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The Hintock Branch-1930's Dorset Joint GWR/SR Workings in OO

john flann

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Hintock was built to be operated by a sequence of trains representing a typical days workings of a GWR country branch in SW Dorset, The period is the 1930's, the time a beautiful English summer's day.

I got interested in this from article by the late Peter Denny in RM he wrote about his Buckingham Branch. And it is the principles set out by him I have attempted to follow. That is to establish first and foremost a credible setting. That I did by creating the market town of Hintock, Dorset and its role in the Vale of Hintock that lies about it.

It then followed what would be the nature of the GWR branch that served it and the passenger and goods services appropriate.

Such are the origins of my layout, Hintock.

My approach is a relaxed one.I am not overly concerned with detail but I do take care in ensuring all the element fit comfortably together to form a pleasing whole. It is that overall affect I seek to achieve.

Some may already be aware of Hintock already, others nor so but I aim to build up a thread that will tell the story.

It has been featured in the model railway press, as it was at that date, see RM 5/11, BRM 12/11 and American MRP 2011.


NOTE:these were not the original images posted they have got deleted in course of endeavouring to change the thread heading. Sorry about that but I hope all the subsequent images will make up for that loss.


I'm now happy to see the original images have been re-instated by some kind individual or by magic, Whatever, thank you.


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Hi John


Pleased you've managed to sort your log-in problems out and brought Hintock over at long last. It would be useful to post your track plan for everyone to see, a work of art in its own right.



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Thank you gentlemen for those kind and interested comments.


As I become more comfortable and relaxed about posting I shall attempt to create a comprehensive thread covering the various aspects of Hintock's origins, the why, setting, construction, stock and operation etc.


But responding to the specific points raised:-


1. the trees are all hand crafted from untwisted wire cable and Woodlands Scenic materials. Each is individual and the varying shapes, heights and colours add so much to the visual affect.


2. the RM track plan is out of date; as I shall explain later Hintock was built in 3 phases and the plan in the RM illustrates phase 1. However I attach a track schematic showing the finished layout. It is 'L' shaped with each arm 10'0 long.


The first photo shows the 0958 am from Weymouth with Augusten Elliott as driver running into Hintock. This is the return working of the 0713am from Hintock. (I shall put up a map to illustrate Hintock's relationship with the real world.) The second, the loco running around at Hintock.


And yes, John Ahern has always been an inspiration to me. Glad you appreciate him too and he and Peter Denny words and works brought this layout to fruitition.



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Hi Mike, the penny has just dropped as who the 'Mike' was and with those warm words of welcome, glad to be with you again.


And Nick yes, I finally made it and beginning to find my way around. I'm not too sure if I can find that track plan you admire so much, but if I can I shall post it-especially for you!

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To better able appreciate Hintock and the scheme of things it is located about 20 miles SW of Dorchester in the Vale of Hintock. The period is the 1930's


The Vale is that area bounded to the N by the Dorset Downs, on the S is the English Channel, E is Dorchester and W Devon. It has been long settled and the rich soil along with an equable climate is well suited to the growing of corn, root crops, early vegetables and fruit, the pasture to beef and dairy cattle and on the higher ground, sheep. There are fine stands of timber. It is also scenically attarctive.


Through it runs the River Brede on its way to the sea at Port Bredy.


Hintock is central to the life of the Vale. It's the market town where all the local business is done and of about 6,000 inhabitants. Much of the town is built of the local stone and like the Vale itself presents a pleasant appearance.


The GWR reached the town in 1857 by a branch running from Hintock Junction on the main line between Yeovil and Dorchester. At Yeovil there are connections to the rest of the GWR system , to London, the West, the Midlands and via Crewe the north. At Dorchester the GWR and ex L&SWR share a Joint Station and run jointly onward to Weymouth. This too gives a connection to London via the SR and other places served by it.


The branch is about 12 miles long with stations serving the villages of Everdene, Melbury, Winterbourne Piers and Little Hintock. With the coming of the railway local traders took advantage of it and at Hintock there is the Crown Prince Brewery and Hintock Dairies, whilst at Little Hintock there are the quarries of the Hintock Quarry Coompany. The branch was extended to Port Bredy in 1844 but this is now only open for goods traffic.


So by means of the Branch traffic can soon be in the central agricultural markets in London and the major cities. and local passengers can travel readily to market and business in Dorchester or to Weymouth for days at the seaside or those travelling further afield have ready access to main line services using either the GWR or SR. It means too holiday passengers can readily get to the Vale or the Dorset coast and where the GWR took the opportunity to acquire the Pennsylvania Castle Hotel at Port Bredy.


In other words the Branch is a busy one with both passenger and goods traffic and so enabling me to operate an interesting series of trains.


And operation is my principle interest.


All this will, of course, be expanded upon as the thread develops.



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The next images give an overview of Hintock, as now is, after about four years work in three phases. It is, as can be seen, L shaped of about 10'0x10'0 and a width at its widest point of 22".


They will also assist in identifying the location of subsequently posted images.




The LH end.




The corner.




The RH end and fiddle yard.

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John, it's great to see you & your work appearing on RMWeb, i look forward to following this thread.


