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Keadue a C&L might have been

John M

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To redress the balance a little towards the Southern Companies I am mainly interested in modelling CIE in the Midlands and West 1950s and 60s. While mainly interested in the broad gauge started a small narrow gauge layout several years ago mainly as a home for a small collection of Branchlines and Backwoods Miniatures locos and stock.


The layout is based on a ficticiuos extension of the Arigna Tramway to Boyle or possibly Sligo with Keadue the frontier station with the rest of the system with trinss working in from Ballinamore and the West.



6T arriving from Ballinamore with a mixed.


Locos and stock are mainly Backwoods Miniatures and Branchlines weathered and detailed to resemble the C&L in its ffinal years.



Keadue looking West


The station building is modelled with Wills Material sheets, the windows and door screen were custom etched in brass.


I was originally planning to model the station at Drumshanbo, but was originally confined to a 7'6' x1' wide shelf. I started the layout in 2004 but until recently had little progress. The main challenge has been to create an air of spaciousness on such narrow baseboards. I had originally intended to model the station buildins at Drrumshanbo, but a mock up o the station with its 1917 extenssion dominated the scene.



Keadue Station Building


The layout has been extended into an L with a narrow shelf extension featuring a roadside tramway section, I had hoped to model a tyical C&L Halt Keepers House such as Kiltubrid but the baseboard was to narrow although I am hoping to build a low relieef model of the thached rlineside Drumcong Post Office on this section.



No8 on Tramway section


The layout is very much a workin progress, perhaps the most pressing job is to sort out the wiring and service the locos and stock so I can actually run something.



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Thanks for the kind comments this layout seems to be a bit like many Irish rural lines characterised by long period with nothing happening puntured by brief spells of activity.


The original C&L coaches were quite stylish with clerestories and turned down turtle roof over the end balconies, the clerestory lights were eventually covered over and the turtle ends become more pronounced as the coaches approached the end of their working lives.


The model is based on a set of Worsley Works scratch builder parts, with the roof formed from a piece of .010" or .012" brass with the clerestory sides planted on top the sides were then covered in paper and the whole roof sprayed with an auto primer then airbrushed with some form of Flouil wetahered black.


The main roof is first formed by curving the brass into n arc probably around a section of tube, the turtle ends are first formed by making single diagonal cuts between the corners of the roof and clerestory, then forming the end section to match the profile of the end balcony. The overlap in the sheets are then soldered together and the joint filed and sanded until the joint is nice and smooth, it sounds difficult but easier to execute than explain.




3T departing for Arigna.

A Branchlines kit, Tralee and Dingle locos became the mainstay of the Tramway during its last two decades of operation with 3T featuring in many railfan photographs.



6T on the Table!

6T was the last of the Dingle engines to arrive on the C&L for the final rush of coal traffic in 1957. 6T was probably the most travelled of the Dingle engines having also worked on the West Clare until dieselisation in 1955.


While most C&L locos worked out and back from Ballinmore, Keadue appears similar to Fivemile Town on the Clogher Valley with few if any trains working through from Ballinamore to Boyle or Sligo.




Smokeless zone in 1950s rural Ireland


3T eases across the crossing the gates are Wills many of the station gates do not appear to have carried targets at this time, presumably they were protected by fixed signals. I have since added chimneys to let out the smoke from the turf ffires.


Does anyone do a reasonable Edward? the humble donkey was and probably still is popular motive power in areas of very small farms and soft ground conditions.



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Thats good news about the donkey, they appear usually with a cart in several photos along the Tramway and waiting in Drumshanbo yard.


After a long hiatus I recently did some work on the layout including lowering the baseboards to a more viewer friendly height, fitting a new fascia, adjustments to pointwork and completing the wiring.




2L with a mixed on the roadside tramway section. The baseboard on this section is quite narrow, in the background I am planning to add a low relief thatched post office/shop similar to Drumcong in this area, with typical Irish hedgerows to disguise the base of the backscene, the low area at the front represents the shore line of a small lake, plenty of rushes to be planted.


The C&L mainly ran through Drumlin Country a land of little hills and little lakes.




