Jump to content

By Rail to Victory: March 1945 Exercise Meteor


MyRule1
 Share

Recommended Posts

As work started today on a room over a cart-lodge that will be able to contain the first (and probably last) permanent model railway layout I have been able to build. I thought I would start a thread on this. This will be a long term project but I would like to complete it by the end of 2024.

 

For many years it has been my ambition to construct with a second world war theme. My thoughts have been through many iterations but I have not decided on a very specific time and location. This is based around the following:

 

The Operations Record Book of 512 Squadron contains the following entry

 

Exercise Meteor” Instructions were received on the 20th March that the squadron would move up to R.A.F. Station Gosfield to carry out exercise “Meteor”. Twenty-four aircraft and crews were to be provided plus 5 reserve crews. Squadron was to be screen for Routine Air Transport commitments as from p.m. on the 21st March 1945.

 

The lines below then appear

 

Exercise "Meteor" however never materialised, and it would appear that is was purely a security blind for the airborne operation across the Rhine, this operation being called "Varsity".

 

That references RAF Gosfield but many of the airfields in Essex that had been vacated by the US 9th Airforce we also brought back into use for operation Varsity, The crossing of the Rhine also required support from the heavy bombers of the 8th Airforce based at RAF Ridgewell and bases in Suffolk.

The layout should reflect the activity on both road and rail. As far as possible the layout will reflect the position around March 1945 I will be looking to convey an impression about what was taking place rather than a fully accurate representation.

 

As to the location – I am looking towards the centrepiece of the layout being a station somewhere in North Essex with a small goods yard. Although the final dimensions of the layout will have to await the partial completion of the building I am looking at around 5m of length. I am not particularly into shunting so a simple dumb-bell type layout with the ability for trains to pass would be adequate. The layout will be DCC and I am happy with the electronics required for a reverse loop.

 

 

 

Edited by MyRule1
amended title
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Work continues on planning but has paused for a few days on the physical location for the model!

barn.jpg.86689d2039f1abdf52d203123b226e10.jpg

 

Hopefully it will have the initial roof structure in place next week.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Sounds like this is right up my ally. Trains and paratroopers what more does a boy need? Hmm...maybe a castle to round it off but hey 2 out of 3 ain't bad as the song says.

Regards Lez.

Link to post
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, lezz01 said:

Sounds like this is right up my ally. Trains and paratroopers what more does a boy need? Hmm...maybe a castle to round it off but hey 2 out of 3 ain't bad as the song says.

Regards Lez.

If you want a castle my model would have to be of Clare station, which is within my geographic area. The station was built in the castle grounds. As Clare is a ruin a better bet might be Sible and Castle Hedingham although the Castle is some way from the station. There is an excellent Malcolm Root painting of two J15,s on a train plus B17 bomber plus Castle.

Edited by MyRule1
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Originally my plan for this project was to model a real site, but I have now amended that. Taking my inspiration from Pendon (although I will not be attempting to replicate their quality) I have decided that the model will just try to convey what part of North Essex was like in March 1945. As with the Colne & Stour valley railways the line will follow a river and all the buildings will be based on structures that existed in the area at the time. As I have no desire to build a "standard" Great Eastern Station the selection will come from one of the smaller Colne Valley Stations, although I may amend the track layout as I require a passing loop, platform and goods shed.

 

I have also altered the title of this thread. The revised title comes from the LNER's own account of the war which is one of the books informing this project,

By Rail to Victory.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • MyRule1 changed the title to By Rail to Victory: March 1945 Exercise Meteor

Although I feel I have all the books that I probably need for this project, the most recent general book covering railways in wartime is this one.

 

9781848024823-uk.jpg.4be50fad11dc1ea19e1b40d1251988ad.jpg

 

Although it seems to have an claimed retail price of around £50 there are plenty of copies available at under £10 so I thought it would be worth purchasing. Delivered yesterday.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Planning continues and  the layout has a name.  Again as in homage to Pendon but also to give a reference to my chosen geographic area the  name is Hinckford Parva. Hinckford is a name rooted in history but has limited use now. The only place you will currently  find it is in the name of a group of Church of England parishes,

 

All the buildings for the layout will selected from buildings in the area.

 

As it is likely that track laying will not start until after Easter. The initial build for the layout will be:

 

DSC04842.JPG.596c0dbd714dea830d13ca960a140a04.JPG

 

This selection of vehicles. Once non-essential car journeys are allowed I will also be venturing out to carry out some surveys of buildings in the area.

Edited by MyRule1
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Although the laying of track is someway off, I thought I would have the first attempt at a proposed track plan. This one is taken from the Great Yeldham signal plans.

