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G-man69

WW2 Era Railway crossings.

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Hi all,

I was kindly given details of this site as a potential source of help by J S Smith (callsign: southpier) over on the  RailRoad Modelling site.

 

I'm after some help please, I will say upfront that I am not a railway modeller, so have the most basic of understanding when it comes to railways, especially of a bygone age.

I am intending to build a 1/35th scale diorama over in Armorama , sister site to Railway Modelling. The diorama will depict British vehicles and troops crossing a branch line level crossing somewhere in the southwest of England during the build-up to D-day.

Can anyone provide me with information regarding size of gates, length and height, their construction, e.g. timber sizes, hinges and other fittings, etc. Their colour, and the type and colour of signage that might be found on or around such a crossing. The sort of clearance between the railway line and adjacent landscape, the sort of cabling and infrastructure to be found alongside the railway line in and around a British level crossing? As I'm going to have to scratch build this I'd like to be as accurate as possible.

Any support or guidance would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Cheers, G.

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Hi Campaman,

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond, much appreciated.

 

I'm thinking more of a country lane, what would nowadays be classed as a 'B' road, not sure if such classifications were around in the 1940s.

 

I've only had a glance at the link, but it looks as if it'll provide some useful information relating to colour and signage, thank you.

 

Below is a PowerPoint sketch of the sort of thing i had in mind, a country lane passing over a single rural track, not sure if it helps or not, :).

 

Thanks again,

 

G

Picture1.png

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I'd doubt you'd have two pairs of wicket gates on a small road like this. There would be a (normally cast) sign near each wicket gate, advising that is an offence to trespass on the railway. Another thing to note is that the road might not be Tarmaced, but made of crushed, rolled,  stone; there had been a policy of Tarmacing roads from the 1930s onwards, but not all would have been done.

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Depending on how accurate you’re looking to be, different Railway companies used company specific equipment. If you look at a map and choose which county and or town you want to set your diorama in, that would then give a good idea to select which company practitioners follow. If you know which area the vehicles you’re modelling embarked in that too would help point to which railway company to use.

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The variability in practice was huge, so you might be better finding one LC on which to base your model.

 

As an illustration of variability, some LCs would have had no gates at all ...... which would be untypical, but easy to fit into your rather tight space.

 

1938 road signs below:

 

 

047AE244-24BD-4971-861A-0748105D3FC7.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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11 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

The variability in practice was huge, so you might be better finding one LC on which to base your model.

 

As an illustration of variability, some LCs would have had no gates at all ...... which would be untypical, but easy to fit into your rather tight space.

 

1938 road signs below:

 

 

047AE244-24BD-4971-861A-0748105D3FC7.jpeg

 

The "Crossing No Gates" situation would be mainly found in situations where industrial or dock lines crossed the public highway, trains crossing in that situation would be protected by flag men, as they would be in the rarer cases where a light railway crossed a road.

 

 

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There was an old manually operated crossing on a colliery line through farmland near where I grew up.

 

Just heavy wooden barred gates, normally set across the "road" (farm track), that had to be swung inwards across the rail lines to allow a vehicle through, then moved back to their normal position.

 

I seem to remember each side had a double gate, but I could be wrong & it was just a big single gate each side.

 

Generally the layout was something like the one in these photos, over a double track.

The photos are probably the era you need anyway:

https://www.1900s.org.uk/images-1940s50s-level-crossings.htm

 

Edit - I believe the gates on the one I remember were more this style:

http://haylingbillyheritage.org/places/langstone/langstone-level-crossing-circa-1900-1914-from-the-roger-nash-collection/

 

Edited by RobjUK

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Hi Fat Controller,

 

Thank you for the feedback on the wicket gates, signage and road surfaces is brilliant, it all goes towards getting the 'look' right.

 

Cheers,

 

G

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Hi PMP,

 

Thanks for the comments, I'm thinking of the diorama being set somewhere in the South Devon area.  It'll be a fictitious unit on maneuvers in the build up to D-day.

 

That clarification will help me focus in on the 'look'.  In my ignorance I'm presuming all lines in Devon/Cornwall would have been GWR in the 1940s?

 

Thanks again,

 

G   

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Hi Nearholmer,

 

Thanks for the information on the types of level crossing, and all the links.  I've not yet had a chance to look at them but am certain there'll be useful information in them.

