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Wandering down the Conwy Valley...


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I've taken a short break from any layout building to focus on a multitude of family issues. The other day however I found time to dig out some timber that I had lurking up in the loft with half an eye on building up a small baseboard for an OO gauge layout.

 

The board I have half-ready is 72" x 15", which I think is sufficient either as a branch line inspired layout or as a depot plank. I keep toying with the idea of both. Strangely enough, I have enough timber to do both layout ideas separately, but alas not the time!.

 

At this moment, having re-read a recent Rail Express article on Commercial Explosive trains plus half a mind on Nuke freight, I'm 'doing the math'. The calculator in my head is saying something in Welsh! Exact coordinates to be reported but I'm judging it to be somewhere beyond Blaenau Ffestiniog.

 

The board should be able to accommodate an ex-GWR small station (single platform, in Conwy Valley style) with loop (not necessarily a passing loop but just an opportunity to run around trains) and two sidings in a yard, one open and one as a shed road. This should keep operations interesting enough without being too populated with trains and wagons. The most activity at any one time would be a set of vans in the yard/shed (Target 47?) and a two car DMU at the platform. Access into the layout will be by two scenic breaks of road over-bridges leading to fiddle yard lines. The cassette idea looks the better bet but I may consider loco/train lifts (not sure of the technical name). Portability will be key so I can operate it either in the loft, conservatory on out on the decking when the weather is good. Hello builders tressles!

 

As for the Nuke, I could play it that the Trawsfynydd turn arrived loco first from Blaenau and ran round at my station (can't decide on a name yet) and propelled the empty flask down to its destination for loading.

 

I hope to be able to orientate the layout so that the backscene is of Snowdon and its associates; this maybe of a photo montage. However, I am not sure on what season to portray.

 

As this will be a rural spot, a good degree of scenic materials will be necessary. Local stone vernacular is expected for any buildings. The detailed planning stage should yield these elements in due course.

 

My favourite era is the 80s and would be the focus on the layout although I would like to dip into the late 1970's (more emphasis on banger blue, excuse the pun) and the colours of the early 90's (RES, Reggie Rail and Dutch). Motive power and unit variety would be restricted though; 25, 31, 47 and 108 being the usual suspects, with the odd interloper thrown in for good measure. Additional freight turns could be oil and local provisions in vans.

 

As the layout will be small, so will consists. However, judging from photos on various websites, most freights were short so I should be okay to run reasonably prototypical consists.

 

Finally, I expect to do this layout using DCC means, maybe even for the point control! Well, there will only be four turnouts.

 

This could all take a while so bear with me. Here's hoping that this idea will not go the same way as my last two efforts (Balloch and Hazelshaw) which stayed in my head far too long with no real effort to show for my thoughts.

 

Any ideas, thoughts, inspiration etc would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

Alex

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I've taken a short break from any layout building to focus on a multitude of family issues. The other day however I found time to dig out some timber that I had lurking up in the loft with half an eye on building up a small baseboard for an OO gauge layout.

 

The board I have half-ready is 72" x 15", which I think is sufficient either as a branch line inspired layout or as a depot plank. I keep toying with the idea of both. Strangely enough, I have enough timber to do both layout ideas separately, but alas not the time!.

 

At this moment, having re-read a recent Rail Express article on Commercial Explosive trains plus half a mind on Nuke freight, I'm 'doing the math'. The calculator in my head is saying something in Welsh! Exact coordinates to be reported but I'm judging it to be somewhere beyond Blaenau Ffestiniog.

 

The board should be able to accommodate an ex-GWR small station (single platform, in Conwy Valley style) with loop (not necessarily a passing loop but just an opportunity to run around trains) and two sidings in a yard, one open and one as a shed road. This should keep operations interesting enough without being too populated with trains and wagons. The most activity at any one time would be a set of vans in the yard/shed (Target 47?) and a two car DMU at the platform. Access into the layout will be by two scenic breaks of road over-bridges leading to fiddle yard lines. The cassette idea looks the better bet but I may consider loco/train lifts (not sure of the technical name). Portability will be key so I can operate it either in the loft, conservatory on out on the decking when the weather is good. Hello builders tressles!

 

As for the Nuke, I could play it that the Trawsfynydd turn arrived loco first from Blaenau and ran round at my station (can't decide on a name yet) and propelled the empty flask down to its destination for loading.

 

I hope to be able to orientate the layout so that the backscene is of Snowdon and its associates; this maybe of a photo montage. However, I am not sure on what season to portray.

