustrate:

 

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One of the turnouts has also been curved slightly to fit the track plan. This is easy to do with these – there is a degree of flex built-in and by cutting out some of the webbing this can be increased further. I think some further detailing of the turnouts will be in order.

 

A couple more posts will get us up to date.

 

Edited by AJ427
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Looks like an interesting project and very nice modelling.

 

I visited West Hartlepool shed on 2nd September 1967 just before closure. Not a great quality photo, a couple of WDs, 90627 & 90360.

 

 

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Looking good. Impressive work on the coaling stage. 

  

A few years ago I fancied the idea of modelling a run down NE depot c1967 and looked at the possibility of using a simplified version of West Hartlepool. 

Still waiting for a RTR J27 !

 

Regards

Alan

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Next I thought I'd tackle the water softener since it's such a dominant feature at the front of the layout.

 

A bit of tube packaging found at work provided the basis for the water softener. An article on the LMS Society proved useful but there is still a lot of guess work here, especially the top which needs further detail. The cardboard tube was sealed with lacquer before plasticard paneling was added. A cut-out was made to seat the small hut (it will be reached by a ladder). The railings use Ratio stanchions. Note the birdbox-like protrusions on the side. No idea what they are for. There seems to be a small concrete building that some pipes go into between the softener and the brick water tower, but it’s mostly hidden on every image I have.

 

This is what we are aiming for:

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and here:

http://www.hhtandn.org/relatedimages/12405/locomotive-mainsforth-terrace

 

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Here it is painted and weathered. Still some pipework to add and whatever is going on with the top behind the hut. The patch panel on the side was to cover up an area where the very thin plasticard had almost melted through to the card base.

 

post-7745-0-17319300-1541580308_thumb.jpg

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Next job was the ash pit which was constructed from plasticard and an aperture cut-out for it. Of course, sod's law, I'd forgotten to pre-plan this feature and had to cut into one of the bearers to make the aperture. To make it look like concrete, the pit was treated using the same method Andy York used on his Keyhaven layout (http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/page/index.html/_/articles/layouts/keyhaven-r56) – i.e. sprayed with Plasti-Kote Suede and then wafted over with white and grey primers. This will be further weathered later. C&L chairs hold the rails in place.

 

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The final post to bring us more or less up to date. The ramp up to the coal stage is shown here under construction. This is a thick card construction overlaid with Wills stone sheet. Obviously, the real structure must have started to collapse at some point and supporting piers were added. These are a mixture of brick piers and concrete blocks. The concrete blocks were constructed and finished in the same way as the ash pit. Since these pics it’s been further painted with washes and some individual stones picked out to provide variation.

 

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Next up I made a start on the coal stage office (weighbridge office I guess?). The door has been left open – I have a mind to put a fire effect in here – I’ve drilled a hole through the floor to allow this later. I’m not happy with the windows. The hut is shown here plonked onto the coal stage/ramp assembly. I will be redoing the brickwork on the base to match the rest of the coal stage.

 

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With the ramp fixed in place and most of the track now laid, something I should have done earlier: tested the feasibility of the ramp. Due to the compressed space, it’s quite steep at around 1 in 14! (What was I thinking). The Heljan Hunslet is a lovely runner and has no trouble, shoving three wagons up with ease and four wagons up with only a little wheel slip. The DJ Models J94 is another matter. It just about manages three in reverse but going forwards it’s a jerky nightmare and can barely get up light engine. To be fair, the J94 is jerky on the flat and has not been run in (but then again, neither has the Hunslet) so that might improve the jerkiness at least. I’ll have to look into it. Perhaps adding some weight will help? Realistically there will only be three wagons to push up due to the length of the fiddle yard so that will make it a bit easier. It’s a pity the DCC Concepts Powerbase needs to be fitted before tracklaying. :banghead:

 

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Note that the brick piers have yet to be fixed in place and there is a missing sleeper where a dropper sleeper needs to be added.

