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chris p bacon

Sandy, GN & LNWR, Sandy & Potton Tramway.

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I have thought about starting a layout topic but it has taken a while to get going on it, so what is it about ? well it could be one of two things, either,

A recreation of the environment and workings of Sandy from its GN days through to mid 70's BR eastern, with the focus on train formation rather than a specific time period.
or
An absolutely lunatic project.

As this progresses you can make your own decision as to which one it is !

So what's happening ?

well I made a start quite some time ago and there has been some progress, it tends to go in leaps and bounds and like so many I am at the mercy of work and the wife, work is just one of those things but my wife is something else ! she is at the moment Mayor (leader of the council) of our town and the commitments that come with that can easily fill a calender, so where I used to get at least a few hours on a Sunday if nothing else, that has been eaten into, but progress does get made if a little eratic.

So over the next few days I hope to bring you up to date with progress so far and maybe gain more knowledge to help spur me on.

I am very fortunate that I have the means and ability to build a dedicated railway room just off the living room, it does not have much natural light as it faces North and there are trees outside of that window, but the room is 28' x 11'6". Up until now most railways I have built have been a succesion of "test tracks" where after a while they get used to try out ideas, but I have always since a small child wanted to build Sandy, why ? well it is where I was born and still live. It was an important and busy station with lots of traffic, and as luck would have it on the best railway of all.....the Great Northern......

So starting with baseboards I have always used 2x1 or 3 x1 with a sundeala top but this time I have used 9mm Birch ply ripped into 100mm strips and jointed.

post-4738-0-28356600-1338746663.jpg

This is just some of it in the workshop during construction, the boards are large as i wanted to cut down on joints and if it moves it is because we are moving house, each board is divided into 1 foot cells with a 50mm hole drilled through each bay for cables etc, even with a drill stand and good cutters I nearly lost the will to live, as it took about 5 evenings to create a pile of birch firewood.
The start of the boards being assembled in their dedicated room.
post-4738-0-70928200-1338746890.jpg
As you can see the natural light levels are certainly not perfect.
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more to come later my tea is ready........roast beef mmmmmmmm

Edited by chris p bacon
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I think Sandy is an excellent choice of prototype. Look foward to seeing it develop.

 

The ECML certainly seems to be in favour at the moment, at least model/layout wise.

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A no-brainer this - it has to be Sandy. I spent so many hours up on the sandhills trainspotting, having either cycled from Cambridge, or used the 'Bletchley' to get me there. And when I got a bit bored(!) I cycled down into town to the turning near the fire station for an ice cream from the shop on the corner.....happy days.

 

Stewart

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Hi chris p bacon.

 

3 things attracted me to this thread: "LNWR", your question "was this wise?" and your username!! Although I'm modelling 7mm blue diesel period, I'm interested in the LNWR. I'm looking forward to finding out why you think maybe something wasn't wise - particularly as I'm building a biggish layout at the moment.

 

Hope you enjoyed the roast beef, Chris - oops, sorry, Dave!!

 

Rod

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A no-brainer this - it has to be Sandy. I spent so many hours up on the sandhills trainspotting, having either cycled from Cambridge, or used the 'Bletchley' to get me there. And when I got a bit bored(!) I cycled down into town to the turning near the fire station for an ice cream from the shop on the corner.....happy days.

 

Stewart

 

Sandhills ! I think you mean the Bedfordshire mountains.. :laugh:

 

The ice cream you brought would of come from Suttons, which was started by Grandfather in 1928/9 but by 1958/9 was owned by My Uncle Arthur...........small world..

Edited by chris p bacon

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Another gap in the ECML plugged, and a very interesting one at that. I had considered Sandy myself - mind you I think I considered just about everywhere South of York- but fitting in the LNWR side as a working part of a layout always beat me. I shall be very interested to see how you are dealing with that. The very best of luck with it anyway. Is it wise? Doesn't matter so long as it's enjoyable.

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A bit more background and further update.

 

Another of the many reasons for Sandy is the sheer variety of motive power and stock that passed through, being born in 62 the blue/grey era is nostalgia for me and I only have vague recollections of the Oxbridge line working, but the yard still had some freight.

I have amassed a reasonable collection of photographs from 1890 onwards of the line from Stratford brook in the South to the flyover to Bedford in the north, as well as spotting logs of the last 5-7 years on the branch.

On the branch apart from the expected classes working through such as BR standard tanks on pass and 8F's on fuel tanks for deepdale fuel dump (Potton) I can quite legitimatly run either a Hymek or a Western on a troop train to the east, such was the variety.

The next pic shows the completed boards.

post-4738-0-87028900-1338763253_thumb.jpg

 

They do look a bit "flat earth" but the terrain is flat in the station and yard area, but North of that they will be built up.

