The main problem with the Chatham Show is that however fired up with new ideas/new toys one might be, it generally represents the start of the summer too & that is never a productive time for model making for me. When I was working full time in education, the summer term was always the most manic & we not so much reached the holidays as fell off work into the welcome stupor of a bit of R&R. These days, we try to go on holiday before the schools break up – simply because it is cheaper and since returning, the weather has not been conducive to being in the workshop with a hot soldering iron. Not that I’m complaining of course.
So, not a great deal going on, though time away from actual modelling can be a good time to do a bit of thinking – especially the ‘what next?’ variety. And here lies the thing. Arigna Town is nominally finished as a model, but hopefully has a busy exhibition schedule ahead of it, so it is a case of keeping things going and creating new interest in model making.
The first/next stage is approaching completion, in the form of a new fiddle yard. The same size as the previous one, but it has seven parallel tracks instead of 4 curved ones and slides on double ended drawer runners. It also pivots, enabling the whole thing to rotate 360 degrees, like the mark one version. A write up and pictures will appear in the layout section in a couple of weeks & it was certainly an interesting challenge.
However, with seven tracks, I will have the space to build some new stock. Not wanting to mess around with the geography & history of my fictitious line, the options I’ve come up with are as follows:
• Track 1 will have space for Railcar B and Railbus 2b, but also room for another railbus eventually, so one of the earlier versions may get built
• Tracks 2 – 4 will have the current trains – mixed, goods and coal. However, the coal wagons will be supplemented by a rake of empties. This means I can then run the ‘mine branch’ will its own engines: hence a chance to raid the Tyrconnel range.
• Track 5 will be able to hold a short ‘Paddy Train’ – either converted vans or perhaps the Tyrconnel 24’ six wheelers, plus the J26. I envisage the latter will arrive with a train of coal empties, which will be picked up by the mine engine [maybe St Mologa or one of the other T&C engines or even a Sentinel]. The J26 will disappear light engine, maybe to shunt the yard at the new power station on Lough Allen. Later the mine engine will return with loaded wagons and the previous sequence repeated the other way round.
• Track 6 is currently reserved for a full cattle train for which ‘Large Tank’ Sir Henry will be built
• Track 7 is ear-marked for an excursion train. Imagine my delight therefore when I read in the latest ‘New Irish lines’ that Tyrconnel have a G2 2-4-0 planned! Do I detect the hand of our ‘Mayner’ here? A rake of six wheelers would complement the loco nicely. My only slight concern is whether a G2 would fit on my turntable, but am assuming the wheelbase should come in at under the 42’ diameter. Perhaps someone can let me know?
So, plenty to do and though there a no deadlines as such, I am certainly expecting the new fiddle yard to be available for the layout’s next outing at Uckfield in October and would hope there will be at least one new train by the time York comes round next Easter
After an almost classic tailchaser with Patrickswell I looked at Fenit as a sleepy branch line terminus. I initially looked at including Spa with its beet siding and treating the Harbour Commissioners line as part of the hidden staging, but eventually decided to omit Spa and include a representation of the pier and its railway.
The layout is a lot more challenging in terms of trackwork and operation compared to Patrickswell, with little in the way of structures, the footbridge and lifeboat station weer the most prominent structures on the mainland & a rather plain looking warehouse on the quay. The backscene would be a challenge a panorama including the Dingle Peninsula and Tralee Bay.
The layout is essentially a scenic shunting plank, with operation mainly around shunting wagons between the station yard and the Pier. Traditionally small tank locos were used for shunting the pier, the Harbour Commissioners bought Hunslet industrial saddle tank which was passed on to the GSWR as 299, an ex MGWR J26 from the Waterford & Tramore was the last steam loco used until replaced by G & D Class diesels. The small rail mounted steam cranes used into the 70s were probably the most distinctive part of the operation and a challenge to model.
Locos and stock used seems to have been mainly restricted to standard small GSWR types in steam days, there is a photo of a J15 with a train of 6 wheel coaches in a photo before passenger services were withdrawn in 1934. CIE provided seaside trains on Summer Sundays running the Sunday Tralee service through to Fenit.
Traffic from the harbour mainly appears to have been spasmodic coal and timber for Tralee and presumably other destinations in Kerry. The harbour struggled financially, the Pier was closed to commercial traffic during much of the 1949s & 50s due to structural problems with the causeway which connects the pier with the main land.
The final traffic on the Fenit branch and Western end of the North Kerry was sugar beet from Fenit, Spa, Ardfert and Abbeydorney to the Tuam factory during the 1977 campaign.
For a modeller starting in 21mm gauge the Murphy Models B141 and DC Kits G Class with a 28:1 Blackbeetle Motor bogie would be a good option to get things running before venturing into kit or scratchbuilding.
The main purpose of the planning exercise was to see if it was feasible to fit an American style walk around design layout inside an 11'x17'6" garage. The idea definitely seems feasible in N and just about possible in OO though probably better off in American N or HOn3 given the amount of rolling stock building required for an Irish layout of this nature.
In 21mm gauge it seems to be basically own to a simple through station on a continuous run or a U or L shaped terminus to fiddle yard effort, the larger radius curves required by the finer scale standards basically eat up space. It is sometimes said that it is easier to build a double than a single track layout in a small space, I have slightly modified Patrickwell as an example of a small but operationally interesting station for a continuous run layout in 21mm gauge.
The station was on a gentle curve in a plain but visually attractive setting with a natural viewing point from the south with the station building and signal cabin in the background. Patrickswell was the junction between two single lines where the line to Croom and Charleville (The Cork Limerick Direct) diverged from the North Kerry. The two single lines ran side by side westwards from the station for approximately on mile giving the impression of double track, at the eastern end of the station a headshunt to the goods yard trailed back on the up side towards Limerick also giving the impression of a double line.
