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Neal Ball

Henley on Thames - GWR in the 1930's

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The page for my new model railway of Henley on Thames set in the 1930's.

 

It is being built in the new model railway room with the station along one side of a 16 x 8ft shed.  

 

Important considerations:

  • Set on two levels.
  • Small fiddle yard under the main station board.
  • Continuous run on lower level, which is set 4 inches below the main board, which means a run down the back wall, dropping the 4" over some 16ft.
  • I need to test the drop and if needed will add DCC Concepst Powerbase to the track.
  • The layout will be 00 and DCC operated using the Guagemaster system.
  • GWR 1930's - possibly during Regatta week to justify the level of traffic....
  • Which will include the local engineers upgrading the route so everything GWR will be able to run. (The line saw Castles run, but only on direct London services.
  • I also have an interest in BR Blue and they might occasionally show on the thread - but not at the same time as the GWR stock.

This photo is from the Oxfordshire photo archive, which will give a flavour of what I hope to achieve:

 

post-6981-0-14906400-1421571293.jpg

 

The idea of a model of Henley station has been a long held ambition over some 30+ years - it will be great to finally see that achieved.

 

A few years ago, I spent the day in Henley and scoured the local Library archive and came up with this advert:

 

Can I interest anyone in a trip to Portsmouth on Sunday July 28th? 

 

Or how about Cardiff on Sunday August 4th?

 

For the bargain fares of 4shillings 6d or 7 shilling for Cardiff.....

 

post-6981-0-91665300-1419064878.jpg 

 

This advert was proudly displayed in the Henley Gazette, better hurry at these prices - they won't be around for long :-)

 

 

 

Edited by Neal Ball
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If I lived in Cardiff, I might well fancy a day out to Henley (except when the regatta is happening).

 

If I lived in Henley, I don't think that I would want to go to Cardiff for a day out, especially not back then. I am just not that interested in shiploads of coal.

 

7/- was not really that cheap, being about 9% of an average weekly wage. The equivalent now would be about £45 and I suspect that for all we grumble about the modern railway you could get a day ticket for rather less than that.

 

PS: I seem to recall a rather fine 3mm scale layout of Henley in its pre-rebuild configuration.

Edited by Joseph_Pestell

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If I lived in Cardiff, I might well fancy a day out to Henley (except when the regatta is happening).

 

If I lived in Henley, I don't think that I would want to go to Cardiff for a day out, especially not back then. I am just not that interested in shiploads of coal.

 

7/- was not really that cheap, being about 9% of an average weekly wage. The equivalent now would be about £45 and I suspect that for all we grumble about the modern railway you could get a day ticket for rather less than that.

 

PS: I seem to recall a rather fine 3mm scale layout of Henley in its pre-rebuild configuration.

 

Thanks Joseph,

 

I have no concept of money from 1935 so that's an interesting comment.... but I do agree about why someone would want to go for an excursion in the 30's to Cardiff and Newport.

 

The Portsmouth trip sounds better as there was the option of going over to the Isle of Wight as well.

 

I haven't heard about a 3mm version of Henley, I was told ages ago that Paul Karau was thinking about building one, but have not heard anything more.

 

The idea of me building Henley has been around for nearly 20 years (possibly more) and it's only now with the new model railway room that I will have the space... although the carriage sidings will certainly be limited.

 

I will add some more details soon, as well as the track plans and a few photos taken during the week, when I set it all out on the floor to gauge space etc.

 

Thanks again for the comments.

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I was told ages ago that Paul Karau was thinking about building one, but have not heard anything more.

 

 

Paul is well advanced with a P4 version of Henley and there have been sporadic reports and superb photos of it in MRJ.

 

Ian

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Paul is well advanced with a P4 version of Henley and there have been sporadic reports and superb photos of it in MRJ.

 

Ian

 

Thanks Ian - I haven't seen MRJ for ages. It will be good to see it and compare to my 00 version

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Earlier this week I spent an evening in the new model railway room, laying out the track and plans etc. on the floor to get an idea of the space.

 

This is the rough track plan, with the addition of a crossover from down to up outside the station: 

 

post-6981-0-18470200-1419195109_thumb.png

 

This then is my attempt at seeing if it will all work (which I think it does): 

 

post-6981-0-58641900-1419195181_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Points for consideration in making a new model railway (Having struggled to bring Wharncliffe from Hove, it will be dismantled).

 

1. 6 carriage trains are a must.

