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When I was a lad, I had a Hornby APT, a Lima 87 and several of the "too short so they can go around trainset curves" Hornby Mk3 coaches (among my collection). Then, in my 20s, I part-exed my OO stock for a Farish 4MT trainset (oh, if only we had had eBay then!) and started again but didn't get far with my 1960s steam layout in the loft before a steady girlfriend, house move, then marriage and children came along.  Then, my boys reached an age when they could "play" with my trains and, over the last couple of years, we've amassed a sizable collection of stock - initially coming up with some kind of back story for a preserved line with steam, 1970s/80s diesels and visiting modern image (EWS) freight trips from the main line before giving up on any one period and rotating between eras (we now have quite an eclectic mix).

 

The current idea is for a fictitious extension of the Wolverton-Newport Pagnell branch, via Sherington and Emberton to Olney, where it joined the Northampton-Bedford line. I believe that such a line was once envisaged (although probably not joining the Midland in Olney) and this gives plenty of scope for branch workings from the West Coast and Midland Main Lines, as well as cross-country workings from Oxford (via Bletchley, when that line re-opens) or even perhaps to Towcester via Ravenstone Wood Junction and Salcey Forest. There could even be diversions due to engineering works allowing for interesting passenger and freight workings.  "Olney West" station is a few hundred metres south of the junction with the Northampton-Bedford line, rather than in the north of the town as the real Olney (Midland) station was.

 

This is the partly fictitious route map for the area although it does make me think "what if Dr Beeching hadn't had his way..."?

 

Olney%20West%20Rail%20Map.png?raw=1

 

So, I'm hoping this is the right place on RMweb to start a thread like this (please tell me if not!) and, over the coming weeks and months, I hope to share my progress.

Edited by markwilson
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The initial layout we created was an out-and-back but the boys convinced me a roundy-roundy would be more fun (although the eldest, now 10, has decided he would be happy with an out and back). Still, over the last couple of years, we've laid most of the track (on cork) on a flat baseboard of 9mm MDF on a 2x1 frame, approx 1800x600mm (6' x 2' in "old money"), with casters to allow it to slide in/out under the sofa.  I'd like to do something more ambitious but the storage location (easy for the children to access, acceptable to Mrs W for keeping out of sight) limits our headroom somewhat (about 4cm clearance!). 

 

Its a DC layout running off a Gaugemaster Model D controller (with hindsight, I should have bought a DCC controller - although now we have quite a lot of stock and it would be a sizable investment to digitise them all). I'll post a track plan soon but, at the moment we have some more sidings to lay and wiring to complete, before I pluck up the courage to paint and ballast the track.

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Hello Mark

 

That's an interesting concept. It is perfectly correct that there were plans to extend out of Newport Pagnell towards Olney. If you follow a line from the end of Station Road (NP) across the road and past the Police Station, in a field near the Ouse (before Lathbury) you will find some ground works that was being done ready for crossing the Ouse- although it never got further than that.

 

The route extension was authorised by parliament in 1865. It was intended to subsequently then run through to the MML (as is now known) at Wellingborough.

 

My understanding from talking to people about this is that it was envisaged that there would be a second station in Olney and that it would not join the Northampton to Bedford line (had it been built then inevitably a connection would have been included eventually). Although the line was never surveyed beyond the Ouse (to my knowledge), a local historical group surveyed what they think would have been the route, had it been built, and they considered that it would have missed out Sherington, skirted the West of Emberton and the Olney station would have been closer to Weston Underwood (perhaps at the back of what is now the Ousedale school sports field), near the river, than actually in Olney proper. But that is the collective opinion of historical enthusiasts (including an industrial archaeologist) and not a railway surveyor.

 

This sounds like a good plan, so I for one will watch your progress with great interest.

