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Are you offering to write it then? ;-)

It would have a space on my bookshelf even though I'm not a Southern man. I find a lot of the 'dark places' where only the trained could venture so fascinating, but which has passed away undocumented. I fear that unless there are lots of photos that exist that show the inner workings that such a book might not be able to be written.

 

Andy G

(I suppose you could encompass all uk electrifications in one book, which might give you more scope!)

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The book to start with, if you can find a copy, is this one: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Electric_Railways.html?id=cpFEm3aqz_MC&redir_esc=y (I think this link lets you read a bit on-line ........ go direct to Chapter 4 if you want to see some myths and misunderstandings busted).

 

Naturally, it doesn't contain "modeller's detail", any more than a general history of, say, railway signalling would, but it does treat the subject properly, describing the key points of the infrastructure as well as the trains, and he is very good with citations, so its easy to follow-up detail.

 

After that, the best places to go are the articles in old journals, notably The Engineer, Engineering, and Railway Gazette, but also the IMechE and ICE journals. Usually, one of the non-institution journals published a good descriptive article when each major project was finished. Strangely, the IEE/IET journals are of less direct help to the non-specialist, because they tend to dive straight into deep water, and a good sprinkling of maths.

 

Then, there are contemporary textbooks, several of which span both the 'visual' and the mathematical. But, they are not easy to get hold of, unless they are available free to read on line, which a few really important ones don't seem to be.

 

One thing I would say is that it would be fairly artificial to treat the SR separately from other d.c. systems, notably, but not exclusively, LT/LUL, because they are, to all intents and purposes the same.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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3 hours ago, uax6 said:

Are you offering to write it then? ;-)

It would have a space on my bookshelf even though I'm not a Southern man. I find a lot of the 'dark places' where only the trained could venture so fascinating, but which has passed away undocumented. I fear that unless there are lots of photos that exist that show the inner workings that such a book might not be able to be written.

 

Andy G

(I suppose you could encompass all uk electrifications in one book, which might give you more scope!)

 

Unfortunately i'm not an expert on such things, otherwise I would probably give it a go.

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I don't think that a book is really necessary for modelling purposes - it would be more of a pamphlet.

 

It would be good if the subject was better understood though. I've seen a lovely model of one of the Bournemouth line 4 track substations (relatively rare if you're a substation spotter, only 5 were built, and they were all between Fleet and Worting Jn) in an equally charming model of a 2 track line in South East London. I doubt anyone else is bothered, but it it really spoiled it for me. The 8 troughs for 4 track feeders...

 

But then substations are the only thing I really know anything about.

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Re the suggested book. As one of the relevant Society officers needed to OK the matter I am confident the SLS would consider publishing a book of circa 64 pages & cover/intro with short print run batches of about 60 a time if (a) someone writes it and (b) 50% of the initial run is covered by pre-orders. We are not just about steam, despite popular perceptions, this would be a good one to add to the range. Target price for a volume of 64 pages - £9.50 (£7.50 members)

 

It would be a nice follow up companion to our existing book Eclectic Electrics and complimentary to one of our future publications, a work I am slowly preparing covering aspects of the Waterloo - Weymouth line.

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On 31/05/2019 at 21:57, Geep7 said:

 

although still waiting for someone to write the definitive book on SR substations.

Is it a companion volume to GWR fire bucket history?

Edited by kevinlms
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  • 2 months later...

Noseying around when I was supposed to be doing serious I was charmed to come across Benfieldside posted here as a classic layout being re-exhibited in Hampshire. 

But although the layout featured NER rolling stock it bears no resemblance to the Benfieldside I know hanging above Shotley Bridge's  classic Italian restaurant  (still run by descendants of 1920s emigres from the marble mountains up behind Lucca).

The layout  has island platforms and a townscape not shown on a  NLoS six inch map of 1900. Did these old modellers simply freelance when adapting their cerial packet buildings?

dh

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On 28/05/2019 at 14:12, SD85 said:

Jamaica Reach (RM 1995, can't recall the month) was another great layout but I can't find out much info on what happened to it. It was made by the North Devon MRC I think (they also made another layout called Cadiford Water?) but this group doesn't appear to be publicly functioning now. Any further info on this layout or the group?

 

 

The North Devon Group was a small group (They weren't a "club") dedicated to building quality and usually quite large exhibition layouts, with a WestCountry GW/SR theme.    

Over the many years I knew them I lost count of the number of layouts that they built, but they were always one of the stars of the South West shows.

Sadly I think Anno Domini has caught up with most of them, but as far as I know many of the layouts were saved.  Where they are now though, I couldn't say.

Cheers, Dave.

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1 hour ago, runs as required said:

Noseying around when I was supposed to be doing serious I was charmed to come across Benfieldside posted here as a classic layout being re-exhibited in Hampshire. 