 

Now we move on to track planning and laying

post-4738-0-28154300-1338763266_thumb.jpg

I decided to go down the Peco code 75 route (this was before i found Eastwood Town and Peterborough North...drat) I have been happy with it, it is reliable if laid well, but I do love the look of those 2 layouts and have seriously contemplated changing to SMP/C&L, quite simply for me it has come down to cost, for me to try building it would add something like another £1500 to the track bill, and there is also the cost of the point motors to factor in as they would have to be Tortoise or similar. Whereas i have used seep, a lot of which I already had, I do think though that the sheer complexity of the track plan may have defeated me had I tried to build it myself, for example the exit from the down yard to the up slow has 4 double slips and a diamond all in a row ! not for the faint hearted.

The track plan itself.

On the wall in pic 005 above is a copy of a plan I was allowed to borrow, it is a GN 1911 boundary plan at 50' to the inch, it has incredible detail and is extremely accurate, recently i scaled the plan of the LNWR building to mark its position, and at the same time took a trip over to Potton station which is still with us, they were identical buildings but a mirror image, after measuring and photographing Potton I produced a drawing which when compared to the 1911 plan proved its accuracy.

 

post-4738-0-22444800-1338764397.jpg

 

So tracklaying began, there has obviously been compromises along the way, I have had to compress the layout from South box to the platforms by 1/3rd and the platform length by a 1/4, from Potton rd bridge to Cambridge rd/flyover has had to be compressed by 1/4. The formation as it passes through Sandy is on a gentle curve which you can just make out on the plan, I laid this out time and again on the boards trying to get that "sweep" but each time it had to be opened out a bit more to overcome one problem or another, until finally it was straight, after laying out templates and flexi i settled on it being straight, not perfect but far better than the alternatives, for it to replicate the formation even in its compressed layout the room needs to be about 3-4 feet wider, I am willing to sacrifice the living room but my wife wont hear of it.

post-4738-0-57145400-1338764914.jpg

This is the area of the station platforms the GN is furthest the LNWR nearest.

 

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Yep it's a big "roundy roundy", I have a few ideas that will change the look at this end (South) and the North end has quite a bit to be added so it should lose this look in time.

I'll post some more over the next couple of days.

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Looking forward to further developments. On occasional schoolday afternoons (in 1962) when there were no games I used to get the train from Bedford and spend the afternoon on the station spotting with a mate from Potton. Great days, Deltics plus plenty of steam, even filthy WDs which we didn't see on the Midland. Super Ds used to work through to Cambridge but I don't remember seeing one at Bedford St John's after about '59. Westerns worked (very) occasional freight to Cambridge in about '65 IIRC.

Pete

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This takes me back to a single visit from Oxford in the early 60s, with the school railway society. A long sunny day with very different classes of loco from our usual fare. I'll try to find some photos.Looking forward to following this thread.

 

thanks

 

Dave

Edited by unravelled

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Hi

as an x bedfordian myself living in langford and having relitives in biggleswade/sandy/potton and gamlingay am watching this layout with interest.

In my youth i just remember the flyover at sandy carrying the line from bedford-cambridge which came down the bank into sandy station although being dismantled at the time.You mention westerns going to cambridge which is news to me and i had a mate sadly passed away now who did have 2 photos of warships in the area but no westerns.In my early spotting days i only saw westerns at bedford and bletchley but is with your layout a great way to act out times gone by and i also a many a time stood on the sandhills watching deltics/47s/31s and 40s go by but also my memories will stick with seeing westerns at bedford running round back to leagrave on stone trains.

Look forward to more welcome updates.

richard.

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Ok back again to continue with progress so far.

 

So by now apart from the fiddle for the branch, 90% of track has been laid, as this is a centrally heated room and subject to my wifes use of the thermostat I wanted to let the track settle in for a while before ballasting. I am glad I did as it showed in just a couple of places that i needed to allow a bit more expansion, easy to deal with either with a cutting disc or Xuron's.

 

So progress has been made with the wiring, as mentioned i used Seep point motors, I would have sessions of soldering electrical tails to 5-6 at a time then fitting them to the board underside, one problem with having such large boards is that everything has to be carried out upside down, and sort of the opposite way round which is fine for left hand or right hand, but for things like the 3 way or double slips, I found myself pencilling a basic diagram on the underside just to remind myself of the correct orientation.