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My understanding from talking to people about this is that it was envisaged that there would be a second station in Olney and that it would not join the Northampton to Bedford line (had it been built then inevitably a connection would have been included eventually). Although the line was never surveyed beyond the Ouse (to my knowledge), a local historical group surveyed what they think would have been the route, had it been built, and they considered that it would have missed out Sherington, skirted the West of Emberton and the Olney station would have been closer to Weston Underwood (perhaps at the back of what is now the Ousedale school sports field), near the river, than actually in Olney proper. But that is the collective opinion of historical enthusiasts (including an industrial archaeologist) and not a railway surveyor.

 

Thanks for the info Derek - funnily enough, from my knowledge of the area that route sounds remarkable similar to where I imagine "Olney West" being (across the fields from the housing estate where I live, down in the dip between Olney and Weston Underwood, behind Ousedale School)!  There's also an embankment in Emberton Park that looks like an old railway route; however that might just date from the gravel extraction there before it became a Country Park, rather than line that actually went anywhere.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I said I'd post the track plan soon, and here it is:

 

Olney%20West%20Track%20Plan.png?raw=1

 

The original plan came from an article in a September 1985 "Railway Modeller" with a layout called Hafren. Unfortunately we found that our tight radius 1 curves didn't work well for a branch rising above the fiddle yard (too steep, too canted, too many derailments!) and anyway, the current storage location (under the sofa) means there isn't the headroom.  The station is also straight in my version (curved in Hafren) and the yard/shed have been simplified to match the space we had and our modelling capabilities!  The dotted lines are the track we haven't laid yet.

 

The electrics are progressing now - with all of the track feeds wired up and isolator switches in place - and last weekend we did the first point motor.  Another post will follow on that soon...

 

Next up will be the rest of the track, and some track painting, when I pluck up the courage to get the spray can out...

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  • 4 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Hello Mark

 

Any updates? Living locally I'm quite interested to see how you get on and portray the station that never was.

 

Hi Derek - really sorry for not seeing this earlier. Progress has been painfully slow... though we now have painted track, some platforms and I'm hoping to lay ballast soon. We also decided that the line will be electrified (as a branch extension from the WCML), at least in part. The rolling stock collection has now become quite significant... time to focus on getting the layout complete... 

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Right, seeing as I've been so poor on updates, this is where we're at:

  • Track laid, including isolating sections and some points have motors. My son (who was about 10 at the time... he's now 12) loved helping to wire things up and his "glue gun" helped hold the wires in place. I'll post more about that one day (including the connectors I use to connect/disconnect the power controller.
  • Buffer stops with integrated lights fitted on all of the main sidings. I used some Gaugemaster ones (I think they were GM57s) that were pre-built onto the track (like some of the overseas manufacturers).
  • Platforms fabricated (using Peco kit parts) but not yet fully painted.
  • Track painted (using a Railmatch sleeper grime aerosol).
  • Diesel depot starting to come together. Currently working on the hard standing using Gyproc "Easi-Fill".

Today I started to install the catenary (OHLE) for the electric trains... that deserves a post of its own. Ballasting should follow soon, just as soon as the platforms are fixed in place (after painting!)

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So, a little while back, my son and I decided that our fictitious branch which links Milton Keynes and Bedford via Olney would be electrified (largely because I picked up some WCML electric stock at good prices!). This afternoon, I finally got around to installing some fake catenary, using the Dapol Mk3 masts (NCAT1) that are available at a reasonably low price. 

 

Some RMweb links really helped out with working out how to position the overhead line equipment (OHLE) masts:

 

We'd worked out by measuring the "gaps" between masts in the real world (using the Google Maps measure tool) that the distance is about 60 metres on straight track for both the WCML near Bletchley and the MML south of Bedford. At 1:148 that's around 40cm - which looks too far, so I've settled on about 30cm but closer on curves/around pointwork. The second link above sorted me out for the positioning above the track - the diagram below is from Clive Mortimore's excellent information:

 

post-16423-0-26593000-1367702072.png

Using the Dapol masts that's either 20mm or 16mm from track centres, depending on whether it's the pull-off or push-off mast.