But although the layout featured NER rolling stock it bears no resemblance to the Benfieldside I know hanging above Shotley Bridge's  classic Italian restaurant  (still run by descendants of 1920s emigres from the marble mountains up behind Lucca).

The layout  has island platforms and a townscape not shown on a  NLoS six inch map of 1900. Did these old modellers simply freelance when adapting their cerial packet buildings?

dh

 

Benfieldside was originally built by John Wright and was featured in Model Railway Journal No 38, way back in 1990. It is not as ancient as some of the layouts featured in this thread and John is not as ancient as many of the modellers featured either! Having said that, it was built around 40 years ago so is not exactly new.

 

I saw it again recently after it being off the exhibition circuit for many years and it is still a very nice layout indeed.

 

It is fictitious but based on real railway practice in the area. 

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On 29/08/2019 at 16:50, t-b-g said:

 

Benfieldside was originally built by John Wright and was featured in Model Railway Journal No 38, way back in 1990. It is not as ancient as some of the layouts featured in this thread and John is not as ancient as many of the modellers featured either! Having said that, it was built around 40 years ago so is not exactly new.

 

I saw it again recently after it being off the exhibition circuit for many years and it is still a very nice layout indeed.

 

It is fictitious but based on real railway practice in the area. 

 

…………...Benfieldside will be ExpoEM Autumn in Wakefield in a week's time.

 

I have posted a number of blog posts on either it or stock/signals for it which you can find here.  As Tony said, built by John Wright who is very much still with us and now in the custody of some friends of mine and is slowly being restored.  

 

Here is a view of what you get to see...……….

 

1035454555_IMG_0661(2).JPG.952ae494175cc7c4f23144aa2c66b2ee.JPG

 

 

Mark

Edited by Portchullin Tatty
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Lovely pic above, thank you

Of course it is fictitious - I now realise I've been thinking of the real Blackhill, (once called Benfieldside) which closed long before we moved to Tyneside in 1975.

I  enjoy cycling (slowly) up the Derwent Valley Way along the old NER line via Linz Green where the murder was (then rapidly back down again  to Swalwell) in winter when the trees are bare for the spectacular views 

Blackhill looks to have been just a two platform station with goods yard, but nevertheless was timetabled as the terminating station

  • from Newcastle Central on the famous ascent (for iron ore trains) up via Pelton up via Beamish and Annfield Plain to Consett and
  • again as the terminating station on the even more exciting old S&D line from Darlington down via Shildon, Bishop Auckland, Crook, then over the high moors via Tow Law and part of the old Stanhope & Tyne down over Bouch's spindly Hownes Gill viaduct to Blackhill. Several sections of this route were old S&D inclined planes. 

The most frequent timetabled service was up from Newcastle Central via Scotswood and the Derwent Valley to Blackhill (allowed 5 mins arr-dep) and thence via  Lanchester and  Witton Gilbert to terminate at Durham and v.v.

 

No wonder John Wright fictionalised Benfieldside as an exciting station in a bustling historic town centre (which is almost true of Shotley Bridge as an English Toledo for Sword making)  :)

dh

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2 hours ago, runs as required said:

Lovely pic above, thank you

Of course it is fictitious - I now realise I've been thinking of the real Blackhill, (once called Benfieldside) which closed long before we moved to Tyneside in 1975.

I  enjoy cycling (slowly) up the Derwent Valley Way along the old NER line via Linz Green where the murder was (then rapidly back down again  to Swalwell) in winter when the trees are bare for the spectacular views 

Blackhill looks to have been just a two platform station with goods yard, but nevertheless was timetabled as the terminating station

  • from Newcastle Central on the famous ascent (for iron ore trains) up via Pelton up via Beamish and Annfield Plain to Consett and
  • again as the terminating station on the even more exciting old S&D line from Darlington down via Shildon, Bishop Auckland, Crook, then over the high moors via Tow Law and part of the old Stanhope & Tyne down over Bouch's spindly Hownes Gill viaduct to Blackhill. Several sections of this route were old S&D inclined planes. 

The most frequent timetabled service was up from Newcastle Central via Scotswood and the Derwent Valley to Blackhill (allowed 5 mins arr-dep) and thence via  Lanchester and  Witton Gilbert to terminate at Durham and v.v.

 

No wonder John Wright fictionalised Benfieldside as an exciting station in a bustling historic town centre (which is almost true of Shotley Bridge as an English Toledo for Sword making)  :)

dh

 

Sorry to disappoint you but John conceived this as a line in Cumberland running parallel to the Maryport & Carlisle close to Sillouth.  

 

I (and indeed the layout's owners) would agree that the stonework and style of architecture is really rather more NE than NW and we did discuss whether the opportunity would be taken to relocate it but it was considered that it should remain true to its builder's intent. 