 

Thank you,

 

G

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3 minutes ago, G-man69 said:

In my ignorance I'm presuming all lines in Devon/Cornwall would have been GWR in the 1940s?

Depends on where you are, South Devon east of Exeter and North Devon / North Cornwall from Ilfracombe to Padstow were largely Southern Railway.  

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Hi Hroth,

 

Thank you for the link to the signage, that's going to be very useful.  As to the type of gate I'm thinking of something along the lines...no pun intended...of the old Dapol kit (see image below), but without the ramps.

 

Thanks again,

 

G

 

 

Dapol.jpg

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Hi RobjUK,

 

Thanks for the feedback and the links, I haven't yet had chance to check them out but I will do so asap.

 

Thanks, and cheers,

 

G

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Hi SignalEngineer,

 

I'm thinking South Devon, say below what is now the A38, heading coastwards, Dartmouth-to-Plymouth sort of area...would that be GWR territory?

 

G

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Both SR and GWR, certainly in the Plymouth area., the SR having a “back door” route into the area. There were sections of line over which trains of both companies ran, but each section of line belonged to one or the other.

 

On the map below, the LSWR lines were owned by the SR in your period.

 

 

4B17B129-90D1-4AF7-875A-856837493E35.jpeg

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1 hour ago, G-man69 said:

Hi SignalEngineer,

 

I'm thinking South Devon, say below what is now the A38, heading coastwards, Dartmouth-to-Plymouth sort of area...would that be GWR territory?

 

G

The South Hams area used for landing craft training was GWR country, with lines from Newton Abbot to Kingswear, Brent to Kingsbridge and Plymouth th Yealampton.

 

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Hi SignalEngineer,

 

Thank you for the clarification, I'm not sure whether it makes a difference to the style of a level crossing, but it might have an impact on some elements.

 

Thanks again,

 

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Not many public road crossings in the area but the best example of a rural road would be Topsham Bridge Crossing on the Kingsbridge branch. Looks to have had hand operated gates and wickets.

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22 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

The variability in practice was huge, so you might be better finding one LC on which to base your model.

 

As an illustration of variability, some LCs would have had no gates at all ...... which would be untypical, but easy to fit into your rather tight space.

 

1938 road signs below:

 

 

047AE244-24BD-4971-861A-0748105D3FC7.jpeg

Beat  me to it!

I suspect there were many more ungated crossings pre-War than the 1950s when I remember them.

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Hi SignalEngineer,

 

Thanks for your feedback, I've found some good period images of Topsham Bridge, also one at Staverton, nr Totnes, which appears to be two single gated crossings serving a central platform, one track each side of the platform.

 

Cheers,

 

G

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5 hours ago, G-man69 said:

Hi PMP,

 

Thanks for the comments, I'm thinking of the diorama being set somewhere in the South Devon area.  It'll be a fictitious unit on maneuvers in the build up to D-day.

 

That clarification will help me focus in on the 'look'.  In my ignorance I'm presuming all lines in Devon/Cornwall would have been GWR in the 1940s?

 

Thanks again,

 

G   

Some ‘general’ context. South of a line drawn Dartmouth Plymouth it would likely have been GWR or a earlier constituent company. In simple terms the busier the line, the more complex infrastructure required. The Dapol Crossing you highlight would be of a type associated with a busier line and would likely have been controlled by an adjacent Signal Box which sounds like it’s heading away from what the concept is.

Less important lines, light railways and industrial lines would have less infrastructure requirements and I’d suggest these might get you closer to what you’re after. I’ve found an image from the Forest of Dean, Ruspidge Halt which may give the look you’re after. 

https://www.sungreen.co.uk/Cinderford-Glos/ruspidge_halt.html

 

This is a 1960’s view of one side of the crossing, the other side would be very similar if not ‘mirrored’. By this time it’s run down, and in poor shape, but gives a good impression of what I think might fit your brief.

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55 minutes ago, G-man69 said:

Hi SignalEngineer,

 

Thanks for your feedback, I've found some good period images of Topsham Bridge, also one at Staverton, nr Totnes, which appears to be two single gated crossings serving a central platform, one track each side of the platform.

 

Cheers,

 

G

Apparently Montgomery travelled on the Kingsbridge branch a couple of times to view the exercises taking place in Start Bay which means he would have travelled over Topsham Bridge Crossing.

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