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In June 2011 Railway Modeller published a layout plan based on the mainline between Lea Wood tunnel and Willsley tunnel. A simple stretch of double track mainline between Derby and Manchester. The plan also included the High Peak Wharf exchange sidings and rope incline. In the mind of the developer of this plan, David Wright, it was to be set in the 1930s. 

 

At the time this plan didn't really register with me. I was in the middle of a southern-based 00 layout which was ficticious and, to be honest as a branch line wasn't going to be very busy if operated at all realistically. Nature intervened, also. Each winter the garage got cold and damp making it unpleasant to spend any time in. 

 

As a 50th birthday present swmbo suggested we "kit the garage out as a den", so that I could use it all year round. We're just about to start work on this so the layout that will go in there probably won't see any tangible progress till the summer. Remember summer?

 

To do justice to the new den I'm hoping to up my game in terms of modelling quality. The best way I can see of doing this is to consider modelling a real location where I'll need to research the location, build things accurately rather than imagineer them and run trains through a landscape. The latter rather suggests N gauge which will be a change for me but also a new challenge. 

 

The next decision was "where and what". Although I've previously modelled urban landscapes the available area to model in is probably about 12' x 2 scenic which would mean a great many buildings, perhaps more time and patience than I have.  

 

For this reason I was drawn back to the layout plan for Cromford which strikes a balance between pure scenery of hills, river and canal with some 14-20 buildings in total. So, realistically there's a good chance of completing the layout without getting bored and thinking of moving on to pasture new! 

 

My next thought was in which period to model the layout. This is where reality and "It's my layout" clash for the first time. My preference was for the BR blue era by which time the main line had been singled and the High Peak line long gone. In other words no more interesting than my earlier Southern branch line layout. What I've elected to believe is that the double track mainline is still intact and seeing a mix of freight and passenger trains. Meanwhile for shunting interest the High Peak line will still have been seeing traffic.

 

If the High Peak line was being operated in it's traditional format then open empty wagons would be pulled up the 1:30 incline by wire and full ones lowered down simultaneously, also on wire. One immediate question posed itself. How to avoid full wagons going up hill and empty ones coming down from the quarries. 

 

One idea I had was to deviate still further from reality and replace the wire-pulled wagons with ones pulled by an industrial loco which could depart to a fiddle yard. Perhaps this would be too far a deviation. Another suggestion by EastWesdDivide of this parish was to change the type of wagons to tanks, making full ones indistinguishable from empties. I'd welcome thoughts on this.   

 

At the time of writing I'm busy reading as many sources as possible to get a feel for the area and the lines.

These include.

  • Railway Modeller June 2011.
  • Through Limestone Hills
  • Railway Bylines, May and June 2013
  • OS Map OL24. 

To give an idea of the stretch of line, which I believe would take about 16m if modelled without compression, is shown below.

I'm making the assumption that the viewing direction would be from east to west with the main line towards the foreground and the High Peak line towards the rear. The river Derwent would mark the lowest level of the model.

 

Any advice or input would be welcome. :)

Andy

 

post-4299-0-97330600-1392220465.jpg

Edited by AndyB
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Going back a few more years (circa 2002?), RM featured an O gauge model of this location. The owner had come up with a solution for the full wagon/empty wagon conundrum but I can't remember what it was - and it might not work in N anyway.

 

I think that you probably need a second incline hidden behind the backscene to return the trains where they came from.

 

Best of luck with this. It's a great location for a layout to be based on.

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Thanks, Joseph.

I believe the layout you refer to was called High Peak Wharf by Dave Walker.

Nothing like a technical challenge to whet the appetite! I'm wondering about whether I could use magnets on a moving wire. 

Whatever the mechanism I believe the main thing will be to avoid the sight of fully laden wagons returning to the quarry. Some of the wagons pictured in Railway Bylines were covered. Perhaps a lot more of them might be on this layout!! 

Andy

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Sheeppasture incline was a combination of 1:8 and 1:9, not 1:30.

 

Otherwise, a really great idea.

 

I can't see the incline being operated by locos, though. It may have needed modernisation by the time of your model - maybe an electric motor powered cable, single track? You could then have the cable with a loop on the end and attach it to the coupling hooks on the wagons.

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There were tank wagons for bulk powders working from the blue 80s period onwards, solving your loaded/empty conundrum. Imagine a limestone quarry producing powdered calcium carbonate for some industrial process (e.g. as an ingredient for cement, or for use in iron or steel making), out of sight at the top of the incline, and pick a suitable wagon type for your period. Job done?!