 

2. Set on two levels.

 

3. Branch line operation, together with a continuos run.

 

4. To include a scenic section, together with a canal / River Thames, rural pubs etc.

 

In modelling Henley, this will be the first time that I have ever attempted a real subject, I hope I am able to pull it off.

 

It's also the first time that I have had a turntable on the model railway, although latter it had broken it's back and a lot of locos were sent to Reading to be turned.

 

Liberties:

 

1. The line will be upgraded to Double Red :-) in order that I can accommodate some GWR Kings. - Hopefully at least one of the forthcoming Hattons / DJ Models King, together with my current Hornby King.

 

2. Maybe it's Regatta week, but freight will still run. It was the way to empty the sidings during Regatta week, but I won't be doing that.

 

3. Due to space considerations, the endless carriage sidings will only be two..

 

4. But I hope to include loops in the scenic section to enable more stock to be stored.

 

5. There will also be sidings as part of the fiddle yard, which will be under the station.

 

Extras:

 

1. Although the line up to the higher level will only be at 2% and gain 4 inches over the length of the room, I will be adding in DCC Concepts Powerbase under the track - just in case.

 

2. I fancy a small Halt, but realise that would not fit with the main station....

 

I'm happy with the way things have gone so far, over Christmas I will start the build.....

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So you couldn't resist Henley, after all? What's the internal dimensions of the shed, may I ask?

 

Jon

 

Hi Jon,

 

It's been a project in waiting for so many years :-)

 

Internally the shed is 15ft 6 x just under 8ft

 

Regards,

Neal.

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Report from the Henley gazette 1935 reporting on the Regatta figures 1933 to 1935

 

In 1933 14,980 passengers arrived at henley for the Regatta, which had dropped a bit to 13,130 in 1935.

 

post-6981-0-17418400-1419197636_thumb.jpg

 

I wonder how that compares to Regatta traffic on the railway now.... or just normal weekday traffic....

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Report from the Henley gazette 1935 reporting on the Regatta figures 1933 to 1935

 

In 1933 14,980 passengers arrived at henley for the Regatta, which had dropped a bit to 13,130 in 1935.

 

attachicon.gifHG-1933 to 1935 railway passenger figures adj.jpg

 

I wonder how that compares to Regatta traffic on the railway now.... or just normal weekday traffic....

Total annual passenger numbers at Henley were 771,838 in 2013-14 compared with 727,994 in 2012-13; the 2013-14 figure gives a weekly average pretty close to the 1933 Regatta week total. 

 

I haven't seen any complete figures for Regatta week but I believe they were up on last year from what FGW said at the time.

Edited by The Stationmaster
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Total annual passenger numbers at Henley were 771,838 in 2013-14 compared with 727,994 in 2012-13; the 2013-14 figure gives a weekly average pretty close to the 1933 Regatta week total. 

 

I haven't seen any complete figures for Regatta week but I believe they were up on last year from what FGW said at the time.

 

Clearly excellent news Mike. Thanks

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Picked up a copy of MRJ this afternoon and there was an enlargement of this aerial shot, taken in 1952: http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/EAW045422

 

It shews the front of the station, but more importantly the front of the loco yard, photos of which are very rare.

 

I quite like this shot from 1928: http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/EPW022752

 

But this one is interesting... again from 1928. It shews the loco yard side - but almost looks as if the loco shed does not have a roof and there is a temporary building on the next road... almost like a Railmotor shed: 

 

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/EPW022753- any ideas?

 

Thanks,

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The 'building' on the next road looks to be either a coach or possibly an 8 wheeled van.  You can make out the smoke vents on the engine shed roof. Joists and rafters!

Edited by The Stationmaster
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Looks as if it is a Brown van of some sort - but the roof of the engine shed is definitely off - possibly being repaired as there is scaffolding around the near side.

 

I have just bought this high res photo from Aerofilms at: http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/EPW022753and shews the station area in 1928. The photo is of a much larger area, I have reduced it to this section as I am intrigued about the engine shed.

 

Also of note is the rear of the Toomers coal office, I have always thought it was an odd location for this to be part of the loco yard. In later years the station road side at this point had hoardings up, some of which are visible in the section closest to the River, but not along the whole stretch.

 

post-6981-0-77053100-1419411419_thumb.jpg

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Toomers Office was there I think because it gave them a roadside frontage - simple as that - and there was nowhere else to conveniently site such a building.  The other coal merchant (Butlers?) had their premises in Reading Road, a bit of a stroll from the station.

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Thanks very much Mike, any idea who were the merchants on the back road? - Some of the plans show two agents having yards there.