The track layout was extremely simple with 3 points a crossover between the Croom line and The North Kerry and a siding trailing back from the headshunt to a loading bank, in later years the home of a crippled CIE brake van and an ex GNR covered goods wagon.
In GSWR days the signal cabin was on the South side of the line opposite the junction crossovers, but replaced with a standard GSR concrete hipped roofed cabin further west on the platform following Civil War damage. At some stage a second crossover existed which allowed trains from the Croom line to run directly to the headshunt and the goods yard also had a second siding. These appear to have been lifted at some stage before the Croom line closed in 1967.
Although simple a layout based on Patrickswell could be interesting to operate mainly for through train operation than shunting, with trains operating along the single line from Limerick in prototype fashion before diverging onto the North Kerry or Croom lines or even using the double crossovers to allow double line operation between Limerick and Patrickswell or watching trains go round on a double line.
In the diesel era the Croom line was an important freight link between Cork and Limerick for a regular overnight goods and cement specials until Limerick Junction was re-modelled in 67, Patrickswell seems to have been busy as a block post and used for crossing oil and mineral trains during the Foynes freight boom era of the 60s 70s closing in 87. Although no loop was provided the layout was signalled to allow trains from Limerick to run directly onto the stub of the Croom line or from Ballingarne onto the headshunt at the Limerick end. The first train to arrive would presumably do the shunt, with the second running through.
Modelling the steam era would involve a lot of scratch or kit building the SSM GSWR 101, 6w coaches and whitemetal wagons would be a good start, the pre-amalgamation era has developed something of a cult following in the UK with Paul Greenes S Scale GSWR layout and the WLWR in 7mm with Richard Chowns Castlerackrent system and David Walkers Killanney.
A pre-amalgamation Patrickswell with GSWR green locos and purple lake coaching stock contrasting with WLWR Crimson Lake and well maintained infrastructure, would make an interesting contrast with contemporary gritty reality of modelling.
The final instalment of the saga will look at a number of options for a model based on Fenit hopefully including the pier line possibly with a little touch of Torpoint or Craig.
I drew this one up mainly to see if it was possible to fit OO gauge E shaped block plan into a single car garage, rather than a more traditional around the walls effort. It just about fits in with a reasonable aisle width by reducing the minimum radius on the turn back section on the peninsula section to 2' radius.
The scheme is just about workable in OO though would look a lot better visually in a wider room or in N or perhaps American or Continental narrow gauge in either HOn3 or HOm.
This time I have included one medium and two small stations on the section between Barnagh and Abbeyfeale with staging on one side of the room. It might be worth designing the staging as two side, by side yards representing Careys Road & Tralee with a linking track to allow through running. Each yard would have its own run round and spurs for storing locos to allow for a more interesting timetable operation than tail chasing. Ideally Barnagh should be modelled as a summit section rather than on a flat baseboard with trains climbing from Abbeyfeale and the Limerick end of the staging.
I have been getting to grips with Templot a track template design software for a small EM layout before I try my hand at serious planning for a broad gauge layout.
Although I have tried to be faithful to modelling Irish railways mainly GSR & CIE in 4mm scale, I had various flings with British, American and even freelance modelling in scale and had a long and sometimes stormy relationship with N American gauge.
I first tried N in the late 70s frustrated at trying to fit a OO gauge layout into a box room and even more so with my efforts to kitbash and scratchbuild Irish stock. A nice scenic N gauge layout with repainted or slightly modified rtr stock seemed a good idea and I even ended up with a reasonable U shaped shelf layout around the walls of my teenage bedroom with stations based on Ardfert and Foynes.
The layout was scrapped following a house move, in the late 80s I seriously caught the American modelling bug while living in the UK and built up a collection of American N gauge locos and stock to get something running quickly while I tackled kit building and modifying Irish 4mm stock.
Having a 17 X11 space available I thought I would look at a N gauge North Kerry layout based on American “walk around” principals.
Typical American style operation involves operators walking around with their trains crossing opposing trains and switching sidings and industries. Movements are usually controlled by a dispatcher or train controller sometimes in another room using radio or telephone communication, rather than a signal man at each block post typical of traditional UK & Irish operation.
I though it would be interesting to see if I could fit in an E shaped baseboard arrangement in combination with a looped 8 arrangement to achieve a maximum length of run. Given the available space I have planned for a minimum isle width of 700mm.
The main idea is to slow down the operation by a combination of maximising the milage between stations and operating the railway in accordance with the rule book. Visually the layout keeps to the idea of “sincere” design with only a single main line visible in most scenes with a view blocker down the middle of the peninsula and curved backscenes and layout fascias.
The Limerick & North Kerry section of the line between Barnagh and Abbeydorney appeared to be the best choice to model a section of the line in station order with two medium sized and two small but interesting stations.
The main potential drawback of the design is the length of hidden trackage and the use of hidden staging is more suitable for fixed formation train workings rather than traditional loose formation passenger and goods trains.
The goods loop at Barnagh was mainly used as a refuge to for the crossing of goods trains and to allow shunting to take place clear of the main line. Baragh was also a cumpulsary stop for pinning down the handbrakes of loose coupled goods trains before descending the bank to Abbeyfeale or Newcastle slowing down the pace of operation. I have squeezed in both Abbeyfeale and Listowel on the peninsula both stations are long and narrow and seem to have been reasonably busy with freight up to the early 70s. Up to the ending of through freight operation, goods traffic seems to have mainly between Listowel and intermediate stations to Limerick with lighter traffic westwards towards Tralee, with Listowel, Newcastle and Abbeyfeale most important in terms of traffic.