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Sheeppasture incline was a combination of 1:8 and 1:9, not 1:30.

 

Otherwise, a really great idea.

 

I can't see the incline being operated by locos, though. It may have needed modernisation by the time of your model - maybe an electric motor powered cable, single track? You could then have the cable with a loop on the end and attach it to the coupling hooks on the wagons.

I don't know where 1:30 came from. Probably wishful thinking to get a loco up it. LOL.

I'm looking at a photo of a descending the 1,349-yard 1 in 8/9 incline as I type! 

Thanks for pointing this out. 

Andy

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I can't see the incline being operated by locos, though. It may have needed modernisation by the time of your model - maybe an electric motor powered cable, single track? You could then have the cable with a loop on the end and attach it to the coupling hooks on the wagons.

 

Sheep Pasture incline was indeed modernised to be powered by electric motor. Whether it was mounted in the original winding house I know not but that would be where it was needed.

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I had a couple of season's at Middleton top hiring out bikes about 21 years ago.

 

Quite a bit of stone left Wirksworth in sheeted wagons in to the early 80's being loaded at the dust dock. Stone was also loaded into hopper's at Wirksworth from lorries. It would have not been to far fetched to imagine that Cromford wharf could have been converted to act as a yard similar to the one at Wirksworth if the modeling of a working incline is to much of a challenge.

 

A lot of the stone from Dene quarry at Cromford was sent to Wirksworth in lorries. Another idea is to imagine that a conveyor was constructed to transport the stone from Dene quarry to a loading point at Cromford wharf.

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Hi Andy,

 

I have made a model of Sheep Pasture - the top of the incline from Cromford Wharf [renamed High Peak Junction today}.

My model has a fully working incline [the top is scenic and the bottom in a fiddle yard]. I wrote an article for MRJ numbers 181 and 182 which show the operation of the cable worked incline. There is a further article in Model Rail 171 August 2012.

I have a lot of information on the Cromford & High Peak Railwayso please feel free to ask any questions.

 

Regards,

Robin

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Hi Andy,

 

I have made a model of Sheep Pasture - the top of the incline from Cromford Wharf [renamed High Peak Junction today}.

My model has a fully working incline [the top is scenic and the bottom in a fiddle yard]. I wrote an article for MRJ numbers 181 and 182 which show the operation of the cable worked incline. There is a further article in Model Rail 171 August 2012.

I have a lot of information on the Cromford & High Peak Railwayso please feel free to ask any questions.

 

Regards,

Robin

 

That's really kind, Robin. I'm sure as the project gets underway proper I'll have plenty of questions. Sounds like it would be a good move to see if I can get the back issues of the journals you mention. 

At the moment I'm focusing on the more mundane matter of getting the garage sorted out.  Hope to be layout building by around Easter. 

Andy

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Looking forward to seeing this develop. Being a lover of the Peak District, I'm an avid follower of Cavs "Millersdale" and Al's "Bakewell" so this is just up my street. There is a very good Middleton Press book on the Cromford & High Peak Railway showing some cracking photos of the line in its hey day and towards the end. There are a couple of pictures of diesels on the route. I think one is of an 03/04 at Cromford and then a picture of an 08 I think at Middleton top. If I can find the book I will let you know for definite. Best of luck with the layout.

 

Marcus.

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There's also the Oakwood Press Cromford & High Peak book, ISBN 0 85361 319 2. Plenty of detail on how the inclines were worked, traffic etc. No diesel pics that I could see on a quick scan through, but mention of D2383 and other 204hp diesel shunters being used, and a trial of a 350hp shunter (presumably an 08), which appears to have been a one-off unsuccessful trial.

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Blimey, the Peak line is really getting popular!

 

Who's up for modelling Rowsley Yard in "O" then?? :)

 

Seriously though Andy I like the idea of another "railway in the landscape" and with the incline, river and canal it will be a great scenic setting, looking forward to seeing it develop.

 

Cheers,

 

Al.

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Why go to the trouble of modelling a real location and then change local history to make it an exception from national trends to close branchline railways so as to keep it open?  My thoughts are that although real locations can be compacted, rearranged, chopped up and spliced together with bits of other locations in a fictitious manner, they retain the "character" "spirit" and "atmosphere" of the original by closely sticking to historical trends in the character of the railway.  Although individual historical decisions may have had an impact on the ground, such as deciding to take one route rather than the alternative, trying to rewrite historical trends (which have been to close branchlines and secondary routes, and to generally magnify and simplify operations) doesn't work because it produces fundamental anachronisms.  Sheep Pasture eventually closed AFAIK when after having to temporarily close it for maintenance and shift the stone traffic onto road before trans-shipment onto rail, they found that was cheaper to go by road than using the ancient branchline with its archaic infrastructure.