 

I'm starting to regret laying my track on 3mm cork as it's increased the track height affecting both platforms and OHLE. My Farish 350 has a sprung pantograph that relies on the presence of some wires to push it down... there's no way that's going to work this close to the masts so that will be staying down!

 

Photo%202017-02-12%2020%2039%2055%20%28r

 

And in this picture you can see that the clearance between the Dapol 86 and the OHLE is very close, even with the pantograph at a low height (also a bit annoying that the pickup "droops" like that...)

 

Photo%202017-02-12%2020%2040%2028%20%28r

 

Still, I'm pleased enough with them... even without wires they make a difference somehow when running electric stock...

 

I'll need to get some portal-style masts from somewhere for the double-track through the station though - the Dapol masts are just too close to the track edges to use them in platforms (they work in the bay platform because I can position them on the far side).

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You may know this already, so apologies if so. The diagram shown does not apply at platforms as the insulators need to be clear of the platform so that there is no live metalwork above the platform. IIRC Motherwell has some interesting examples. Your idea for the bay is fine so long as the 'push' version does not overhang the platform edge.

Paul.

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You may know this already, so apologies if so. The diagram shown does not apply at platforms as the insulators need to be clear of the platform so that there is no live metalwork above the platform. IIRC Motherwell has some interesting examples. Your idea for the bay is fine so long as the 'push' version does not overhang the platform edge.

Paul.

 

Thanks for that advice Paul - I had realised that the masts would be too close to the platform edge if I tried to use them in the station area but not about the positioning of the insulators that you highlighted. I think I'll be using NBrass Locos OHLE portals for the through station platforms but the Dapol Mk3s fill the gap elsewhere.

 

Mark

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  • 4 years later...

So it's now 2020. My young sons are now teenagers, and my layout was never finished. It suffered from a lack of height due to its resting place under the sofa and I'm sad to say the catenary was broken too.

 

Sincere apologies to @Derekstuart, who showed such interest in this project 6 years ago.

 

The good news is that it has been started again, in a new location, with a more suitable space, and a new track plan. Not sure if it's still Olney West, but I do have plans to document progress this time, inspired by my friend @warpy and his Warphampton layout. Over the last few years I've amassed a huge pile of stock and I've just managed to get hold of the track I need to put the latest plans into action...

 

The new layout will be DCC, and I've had some successful tests using an Arduino and DCC++

 

Progress may be sporadic through the summer but I hope to be a bit more regular with the updates now. Fingers crossed...

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Great to hear you’ve finally sourced some track and hope the build goes well. It will make so much difference having its own dedicated space. Looking forward to seeing the progress and once this lockdown is over running some trains together. 
 

Thanks for the shout out and link BTW

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  • markwilson changed the title to Olney Riverside (was Olney West)

So, "Olney West" is now "Olney Riverside".

 

The basic premise is end-to-end, with a double-track line ending at a small station, with a single track branch leading off in the foreground.

 

The location is now to the east of the town, potentially on the old line to Bedford but now truncated east of the River Great Ouse. The branch disappears into a tunnel so we don't know where it ends, but I'm going to suggest it runs under Chicheley Hill towards Newport Pagnell (on a completely different alignment to the one that was nearly built), but it could also end up somewhere in the Marston Vale (Bedford-Bletchley).

 

I know that "less is more" in N, but I do want to include lots of interest. There will be basic locomotive/multiple unit servicing facilities and I'm intending to include some kind of freight facility too: Buckinghamshire International Railfreight Terminal (BIRFT) - which would horrify me if it were real, but can happen in my model.

 

My stock means that I can run 1980s Blue/Grey into sectorisation or something more modern.

 

Location means that we could legitimately have London Midland/London NorthWestern Railway, Thameslink, East Midlands Trains/EMR, or maybe even Chiltern Railways (via East-West Rail) though ultimately rule 1 applies and I have recently invested in a complete ScotRail set with Mk2 DBSO, 4xMk3As and a 47/7... which must have been transferred south to operate new push-pull services.