 

As this will be a rural spot, a good degree of scenic materials will be necessary. Local stone vernacular is expected for any buildings. The detailed planning stage should yield these elements in due course.

 

My favourite era is the 80s and would be the focus on the layout although I would like to dip into the late 1970's (more emphasis on banger blue, excuse the pun) and the colours of the early 90's (RES, Reggie Rail and Dutch). Motive power and unit variety would be restricted though; 25, 31, 47 and 108 being the usual suspects, with the odd interloper thrown in for good measure. Additional freight turns could be oil and local provisions in vans.

 

As the layout will be small, so will consists. However, judging from photos on various websites, most freights were short so I should be okay to run reasonably prototypical consists.

 

Finally, I expect to do this layout using DCC means, maybe even for the point control! Well, there will only be four turnouts.

 

This could all take a while so bear with me. Here's hoping that this idea will not go the same way as my last two efforts (Balloch and Hazelshaw) which stayed in my head far too long with no real effort to show for my thoughts.

 

Any ideas, thoughts, inspiration etc would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

Alex

 

You could almost be describing Maentwrog Road, if we had put in a run round in along with the siding.

Merfyn.

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Hi Alex,

Sounds like a good project,biggrin.gif I like the idea of a short freight, a few oil tanks and a van or two would be good that and a flask train and Explosives train should keep you busy with freight. There used to be a summer timetabled loco hauled train useing stock from a train from Stoke, but a loco and three coaches would be alright i think.

I think Coachmann had some pictures of a 47 shunting a train at Maentwrog Road on the old forum.

 

Cheers Peter,

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Guest Phil

Hi Alex,

Sounds like a good project,biggrin.gif I like the idea of a short freight, a few oil tanks and a van or two would be good that and a flask train and Explosives train should keep you busy with freight. There used to be a summer timetabled loco hauled train useing stock from a train from Stoke, but a loco and three coaches would be alright i think.

I think Coachmann had some pictures of a 47 shunting a train at Maentwrog Road on the old forum.

 

Cheers Peter,

 

This also where a nasty outbreak of whatifitis could occur.

 

Imagine that the local farmers' Co-op could have ordered a couple of vans of fertiliser from Ince & Elton. Delivered by trips to Llandudno Jn, then on the trip up to Maentwrog Road - VDAs or OCAs, take your pick. Personally I'd have some vaccie vanfits.

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This also where a nasty outbreak of whatifitis could occur.

 

Imagine that the local farmers' Co-op could have ordered a couple of vans of fertiliser from Ince & Elton. Delivered by trips to Llandudno Jn, then on the trip up to Maentwrog Road - VDAs or OCAs, take your pick. Personally I'd have some vaccie vanfits.

 

Blast! (No pun intended), I have been thinking about a similar vein, but I was thinking of modelling Maentrwog Road as is/was where all freights would have been propelled since BF, just think a nice 20T brake on the front (or indeed an ex SR 'Queen Mary') a couple of ex-revenue ferry vans as barriers, a couple of GPVs and a 'Rat' pushing it all, on top of that a 31 pushed nuke (hurry up Bachmann), perfecto!

 

Keep us posted!

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If, as Merfyn said, a run-round loop were put in at Maentwrog Road then you would not need to propel from Blaenau. Fertilizer from Ince coming down on the daily Speedlink and you could have a slightly longer train than just explosive empties. A little bit of history re-writing could incorporate a market day out-and back DMU extended from Blaenau Ffestiniog. I don't think there would be any motive power restrictions considering the biggies that traversed the line such as Class 40s and 59s.

 

You might find this link to the old RMweb Trawsfynydd thread useful...

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=31342&hilit=Trawsfynedd

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Cheers Merfyn, Peter, Phil, Kev, Beast, Coach and Martin. I appreciate your responses.

 

Thanks for the old forum weblink Coach. I ought to conisder getting hold of a copy of the colour album you have referred to. I nearly bought a copy a couple of years ago, if it is the same one.

 

Not sure on the terminus idea Beast. If I had the room, I would do both a through station as planned and an ample terminus for the area.

 

I caught sight of the freight thread that Peter and Coach contributed to (think Peter started it) and found that of use too. Merfyn, you say you have a log of what operated on the line (Target 47 particularly). Is that information in a readable and concise form? I would be interested to learn what the regular trips consisted of (and of course the unusual!).

 

Martin, I bought the setrack book last year. It is useful as a reference guide (I quite liked the Dewsbury idea too) but I would like to produce something a bit more 'organic'. I have some streamline code 100 curved turnouts to utilise (leftovers from the abandoned Balloch concept) and that should give the layout a less than linear appearance.

