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Blog- DonB's Blog - First attempts at establishing Baseboard size and shape

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It’s been a while without an up-date in my attempts to model the Cliff Railway at Bridgnorth; home-life, and other activities generally getting in the way of progress on this project, although some head-scratching has occurred.

I have decided to adopt 4mm scale for the model, and have obtained sufficient parts for the track, using 14.2mm components and sufficient matching wheel sets for the funicular cars.

During a site visit arranged with the local manager (and the blessing of the owners) I took what I thought would be enough photographs and measurements to model all the buildings associated with and adjacent to the railway.

The railway’s web site is at http://www.bridgnort...frailway.co.uk/

How wrong one can be! On coming to make drawings, it rapidly became obvious that several important features were missing from my picture library. Another visit in the New Year will be required to fill in the gaps. (A visit in October was abandoned when the clutch in the car “died”).

A 1903 O.S map was acquired, along with a modern O.S map, a downloaded Shropshire Planning map and Google Earth were all examined to get the orientation and confirmation of the sizes of the various buildings, some of which I had made measurements during my visit, but by no means enough!

The small scale O.S maps were difficult to use because minor discrepancies between them, and of the thickness of the printed lines in scanned and enlarged prints, the O.S maps having thicker lines drawn on the south side of buildings making attempts to measure futile, (does one measure to the outside or centre of a line enlarged to 1.25mm thick?). I do not have the luxury of modelling licence and compression of the terrain.

The local planning map was more helpful, but although from an O.S source, was out of date in a couple of important items. Google Earth was also helpful, but the satellite pictures were taken in high summer, so that vegetation obscures some detail. Roof detail of most of the buildings requires clarification.

I have settled on the dog-leg outline of the base-board, but realise that the difference in height, bottom to top, still presents challenges in design. A sheet of ply-wood awaits marking out when I am satisfied that I have the necessary information. A degree in Civil Engineering would have been useful in this project.

The attached sketch of a first attempt to gather all the information together revealed some information gaps, most notably the alignment of the track at the lower station and the size of the concourse which affects the position of the lower platform and, in turn, the position of the top station. The track is drawn at an angle of 60 degrees West of North, but the maps show it to be at 52 degrees. So back to Autocad after my next visit. The lower station is inconveniently under a Guest House, with no external access other than the door, so there is no alternative to venturing inside with a tape measure!




The “Ski-slope” (thank you for the terminology, Mike Bellamy!) shown in earlier blogs will still be used, extended a little at the top because of the change of scale, and will house the motor and operating equipment.


As far as I can discover, drawings of the carriages do not exist in the public domain, and the line owners do not have them. If anyone knows of drawings of the carriages, both the line owners and I would be delighted to hear from them. The Original 1890s wooden bodied ones were replaced in the 1950s by the present Aluminium bodies, which have been repainted this year, retaining the earlier paint colours and style, but with a blue roof panel replacing the earlier white. Modelling these iconic carriages will be a major problem.

A couple of observations on the area. The buildings which I intend to include all existed in 1903, and remain largely unaltered. The notable exception being the Railway’s top station which was modified in about 2002/3, giving extra office space and a second tower and mini-spire, also enlarging the associated tea-room, and the outside walled area has become a very pleasant patio.

An important change in ownership and use of the large square building alongside the lower station entrance has happened in the last few years. It seems to have been a Furniture Emporium, possibly since the 1900s or even earlier, but is now, I think, a beauty salon, although the rear part and the buildings in the yard are now occupied by an Undertaker! (Can I get 4mm hearse? Or do I keep it as a furniture shop? Yet more decisions!).

More indecisive musing in the New Year......


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