2L arriving at Keadue the store is based on Campbells a merchants in Drumshanbo farm gates usually appear to be leaning against the station fence in photos from the 1950s.




Having taken water 6T prepares to leave with a special goods for Boyle or Sligo, although the C&L had a number of cattle wagons, most of the covered stock were "convertibles" suitable for general merchandise of cattle.


6T appears to have recceived an overhaul before transfer to the C&L in the late 1950 and while in reasonaby smart external condition ran with patched tanks and a hand written number on the front buffer beam.

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The last burst of activity was spurred on by the imminent arrival for visitors from America and the need to make the office presentable as a bedroom.


Apart from improving the general level of presentation that trains were just about visible from a normal viewing height, I though it would be a good idea to actually hang the loco and goods shed doors.




General view of layout. Definitely needs a lighting pelmet. 




Doors at last! There is no risk of leaving thes shut as they are fixed in place with .45mm brass wiire pins




Goods yard entrance.


The biggest dodge of all was modelling the entrance to the goods yard which is partially off scene. A distinctively Irish field gate also commonly used around the railway.




A scene lifted from Drumshanbo.


Gates stacked against the railway fence show up in many photos of Drumshanbo, I need to add some low relief buildings in this area possibly the gable end of a shed with exposed Belfast trusses.




Massed produced open wagons.


I bought sufficient chassis for 12 open wagons about 10 years ago, but never got around to scratch buiding the bodies.


In the end I produced an etched brass open wagon body as one of my 1st ventures in etched brass design and it seemed easier to use the test build as a master than assembling body kits.




The results were middling mainly due to the tin wall thickness of the master and air bubbles in the casting, but they look of and ride reasonably well.

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I recently added a carriage shed to balance the loco shed at the country end of the layout. The siding on this side was originally provided as a carriage siding and a crossover and spur added to serve a private goods store.


The siding is a bit short to use eeither as a shunting neck for the store or wagon storage and the shed helps to define its purpose.




The shed is fairly typical of those provided on narrow gauge lines, though those on the C&L were removed as an "economy" measure in the 1930s after which the carriages gradually fell apart in the damp climate.


The shed is clad in Wills corrugated roof sheet from a timbeer yard kit and Evergreen scribed plasticard on brass box section framing, the real roof is formed in .4mm brass.


The main dilema is how heavy to weather this one CIE was unlikely to have repainted or maintained a building that should have been removed 20 years earlier.




No 8 has ventured out again after modifications to the leading bogie, I converted the bogie pivot from a slotted to a swing link arrangement as she was sticking where the line curves around onto the roadside tramway section. Much the same happened when the GSR tried one of the ex Cork Blackrock & Passage 2-4-2T on the Arrigna Branch in the 1930s so I am in good company.


The reason for the loco and carriage sheds is that traffic is split at Keadue a larger settlement and town in its own right compared to Arigna a much smaller village.


Coal and general goods traffic to the South goes out over the shorter route to the broad gauge at Boyle or directly to Sligo Port, while east and north bound traffic is transhipped onto the Great Northern at Belturbet.




Coal traffic is getting nearer to starting with the painting and lettering of the first batch of open wagons, these trains were a head of their time in that the C&L coal trains ran in fixed formation blocks between the load out at Arigna and thee broad gauge interchanges.


While the Irish Sugar Company plant at Tuam was a major customer for Arigna coal, the final rush of trafic in 1958 was to the Irish Cement plants at Drogheda & Limerick. Limerick traffic going out over the Midland from Dromad, and Drogheda over the Great Northern Line from Belturbet.


The Midland line from Dublin survives to this day as a reasonably busy intercity and commuter line, while the Belturbet branch and the connecting lines through Counties Cavan and Monaghan to the main line at Dundalk were swept away in the closures of the 1960s.


Mining in the Arigna Coal Field ceased about 20 years ago although Arigna Fuels operate a smokeless fuel processing operation on the site of the narrow gauge load out in Arigna.





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Hi John,


I really like the new carriage shed.  Have you considered joining the Narrow gauge Online Forum?  http://ngrm-online.com/forums/  Its a very friendly site, and I'm sure Keadue would be very well received.