In GSR days Abbeyfeale was the terminus of a mid afternoon passenger working from Limerick and the terminus of a three times weekly pick-up goods from Tralee after the line over Barnagh closed to regular traffic. The distance between Abbeyfeale and Listowel could be extended by stopping a train in section between the two stations. Listowel was the most important intermediate station on the Western part of the line and one time junction with the Listowel and Ballybunnion monorail for someone wanting an extreme challenge. Shunting both station could be quite involved with in each one long siding used for all goods traffic. While the yard was not modernised as part of Railplan 80 block fertiliser trains operated from Tralee to Listowel and forklifts would have been used for unloading. Although regular passenger traffic was light and ended in 1963 specials operated for the Listowel Races, Knock specials and other events into the early 70s.
I have included Abbeydorney as I griced the station in 78, it was the terminus for beet train operation in the lines final year and used as the run round for Westbound traffic from Ardfert which did not have a run round loop. It might be possible to squeeze in a siding between Abbeydorney and Listowel to handle the tar traffic for the Kerry County Council depot at Lixnaw.
In order to maximise the length of run the main line is essentially a combination of the folded figure of 8 and dogbone, with a flyover arrangement with the line between the Tralee end of the hidden staging and Abbeydorney crossing over the Abbeydorney-Listowel section rather than by a grade crossing more typical of the American Mid West
While there are no rtr Irish N scale models reasonable 3D printed A, C & 141 diesels typically used on the north are available through Shapeways. The models appear to be designed to fit on the excellent Lifelike EMD Switcher and SD9 chassis, repainted BR Graham Farish or Peco rolling stock would pass muster for passenger and goods trains, personally I use Microtrains (Kadee) couplers in preference to the typical Rapido N gauge coupler though the conversion may be something of a mission given the size and amount of goods stock needed for a layout of this nature.
At this stage I am not sure whether or not I would opt to model an Irish railway in N, working in 21mm gauge a less ambitious scheme possible a small portable layout may be more realistic, though its mighty tempting to dust off the American N Gauge and use the basic layout plan for a railroad into some County in a remote part of upstate New York or New England with mill towns and lake resorts called Abbeyfeale and Listowel..
I really enjoy exhibiting, especially when things go well. Guess it is the teacher [bit of a show off?] in me. However, I also find the process both tiring and a bit stressful at times & with my layout fast approaching its exhibition debut, these notes are as much a reminder to myself about final preparation as a window to any reader about how I go about things.
I’ve been exhibiting since 1987, with over 50 shows in that time. When displaying my models, I am always conscious of the fact that folk are paying to come and watch, so therefore it is essential to put on a good show. This leads to an important rule:
‘The layout must not only run well, but trains need to be frequent [far more than the prototype] and during any breaks in service, there should be enough interest to sustain the viewer’s interest.’
I’m afraid this is not always the case in my experience - & my own attention span [or lack of it] tends to mean I soon move on if nothing is moving, unless the scenics are very good indeed. Two good examples of the latter were the late Tom Harland’s ‘Bramblewick’ – a North Eastern layout of impeccable design and more recently ‘The End of the Line’ a 7mm model with working radio controlled lorries, which more than entertained when there were no trains. On the other hand no doubt we can all cite 4 track main line layouts with trains less frequent than a country branch or those with more operators than trains and no interest in engaging the viewers. So, what to do…
Preparation is vital and cleanliness is key to that. ALL wheels get a thorough clean [wagons and locos], as does the track before any show & before the layout leaves home [cleaned again after setting up too]. Couplings need a look. I use 3 links, which always seem to get in a tangle, so these need checking again as wagons are put on the layout. All motive power is checked and serviced, a little light oiling, cleaning & adjusting of pickups, plus a quick once over in terms of paintwork & any fine details which may have come loose.
Much rehearsal goes on before a show, to check that each train in the sequence does what it is supposed to. That means no derailments, buffer locking, etc & anything that does is put to one side for attention. At a show I also have a small notebook to record any problems & try to make sure these are attended to before the layout goes out again. Enough spare stock to cope with the odd breakdown is therefore useful.
Testing hopefully weeds out any other issues, such as point & signal control & the loco controllers themselves. I have always carried a spare since a very early show when a short on a loco caused a handheld controller to overheat. ‘Ere mate, did you know your controller is on fire?’ was the comment that drew my attention. It was certainly giving off smoke…
Hopefully, the Show organisers will provide barriers. Personally, I don’t like Perspex screens to keep inquisitive fingers away, but appreciate why some do. At one show, folk were so close to the layout, their heads were encroaching on to the running tracks. One chap seemed keen to look through the ‘hole in the sky’ to see into the fiddle yard. Not sure why, as it was open to view, but after asking him if he wouldn’t mind moving & not getting a response, I announced in a loud voice that if he didn’t move, then the next train would be driven up his nose. He soon shifted!
What you can pretty much be sure of at a show, is that you will spend many hours on your feet and do a lot of talking to people who want to know more. This is very tiring, but can be very rewarding. Many’s the time I have learned something new about what I’ve been trying to model. The worst part of exhibiting, is at the end of the show. All that packing up to do and just when you really just want to get home – which may well be a long drive away. Can never understand why some shows go on till 5pm or later on a Sunday. Most shops shut at 4pm and have lost count of the number of times when the only folk left in the exhibition hall after 4pm are the exhibitors themselves...
My usual routine is to gradually get all the stock packed away as closing time approaches. This is where a railcar or similar is useful, to keep something running for those still left. After that, it really pays to be disciplined about packing up, for this is the time when most damage can occur. Somehow, things don’t go back in the car the same way as you set off so care and patience is essential. Then you have to do it all again when you get home, especially if the van has to go back Monday morning or you need the car for work. Here is where a trailer can score. Unhook, roll into the garage and go to bed! At the next opportunity, the notebook comes out on what went wrong & the whole sequence starts again, ready for the next show.