 

Track power, what do i do ? When DCC appeared lots of people poo-pood it as an expensive gimmick as the chips cost £30 and we all have too many locos to convert. I must admit i didn't warm to it at first and sat on the fence, then I saw it in operation and just what can be done with it, I was a convert ! But what system ? I wandered around warley (NEC) one year looking at different suppliers but just couldn't choose, they would all suit my purpose but it seemed such a big investment I had to be right first time. I carried on wiring the point motors and running it on basic DC (one engine in steam) for some movement but the time was coming when I had to choose, so i decided on my birthday to have trip out to pick something up, I had made a list of suppliers and made sure they were open before jumping in the car armed with my wallet, a couple of hours later I found myself in the only model shop in Digby at Digitrains, I have nothing but thanks for them, they have a test layout where you can try the systems before purchasing, and surprisingly for me I chose the NCE system. It was not one on my "shortlist" but when using it I found it easier for me. Which re-enforces the "try before you buy" motto.

 

So back home the NCE was incorporated into the control panel and the 2 wires to operate it were installed.........did someone say it is a 2 wire system.........well it is as there are 2 wires at every one of the 100 + droppers !!

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Some of the many......

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The NCE power pro with the control panel.

post-4738-0-80158800-1338830176_thumb.jpg

I have used the old fashioned "stud and probe" method as it is easy to wire and troubleshoot, the panel is large just to accommodate the plan rather than the wiring !

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From the underside everything is labelled, bundled and colour coded, so far there have only been a couple of glitches (my soldering) which have been ironed out.

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I suppose I could of made it smaller but i wanted it clear to read for any one visiting.

 

Next up will be scenery, I haven't mentioned locomotives or stock yet, suffice to say that there is movement in the form of Pacifics.....and a bit of blue grey..

Edited by chris p bacon
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Westerns on freight to Cambridge? News to me as an avid Cambridge trainspotter! (though I never said no). We had a Western (D1008?) at Cambridge once on a passenger, mid 60's, and possibly a repeat (same loco?) late 60's. Also Hymek D7060 came in with a rake of SR coaches on a football special, I've posted the pics on here before. Before the era of your layout as I'm more interested in the early-mid 60's, but could quote lots of locos that worked the line.

 

Stewart

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Westerns on freight to Cambridge? News to me as an avid Cambridge trainspotter! (though I never said no). We had a Western (D1008?) at Cambridge once on a passenger, mid 60's, and possibly a repeat (same loco?) late 60's. Also Hymek D7060 came in with a rake of SR coaches on a football special, I've posted the pics on here before. Before the era of your layout as I'm more interested in the early-mid 60's, but could quote lots of locos that worked the line.

 

Stewart

 

The notes I have been given show it as a Weymouth to Cambridge special possibly via the Oxbridge, But I have also been told of 2 independant sightings at Sandy for this date (10/4/65) of a Hymek, Soi I presume it to be the same.

 

The Western was also sighted by 2 people (1 bunking off school ?) on a troop train rather than freight, I can't put my finger on the note for that (blame my filing).

 

Other things of interest that come up in the notes are 3/4/64 73070 hauled 3213, 3219, 4910, 6133, 63?5 to Norwich for scrap (Kings I presume) 31 haulage from Cambridge, that would of been something to see.

 

I hoping that more info will come out of the woodwork, I don't think I can replicate Great Northerns attention to detail with Locomotives and formations, but I sure gonna try and have fun on the way!

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Very good a location I always enjoyed my lunch break when working in the area,I parked on the lane that followed the line towards London ,saw Deltics etc and then the wires went up not so interesting then.Like the way your trackwork flows look forward to seeing developments.

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There were numerous scrap locos hauled throgh in batches for Norwich, usually staging at Cambridge for a day or two. I have records of most of them.

 

Stewart

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Many thanks LNERGE, I have some signalling info, as an ex signalman (G H) still lives in Potton station and I see him at least once a month, but it is always useful to have more, and I have not seen that second one before (except for when we were let in the box........sshhh)

 

I love this site !

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It's a small world.. The ex signalman you mention is a regular visitor to my Ely boxes... Super railway by the way.

Edited by LNERGE
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Holy cow you've got a lot of track on this layout. I think you'll be very happy with NCE, its a great company with very good products.

Dave

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Holy cow you've got a lot of track on this layout. I think you'll be very happy with NCE, its a great company with very good products.

Dave

 

I have had to leave a bit out ! there is one transfer siding missing between the GN & LNWR, and had I decided to model pre 1930 there was a set back on the up in the cutting North of the station, as well as a crossover from down to up, that was left out as it's postion was on the transition into the curve (does that make sense ?) which I was unable to do.

Another reason for handbuilt track........duh!

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You had to leave some out???!!!!!! This type of thing is really very different from the modeling we do here in that states. Of course the prototypes that inspire us are really different from the prototypes you guys have.

I can't wait to see more progress. I'm getting ready to move so my layout has been taken down. The new house has a lot of room for a new "empire" and I'm busy arm chair modeling and getting ideas from the world wild web.

Dave

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.........presumably a very quiet period, especially on the LNWR side where a set of steps has been placed one of the running lines, next to the platform face.

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View north 12 October 1969

 

I'd say it was after closure.

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