Jump to content

EdwardAJames

Ashwell in N Gauge: Help for a new modeller.

Recommended Posts

Hello to the forum (I hope this is the right place for this!). 

 

I am Ed, and am new here as you can see, and also pretty much new to model railways. At best I am returning after a long break! I had a OO model railway as a child the baseboard and track of which was built for me by a willing uncle, and Frank Dyer of Borchester Town/Junction fame was actually a family friend who I used to enjoy visiting, but this was some time ago now. However, I have recently rekindled my interest in the idea of building a model railway again, deciding that a small branch line layout in N gauge was likely to be the most practical way back into the hobby in terms of space and perhaps also financial considerations (until I looked into how much locomotives were - smaller engines do not mean fewer £s!). Anyway, I have been lurking here for a bit, reading up, and have also bought one or two books on the basics. I am pretty practical, being used to modelling and indeed renovating houses, but lack skills in electronics beyond basic household wiring, so this part in particular will be a challenge. Doing things with Arduino fascinates me, but I wouldn't know where to begin. I am not even sure about DCC! 

 

I wanted to try and model a real place, because I enjoy the research and thought that goes into models like that, probably influenced by Frank Dyer's way of thinking about the hobby. I liked the idea of trying to depict a small bit of railway as it might have been in c.1935-1950, I thought modelling my childhood home railway station, Ashwell in Hertfordshire, would be a good start. It's on the Hitchin to Cambridge branch, double track line only now, but historically it had a small area of sidings and a goods shed which served the local villages, including Fordham's Brewery in Ashwell - I have nice visions of running a beer train down to London. It has a handy road bridge to the southwest side, which will be useful for hiding the 'exit stage left', and I figured a bit of creative license would permit another hedge line on the northeast to do the same at that end, with the sidings in between. It was built by the GNR, but I understand GNR is very difficult to model in N owing to lack of available RTR and kit form anything, so my plan was to try and model the LNER in the first instance, but if that failed then go early BR! I will be asking some more questions elsewhere on the forum about sources of information for things like working timetables, evidence of what sort of train formations might have worked from the sidings and how they would have operated, and the right form for the now long gone signal box and signals etc. It's a small station, so I guess it will be difficult! 

 

My question here is about help with the layout design, because despite initial enthusiasm, I have become slightly overwhelmed. I thought my idea would be something relatively achievable, a small layout, not too complex to design and build (and wire up!) However, the more I read and look at some of the build threads on here, the more I begin to think I may have been sadly mistaken. I struggled to find any plans whatsoever in any archives for Ashwell, except for the Ordnance Survey map. The best one predates my era somewhat (1898), but later lower quality maps show that the track arrangement did not (in theory) change much into the 1930-50 time period.  Great, I thought, I'll just scale that to 1:148 from 1:2500 (which I think I've done, but I might have fallen foul of screen DPI vs actual size!), and design my layout based on what it shows. After more research, I found SCARM and Anyrail, and played with SCARM first today, roughly scaling from the screen. The attached is where I have got to. 

 

My worries relate mainly to the dimensions it is showing. As it was N gauge, I hadn't expected it to get to 4m long - that's bigger than my old OO layout, and about 1.7 m more than I have in the room I am likely to use...andI feel like it shouldn't be that big! My plan was to have a layout that had a loop round the back with a fiddle yard out of sight - this is shown only simply, I'd like to have more sidings than shown. But now I am wondering whether it's just not possible. What I am hoping is that someone vastly more experienced than me with the process of designing based on real places could judge whether and how I have gone wrong? And if I haven't, I would very much like people's advice on how I could achieve something along the lines of my vision above. Suggestions from seasoned designers would be very welcome. I tried to attach the actual SCARM file here, but it wouldn't let me, so it's just a screen snip. 

 

SCARM question: Is there a way of uploading the OS plan to it at the right size for N gauge, so that you can just trace your layout over it? That would be brilliant. 

OS Map printout: How do those who talk about having the scale map in hard copy print it out? Do you take it to a local shop? 

Trackwork: I chose Finetrax code 40 rail (more research) because it just looks so much better, although I am slightly nervous about it - have I bitten off more than I can chew with it for my first layout?!

Books or other websites: Are there any, besides RMWEB, which I would find invaluable in my quest? If so, I will seek them out on people's recommendations. 

 

I think those are enough questions for now, and for my first post, and I look forward very much to any help you're able to offer. 