Weather permitting, will be doing a trial fit of Arigna Town in the car soon, so will post a few pics - as long as it fits ok!
The tendency for modellers to organise conventions rather than exhibitions is probably the greatest difference in the way the hobby is organised between the UK and Ireland on one hand and North America, Australasia. The local model railway clubs hosted this years National Convention over 180 delegates attended with American guest speaker Lance Mindheim http://www.shelflayouts.com/, together with workshops and clinics on various aspects of railway modelling including layout planning, operation, scenery, 3D design, and the old stalwarts of scratch and kit building in styrene and metal.
Along with demonstration layouts, numerous trade stands the highlights of the convention included a modelling competition with a special section for the local fauna and bird life. .
Curiously Irish railway modelling got a look in I volunteered my American-ish garden railway to represent large scale modelling, and with Keadue my Cavan & Leitrim layout moved out to the garage in case the weather broke.
The forecast for the weekend was bad with a storm hitting on Wednesday evening finally clearing around dusk on Thursday followed by a frantic track clearing session removing a dustbin load of palm fronds and fallen branches.
Friday turned out good with guest operators running steam and on board battery power while I acted as tour guide. Sunday was challenging running a combination of battery and DCC outside between the squalls and running a tour of the workshop and demonstrating Keadue.
In all we had something like 150 people view the garden and workshop. Somehow or other I felt going back to work on Tuesday very relaxing
These are the cranes I mentioned at the Dockyard & which the late Ted McIlroy made fully working 7mm scale models of. See Mayner's blog/thread on the Fenit branch.
As for exhibiting...
The amount of other stuff that the exhibitor needs to take with him/her is considerable and no doubt I am not alone in being neurotic about leaving something vital behind when I go to a show. So, along with the baseboards, trestles or other supports, plus lighting and pelmets, what else needs to go?
Starting from the ground up, we need a set of drapes, to hide the baseboard legs. These days, they should be fireproof and not be within 15cm or so of the ground. Thankfully, my drapes have been recycled over several layouts, though I still rely on drawing pins [and sore thumbs] to fix them in place. Velcro one day…
Electrics come next. Most shows only give you a single mains socket, so that means several additional multipoint leads. Arigna Town needs four points for its lights, plus one for layout power, two more for buildings, plus at least two more for the spare controller [wheel cleaning] and a soldering iron. And this is a relatively small layout.
Generally, this all goes in what I call my ‘sundries box’, which also includes odds and ends like pieces of plywood [for packing layout feet], eight clip-spots, screwdriver, gaffer taper, soldering iron and a plastic box with all the M6 bolts and wing nuts which hold the various fittings in place. The latter something I dread leaving behind! An additional ‘box’ is an old brief case, which takes the transformers, hand held controller [Gaugemaster], spare controller [H&M Clipper], uncoupling hooks and an A4 file with layout info. One set for me [the wiring diagram amongst it], the other basic info on the layout for folk who might want to invite it to future shows.
Then there is the ‘tool box’. This is my long suffering cantilever box with all my modelling tools, plus a range of minor bits and pieces. Essentially, if I need something that isn’t in there, I can only hope there is a tool stand [like Eileen’s Emporium], or I’m stuffed. That said, if the layout is well built, then nothing should go wrong, but given the state of British roads these days, I am often amazed that the entire layout hasn’t been reduced to kit form, long before I arrive at the destination.
Will be fascinated to know what other folk take & any ideas on keepimg things to a minimum. For me, this is the key difference between the owner/operator [who has a couple of mates along to help at shows] and the group layout which may well arrive in a large van or even a 7 tonner. When Mostyn Yard [a splendid P4 opus] arrived at Chatham last year, the team spent at least 5-7 hours setting up and knocking down. Much as I admire that sort of dedication, I like to be away within an hour of the show closing & the record was actually just 15 minutes, with a 3 board 7mm NG layout.
At exhibitions, I often find myself paying as much attention to how a layout is built, as its scenic 'face'. This is because, despite many layouts and many more shows, I am still trying to find ways of making transportation & setting up simpler. My preferred favourite [not yet built I might add] would be an inflatable layout, which could be taken to shows in a carrier bag, but be able to be blown up to many times its deflated size...
This is probably some way off [would need inflatable stock too!], so over the last three layouts have used the same set up. This is the 'Ulysses' frame, devised by Iain Rice in his Small Layouts book. My version has folding trestles, linked by pairs of longitudinal beams. The latter are around five feet long and are bolted together at their ends, which provides reasonable stability. Angle plates at one end of each beam fit into the slot at the top of the trestle.
The photos show the layout set up in the living room [wife out shopping], so I could fit the lighting posts/pelmets and check the levels of the baseboards on the beams. Thankfully, all went well, so the last couple of days have been spent painting the rear and fascias of each board & am now starting the lettering for the pelmets.
I may be wrong, but looking at the ‘My Layout’ pages, most contributors have what might be called ‘home layouts’ – in other words, non-portable ones. Well done the Wexford crew though - a nice surprise in the latest RM.
Arigna Town was designed from the outset to be a portable, exhibition layout [as indeed have all my previous efforts] and, aside from the obvious issues of needing to be taken apart & put together again for shows, there are various other aspects, such as transport and presentation, which need to be considered. Therefore, thought it might be worth sharing my experiences of taking layouts to shows over the last 27 years. That last number is a bit scary, but it was 1987 that I first tried exhibiting, with a little EM gauge layout at the Chatham Show.
Arigna Town is made up of 4 identical baseboards, each a nominal 120cm x 60cm. Curved and/or irregular boards may be ideal for some, particularly in portraying a specific prototype, but for me, baseboard size & shape is all about transportation and storage and this size is about the biggest I can manage on my own.
