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GWR Branch Lines and Turntables


Darfield Boy

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I am looking at building a GWR BLT on a portable base board of 8ft by 2ft. I have been reading as many articles in the Hornby magazine as I am able to locate on GWR branch lines but have not seen one which includes a turntable.

 

Were turntables used on these lines during the GWR period pre 1948? Or are they not included into narrow layouts because of their size? Where possible I would like to create a layout that is reminisent of the GWR but at the same time I am open to a touch of artistic licence as long as it does not detract from the plausible.

 

Any advice would be glady welcome.

 

Regards

 

Chris

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Fairford might suit you. A modest terminus at the end of a long cross-country branch. It was regularly worked by the smaller tender engines (2251s were a staple of the line) and a turntable was provided just beyond the end of the platform for them.

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Thanks for all your suggestions as well as the names of locations where turntables were used. I will certainly try and find as much information as I can about these places and see which would be the most suitable for me to adapt.

 

With regard to buy a turntable which one would be a suitable choice? Is it possible to buy a plastic kit (if available) and motorise it or would a complete package from Hornby or another suitable manufacturer be a better choice?

 

Thanks

 

Chris

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Hi,

Dapol and Peco do plastic kits that you would have to motorise. Whilst not a cheap option some of the continental manufacturers (Fleischmann and probably Roco for instance)do ready to plant motorised turntables of shorter prototypes which might fit in to a small branch line scene better. Do not know how much work it would take to make them appear more typically British though.

 

PS

Inspector Pedantic says that Barnstaple is spelt with a p near the end, sorry, I was brought up there!

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Not sure if they will be of use Chris, but I took a few pics of the turntable at Didcot when we visited on the RMweb day. Might give you some ideas...

 

post-6950-0-28925500-1344409180_thumb.jpg

 

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post-6950-0-64040500-1344409231_thumb.jpg

 

post-6950-0-20977400-1344409248_thumb.jpg

 

Strangely, for Great Western Society, this is a Southern Railway turntable. Not sure if this design (Cowans and Sheldon) was actualy used anywhere on GW.

 

But, as usual, the problem that OP faces is that all commercial model turntables are far too big for a BLT. One could almost consider adapting a Peco N gauge turntable which would scale out at 40'.

 

But simple fact is that most GW branches used tank engines and so did not have TT. Most of the examples cited were either on long branches (Fairford, Minehead, Barnstaple) or lines with above-average freight traffic. In 8' x 2', I think OP would be better to leave out TT (or model an MPD instead).

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Chris,

 

I think the problem you will find is getting a turntable onto the 8 x 2 without it overwhelming the rest of the layout.

 

Most branch line termini that had turntables had them in the 45-55 foot diameter range, I think you will find that the commercial varieties are capable of turning a pacific or a 9F! Certainly not branchline materiel unless you are modelling the likes of Kingswear!

 

The other thing to bear in mind is that branch line termini were built where land was cheap, and the railway company would have no hesitation in buying vasts tracks to land to place their station and goods yard. In many cases, the shed was quite away from the terminal building(s). St Ives, Pwllhelli, Manod (for Festiniog) to name a few. Conversely, Helston and Ashburton were spitting distance from the platform.

 

The problem we have with designing a railway is that we have to be careful with how we can selectively compress track length, and width in order to retain the operational capability of the railway without making it look unrealistic.

 

I'd suggest that you place your turntable 'off scene' and let your imagination do the turning rather than trying to cram in the proverbial quart into a pint pot.

 

Regards

 

Richard

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Thanks Richard

 

That is very good advice. i have been considering this all weekend and have come to the conclusion that I will need to have a fiddle yard where I will be able to turn my locos around. All the commercial turntables that I looked were rather large and would take up a lot of the baseboard and quite frankly look ridiculus.

 

Thanks for all the advice.

 

Chris

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Of course you could always scratch the idea of a BLT and simply model that other all time favourite - a MPD. You can still have a turntable and lots of variety in engines and the odd coal or stores delivery, ash removal? 8ft x 2ft now starts to be a realistic possibility.

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Please excuse my ignorance but what is a MPD? I am fairly new at modelling and there is very little support for modelling British outline where I am in New Zealand. What would a MPD layout look like? Is it particular to a specific region as the majority of my stock is GWR based?

 

Thanks

 

Chris

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the majority of my stock is GWR based?

 

Hi Chris,

 

If that includes tender locomotives, it's a bit silly not to have a turntable. Otherwise you will be doing a lot of tender-first running with the loco crew facing backwards, which looks absolutely daft, and much less prototypical than having a turntable at a small branch line terminus. Which may be unusual, but is not unknown.

 

regards,

 

Martin.

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  • 5 weeks later...
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Didn't know that Joseph, so thanks for the info. It caused me to do a bit more searching and you're right, it is a Southern turntable, but Wiki says it is from Ransome's and Rapier....but then they could be wrong...

 

It is from Ransome's and Rapier. There's a close-up photo of the plaque on the Didcot Turntable on my Great West Road thread #38

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/59402-great-west-road/page__st__25.

 

You have an interesting dilemma. Mine is getting sufficient space between the TT and the engine shed. The ups and downs of 8 x 2 s

:scratchhead:

I'll be watching progress with interest. Keep it coming.

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