It would also answer your questions about corrugated iron, there is a thread on there for everyone to put their prototype corrugated iron photos on, here:



All the best,


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I finally managed to finish enough coal wagons for a fairly typical train, the bodies are cast in resin on Backwoods Minaitures chassis, Des Sullivan of Studio Scale Models supplied enough decals to letter the entire fleet, coal is sub-bituminous from the Waikato coal field.


The ooal loads were inteded to removable but I will probably run laden and empty rakes. The coal was sprinkled on top of a tack adhesive on retangles of black plasticard and then selade in place with matt varnish.




No 8 passing Keadue on a laden coal special.


On the prototype the trains typically ran to 9-10 wagons so 5-6 is a fair compromise, vans were often marshalled next the loco possibly to give the guard a smoother ride as all trains were fitted with continuous brake.


No 8 originally Victoria seems to have been pretty run down by the end and seems to have been mainly used on coal trains. The loco was built from a Backwoods kit in 1996 and is a lot better mechanically than she looks with a Mashima can motor and Branchlines slimline double reduction gear cradle.


The loco was spray painted with Howes Weathered Black which is excellent for the GSR/CIE dark grey "livery" colour, I use an eggshell or a matt varnish depending on how long the loco has been out of the shops.




I got carried away with the weathering of the wagons and its difficult to see the lettering, although most of the C&L was in Leitrim in the province of Connaght  part of the West of Ireland, the C&L followed Ulster traditions in terms of rolling stock design and architecture. The axleguards on the outside of the solebars was a common feature on railways in Northern Ireland broad and narrow.






Clogher Valley Coach on the Cavan & Leitrim?


Built from a Branchlines kit about 20 years ago this was one of my Irish 3' gauge models, from an early stage the CVR & C&L planned to connect their two lines and there were even grander plans to link the two systems as part of a scheme to create a shorter sea route between the UK and North America all of which came to nothing.


The GSR went shopping for wagons for the C&L when the CVR closed at the end of 1941, so its probable a couple of coaches might have found their way South specially if the link between the two systems was ever constructed.



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I am now starting to look at detailing the narrowest portion of the layout roadside portion between the station and fiddle yard. My original intention was to model one of the roadside halts or the thatched Post Office at Drumcong which appears in many photos of the line but have insufficient depth, so I am concentrating on hedge rows and a line of low hills on the backscene to give a sense of depth.




No 8 with a coal special.


In trying to distill the character of the tramway a train and a Ford Prefect meet at a typical farm gateway. The whitewashed gateposts with ornamental caps and trimmed hedge indicate that this is the entrance to the farm house rather than a simple field gate, perhaps with a couple of pine trees planted as a shelter against, biting the East Wind all the way from Siberia or being peleted with rain from an Atlantic gale, I spent a winter working in the area and it can be very cold by Irish standards.


The gate pillars are formed from Wills material sheets, the cappings are Scale Link bought about 25 years ago, everything eventually finds a use. I think I will follow Barry Norman's example in using an scourer with scenic scatter for forming the hedges, and suggest a low ridge on the backscene, While most of Cavan and South  Leitrim is whats described as Drumlin Country broken country made up of little lakes and little hills, Keadue is immediately to the South of Arigna and Curlew Mountains on the borders between Roscommon and Sligo.


Work is also required fencing the railway through the cutting on the approach to the station, like the SR the GSR was a great user of precast concrete with concrete fence posts on even quite minor lines.




Typical C&L 5 ton open.


Studio Scale Models produced sufficient decals to letter my entire narrow gauge wagon fleet, despite the run down nature of the locos and coaching stock, Ballinamore appears to have been able to or more likely the C&W foreman had an adequate budget to maintain the wagon stock in good order, with CIE adding to the fleet as late as 1957-8 the year before closure.


The carriage shed will probably be in heavily weathered GSR Green & Cream which should be an interesting challenge.

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My original intention was to model one of the roadside halts or the thatched Post Office at Drumcong which appears in many photos of the line but have insufficient depth, so I am concentrating on hedge rows and a line of low hills on the backscene to give a sense of depth.