When I started my interest in railway modelling, your Owlcombe article (in one of the early 1980 Airfix Model Trains magazines) was one of the first layouts to grab my attention. Not only was there a simple track plan, but lots of operating potential & all brought to life with the accompanying story as to its reason for being. I've still got the article ferretted away somewhere & it's much to my shame that i never got around to building my own 'copy' in the intervening 30+ years.


I don't wish to sidetrack you from future Hintock updates, but i hope you might be able to remind us of your past layouts sometime.

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Dave, that is very kind of you, and yes I look forward to my membership of RM Web. I do have some photos of my older layouts and maybe I can organize something around them.


It is good of you too to remember Owlcombe and it was one of my favourite layouts. Simple yet very effective.


In fact the goods shed on Hintock was originally on Owlcombe. If i can find the image I'm thinking of here it is in its new guise. In between it was on another version of Hintock and then Melbury. After that sat for 10 years all packed away whilst I went 'American' and now 40 years later (and traveling 1,000's of miles) and a coat of paint it's good as new.


Being new I can't find the 'attach' button now, but I'll have a look for it and get it posted..

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Hi Jack, yes it's very pleasant to be amongst old friends again. I shouldn't have been but I was a little surprised how many there were on here. Thank you all for your interest.


I do have a lot more photos to post but I shall endeavour to put them up in an ordered manner.


I hope to post more later today.

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Dave, I've checked and Owlcome first appeared at the 1973 Manchester MRS show where it won an award. So the goods shed was probably built in 1973. It's by my usual metods of good quality framing card, stripwood and Slaters Plasticard. The paints are everyday acrylics.


Leaving the nuts and bolts of baseboards and the like behind for the moment, here is a little photographic essay that displays some of Hintock's charms.




The Port Bredy goods passes East Yard (phase 3) as it runs in on an eased 22"r entry curve. (phase 2).




Further in the goods with Hintock Dairies in the background and loading bank in the foreground.




Entering the goods loop at Hintock itself. All the structures are scratch built.




A part view of the station yard.




Leaving for Port Bredy. The guards van is allocated to Hintock and lettered 'To work only between Port Bredy and Hintock Junction'.

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Robin, those were kind comments about the appearance of Hintock. I think it is important and it gives me additional pleasure when operating.


You also inquired about the playing cards.


These are to bring order and method to the shunting. For each goods wagon or rake of wagons there is a card and I can run three separate goods trains of up to 8,6 or 3 wagons (+BV). The cards for the wagons at Hintock are those on the L. The cards for those out on the line in those three trains are kept separately to the R (an additional holder I need to make for the third train.)


Once the system is set up when a returning goods train arrives at Hintock cards are first shuffled and then drawn from those there to make up the next departing train to the order of 8,6 or 3 with the train made up accordingly with the returning wagons shunted to their appropriate sidings.


The returned wagons cards are retained at Hintock the departing wagons at the fiddle yard.


Once set up the method enables trains of randomly chosen vehicles to be shunted systematically. It is both random and systematic. It also runs infinitely and can be left or picked up again at any time.


It's a method I have developed and used for many years.


I'd be happy to answer any questions,

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This Fruit D arrived empty at Hintock yesterday evening, now the following morning it is being positioned for loading with fresh cut flowers. By noon that will be complete and the van then attached to the 12.21pm for Weymouth.


At Hintock Junction it will be detached and sent on to Crewe. There unloaded overnight into vans for Chester & N Wales, Liverpool and Manchester the flowers will be in the wholesale markets by early morning for retail sale by florists. And customers would have the flowers from Dorset in probably less than 24 hours after they were cut.


The railways were very adept at providing services like this by smart working all round.



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Port Bredy a fishing village at the westerly end of Chesil Beach and the GWR hotel there attracts holiday visitors who enjoy the Dorset coastal scenery.


This traffic has developed so much so the GWR provide through coaches (Summer only) to Hintock attached to trains between Paddington and /Weymouth that are smartly attached/detached at Hintock Junction.


The extension onward from Hintock being goods only visitors to the hotel are carried to Port Bredy by GWR motor coach. The remainder use taxi's or the local bus service. (It was this, of course, that killed off the passenger train service between Hintock and Port Bredy.)


Here we have the return working to Hintock Junction.


The loco is a Bachmann Prairie that I re-lettered, lightly weathered and added crew, coal and lamps. The coaches are Hornby Trainline with repainted roofs and weathered bogies.


The train is running past Sheepcroft Yard that I added, as phase 2, to the original Hintock.


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This is Sheepcroft Yard in phase 2, with the entry to the fiddle yard to R.




Again an early image, the Gem crane I have had for years and this was an earlier site for it, behind are the premises of Cruso Wilkin the factor who handles all the fruit and vegetable traffic dealt with at Sheepcroft Yard.




A wider shot of this end of the yard. Pearsons the printers stands atop a retaining wall and provides a full stop for the eye as it traverses the back scene. This too will be noticed in further images. Again Phase 2, the next phase brought changes.




Outside Cruso's scratchbuilt premises he, as President of Hintock CC discusses tactics for the forthcoming needle match on Saturday with Little Hintock with George Morton, an expatriate Yorkshireman and local solicitor, the captain and Albert Pearce the wily slow bowler and postman. Also there is Percy Flew wicketkeeper the carter.


George too is showing off his new Morris Oxford.


The result will be announced in due course.

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