 

track.jpg.487e0b6f9c41a4e4b34d2083fd92af17.jpg

Please note that at the moment the length of the various sidings and the loop are not set. The red rectangle is the station platform, the grey on a road and the purple track are what are shown as sidings on the plan, The storage areas would come off the two loops. The basic concept is that this would allow for two trains to run automatically passing in loops in one mode otherwise it would be run with limited shunting into sidings.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Nearly a month without posting on this thread. I am carrying out some yet more background research for the layout  and through another forum have been sent a picture of USAF ground crew unloading bombs from trains, which is an extremely useful picture as it shows how the bombs were loaded in the wagons.

 

Next week the roof should be on the cart lodge, but as it does not have a floor at the moment Easter is looking rather optimistic for occupation.  So in the meantime I have utilised an off cut from the builders work to prepare a small test layout. On the actual layout the village will be at the front.

 

 

DSC04881.JPG.d897cd433504ce9a2e1e1cf375a4ae47.JPG

The idea is that the goods yard (six sidings) will be filled with wagons and there will be a number of US trucks in the process of taken the bombs and other supplies away. There is a road at the end of the station which will have fuel being brought from the local tank farm (in this case Chappel and Wakes Colne). At the back is the main road on which a convoy of British lorries is taken the troops to local airfields for Exercise Meteor. The single building at the back just represents the start of the village which will sit between the dumbbells at each end. The centre of one loop is planned to be a farm.

 

Work is starting this weekend on some of the buildings. For anyone who is asking what is underneath this board - it is my N gauge layout on which work will continue when I have moved this board.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Two weeks later and

On 16/03/2021 at 19:26, MyRule1 said:

Work is starting this weekend on some of the buildings.

was slightly optimistic,, but things are progressing. Slight back story to this first building. In the 1950's my  father made a large number of Micromodels. These were a series if small card kits, many of which were of buildings. I still have a number one of which is the Bull Inn in Long Melford.

 

DSC04915.JPG.331c05860d5d4a1b5c89b9fb9a967672.JPG

 

Obviously I had no inkling in the 1950's that 50 years later I would move to the area and then today be working on a project which would include models of local buildings.

 

So a modern reprint of the model was purchased.

DSC04914.JPG.201b95d94c777e2d5f22fa9b2b7368a1.JPG

 

as this to to an unknown scale I scanned the cards and then upsized than to A3 and as a test made a trial build,

 

DSC04942.JPG.54f8519dd69f73c11e9b5abcf447d4db.JPG

 

this proved the concept of upscaling the cards, but placing a 1/76th scale figure next to it shows it is slightly too small. Nothing wasted at this stage, apart from a few hours and blades. Will now print to the new size. 

 

Yesterday I had a reason to drive through Long Melford an took a number of pictures. Here is the actual building and my father's model.

 

DSC04933.JPG.358f4bb86d20d8a72ee5eaea734cfa2e.JPGDSC04918.JPG.daef4447c7bcb6127af406255f427d23.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
On 17/02/2021 at 16:48, MyRule1 said:

As it is likely that track laying will not start until after Easter.

That statement proved somewhat optimistic  but some modelling and much planning has taken place as follows:

 

Although the layout will be set in March 1945 I want to include various elements of village life on the Essex / Suffolk border during WW2 and each will be represented.

 

Allied army – a convoy of vehicles passing through the village on the way to an airfield for Operation Varsity. To date I have not found any documentary evidence about how troops were moved to the various airfields so at present this will be a mixture of Airfix Bedford’s and probably a Matador or two.

 

USAAF 8th and 9th Airforce – the edge of an Airfield will be build using Nissen huts etc with various trucks. A B-17 will be “in the air” but other planes could be substituted.  The main representation regarding the USAAF will be trucks loading in the railway goods yard. Here Airfix/Heller GMC trucks will be in the main, but other makes might put in an appearance if I can get them at a reasonable cost.

 

The Railway – Hinckford Parva will be the fictional station at the heart of the model. Although a fictional location the layout is based on Great Yeldham as will most of the buildings. It has one platform and a passing loop as well as a goods yard.  

 

 

The village – the main street will contain buildings that present the main institutions of a rural community: inn, church, school, post office, police station, village shop. All these will be based on local buildings although where commercially available buildings, such as Scalescenes, look like the prototype these will be used.

 

Agriculture – a small section of a farm will be present.

 

Defence – As the Home Guard were formally stood down on 3rd December 1944, and  became an inactive reserve unit until 31st December 1945 this aspect of local life will be represented by one or more pill boxes. The river Stour in Sudbury and the railway being part of the Eastern Command Line.

 

As I continue to build various elements of the model, and will post the research and modelling stages as I go.

 

 

 

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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...