Nice idea John, its all too easy to try and cram too much in, and large parts of Ireland are pretty empty!  

I guess a halt could feature, some of them were just a nameboard in the hedge at a crossroads werent they? 

Do you have a trackplan you could upload?

Many thanks, Dave.

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A little of the flavour of the hub of the C&L on Ballinamore Fair day.



The line had a year to go at that stage and was still relatively busy with coal and general goods traffic, and passenger traffic reasonably healthy between Ballinamore and the broad gauge connection at Dromad. Passenger traffic had more or less dried up on the Arigna tramway and the main  line eastwards from Ballinamore to Belturbet.


Although the narrator talks of Ireland as a poor country the country, this was in relative terms to the British manufacturing economy. Under Sean Leamas Ireland had adpated a more pragmatic economic policy, even in Leitrim farmers were enjoying better prices and the spin off in tourism from fishing and Shannon cruises.


I have dug out a copy of Barry Norman's Landscape Modelling and I am experimenting with rubberised horsehair and pan scourer as a core for forming hedges.




The track layout borrows elements of Drumshanbo and the roadside Tramway between Ballyduff and Kiltubrid halts.


I originally had planned to model Drumshanbo but it would have been awkward to work and would have needed a lot more space to do it justice perhaps some day in 7mm or the garden.




The layout at Drumshanbo developed piecemeal originally with the goods loop and loco shed road on the down side. The up loop developed gradually from a carriage siding at the eastern end of the yard and seems to have been used mainly for wagon storage, it would have been handy on fair days and taken pressure off Ballinamore for storing covered wagons between traffic peaks.


I converted the two Dingle locos to DCC in 2004 but had difficulty in achieving reliable running, Keadue is wired on a variation of Stuart Hines linked section control with power and section switching through Blue Points rather than section switche and a control panel.


I currently have one hand held DC controller, the intention is to use the controllers more or less as a train staff, to control movements on the main line or lock a train into a yard or siding.


The Keadue was originally intended as a self contained minimum space layout on a 7'6" X18" book shelf as a quicky layout when we moved to Auckland in 2004 and morphed into its present form during the past two years following a move to Hamilton. At this stage I hope to concentrate on completing the scenics and refining the operation with perhaps a second fiddle yard rather than any further extension of the layout.

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On the rolling stock front I have finally complete enough open wagons for two coal trains and used up all the capacity in the fiddle yard. I am gradually converting all the couplings to Kadee HOn3 which seem to be a lot more reliable than the Microtrain N Scale couplers previously used.




General view with 3T departing with a laden coal special while 2L waits in the loop.



3T departing for Sligo with a laden coal train.


I have experimented with rubberised horsehair and Woodlands Scenics foliage for the hedges on the roadside section with reasonable results. The simple backscene gives a reasonable effect for the Arigna Mountains which were essentially a long ridge of moorland  without major distinguishing marks




3T in a scene that could be taken from the C&L or Tralee & Dingle all that's needed is Ivo Peter's Bentley.


The gateway is likely to be the major scenic effect on this section, the whitewashed pillars and pine trees set this out as the entrance to a farm house rather than a simple field gate. I






General view of the station with 6T on the afternoon Mixed for Sligo. A couple of vans set out at Campbell's Store and a couple of vans and a crippled coal wagon in the goods yard. The goods shed is served by an extension of the loop road, backshunt in New Zealand, headshunt in the UK, the loading bank siding on the right theoretically serves as a cattle bank and for wagon load traffic, the goods shed mainly being used for sundries, spirits and porter traffic. (McArdles a Dundalk brewer had private stores in both Ballinamore and Drumshanbo. Keadue could not be left out :stinker:

Edited by John M
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Hi John,

Thanks for another set of evocative photos.  The simple backscene is highly effective, especially in the two photos of the field gate.

All the best, Dave.

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This is such an atmospheric model of the C&L. I've visited the preserved section at Dromod, walked the section around Drumsanbo and sat in the preserved coach at Cultra but this is a superb evocation of what the line must have been like, well done John.

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