 

Just over a year ago, I built some furniture out of plywood. There are 3 sections - the left and middle include hinged top sections for (un)covering the railway with the right section including the fiddle yard to the rear and a low-level narrow scenic section in the foreground. The whole arrangement is just over 3m wide, by about 44cm deep.

 

spacer.png

 

Sadly, the 12mm shelves at the baseboard level have warped slightly so, yesterday, I supported them with some 38x19mm timber that I had spare.

 

You can see before and after shots here.

 

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With the base now level and supported, the intention is now to use 9mm ply to build up the track base above this - and to get the levels in place. Hopefully, that will make progress over the coming days (some time off work for Easter), after which I'll move on to track laying and wiring.

 

spacer.png

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Today, I made a hole. A useful hole, but it wasn't quite as smooth an experience as I would have liked.

 

I didn't get much done yesterday, but I did cut some sheets of 9mm ply to form the track base. These are now resting on some offcuts of 2x1 timber to raise up the base level. Once I've worked out the track locations, I can cut accordingly and adjust to get the gradients in place.

 

spacer.png

 

I also needed to punch through the sides of two of furniture "modules" to allow the layout to work. It should have been straightforward - 4 holes at the corners (note to self, when the drill starts to come through, stop and drill from the other side, to avoid the plywood splitting) and then use a jigsaw to cut between the holes.

 

4 broken blades and a scruffy hole later, I managed to get an opening. It will need some tidying, but it does at least turn my 102.5mm sections into one long 208.8mm scenic section. I've decided that the third "module" (with the fiddle yard at the rear and the branch line in front) will not be using this approach though - I'll just be drilling some tunnel/bridge portals at the appropriate locations!

 

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

Having the full area has let me lay some track out though, and that's led to some amendments to my original track plan. I've ordered another double slip to condense the space taken by the main station throat, turned the station at an angle (for more interest and slightly longer platforms than a straight line) and the yard/TMD areas are being completely redesigned. I also realised I need some catch points at the end of some of the sidings (Peco don't make Code 55 catch points, so Code 80 will have to do). 

 

Next will be to finalise the track beds, get some cork laid and maybe even pin down some track...

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Well, I shall watch with interest as you terraform your furniture in reality, and many places I like to go on bike rides in your imagination.

 

As an FYI, in case you don't already know, a few years after the real NP to Olney railway ground to a halt when part-completed, work was started on a roadside tramway between the two towns. It got as far as track being laid in several places, but it too was abandoned part-completed, because of arguments over responsibility for strengthening the river bridge near Sherington, and securing a sensible route at Emberton village. One place where track was laid the hill on the Emberton side of Sherington, which as you probably know is pretty steep by steel wheel on steel rail standards, and I always wonder how they would have got on running trams up there if it had been finished. Powers were sought to link on to Wellingborough, but no work was ever done on that section.

 

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1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

Well, I shall watch with interest as you terraform your furniture in reality, and many places I like to go on bike rides in your imagination.

 

As an FYI, in case you don't already know, a few years after the real NP to Olney railway ground to a halt when part-completed, work was started on a roadside tramway between the two towns. It got as far as track being laid in several places, but it too was abandoned part-completed, because of arguments over responsibility for strengthening the river bridge near Sherington, and securing a sensible route at Emberton village. One place where track was laid the hill on the Emberton side of Sherington, which as you probably know is pretty steep by steel wheel on steel rail standards, and I always wonder how they would have got on running trams up there if it had been finished. Powers were sought to link on to Wellingborough, but no work was ever done on that section.

 

Nearholmer, I’m also local to Olney. I knew about the proposed but abandoned railway line linking NP but I never knew about the tramway. Fascinating. As you say it’s quite a hill around Emberton so it would have been some climb. Is there any remaining evidence of the tracks laid or were they all lifted to your knowledge?

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Shame to see those holes in those lovely units you built but like a cutting through the hillside a necessary evil for railway progress! 
 