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The railway room is starting to look more like a railway room, than a garden shed now :-) with today the baseboards being set up for the station area and then some track loosely laid on top.

 

 

 

post-6981-0-37634900-1419798233_thumb.jpg

 

The two roads over to the right will be the carriage sidings, with the main line curving round in front of them. There will also be a cross-over added into that mix to get down trains into Platform 1 (or is it Platform 3) I need to figure it out - I have seen comments elsewhere about which was the arrival and departure Platform.

 

The crossover is not shewn in my original track plan.

post-6981-0-31552500-1419798159_thumb.jpg

Edited by Neal Ball
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Thanks very much Mike, any idea who were the merchants on the back road? - Some of the plans show two agents having yards there.

The same ones Neal - all they did there (in later years at any rate) was unload wagons to their road vehicles as their offices were sited remotely from teh siding.  Other merchants had operated in the yard in earlier years (e.g Holtons) but I don't know if they'd ever had offices there or had worked through their normal retail premises?).

 

Platforms 1 & 3 swapped identities at some point, probably at the time of the 1950s resignalling and layout alterations.

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Thanks again Mike. Looking in my well thumbed Wild Swan book of the branch, Platform 1 was the road nearest the engine yard. This platform in GWR days was regarded as the departure platform, as you say, the numbers were changed in BR days when the signage was updated.

 

Today saw lots of railway related items coming out of boxes, including the Guagemaster DCC controller - which gave the excuse to run my two Castle class locos on a short section of track.

 

Hopefully the next few days will see the cork underlay being laid and track going down on top..... Although I really need to build a work bench, but can't resist getting some track laid.

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One little point worth bearing in mind is that Platform 1 (i.e the one nearest the river) had, and has, a very slight curve in it part way along.  PK has, I know, picked this up for his model as I reminded him about it - needlessly as it turned out.

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Of necessity the baseboard is pretty wide, Neal - the area where the turntable will go presumably you'll need to stand on a stool to access it? Not sure what alternative there is to that, mind you, short of angling the whole thing across the room a bit to give a hole behind for emergency or construction access?

 

Jon

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One little point worth bearing in mind is that Platform 1 (i.e the one nearest the river) had, and has, a very slight curve in it part way along.  PK has, I know, picked this up for his model as I reminded him about it - needlessly as it turned out.

 

Thanks Mike, for ease of building, I am making the platform straight.....

 

Of necessity the baseboard is pretty wide, Neal - the area where the turntable will go presumably you'll need to stand on a stool to access it? Not sure what alternative there is to that, mind you, short of angling the whole thing across the room a bit to give a hole behind for emergency or construction access?

 

Jon

 

 

However - Yes Jon you are right that the position of the turntable makes everything large at that end.... No room for an inspection hatch, I had reconciled myself to a stool with a post to hold onto....

 

Given the turntable is where it is, I decided to set the station on a slant to get more space into an operating well. Otherwise if it was straight (even with a slight curve to the platform), I would have ended up with loads of wasted space behind the tracks. As it is, I am struggling to find an area for my "High Street"; but more importantly an area to show off The Regal. Having built it a while ago, I don't want to confine to to a box somewhere.

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One little point worth bearing in mind is that Platform 1 (i.e the one nearest the river) had, and has, a very slight curve in it part way along.  PK has, I know, picked this up for his model as I reminded him about it - needlessly as it turned out.

 

Hi Mike,

 

Looking through my Wild Swan book, I can't really see any curve, but what I did notice in the cover shot is what looks like Platform 1 reducing in width. It almost looks as if it's opposite the point to the loco yard.

 

Thanks again,

 

Looking again at the track plans - maybe I should have used modellers licence to get it narrower... by keeping the turntable outside the station shed... but assuming there had been no change to that layout and it stayed into the 1930's

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Report from the Henley gazette 1935 reporting on the Regatta figures 1933 to 1935

 

In 1933 14,980 passengers arrived at henley for the Regatta, which had dropped a bit to 13,130 in 1935.

 

I wonder how that compares to Regatta traffic on the railway now.... or just normal weekday traffic....

 

 

Total annual passenger numbers at Henley were 771,838 in 2013-14 compared with 727,994 in 2012-13; the 2013-14 figure gives a weekly average pretty close to the 1933 Regatta week total. 

 

I haven't seen any complete figures for Regatta week but I believe they were up on last year from what FGW said at the time.

 

Just shows how they let just about anyone into these events these days!  

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