However, when you exhibit a model, there is a lot else that needs to go with you. Legs, trestles or whatever, for it to stand on; power supply, controllers & such, your stock [which needs careful protection], plus a host of sundries including tool box and items for presentation – in particular lighting. Most exhibition halls will not be bright enough to show off all your hard work & indeed may not even be the right sort. I do my painting under normal household bulbs, so when seen under fluorescent lighting, the colours look all washed out.
In recent years, have settled on ‘clip-spot’ type lights, set on gallows type brackets, bolted to the rear of the layout. The clip-spots [i have 8 in all] provide good light, but the gallows brackets were a pain to both store and transport – it is surprising how much room they take up. Hence, have now made some folding brackets, which will hopefully solve that problem. The gallows will also hold the layout pelmet – more of which later. Hopefully the pictures help.
In the coming week, I will be having a trial run to see how everything fits in the car, so will let you know how I get on.
As we have looked at most of the main line stations on the North Kerry, I thought we might as well look at the North Kerry Yard in Tralee and the Fenit branch, both were important in terms of beet traffic and the North Kerry yard continued to handle keg and container traffic after the main line closed.
The GSWR and the North Kerry originally had separate stations on either side of Edward Street the connecting line and level crossing was a late addition, the North Kerry station closed several years after the GSWR absorbed the WLWR.
Apart from the ESSO sidings and the private siding into the mill there seems to have been little change since WLWR days.
The WLWR engine shed and turntable appears to have been on the north side of the line on the western side of Edward Street.
There appears to have been a large goods shed on the loading bank that was later used for loading sugar beet traffic a 16t gantry was installed for container traffic in the 1960s. I griced the year with my brand new Instamatic camera in 77or 78. Rock Street cabin was still manned although traffic to Fenit and Listowel had ceased.
A couple of flat wagons with keg containers and a CIE Insulated container were positioned on the gantry road, a large number of H wagons were placed on the sidings on either side of the running road and loop. Interestingly a couple of wagons were on the mill siding.
I checked out Fenit, Ardfert and Abbeydorney the following day, when got back the yard was largely clear of wagons. Heuston-Tralee was the last freight service to go over to Liner Train operation in 79 or 80. A coupling broke on the last loose coupled goods out of Heuston with most of the train running away down the Gullet into the passenger station.
The Fenit branch was sponsored and built by Tralee interests as an alternative to the Ship Canal, before the opening of the Leibherr crane factory the port was never very successful depending on coal and timber traffic for local merchants. The port struggled to raise capital to maintain or renew infrastructure, the port closed to commercial traffic due to structural problems with the pier causeway and was famous in the 60s for using steam cranes to load Leibherr Tower Cranes for export.
The line was originally worked by the W&L using a contractors tank loco that was re-gauged from standard gauge, the Harbour Commissioners later bought a standard Hunslet industrial 0-6-0ST which became GSWR 299 which was later used on the Cork Harbour sidings and the Timoleague & Courtmacsharry in West Cork.
CIE looked at using 299 or No90 or 100 but used an ex MGWR 0-6-0T 560 surplus from the Waterford & Tramore. 560 was used up to 1963 after which a G611 or E401 was used from Tralee. The G appears to have been used to move cuts of wagons between the pier and station for collection by a C Class or other loco sent from Tralee.
Rail traffic from the pier seems to have got sparse the last train is said to have been for a ship load of starch diverted from another port in the early 70s.
The line seems to have been busiest for beet with most of the traffic from Spa the wagons would have had to be brought to Fenit to run round.
The buildings at Fenit appear to have been similar to Ardfert and other smaller North Kerry Stations, the station building appears to have been demolished following the end of regular passenger services, the goods shed later demolished to extend the beet loading bank. The loco shed and turntable had gone by the 1970s, but the footbridge with very attractive stonework and the base of the water tank survives.
Fenit was famous for its self propelled steam cranes which were used into the mid 1960s, I am not sure if they were capable of moving wagons, but one of the photos in A J O'Rourkes North Kerry book shows a crane parked at the end of the platform road by the buffer stops with a number positioned on the pier.
The pier would make an interesting tabeau especially with a small tank loco or a G and a couple of self propelled cranes scuttling about. Perhaps the Jordan Steam Shovel (rigged as a crane) on a Black Beetle motor bogie.
The Festival of Railway modelling at Alexandra Palace was its usual enjoyable event, made better by seeing Paul Green's fine S scale Irish layout. Some superb stock there Paul, especially the Achill bogie...
A feature of Allypally is the sheer range of scale, gauge and prototype on show. One that stood out for me was Orange County and 'FS3' model. For that read 1:15 scale, so 3' gauge on 45mm track. BIG, in other words - am sure whole layouts have been built in one of their stockboxes!.
Lovely modelling & it set me thinking that this combination could be used to model the Irish scene. Maybe Clogher Valley, where the steam loco chassis could be hidden behind the tramway skirts. Producing the Railcar or its tractor sibling would be an interesting exercise!
Actually, have pondered 32mm track and 10mm/ft scale for a Clogher model & even gone as far as producing a few drawings. Wheels and track not a problem & would imagine a lot of work could be done in plasticard. In my 7mm NG days, did a lot of this. Locos were initially freelance on Lima chassis, using 12mm plastic water pipe for boilers and plastic sheet for footplate, tanks, can etc. A loco can be built very quickly in this way & if freelance, one can get on without worrying about prototype fidelity. Actually based one engine on a CVR 0-4-2T. Chimneys and domes were either 7mm castings or 'expanded' 4mm ones. Eg cut a GWR 'King' chimney in half & made it longer with some brass tube.
Another scale gauge combination is 'American' 0: 1:48 or 6mm/foot. Gordon Gravett uses this on his Pempoul odyssey. For Ireland, 32mm [0 gauge] track is near perfect for 5'3 and EM [18mm] track spot on for 3' gauge. However, 7mm scale wheels do not scale down well in 6mm. A 5'6" driver in 7mm scale would be 38.5mm in diameter and therefore 6'3 in 6mm scale, and probably have many more spokes. Shame...