 

Given that the line was imaginary we do have discretion to decide that there was an important town "down the line" that somehow got forgotten by Britian's cartographers before is was inundated by the sea and lost for ever.  Thus, we can run some relatively main line stock that would not in reality have made it to Carlisle!

 

 

Mark 

 

 

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On 28/04/2019 at 03:52, PatB said:

I'm not sure if it's been mentioned before (maybe even by me), but does anyone else remember the Stronalacher Saga in RM in the late 60/early 70s, starting with a RotM and then subsequent articles on various aspects of the layout. A properly worked out railway system of an imaginary Scottish prototype, using mostly very nicely scratchbuilt motive power was something of a contrast to the vaguely Welsh, exclusively Egger stocked and often, frankly, not very good rabbit warren that was the more usual contemporary NG norm.

 

Several of the locos survive in the 009 Society Heritage Collection.

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On 31/08/2019 at 22:43, RJS1977 said:

 

Several of the locos survive in the 009 Society Heritage Collection.

For some reason, though it was obviously a very nice piece of modelling,  David Mander's  Stronalalcher never quite did it for me. The not entirely dissimilar line that I did really like though was the late David Lloyd's Augher Valley Railway, a 00n3 Irish railway that was entirely imaginary but seemed very typical of the Irish three foot gauge lines and entirely credible.  I only knew it from his articles in RM and don't think he ever finished it before moving on. I've also heard that his layouts didn't run very well but from all accounts neither did  the Madder Valley (though it does now!) 

 

I've been trying to think why I respond to them so differently and think it's because so many narrow gauge layouts represent a type of railway that barely existed in Great Britain simply because the standard gauge network got almost everywhere first. A large model railway show may well include more examples of English narrow gauge common carrier railways than ever existed in the whole country. In reality England could boast a grand total of just five, there was one in Scotland and, even in Wales, only about seven. So, unless industrial or mineral, most British NG layouts, especially outside Wales, are far more fantasy than imaginary.  On the other hand Ireland, and also the Isle of Man, were far richer in NG common carriers, more like the rest of Europe in that regard so, imagining another one was no more of a stretch than inventing the Charford or Buckingham branches or shunting the S&DJR's  Burnham branch a few miles north to a more developed Berrow.  

 

I can explore the area just north of Quainton Road and almost see the line to Grandborough Junction and Buckingham G.C. but find it much harder to imagine the two foot three gauge Oxfordshire County Railway, at one time a pet project of mine,  linking Oxford, Woodstock, Enstone  and Chipping Norton because, however well I might have drawn it out on the map, I knew it could never really have existed.

Edited by Pacific231G
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3 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

I've been trying to think why I respond to them so differently and think it's because so many narrow gauge layouts represent a type of railway that barely existed in Great Britain simply because the standard gauge network got almost everywhere first. A large model railway show may well include more examples of English narrow gauge common carrier railways than ever existed in the whole country. In reality England could boast a grand total of just five, there was one in Scotland and, even in Wales, only about seven. So, unless industrial or mineral, most British NG layouts, especially outside Wales, are far more fantasy than imaginary.  

 

And because there were so few, there could never be a typical British narrow gauge railway; the locos and stock of each are entirely distinctive (apart from the various ex-WD Baldwins). Many is the narrow gauge layout with an elaborately worked out backstory to establish its fictional world, whose loco stud turned out to comprise Dolgoch, Linda and Earl of Merioneth (plus maybe something derived from an Airfix pug).

Edited by Andy Kirkham
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3 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

 

 

I can explore the area just north of Quainton Road and almost see the line to Grandborough Junction and Buckingham G.C. but find it much harder to imagine the two foot three gauge Oxfordshire County Railway, at one time a pet project of mine,  linking Oxford, Woodstock, Enstone  and Chipping Norton because, however well I might have drawn it out on the map, I knew it could never really have existed.

 

Quainton Road to Grandborough really existed of course (part of the Metropolitan Railway to Verney Junction - and mentioned in the Bond film 'Skyfall'!).

 

I remember when I worked in our mapping department some years ago looking at a map of that area and being puzzled for some time as to why I couldn't see a disused trackbed from Grandborough to Buckingham and Leighton Buzzard....

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Every time I go cycling over that way, which is often, I find it really hard to get out of my head the idea that I'm about to cross a bridge on the Stony Stratford Branch, or the line to Linslade, or see an embankment that once took GCR trains to Buckingham. And, why Granborough Junction left so little trace, I cannot fathom.

 

Five common carrier narrow gauge railways in England?

 

Southwold; Ravenglass & Eskdale; Ashover; Leek & Manifold; Lynton & Barnstaple; Sand Hutton.

 

Makes six.