 

While it is possible (just) that the Peak Line could have been kept open as a double track main line with different political attitude towards railways and consequent decisions, the C&HPR was doomed and simply would not have survived.  If the quarries had remained committed to rail they would have likely converted the incline and the line from the top of the incline to the quarries to a conveyor belt like the Mountsorrel Railway. (but see rule 1).

 

Moving on, for me a rope worked incline would have to be in at least 4mm EM to work properly, and then only if you're a very talented model engineer capable of lateral-thinking, testing and implementing a solution to operate it (this is quite different from being a modeller who can implement tried and tested methods).  Could something be worked with magnets?  Stone flows could be modelled with two fiddle yards and a cassette system to swap wagons back around - that's the easy bit.

 

Why not either set it in a previous time period (the real thing survived until 1967 I believe) or try a different location on the same route.  My thoughts would be towards either a 1970/1980s large cement works (in N) on the main line, or a quarry scene set in the moors sometime in the 1920s-60s period in 4mm featuring sharp curves per the prototype, and perhaps a sharp incline to the quarry (there is one incline I believe now in use by a narrow gauge train).

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Looking forward to seeing this develop. ... There are a couple of pictures of diesels on the route. I think one is of an 03/04 at Cromford and then a picture of an 08 I think at Middleton top.  

Marcus.

 

There's also the Oakwood Press Cromford & High Peak book, ISBN 0 85361 319 2. Plenty of detail on how the inclines were worked, traffic etc. No diesel pics that I could see on a quick scan through, but mention of D2383 and other 204hp diesel shunters being used, and a trial of a 350hp shunter (presumably an 08), which appears to have been a one-off unsuccessful trial.

Thanks, Marcus, Chris. Hope it won't disappoint.  In my 70s'/80's interpretation I imagine the exchange sidings might well be shunted by something like a GF 03 or 08.  

 

 

Blimey, the Peak line is really getting popular!

 

Who's up for modelling Rowsley Yard in "O" then?? :)

 

Seriously though Andy I like the idea of another "railway in the landscape" and with the incline, river and canal it will be a great scenic setting, looking forward to seeing it develop.

 

Cheers,

 

Al.

 

Rowsley Yard? After you, Al.   :declare:

I've done the "too much track" layouts in the past and think the best way to move forward is to interpret a real scene. Obviously the real scene, tunnel-to-tunnel would be huge in any scale so the challenge (one of them) will be to compress the scene whilst keeping the essence of the place.   

 

Why go to the trouble of modelling a real location and then change local history to make it an exception from national trends to close branchline railways so as to keep it open?  My thoughts are that although real locations can be compacted, rearranged, chopped up and spliced together with bits of other locations in a fictitious manner, they retain the "character" "spirit" and "atmosphere" of the original by closely sticking to historical trends in the character of the railway.  Although individual historical decisions may have had an impact on the ground, such as deciding to take one route rather than the alternative, trying to rewrite historical trends (which have been to close branchlines and secondary routes, and to generally magnify and simplify operations) doesn't work because it produces fundamental anachronisms.  Sheep Pasture eventually closed AFAIK when after having to temporarily close it for maintenance and shift the stone traffic onto road before trans-shipment onto rail, they found that was cheaper to go by road than using the ancient branchline with its archaic infrastructure.

 

While it is possible (just) that the Peak Line could have been kept open as a double track main line with different political attitude towards railways and consequent decisions, the C&HPR was doomed and simply would not have survived (but see rule 1).

 

Moving on, for me a rope worked incline would have to be in at least 4mm EM to work properly, and then only if you're a very talented model engineer capable of lateral-thinking, testing and implementing a solution to operate it (this is quite different from being a modeller who can implement tried and tested methods).  Could something be worked with magnets?  Stone flows could be modelled with two fiddle yards and a cassette system to swap wagons back around - that's the easy bit.

 

Why not either set it in a previous time period (the real thing survived until 1967 I believe) or try a different location on the same route.  My thoughts would be towards either a 1970/1980s large cement works (in N) on the main line, or a quarry scene set in the moors sometime in the 1920s-60s period in 4mm featuring sharp curves per the prototype, and perhaps a sharp incline to the quarry (there is one incline I believe now in use by a narrow gauge train).

 

I understand your point, Tony. For me there were a number of scenic features which struck a chord but I also wanted to run trains in the era I know something about and have an interest in. As you say, Rule 1.