Incidentally, just to show I dabble in other things, check the 'American' section of this website for my 'dual scale' shunting layout. Has anyone else tried this wheeze?
My interest in Irish railways was pretty much ingrained in childhood experience, my grandfather on the mothers side was a driver on the Midland but had died before my time, in the 60s railway did not exactly have a positive image breakdowns and line closures, a sunday afternoon walk over pat of the Meath Line before it was lifted. Ours was very much a car family but got the occasional squint over the railway wall when we were driving somewhere, despite this I got interested in model trains, and persisted even if my parents hoped I would grow out of it
The thin end of the wedge was when I persuaded my mother to buy a copy of Model Railway News in 66 or 67, there was no putting the genie back in the bottle.
The first Irish Layout that really inspired me was Malahide and Dromin Junction it was on display in the Kilkenny Shop in Nassau Street, around the same time I started reading the works of Iain Rice I could not et anything to work but his writing as like a breath of fresh air
Around the same time an article on Castle Rackrent appeared in the Modeller a minimum space WLWR broad gauge layout, which later morphed into something much bigger about 100'. I even got to see the original while living in Scotland.
A couple of years ago I was surprised that 30 years later he layout is still going strong and regularly operated
Time I stopped musing and did something to get something running I have a trio of Murphy Models B141s an AEC railcar set built from Worsley Works parts and a few kit built coaches, wagons and vans.
Looking at steam the Lines North & West of Limerick were mainly worked by J15s with small 4-4-0s & MGWR locos appearing North of Limerick.
I have a pair of J15s, a Midland Tank, some GNR locos plus some kits stashed away. All need some work control will probably stay analogue. Most of these kits were assembled 15-20 years ago the dilemma is whether to concentrate m energies on building new models to current best practice design or my existing loco stock.
Although Abbeyfeale was a much smaller town than Newcastle or Listowel the station seems to have been reasonably important in terms of traffic serving as a railhead or a large area of North Kerry and West Limerick, at one time there were even plans for narrow gauge feeder lines to serve the town and villages south of the man line. During GSR days in addition to the three daily through passenger trains Abbeyfeale was the terminus off a daily passenger train from Limerick. The working was unusual by GSR standards worked by a tank loco and involving bunker first running as Abbeyfeale did not have a turntable.
Abbeyfeale again acted as a terminus for a short while in the early 70s when regular operation over Barnagh ceased and the Limerick-Tralee goods trains were replaced by trice weekly trip workings from Limerick to Newcastle and Tralee to Abbeyfeale. Operation over Barnagh resumed and Abbeyfeale was served from Limerick for a short period following a bridge strike at the western end of the station. There is a photo of a supertrain livery B201 hauling one of these trains through Ballingarne in AJ O'Rourke's North Kerry book. Traffic to Abbeyfeale appears to have ceased with the ending of sundries traffic some time before official closure.
The buildings and structures at both stations appear to be to a standard design for small stations on the North Kerry, including, Barnagh, Devon Road, Lixnaw and simply shouts out North Kerry. Abbeydorney originally had just a single siding the goods loop appears to have been added in GSWR days to break up the long section between Listowel and Tralee.
Loads were restricted to 25 wagons between Tralee and Ardfert with heavier loads allowed westward to Tralee. A high beet loading bank appears to added in CIE days allowing beet to be tipped directly into wagons, Abbeydorney a loading ramp and possibly a mechanical shovel may have been have been used for loading beet from ground level bins. The ramp could only be used by one vehicle and was too steep for a truck or tractor and trailer.
Signalling at Abbeydorney was interesting, while most of the shunting signals from the loop to the main line were probably the original with an upright revolving lamp housing, movements from the yard to the main line were controlled by a modern(ish) disc signal on a standard GSR/CIE galvanised steel post. from memory the disc was a disc rather than the square pattern often used by CIE.
Next episode I will look at my most likely 4mm plan a simple U shaped design with two stations and an N gauge double decker walk around design to fit a similar space.
Was thinking about this the other day, when preparing some notes for a magazine article and the answer is not easy to fathom, other than the obvious delights and the fact that it makes a very satisfying alternative to the conventional 'terminus-fiddle yard' concept.
I started off in 4mm scale, EM gauge, modelling Light Railway practice. The Colonel Stephen's railways have always fascinated me & we do share a name [my surname, being his Christian one]. After a couple of layouts, one of which was exhibited in the late 80s [Oare], I turned to 7mm NG, mainly because I liked the chunkiness of the larger scale. I also had lots of spares, particularly wheels, in 00 and found that I could build freelance locos on commercial chassis that were visually satisfying and also worked well. When the Hornby 08 shunter came out, the outside cranks made for an ideal base for a NG diesel and it was quickly chopped up and re-vamped the way some of you create Irish prototypes. Lima 08s and 2-6-2T chassis got similar treatment and the High Weald Light Railway appeared in RM in the early 90s. It was followed later by Cranbrook Town, which also got an article, along with several others on various locos and buildings.
Loose End came next, also in RM, a layout I look back on fondly, because it ran well, looked good and introduced me to Gordon & Maggie Gravett, who remain good friends. Bizarrely, after I sold it to a chap near Nottingham, it then ended up in France, in the same barn where the Gravett's Ditchling Green resides. Strange or what? Loose End was a standard gauge, roadside tramway, based on the Wantage. Did my first proper scratch build for it, with the MRJournal's multi part article on how to do it from Laurie Griffin. Gave me the confidence to do a D16 Claud Hamilton after that, then a B17 footballer, so guess loco building fears were largely conquered by them - though I still get things wrong!
the mainline locos were built to get a mainline layout out of my system and now my local club are doing a 7mm oval, I feel I have exorcised that particular ghost and find myself far happier with something more manageable in Arigna Town. As to why Irish - can only re-iterate the charm, and the fact that it something a bit different. That and [on the minor lines at least], the similarities to the col stephens lines. Which is where I came in...