The hut has been further painted. The roof is meant to be felt – I’ve represented this with Plasticote Suede again, here washed over with grey/blacks. Still need to do the windows - fiddly job. There has alse been a bit more work done on the ramp. The concrete retaining blocks have been further treated with washes of mucky green to represent the micro-fauna build-up typical of concrete. You can’t see it too well on these images.

 

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With the ramp fixed in place and most of the track now laid, something I should have done earlier: tested the feasibility of the ramp. Due to the compressed space, it’s quite steep at around 1 in 14! (What was I thinking). The Heljan Hunslet is a lovely runner and has no trouble, shoving three wagons up with ease and four wagons up with only a little wheel slip. The DJ Models J94 is another matter. It just about manages three in reverse but going forwards it’s a jerky nightmare and can barely get up light engine.

 

Apart from the jerkiness of the J94, I think that would be pretty prototypical. There was a Caledonian Railway branch in Greenock - the Overton papermill branch - which averaged 1 in 30, with a steepest section of 1 in 13. It was worked by Caley pugs, which had roughly the same tractive effort as the Hunslet, and they were limited to 3 loaded wagons in either direction. (All trains were worked with the engine on the downhill end, naturally enough.)

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Looks very good. Never saw the shed but locos from there were the motive power for fulls and empties to and from Horden. All locomotives I saw in the pit yard were really grotty and covered in black/grey/ dark rust crud with a lot sporting burnt shoebox doors.

Baz

Edited by Barry O
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Apart from the jerkiness of the J94, I think that would be pretty prototypical. There was a Caledonian Railway branch in Greenock - the Overton papermill branch - which averaged 1 in 30, with a steepest section of 1 in 13. It was worked by Caley pugs, which had roughly the same tractive effort as the Hunslet, and they were limited to 3 loaded wagons in either direction. (All trains were worked with the engine on the downhill end, naturally enough.)

 

Thanks. That's good to know. Obviously model locos don't follow prototype specs but I'm sure once the J94 is run in it will be fine. :) 

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Looks very good. Never saw the shed but locos from there were the motive power for fills and empties to and from Horden. All locomotives I saw in the pit yard were really grotty and covered in black/grey/ dark rust crud with a lot sporting burnt shoebox doors.

Baz

 

Thanks. I was born a couple of years after the shed closed but from photos it was very rare to see any loco that was less than pure filth. A major weathering operation will be required at some point.

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Hi Andrew

 

Very nice. It is good to see someone has modelled the part of a loco shed where most movement takes place, not a big building with locos tucked inside, like I have done in the past.

 

The other week I was a show where there was quite a large steam depot, loads of locos, biggish shed building, loco lift but I could not see a coal stage.

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Hi Andrew

 

Very nice. It is good to see someone has modelled the part of a loco shed where most movement takes place, not a big building with locos tucked inside, like I have done in the past.

 

The other week I was a show where there was quite a large steam depot, loads of locos, biggish shed building, loco lift but I could not see a coal stage.

 

Thanks Clive,

 

In this case, space (or lack of it) has probably been a blessing, in effect forcing me to focus on this part of the complex. It also cuts down on the number of locos required as they wouldn’t be permanently stabled or stored in this area but going about the business of coal and water and dropping the fire. Although this kind of thing cannot be accurately modelled I do hope to include some visual effects (smoke, fire glows, etc) to provide atmosphere and better illustrate what’s going on.

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Over the weekend the next task has been to add kick-over point levers, buffer stops and paint/weather the track. Everything had been previously sprayed with Railmatch sleeper grime. Rather than painting the rails, chairs and then sleepers I’ve tried something different here and used pigments from AK Interactive. Applied with some of SWMBO’s discarded make up brushes these went on very quickly. I did the track rust first (Medium Rust) followed by the sleepers (Burnt Umber and Smoke with some City Dirt and Europe Earth). Note – it’s very messy during application so masking off areas that you don’t want covered in rust is a must. For some reason the rust pigment seemed to travel much more than the other colours.

Once happy the pigment is fixed with white spirit (as advised by AK). This is applied with a loaded brush and touched to the top of the rails and near the sleeper ends. Capillary action does the rest. I think I used about three capfuls of white spirit to fix the whole layout. Once dry the colour tones down quite a bit. Note that it’s still possible to rub off the weathering with vigorous use of a cotton bud but it’s not going to be removed with casual handling.