 

If we add tramways, we get the W&SSST, and Alford & Sutton, both of which carried goods, although they probably didn't have common carrier obligations, and probably some bits of Black Country tramways. The Rye & Camber looked a bit like one, but definitely wasn't.

 

Which is being very picky, and isn't intended to detract from a point well made.

 

PS: There's going to be a debate about Sand Hutton, isn't there? I've come over all doubtful about it now.

Edited by Nearholmer
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14 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

For some reason, though it was obviously a very nice piece of modelling,  David Mander's  Stronalalcher never quite did it for me. The not entirely dissimilar line that I did really like though was the late David Lloyd's Augher Valley Railway, a 00n3 Irish railway that was entirely imaginary but seemed very typical of the Irish three foot gauge lines and entirely credible.  I only knew it from his articles in RM and don't think he ever finished it before moving on. I've also heard that his layouts didn't run very well but from all accounts neither did  the Madder Valley (though it does now!) 

 

I've been trying to think why I respond to them so differently and think it's because so many narrow gauge layouts represent a type of railway that barely existed in Great Britain simply because the standard gauge network got almost everywhere first. A large model railway show may well include more examples of English narrow gauge common carrier railways than ever existed in the whole country. In reality England could boast a grand total of just five, there was one in Scotland and, even in Wales, only about seven. So, unless industrial or mineral, most British NG layouts, especially outside Wales, are far more fantasy than imaginary.  On the other hand Ireland, and also the Isle of Man, were far richer in NG common carriers, more like the rest of Europe in that regard so, imagining another one was no more of a stretch than inventing the Charford or Buckingham branches or shunting the S&DJR's  Burnham branch a few miles north to a more developed Berrow.  

 

I can explore the area just north of Quainton Road and almost see the line to Grandborough Junction and Buckingham G.C. but find it much harder to imagine the two foot three gauge Oxfordshire County Railway, at one time a pet project of mine,  linking Oxford, Woodstock, Enstone  and Chipping Norton because, however well I might have drawn it out on the map, I knew it could never really have existed.

I agree about the Augher Valley, which I remember fondly, and I think you have a point about the reason for it seeming more likely. Of course there were not only more common carrier NG lines in Ireland, there is also the fact that once they became part of GSR stock was moved from one line to another, so some types don't seem so unique to one particular line. (Though that doesn't explain how all the Lough Swilly and Donegal stuff got there!).

I find a fictional SG light railway more convincing in English terms - eg several Col Stephens lines had Mannings, Terriers, Ilfracombes, and things moved from line to line.

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11 hours ago, Dr Gerbil-Fritters said:

 

Ah, just like the L&B, a proper railway that just happened be narrow gauge...

 

 

Fascinating film so thanks for posting it.

I'm not sure what you mean by "a proper railway" but In the UK and Ireland all railways that "officially" carried passengers had to be "proper" railways in that they had to satisfy BofT requirements. Light railways- which came quite late to Britain- were relieved of some requirements but not that many and the main advantage of Light Railway Orders was that each railway didn't require its own act of parliament.  The level of relief from safety regulations was in the hands of the Railway Inspectorate and varied quite a lot but I think included things lile using "economical" facing point locks where a single levet unlocked, switched and locked a set of points; not having distant signals where speeds were low and so on.

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On 02/09/2019 at 22:29, Andy Kirkham said:

 

And because there were so few, there could never be a typical British narrow gauge railway; the locos and stock of each are entirely distinctive (apart from the various ex-WD Baldwins). Many is the narrow gauge layout with an elaborately worked out backstory to establish its fictional world, whose loco stud turned out to comprise Dolgoch, Linda and Earl of Merioneth (plus maybe something derived from an Airfix pug).

 

Whilst of course Dolgoch and the Ffestiniog locos wouldn't be seen on the same line owing to gauge differences (although Sir Haydn has been transported over part of the F/WHR to get to Boston Lodge), I think it's fair to remember that the majority of NG locos were made by independent builders so it's no real stretch of the imagination to suggest that a fictional railway asked a particular builder to build them a loco similar to the one they've built for the Ffestiniog, Talyllyn etc (as indeed Awdry did when inventing the Skarloey Railway), and of course Linda and Blanche were both purchased secondhand by the FR so could have been purchased by another railway instead (ditto Sir Haydn and Edward Thomas on the Talyllyn). The GWR offered one of the original VoR tanks up for sale but scrapped it when there were no takers, and both Palmerston and Mountaineer (the Alco) have visited the Vale of Rheidol (and one of the VoR locos has visited the Brecon), so there is some room for some 'moving around' of locos provided not taken to excess.

 

That said, probably one of the reasons the Craig & Mertonford and more recently the Craigcorrie & Dunalastair were so inspirational was because they didn't run the same locos as everyone else.

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