A brief look at the eastern end of the "main line" the busiest section of the North Kerry between Carey's Road and Ballingarne. Definitely worth including this section of the line possibly including both Patrickswell & Ballingarne in an American style possibly two level "walk around" style layout.
The stations buildings on the original Limerick & Foynes line at Patrickswell, Adare and Askeaton are to a common attractive cut stone design, the track layouts very simple. Patrickswell and Adare closed to freight in 1974, the signal cabin closed in 83, Knock Pilgrimage and GAA specials continued to call into the late 1980s. A crippled CIE 20t brake and a GNR standard van with one end pulled out seems to have been permanent features until the siding was removed in the early 1980s.
Adare looking west.
Patrickswell was the junction between the North Kerry and Croom Branch or more grandly named Cork-Limerick Direct Railwayt line from Charlesville originally a GSWR stalking horse to access Limerick the CLDR had running powers over the W&L to Carey' Road Junction where the GSWR had its own separate goods yard which handled freight traffic for Cork and Kerry, Guinnes, Grain & catte until the end of loose coupled freight.
The station layout at Patrickswell was odd in that the Croom Branch and North Kerry were worked as two separate single lines through the station, no crossover was provided at the western end between the two lines, crossing two North Kerry or Croom Branch trains involved a shunt.
The Croom branch lost its passenger service in the 1930, but the line remained an important freight link until Limerick Junction was re-modelled in 1967. The Croom Line had a nightly freight service to and from Cork, plus Castlemunget-Cork cement specials. Patrickswell closed
The platform is a good example of Irish railway approach to regulation low and without ramps.
A glimpse of Newcaste with the one time rather church like entrance to the station platform
View along the platform from the stop block, difficult to guess what is original & what is re production. Terrance of houses on the right are on the site of the Goods shed and yard. North Kerry Yard was on the left hand side behind the station building.
Next piece we will look at common features among larger North Kerry & Burma Road stations and a possible design for the layout.
As Fermanagh approaches completion, looking at my journal, it will be my 54th locomotive, only 8 of which were bought ready made and all but two of these were substantially altered as well. Of the other 46, 13 were scratch built, though in earlier days some of these were my own bodywork on commercial chassis. 12 were 4mm scale, one HO ( a Bachmann Shay - long story), and the rest 7mm scale, 13 of which were narrow gauge. There have ten layouts in all, with Arigna being the seventh one to be exhibited.
Anyway, this leads me to wonder if other folk keep a modelling journal? I started mine about ten years ago and like any diary, can be interesting to look back on, as well as providing a useful source of notes if asked to write an article. Maybe some of my future blogs will cover a bit of my model making history...
Well David got me thinking. Newcastle West another station with an unusual track layout, there are a number of photos in A J O'Rourke's book and the news section of the IRRS Journal from the early mid 70s I had a look around but did not take any photos before the track was lifted in the 1980s.
Originally built as a simple terminus by the Rathkeale & Newcastle Junction Railway in the late 1860s, it became a junction when the Limerick & North Kerry opened its line to Tralee in 1880.
The original station appears to have been a simple single platform branch terminus with a turntable and loco shed at the end of the running road and a single siding serving the good shed and loading bank. The single platform appears to have been extended and a second loop added for the opening of the Tralee line. This would have allowed two passenger or mixed trains to use the platform in a similar manner to Waterford. The diamond crossing arrangement across the down? running line to the goods yard was a fairly common W&L arrangement, Listowel had a similar crossover from the Up Main to the goods yard up to closure.
The "North Kerry Yard" with a second platform road run round and turntable appear to have been added in the mid 1880s to allow longer trains to cross.
The layout was later simplified with Up & Down main running along the platform and the diamond crossing and second loop removed, the down Home Signal from Limerick is now the down Home at Dromad on the C&L.
Some re-signalling may have been carried out when the wooden signal cabin was replaced with a GSR/CIE hipped roofed block built cabin in the mid 50s.
In CIE days the running line on the East side of the station appears to have been treated as the main line with the North Kerry Yard as a bay platform. The crossover near to the twin bridges at the Limerick & Tralee end of the station was laid out for reasonably high speed running, the crossover at the end of the platform much sharper.
Passenger trains continued to run over Barnagh up to 73 with specials from Dublin & Limerick to the Listowel Races and Knock and seaside excursion trains. One special was made up to 14 coaches double headed by B141s with a relief loco sent to assist the run round at Abbeyfeale.
The line had a brief resurgence in freight before closure Newcastle was the railhead for steel traffic for ESB in connection with transmission lines from Tarbert Power station. ESB leased the North Kerry Yard and both yards are chock full of open wagons in photos from that period.
The final traffic appears to have been meat in containers from Rathkeale, cement and fertiliser to Newcastle. A couple of Back to Back fertiliser specials operated in the last few months, before closure. The last train delivered a H van of cement and returned with 55 empty wagons to Limerick.
I haven't space for Newcastle but it would make an interesting major station on an American basement empire style layout with Abbeyfeale or Listowel or maybe both as secondary main line stations. Richard Chowan did much the same with his Castlerackrent, Moygraney and Western an O Scale WLWR broad gauge modular layout with models of several North Kerry & Burma Road stations.
I have been kicking around ideas for a layout for a good few years, but always seem to have moved just as I got things started. I have reasonable space in a convert garage 18X10 for a layout in OO or N, but a bit tight for anything other than a small terminus to fiddle yard effort in 21mm gauge.