 

Going on holiday in early June so I suspect further research will be done while I am away (will take plenty of reading material!) and hopefully the practical side can be focussed upon in July and August.

 

Thanks again for reading and helping!

 

Alex

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Cheers Merfyn, Peter, Phil, Kev, Beast, Coach and Martin. I appreciate your responses.

 

 

I caught sight of the freight thread that Peter and Coach contributed to (think Peter started it) and found that of use too. Merfyn, you say you have a log of what operated on the line (Target 47 particularly). Is that information in a readable and concise form? I would be interested to learn what the regular trips consisted of (and of course the unusual!).

 

Thanks again for reading and helping!

 

Alex

 

Alex

My database is in MS Excel format, if you have it.

Consists of known details of stock to run on the Blaenau branch from 1904 to2010. During the late 80s and early ninetys the stock on both the flasks and gelly is detailed, mainly cos they parked alongside our office before and after the trip.

It is available as a PM if I can figure out how to do one.

Merfyn

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Alex

My database is in MS Excel format, if you have it.

Consists of known details of stock to run on the Blaenau branch from 1904 to2010. During the late 80s and early ninetys the stock on both the flasks and gelly is detailed, mainly cos they parked alongside our office before and after the trip.

It is available as a PM if I can figure out how to do one.

Merfyn

 

PM sent Merfyn.

 

Martin, think I will take the lazy modellers approach on this one - Peco OO! Mind you, I could end up regretting it! And, 2D53 has a lot to answer for! Bloody brilliant website!

 

Alex

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PM sent Merfyn.

 

Martin, think I will take the lazy modellers approach on this one - Peco OO! Mind you, I could end up regretting it! And, 2D53 has a lot to answer for! Bloody brilliant website!

 

Alex

 

Yes, I thought you may like that one.... B)

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  • 1 month later...

Just a very quick update - I've completed glueing and screwing a baseboard to the dimensions of 72"x15" using B&Q 2"x1" sawn timber (crap quality as it has split in some places!) and an MDF top. Ive braced the middle to try and ensure that the whole thing doesn't move around too much (and to help prevent runaway wagons!).

 

The track plan is taking shape but I have three options at my disposal. All three utilise a terminus idea with run around (although some of the run around will be off scene) and two sidings, one for the 'bangers' and a spare for shunting. The through station idea may not happen just yet but I may try and develop some flexibilty to allow for a future extension.

 

I could probably pass the entry test for this years challenge but I'm conscious of the deadline and the pressures inherent with that!

 

Onwards and upwards!cool.gif

 

Alex

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  • 2 weeks later...

Evening all

 

I've been up in the loft today to organise pieces of Code 100 on the board into a useable and logical fashion.unsure.gif

 

However, a plan I have come across would suit another imaginary scenario/location that I have been researching - Caerwys on the former Denbigh and Mold Junction Line, although it would be renamed, possibly Afonwen (another settlement close by).

 

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=53.23410785938198~-3.3060129279355124&lvl=15&sty=h

 

Its in another one of my favourite scenic locations. The traffic locally would be sand given the presence of pits nearby (north of the main road) although I would also still want to run explosive's trains. The sand traffic could be justified as a feeder for Pilkington's in St Helens, although a run-round may be necessary in the Wrexham area. Wagon types would be the forthcoming tippler release from Bachmann, old 21t Ore hoppers or HTV's, 16t minerals redeployed and possibly PAA's/PGA's for later operations, which may need to be adapted from the basic Hornby offering. Having looked at photos of the Oakamoor (Staffs) traffic, Farish do the 'British Industrial Sand' PGA but I haven't seen one in OO guise.

 

I think that by shifting the layout further east, this may justify some more interesting and diverse operations... but the downside being more expense on stock!tongue.gif

 

I have been trying to scan in a track plan (rough sketch) but it's not quite happening today! Maybe I'll give it a go later.

 

Cheers

 

Alex

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  • 6 years later...

Thought I would revive this old thread. Always had a interest in the Blaenau branch as all my family on my mothers side were from there. Travelled the line lots of times on a DMU in the 70's and still drive up and down the Conwy Valley most days with work. Always fancied building a small cameo layout inspired by the branch. This week I have been to Trawsfynydd every day passing Maentwrog Road. I may have a go at modelling the part of the line with siding for explosives traffic always wanted to model a real location.The line has been cleared of vegetation and the siding is now visible and the old goods shed is still standing. I am sure that could be scratch built. Out of interest how far on from the station was the Flask unloading point. Coming to the road junction and turning left the line runs parallel for a while and I assume the unloading point was along there somewhere?

