Thursday, 2 January 2014

Chris' New Layout

Ixion's UK Director Chris Klein has started his own 'blog' - an RMWeb Forum thread that will record the construction of his O Gauge South Wales colliery/GWR layout. 

Smartly titled "Cwm Bach - A South Wales Branch Line"* it outlines the philosophy, history, origins and ideas behind the forthcoming layout. 

You can read the whole thing here, but I have copied the first post below to whet your appetite.

Enjoy, and a Happy New Year to you all.

* The name "Cwm Bach" sounds like "Come Back", if spoken in a Welsh accent.

Posted Jan 01 2014, 21:42 by Chris Klein, as 81A OldOak
Cwm Bach - A South Wales Branch Line
I have long been attracted to the railways of Wales, particularly those in the coalfields of South Wales and the Cambrian Railways, which, I suppose, pretty much much covers the principality apart from a narrow strip along the north coast. For many years I have modelled a 4mm scale fictional extension of the coast line of the Cambrian line from Pwllehli to Abersoch via a junction at Boduan with a branch to  Morfa Nefyn. The layout has been well documented in the Railway Modeller since my maiden article appeared in 1992. Concurrently, I have been constructing 7mm scale rolling stock following the puchase of a Slater's 7 plank wagon for experimental and medicinal purposes at the annual show of the Southampton MRS in January 1994. I had the kernel of an idea for a South Wales branch line in 0 Gauge in the 1950s. The main attractions of South Wales, especially for 0 Gauge, were the almost exclusive use of tank locomotives on most of the Valleys' lines, the survival of a surprising number of pre-Grouping locomotives into the mid and even late 1950s, the very dense network of lines, cramped locations in narrow valleys and ample scope for industrial railway operations.

To date, my modelling efforts on the 7mm side have been restricted by the very limited time that my busy job in London permitted, especially the almost 2 hour of commuting each way. By the way, I travel by train between Winchester and Waterloo and the modern railway scene is very boring to the extent that the sight of even one rarely used siding at Surbiton station excites interest. But that is to digress. With effect from today, I have reduced my working time to the annual equivalent of two days per week so that I now have more time to pursue  my many other interests.  More importantly, it means I can start major projects without the fear that thery will never be finished.

So where does the 0 Gauge layout start?  I have always been attracted to the small GWR station at Abergwynfi that served the erstwhile Avon Colliery ever since I saw the photograph (reproduced with permission) by Michael Hale in Volume 1 of his seminal work "Steam in South Wales". On the front cover of the same book there is also a very inspiring colour photo of a GWR pannier tank shunting the very decrepit Glyncorrwg collieryin 1962. Abergwynfi station itself was built onto a narrow ledge carved out of the valley's side with the colliery line continuing its ascent behind the station. My idea is to reverse the colliery branch via an elevated kick-back siding behind the station and to add a couple of sidings in front of the station for general goods. The baseboards excluding the fiddle-yard have actually been built, but I need to dismantle the 4mm scale Boduan Junction, which is now life expired, to make space. I will draw and post a sketch later on.

Some general features of the intended layout:

  • Dimensions approximately 15' x 2'.
  • DCC for locomotive control. I am still unconvinced about steam sounds for DCC so often operate with them switched off. Diesel sounds are much more convincing.
  • Point and signals will be actuated by Tortoises that I accumulated during business trips to the USA when the pound/dollar exchange rate was 1:2. I won't fuss about with DCC for their control.
  • Pointwork has been constructed from C&L and Peco components.
  • Couplings are currently 3-link and cosmetic screw, but I will install Lincs if they ever return to the market (or if anyone by any chance has some they are willing to sell to me).

Stay tuned for further instalments.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Abergwynfi station scan.jpg