Reference the mechanism to move trucks up and down the incline this is something I can try out "off layout" to refine a mechanism. Yes, it's going to be challenging.

The High Peak part of the layout will be hard up against the garage wall, so it won't be possible to move the wagons on to cassettes during operation without the "Hand from the Sky". However, I'm wondering if an off-scene cassette or siding might be loaded with loaded wagons at the start of the operating session and gradually released down the incline. Magnets may well come in to play!

I'd be reluctant to invent a whole new industry on the mainline and still call it Cromford. I suspect that whilst you make a very good point about the singling of the main line and the non-existence of the HP&C line in the era I've chosen, others might raise an eyebrow at the inclusion of a feature that equally didn't exist?

Best, Andy  

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I understand your point, Tony. For me there were a number of scenic features which struck a chord but I also wanted to run trains in the era I know something about and have an interest in. As you say, Rule 1.

Reference the mechanism to move trucks up and down the incline this is something I can try out "off layout" to refine a mechanism. Yes, it's going to be challenging.

The High Peak part of the layout will be hard up against the garage wall, so it won't be possible to move the wagons on to cassettes during operation without the "Hand from the Sky". However, I'm wondering if an off-scene cassette or siding might be loaded with loaded wagons at the start of the operating session and gradually released down the incline. Magnets may well come in to play!

I'd be reluctant to invent a whole new industry on the mainline and still call it Cromford. I suspect that whilst you make a very good point about the singling of the main line and the non-existence of the HP&C line in the era I've chosen, others might raise an eyebrow at the inclusion of a feature that equally didn't exist?

Best, Andy  

 

I'm not familiar with the industry on the Peak Line as was, but there are cement works at Ashbourne and at Hope, and the historical fiction needed to build one is for the modern era is limited only to different business and political decisions over the best location for their business.  This is plausible historical fiction.  Less plausible historical fiction however centres on 4 wheel wagons and ex-LNWR water tanks surviving in use on an 1830s rope-worked incline in the 1970s.  Just maybe just in the very early 1970s?  Say the incline closed in 1973 instead of 1967?  Blue but pre-TOPS - and still mostly with 16 tonne mineral wagons?

 

The other thing about operations is that they need to be balanced, i.e. stone coming down should be counterbalanced by water tanks going up.  (water needed to be hauled up because it seeps straight through the limestone so it's difficult to collect from the hills.  Some of it went for steam loco operation, some for other uses).  If you end up with too much water at the top you can just dump it.

 

The two books I have (somewhere in the large heap of railway books in the box room) are Marshall ("the Cromford and High Peak Railway") and Jones & Bentley "Railways of the High Peak - Onwards to Cromford and High Peak Junction".

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Just as a point of interest re your comment about water, Tony, the siting of Middleton Top and Middleton village exists in part because there is an impervious gritstone cap covering the limestone in that area which meant that water was available in quantity at that location.

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I'm not familiar with the industry on the Peak Line as was, but there are cement works at Ashbourne and at Hope, and the historical fiction needed to build one is for the modern era is limited only to different business and political decisions over the best location for their business.  This is plausible historical fiction.  Less plausible historical fiction however centres on 4 wheel wagons and ex-LNWR water tanks surviving in use on an 1830s rope-worked incline in the 1970s.  Just maybe just in the very early 1970s?  Say the incline closed in 1973 instead of 1967?  Blue but pre-TOPS - and still mostly with 16 tonne mineral wagons?

 

The other thing about operations is that they need to be balanced, i.e. stone coming down should be counterbalanced by water tanks going up.  (water needed to be hauled up because it seeps straight through the limestone so it's difficult to collect from the hills.  Some of it went for steam loco operation, some for other uses).  If you end up with too much water at the top you can just dump it.

 

The two books I have (somewhere in the large heap of railway books in the box room) are Marshall ("the Cromford and High Peak Railway") and Jones & Bentley "Railways of the High Peak - Onwards to Cromford and High Peak Junction".

 

Looking at the map as it stands today there appears to be an active quarry just to the east of Cromford hill with access via a B road, some 1500m from where the Cromford exchange sidings were.

I'm suggesting that it could be as reasonable to remove large quantities of stone out of the area by rail as it is by road. The wagons used for the onward journey would have been of contemporary design. Yes, there's the technical difficulty of moving the stone from the quarry to the exchange sidings down some stiff gradients. Perhaps this part of the journey might have been made by road. I'm thinking out loud here.