Between what years was the Cookes explosive traffic handled at Maentwrog road?

 

Thanks for any information.

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Thought I would revive this old thread. Always had a interest in the Blaenau branch as all my family on my mothers side were from there. Travelled the line lots of times on a DMU in the 70's and still drive up and down the Conwy Valley most days with work. Always fancied building a small cameo layout inspired by the branch. This week I have been to Trawsfynydd every day passing Maentwrog Road. I may have a go at modelling the part of the line with siding for explosives traffic always wanted to model a real location.The line has been cleared of vegetation and the siding is now visible and the old goods shed is still standing. I am sure that could be scratch built. Out of interest how far on from the station was the Flask unloading point. Coming to the road junction and turning left the line runs parallel for a while and I assume the unloading point was along there somewhere?

Between what years was the Cookes explosive traffic handled at Maentwrog road?

 

Thanks for any information.

 

About a mile from Maentwrog Rd. to the end of the line.

We put the siding in in 1985 using recovered points from Crewe remodelling. First train I have record of was 22 Nov. 1985. Last one 22 July 1988.

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  • 2 weeks later...

About a mile from Maentwrog Rd. to the end of the line.

We put the siding in in 1985 using recovered points from Crewe remodelling. First train I have record of was 22 Nov. 1985. Last one 22 July 1988.

 

 

Thanks Merfyn, another couple of questions if I may? I note VAA vans seemed to be used for the explosives, any other variants does anyone know? Also were vans left there to be loaded or did the train arrive with a van and it was loaded then departed.

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Thanks Merfyn, another couple of questions if I may? I note VAA vans seemed to be used for the explosives, any other variants does anyone know? Also were vans left there to be loaded or did the train arrive with a van and it was loaded then departed.

 

My records show VAA, VAB and VBA vans. They arrived empty and were loaded from the lorries which arrived from the works. Nothing was kept there.

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  • 2 months later...

Reviving the thread again after a visit to take some photos for a modelling project:

 

Between what years was Maentwrog Road used for the explosives traffic?

 

Where did the loaded vans go to?

 

I would like to model specific numbered locomotives that actually worked to Maentwrog Road with photo evidence.

 

What locomotives were used on the flask trains to Trawsfynydd in 1986, I assume class 47 and maybe 25's? Specific numbers would be great.

 

Thanks for the help.

 

 

post-7968-0-09022000-1499878300_thumb.jpg

post-7968-0-56973900-1499878317_thumb.jpg

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Reviving the thread again after a visit to take some photos for a modelling project:

 

Between what years was Maentwrog Road used for the explosives traffic?

 

Where did the loaded vans go to?

 

I would like to model specific numbered locomotives that actually worked to Maentwrog Road with photo evidence.

 

What locomotives were used on the flask trains to Trawsfynydd in 1986, I assume class 47 and maybe 25's? Specific numbers would be great.

 

Thanks for the help.

 

See my PM.

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Hi Nick,

Merf has probably given you plenty of info to go on, He is a bit of a North wales Guru when it comes to train stuff and buses.

 

I remember following your Dyserth depot layout and Holland Park I must admit I have only just caught up on your Sidings layout. I must have missed it somehow.

 

Anyway best of luck with the new project. I have had a quick look through some of my books and found a few workings for you.

 

Explosive train. 40004 11th Aug 83. 25323 11th sept 85. 25912 12th and 23rd March 87. 47352 7th April 88. Of note is 25323 had a barrier and 3 vans but no brake van. The others were the more normal barrier, van, barrier, Brake van. 

 

Flask. 25035 13th June 86. 25058 17th April 85. 

 

Cheers Peter.

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Hi Nick,

Merf has probably given you plenty of info to go on, He is a bit of a North wales Guru when it comes to train stuff and buses.

 

I remember following your Dyserth depot layout and Holland Park I must admit I have only just caught up on your Sidings layout. I must have missed it somehow.

 

Anyway best of luck with the new project. I have had a quick look through some of my books and found a few workings for you.

 

Explosive train. 40004 11th Aug 83. 25323 11th sept 85. 25912 12th and 23rd March 87. 47352 7th April 88. Of note is 25323 had a barrier and 3 vans but no brake van. The others were the more normal barrier, van, barrier, Brake van. 

 

Flask. 25035 13th June 86. 25058 17th April 85. 

 

Cheers Peter.

 

Adding to Peter's notes. A van train for the explosive traffic without a brake van would be to Blaenau North Western yard. When we opened Maentwrog Rd. siding the brake vans were added for the propelling move from Blaenau. Late 1985.

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