Also added are the bases for the water columns.

 

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The shelving in the shed has been modified. This is the new location for Mainsforth Terrace.

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This better shows the treatment on the concrete blocks mentioned earlier.

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And a better image of the softener tower now that I have more vertical space to actually place it on the layout.

post-7745-0-27029500-1542618143_thumb.jpg

 

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Thanks for the information about AK Interactive and how the pigments are applied. I hadn,t heard of them before, and the results look really good. Did you also use them on the loco?

 

Alan

Edited by 60091
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Thanks for the information about AK Interactive and how the pigments are applied. I hadn,t heard of them before, and the results look really good. Did you also use them on the loco?

 

Alan

 

Hi Alan,

The B1 was done a few years ago. I can't remember the exact method used but some weathering powders will have been used in the process as well as airbrushing - essentially using similar techniques to Tim Shackleton. I also used the Lifecolor range of arcylic washes.

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Looking great. The pic with the B1 reminds me of this one at North Blyth with a B1 in front of the coaling stage.

 

This was the only time I ever saw a B1 at North Blyth. I found out later that the shed had a couple of B1s allocated towards the end of steam.

 

 

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Edited by Alcanman
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Looking great. The pic with the B1 reminds me of this one at North Blyth with a B1 in front of the coaling stage.

 

This was the only time I ever saw a B1 at North Blyth. I found out later that the shed had a couple of B1s allocated towards the end of steam.

 

 

attachicon.gif61386 at North Blyth.jpg

 

Nice pic which reminds me that it's time for an update.

 

At the weekend I started working on the water tower. There were two adjacent to each other in the period modelled but I only have space for one. You will note on the concept drawing in post #1 that I was going to model the strut-built one but instead I’ve gone for the brick one as it will be a better scene blocker.

 

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This was the first attempt at the tank built from plasticard with the curved corners/base from Maquette quadrants. The panel joints were simply thin strips of masking tape. As can be seen there was some warping and I thought I could do better so I came up with this:

 

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The base is the same but the sides are made from brass sheet. Large scale brass-work is not my forte but I’m quite please with this.

The panel strips are plasticard. I also added some internal tie-bars from brass wire. There would likely have been some other internal supports (like this one of similar design used in NSW, Australia http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oCFMtvzwqmc/T2xTZESI7EI/AAAAAAAAAb8/_OhkWUGXyMM/s320/ungarie.JPG) but I’ve not modeled these as they will be largely unseen and underwater.

 

I’m also working up the design for the brick base. I’ve drawn this up in CAD so I’m now developing it into a kit (of sorts) based on a Scalescenes downloadable brick pattern. Pre-war photos show the tower as a stand-alone structure with a door at ground level, whereas post-war a balcony was added reached by a steps with a door at balcony level. The building looks to have been extended towards the water softener, but details are scant. Due to this and lack of space I will not model the extension but I’m intending to show the balcony and have the ground floor door as a bricked up feature. Further steps will lead from the balcony to the adjacent water softener.

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Unfortunately, the weekend was largely filled with xmas shopping so just had time for a few smaller jobs on the layout.

 

I’m trying to get the buildings finished before I start work on the ballast/ground cover. In particular, I want to get the coal stage complete and fixed in place.

 

I’ve redone the hut with clapboard and incorporated some windows. These were drawn up and laser printed onto OHP transparency. Obviously, you can’t print white but the windows on the hut appear to be black/grey anyway. There was pretty much nothing between this hut and the North Sea, so to prevent the occupant from freezing to death, a Train-Tech fire effect has been installed beneath! I think the effect needs containing somehow as it looks like a raging inferno inside.

 

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The next job was the coal chutes on the stage. This is the prototype:

 

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I’ve done these as a one piece brass sheet folded up to form the sides and hinge section. The strapping was formed from nickel silver strips (culled from discarded etched frets). These just need priming and then rivet decals adding.

 

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