 

The Bylines article makes reference to the amount of water moved up the line. The water was collected in a stream-fed tank and then loaded in to mobile tanks converted from 1851-1863 LNW tenders, of which there were 21 in total with additional tenders dating from the Ramsbottom and Webb era. Around 100 tanks were dispatched up the line each month. The water was emptied into reservoirs and then pumped to points of supply. In addition there was another spring-fed supply for the Sheep Pasture engine located between the Steeplehouse Goods and top of Sheep Pasture.

 

No doubt these were used to balance a proportion of the downward traffic. However there are plenty of photos showing empty wagons returning as the counterweight.    

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Please don't be too heavily influenced by others telling you things were unlikely, or would not have lasted into your operating era. It's your layout and you can do whatever you like. Don't be frightened by the unlikely. Enjoy the possibilities!

 

A little snippet of information I came across is as follows. Cromford was close to Derby, so the incline became used for brake testing all new stock. Apparently everything from the APT to Eurostar secretly went there for trials. Without a "Cromford" certificate, nothing was allowed to run on BR.

 

There - an answer to everything. ;)

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Please don't be too heavily influenced by others telling you things were unlikely, or would not have lasted into your operating era. It's your layout and you can do whatever you like. Don't be frightened by the unlikely. Enjoy the possibilities!

 

A little snippet of information I came across is as follows. Cromford was close to Derby, so the incline became used for brake testing all new stock. Apparently everything from the APT to Eurostar secretly went there for trials. Without a "Cromford" certificate, nothing was allowed to run on BR.

 

There - an answer to everything. ;)

 

I think we should canvas Andy for a "Tonge-in-Cheek" Smiley :mail:

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Thanks, Friar Tuck. Point taken!  One thing I've never tried is any modifications or scratchbuilding of rolling stock. Just wondering if this might be the opportunity to try my hand at a freelance industrial shunter to work the sidings. Would be great to get a new skill and push myself.   

 

From what I can tell the ruling gradient between Matlock Bath station and Cromford sidings was 1:177, whilst from Cromford Sidings (a series of 3 layby sidings on the downline between Cromford station and the Leawood tunnel was 1:299. This is by no means the steepest gradient on the line, there were sections of around 1:90 around the Great Rocks tunnel, Dove Holes tunnel and Chinley area.  

 

Coincidentally there are some nice colour photos of the Cromford and High Peak line in a publication I spotted in WH Smith this morning - British Railways Illustrated, I think was the title. Quite useful as much to get a feel for the scenery as the rolling stock. 

 

Best, Andy

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Please don't be too heavily influenced by others telling you things were unlikely, or would not have lasted into your operating era. It's your layout and you can do whatever you like. Don't be frightened by the unlikely. Enjoy the possibilities!

 

A little snippet of information I came across is as follows. Cromford was close to Derby, so the incline became used for brake testing all new stock. Apparently everything from the APT to Eurostar secretly went there for trials. Without a "Cromford" certificate, nothing was allowed to run on BR.

 

There - an answer to everything. ;)

I'm glad you said it Friar Tuck. As you say its Andy's layout and he can do as he likes. At the end of the day most layouts are a work of fiction. It's the quality of the modelling and whether it's interesting and fun to operate that counts.

As a thought Andy, you could bring in stone by road from the local quarry for loading into the wagons. I'm pretty sure this was done at Redmire on the Weneslydale branch. There was a loading hopper for the rail wagons but, at the top there was a road way onto it where the lorries reversed up and discharged their loads straight into the rail wagons below.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Regards

Marcus

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Hi Andy, well another High Peak line, and another Andy doing it, I'm really looking forward to seeing this develop.

I had a wonderful Viaduct from David Wright a few Months back to use on my new layout but it wont fit in my room, its now going to the Famous Trains Exhibition in Marketon Park, Derby, so its going to a good home.

I will be starting my Wye Dale, layout, set between Millers Dale and Dove Holes Tunnel after my house move in a few weeks. It wont be a grand affair like yours but at least we can join them all up one day like the American Railroaders do, hahahaha.

 

All the best.

Andy :sungum:

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Thanks, Marcus, Andy,

Been clearing out the garage today ready of the insulation to go in. Going to be a long haul. 

 

Andrew, I'm sure your layout will be every bit as grand as any other. Good luck with the house move and the start of Wye Dale, which I shall look forward to reading about. 

Don't rule out linking them all together someday! Might be a while though. :)

 

Marcus, I'd been wondering about alternatives to rope-pulled wagons down the 1:9 gradient from Sheep Pasture. Road haul to the wagons is a possible, certainly.

 

All the best for now. Andy

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