 

Thanks, 

 

Ed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashwell_Model_Railway_Plan_V2.jpg

SCARM LAYOUT 1.png

19055166_1424449284281057_2194685205516912444_o.jpg

ashwell-morden-railway-station-photo.-baldock-royston.-cambridge-line-1-..-1685-p.jpg

ashwell-morden-railway-station-photo.-baldock-royston.-cambridge-line-2-1686-p[ekm]660x417[ekm].jpg

  • Like 1
  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ed,

 

I agree with your maths. Measuring on Google maps from the overbridge to my best estimate of where the headshunt would have ended is nigh on 600m, so almost exactly 4m in 1:148 scale. It's just a very long thin station.

 

If you can't accomodate that length you need to compress the track plan somehow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked at Ashwell in the early 80's, I spent time in the booking office and when you were assigned to Baldock you had to go to Ashwell 3 times a week to cash up.

On one visit I had some free time so wandered around the old goods yard which was being used by 'Jones Cranes' looking for any old GN remnants. I did find it a very large area to walk and so I'm not surprised it's come out at 4m.

 

I model the GN (1900 -ish) and having looked at 2mm 20 years ago, found there was little to no trade support so stuck with OO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Harlequin said:

Hi Ed,

 

I agree with your maths. Measuring on Google maps from the overbridge to my best estimate of where the headshunt would have ended is nigh on 600m, so almost exactly 4m in 1:148 scale. It's just a very long thin station.

 

If you can't accomodate that length you need to compress the track plan somehow.

 

Thank you for your response.

 

Damn, hadn't thought of using Google maps to measure. I hadn't really thought it was that long and thin but I guess you're right. That's a real shame. If you were trying to compress it what would you do? I would settle for "something that was a bit like" it if it could be made to work in a similar way. It's quite early days as you can tell. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, chris p bacon said:

I worked at Ashwell in the early 80's, I spent time in the booking office and when you were assigned to Baldock you had to go to Ashwell 3 times a week to cash up.

On one visit I had some free time so wandered around the old goods yard which was being used by 'Jones Cranes' looking for any old GN remnants. I did find it a very large area to walk and so I'm not surprised it's come out at 4m.

 

I model the GN (1900 -ish) and having looked at 2mm 20 years ago, found there was little to no trade support so stuck with OO

I remember those cranes! The whole thing is a scrap car place now. I'm going to try and have a mooch round and take some photos soon. Don't suppose you took any? I'm fairly sure it's unstaffed now. Bit of a change to a Victorian photo I have with at least 6 porters hanging around. 

 

I get the impression not much has changed with regard gnr, except if you do lots of bespoke kits or rework lner stock, and I figured my skills wouldn't be good enough yet. Do you have any recommendations for sources of info? 

 

Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, EdwardAJames said:

 

Thank you for your response.

 

Damn, hadn't thought of using Google maps to measure. I hadn't really thought it was that long and thin but I guess you're right. That's a real shame. If you were trying to compress it what would you do? I would settle for "something that was a bit like" it if it could be made to work in a similar way. It's quite early days as you can tell. 

I would try shortening all parts of the goods yard and removing one of the two back sidings.

Also allow the right hand end curve to be partly visible in the scene and bring it in closer to the station, allowing the headshunt to follow the curve almost until it meets the scenic break.

 

The track crossing the yard diagonally from the cattle pens looks very awkward if we trust that the surveyor plotted it accurately. I would take it's exact layout with a pinch of salt but if it is roughly as shown then the junctions with the back sidings are so sharp that they suggest it was only ever used to shunt wagons and vans around manually or by horse. If that's right then it's tricky to decide what to do with it in a model.

 

Edited by Harlequin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, EdwardAJames said:

Do you have any recommendations for sources of info? 

 

It depends on what info you are after. I'm the membership sec for the GNRS but I can't say offhand what we have in relation to Ashwell.

 

As far as modelling the GN/LNER in 2mm look at Atso's thread on Hadley wood.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both for your help thus far. Other things have got in the way but the design process is on going, and I'll be back hopefully with something to show for it at some point. This will be a long term project. Hadley Wood looks absolutely stunning. I wish I had the room, and indeed the money and time! 

 

I am currently reading The Signalman's Trilogy which, although set in Oxfordshire, gives me the impression that horse or manual shunting may well have been the order of the day pre-war...which as you say makes it a little difficult to model. Fairly sure working N Gauge Horses are not possible.

 

In terms of information, the thing I'm really after is information about the type and frequency of trains along that line, and if it's possible any information about private owner waggons that might have operated out of the station. In particular Fordham's brewery in Ashwell I think operated some wagons from there, but I know no more than that. This is all to help me towards the end goal of a layout that 'feels like' Ashwell in around about the 1930s or so. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.