4 broken blades - I assume there was a visit or two to Wilson’s then ;-)

 

good to see some track down and look forward to seeing the overall plan. The longer platform will suit all those new Mk2s!

Edited by warpy
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9 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

Well, I shall watch with interest as you terraform your furniture in reality, and many places I like to go on bike rides in your imagination.

 

 

Me too, I meet up with friends in Newport Pagnell & often ride around the back roads between there & Harrold.

I have a book about the Wolverton to NP branch somewhere & feel a scale model of NP station would be achievable.

 

I have only just seen this due to it re-appearing on the 'recent posts' list.

Modern Railfreight terminals are huge & found near main lines or, like DIRFT, are found on loops (although that loop is still a main line).

What is more likely near a station is some type of dedicated terminal. I used to live near a station which had a private coal depot next to it, but that has now gone due to the drop in demand for coal.

Other businesses could have small sidings though.

 

Sorry to hear that the layout got damaged in store, but it is not all negative because it gives you an opportunity to re-engineer some of the things you may not be entirely happy with, if you feel that is appropriate.

I assume you are re-installing OLE? I noticed in your photo illustrating the clearance issue that your track was mounted on cork but your mast was mounted to the board, which made the contact arm lower than it was designed to be. You could raise these a little higher by modelling a small 'concrete' base if necessary.

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1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

 

Me too, I meet up with friends in Newport Pagnell & often ride around the back roads between there & Harrold.

I have a book about the Wolverton to NP branch somewhere & feel a scale model of NP station would be achievable.

 

I often ride the redway that runs along the old trackbed. Good to see so much is still intact (until you get to Newport)

 

1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

Modern Railfreight terminals are huge & found near main lines or, like DIRFT, are found on loops (although that loop is still a main line).

 

Yes, I was watching a video from East Midlands hub. Track layout is simple enough but Olney would not be well connected enough by road either. It would (thankfully) be an entirely unrealistic concept. And the train lengths are causing some challenges too...

 

1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

What is more likely near a station is some type of dedicated terminal. I used to live near a station which had a private coal depot next to it, but that has now gone due to the drop in demand for coal.

Other businesses could have small sidings though.

 

Will almost certainly have a rail-connected warehouse (smaller than originally indicated) and a stone terminal. Stone would fit with gravel extraction in this area.

 

1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

Sorry to hear that the layout got damaged in store, but it is not all negative because it gives you an opportunity to re-engineer some of the things you may not be entirely happy with, if you feel that is appropriate.

 

Exactly that - only negative is that the kids are no longer interested.

 

1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

I assume you are re-installing OLE? I noticed in your photo illustrating the clearance issue that your track was mounted on cork but your mast was mounted to the board, which made the contact arm lower than it was designed to be. You could raise these a little higher by modelling a small 'concrete' base if necessary.

 

Good idea. I hadn't realised that was the reason it was too low, but that makes sense. I think there will be some OLE (to run the electric stock that I have) but not the whole layout. Possibly only the branch (from Newport and on to the WCML) and the bay platform, though maybe the whole station area.

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Warpy

 

i don’t know of anywhere where the tramway track is still in-situ, but it’s worth looking out for any gas main work or the like at the south end of Olney, and on the hill near Alban Nursery (if I’ve remembered the name right). Another place track was laid was in the approach road to NP station, but I think that’s been so heavily redeveloped that nothing would remain.

 

If you want to go into it more deeply, the local studies section in MK reference library has quite a detailed account of the scheme.

 

Kevin

 

(PS: please no giant freight terminal in the water meadows that Betjeman wrote a poem about!!)

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1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

(PS: please no giant freight terminal in the water meadows that Betjeman wrote a poem about!!)

 

I didn't realise that Betjeman was a fan of Olney. We only get to hear about Cowper and Newton!

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JB was a fan of Cowper's and Newton's work (I think he donated some of the exhibits that are in the museum on the square), and wrote the poem in tribute to their hymns, as well/as much as to Olney, but in a few lines he captures the feel of the river perfectly.

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