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"Carmarthen Junction" Engine Shed

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Once upon a time, a sickly little boy was given a Tri-ang train set for Christmas. Over time, birthday and Christmas presents added to this until the collection became too big to be set up periodically in the house. It moved to Dad’s shed around 1965, on a 12ft by 8ft board that he generously built.


The collection gradually focused on the GWR and BR(W), with more locos and stock. It has continued to grow!


By the 1970s, the layout featured a loco depot which reflected more NSWGR practice than GWR, but it did look the part:



In 1975, I took the opportunity to spend an 8-week holiday in the UK, visiting, among other places Didcot  and Carnforth Locomotive Depots and Aberystwyth. While in the UK, I also stocked up on kits of locos, coaches and wagons, as well as several GWR-focussed reference books.


Upon return to Oz, I dismantled the old fixed layout and constructed new modular boards, designing a new layout more in line with GWR practice and featuring a well-equipped middle-sized loco depot, based on photos and drawings of actual ones in the UK. This provided a place to meaningfully display my growing collection of model locomotives.


Reference books used at this time included:

  • Williams, Colin L: “Great Western Steam on Shed” (D Bradford Barton, 1974)
  • Williams, Colin L: “More Great Western Steam on Shed” (D Bradford Barton, 1976)
  • Lyons, E: “An Historical Survey of Great Western Engine Sheds 1947” (Oxford Publishing Co., 1972)


I also had a track diagram (source unknown) which showed both Didcot station and the nearby loco depot.


Construction was slow, as I married in 1976 and moved into a home unit (apartment), where there was insufficient room to erect the layout. In 1980, I again moved – into a house with a garage for the car and where there was room to build a new workshop garage where the layout could live. Construction resumed. By this time, my library had further expanded to include:

  • R.H.Clark: “An Historical Survey of Selected Great Western Station – Layouts and Illustrations” (Oxford Publishing Co., 1976)
  • R.H.Clark: “An Historical Survey of Selected Great Western Station – Layouts and Illustrations – Volume 2” (Oxford Publishing Co., 1979)


Because of historical family connections, I chose to locate the layout on a fictional junction station on the South Wales main line, with a branch heading vaguely towards Mid-Wales.


The main line station (and the layout) was to be called “Carmarthen Junction”. As of 2013, this layout has seen three versions built, each of which has been centred on the station and its associated loco depot.


Depot Features


The Loco Depot has a 2-road shed, turntable, coaling stage and some open-air sidings. The track layout is a simplified version of that at Westbury. The turntable is a motorised Peco kit, painted in GWR colours. The coaling stage was built from a Builder Plus card kit, installed adjacent to a ramp constructed from recycled Styrofoam, with the addition of a staircase made from matches and balsa. It is inspired by those found at Stratford Upon Avon, Abercynon, Cheltenham and Llantrisant.




Engine Shed


This was to be the biggest challenge. Unlike the turntable and coaling stage, there were no suitable kits. I had room for a two-road shed, long enough for at least two 4-6-0s. The appearance of the shed at Aberystwyth was about right. Lyons’ book contained scale drawings of the 4-road shed at Didcot (page 19) and lots of interior views of newly built sheds.


I decided to build a two-road brick version of Didcot shed, 15 windows long, instead of 21 windows long, with only a small machine shop towards the front. Construction took about 3 months during 1981.


I drew up a 4mm scale sketch of the roof trusses, to be made from 3mm modellers’ timber, and then made sufficient photocopies of this to be used as templates. I assembled the trusses on the templates. This fixed the width of the shed. The remainder of the dimensions were taken from Lyons’ drawing.


Using surplus nickel-silver code 100 rails, I soldered together a frame for the shed: base, verticals, cantrail and transverse strengtheners. This mimicked the framing shown by Lyon of Treherbert Shed (page 34). The vertical “girders” are placed mid-way between each pair of windows. Once assembled, the frame was painted grey.




Walls were constructed of a sandwich of white 250 gsm card and acetate sheet. A piece of card, of the correct length for the wall, but twice as high, was marked out for a row of windows and then folded to form a double-thickness wall. The windows were then cut out through both layers, using a sharp new scalpel blade. Clear acetate sheet (recovered from shirt box packaging) was inserted between the card layers and then the assembly was glued together with impact adhesive, clamped under a layer of books, and allowed to dry for about a week. Once dry, each of the wall units was glued to the frame with impact adhesive and the whole (unroofed) shed covered with Superquick brick paper. Window bars were scribed onto each window and then carefully painted.




The roof was made as a removable unit, to facilitate access to clean the rails in the shed and also to remove any stalled model locos. Once all the trusses had dried, they were joined together with lengths of 3mm modellers’ timber, such that they would locate precisely over the vertical girders of the shed framework. Card smoke troughs and chimney were added and clear glazing over the raised centre section of the roof. The main part of the roof was covered in white card, finished with Superquick slate paper. The glazed front section was made from card backed with acetate sheet.


Painting of trusses, smoke trough, etc., generally followed the colour scheme outlined in Slinn, J.N.: “Great Western Way” (HMRS, 1978).




The roof is a neat fit on the wall unit of the shed, with no obvious joins showing.


The model has been in continuous use on my layout(s) for over 31 years and is still in good order. It helps set the scene as a GWR layout.


Views over the years:

1988 (Carmarthen Junction Mark 1):




2003 (Carmarthen Juntion Mark 2):




2010 (Carmarthen Junction Mark 3):


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