Having dabbled I American modelling I wanted something interesting to operate than watching trains go round and round or a loco shunting a small terminus. Although I prefer the Midland the Burma Road & North Kerry keep cropping up.
If I was still working in N I would probably go for an American style walk around possibly multi-level scheme with several stations modelling the main line from Patrickswell through Newcastle to Abbeyfeale.
Given space and time working in 4mm a remote county station with a simple track layout would be a better proposition, Barnagh fits the bill in terms of simplicity and remoteness with a few interesting twists that lifts it out of the ordinary.
Barnagh was the highest point on the CIE system at the summit of a steeply graded (by Irish standards) sections from Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale. Train loadings were severely restricted over Barnagh a J15 was allowed 40 wagons from Limerick to Newcastle but 25 Westwards to the summit with similar restrictions on East bound trains from Abbeyfeale.
The yard at Barnagh was designed so shunting could take place clear of the running line and allow loose coupled goods trains to be remarshaled if it as necessary to divide a heavy goods train and "double the hill" if a banking locomotive was not available.
Curiously the A, B & C Class diesels were similarly restricted to 25 wagons but this was eased with the introduction of the 30T brake vans in the 1960s.
Run-aways were a potential problem and all loose coupled goods were required to stop and "pin down" the brakes on at least 10 wagons (more in bad weather) before descending the hill in either direction.
The North Kerry line seems to have been reasonably busy up to the Emergency with 3
Limerick-Tralee, 1 Limerick-Abbeyfeale return passenger trains, a daily goods, plus overloads and specials. Through trains were worked by J15s with ex WLWR & GSWR 4-4-2T & 0-4-4T on the Abbeyfeale service.
Most passenger trains on secondary lines conveyed urgent van traffic, the Abbeyfeale passenger train may have acted as an overload for the daily goods moving traffic between Newcastle and Abbeyfeale and saving on the cost of having a banker and loco crew available in Newcastle.
Next step might be to look at some of the bigger stations on the North Kerry
With the signals now complete, work on Arigna Town again enters a new phase.
An audit of rolling stock shows I already have more than enough to be going on with for the layout's exhibition debut in June, so now have the opportunity of some bonus time to try and built my second Sligo 'Small Tank'. As mentioned earlier, can't think why I would want to only have the one, as really want to avoid handling stock in the fiddle yard if I can help it. Hence the building of this will feature in my Workbench thread & after months of working mainly with plastic sheet and scenic materials, am looking forward to doing some metalwork again. Fingers crossed, having already built Hazlewood, the new one will benefit from that experience, though it was a while ago and I don't always remember the details!. That said, a look at the instructions shows I made a lot of notes as I went along, so maybe a bit of common sense did prevail at the time.
Due to one of our other clubmembers falling ill, have found myself in charge of publicity for this year's Chatham Show. 14th and 15th June, folks! Not having done this before, it has been interesting to see discover how quickly advertising deadlines come round in the magazines, with mid to late March the cut off for the June editions [which come out in early May - never could understand that one]. Will add something to this site's what's one.
Magazines are often very good in featuring layouts to help promote exhibitions, but RM now need a 9 month lead in, though they will try to do a news item, so you may see a picture of Arigna Town published, but any article not likely before the end of the year. At least have plenty of time to write it!
Casting my mind forward to June & Arigna Town's hopeful debut, started thinking about operational sequences. When planning the layout, deliberately went for a turntable fiddle yard because this complimented the on scene loco turntable and would minimise handling of stock. Initially thought all was well, but then found that could only fit in 4 roads, not 5, so the railbus & railcar would have to share a track. Again, this seemed ok, but then realised that Railcar B does not need turning, but the railbus does. So, now a question of how to swap them over as part of the operating sequence?
A bit of scribbling found this was possible, with both on the layout at the same time, but this was not really what I wanted. An alternative would be to break the fourth track in the fiddle yard, so each railbus/car only operated from one end. In mind simple minded way, decided this would be ok, until then realised that the railbus would need turning by hand, which is definitely not on the agenda. Bit of a bummer really, though an option would be to use a small cassette on the fiddle yard, so the railbus and trailer could be turned round easily. Have used cassettes on several previous layouts & they are very effective. In this case would use the same aluminium L shaped angle as the 'track' and glue it to some plastic sheet, so that the top of the angle matches the top of the rails. If I go on that route, will share how I manage the electrical connections.
However, another issue presented itself, in that had been initially aiming to run with just the one Small Tank [Hazelwood], but use it to hall both the mixed train and the goods. Guess you have already spotted the fault here - more crane shunting in the fiddle yard! Beat me round the head with it and I get there eventually...
So, looks very much as though I need to build my other Northstar kit before the layout's debut. Given that Railcar B will have taken around 5 weeks of [fairly full on] work, then am hoping can get the second Small Tank done in a couple of months. It is as well I don't have much work on at present [increasingly semi retired], methinks. Equally, am feeling the need for another change of direction, so will probably have a go at the signal for the entrance to the station. Will be based on the splendid 3 arm jobbie shown in the Sligo Album. Main post has two slotted arms [one for each direction], with the secondary doll having a third arm. The two on the main post will be the starter and the home signal for entering the platform road, while the one on the shorter doll will be used to indicate entry to the other side of the loop, eg for the goods and coal train. Have got some Tyrconnel etches for the arms and a range of bits and pieces from Wizard Models. Have use Andrew Hartshorne's stuff several times and more than happy with its quality. The tricky bit will be fitting 3 operating mechanisms on the one main post. Arigna Town is a very simple layout, so anything that expands its operating potential has to be a good thing.
The Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway opened in 1882 & ran from Carrignat Junction, near Sligo, to Enniskillen. Broad gauge, it remained independent until closure in 1957. While no additions were made, there were proposals for branchlines to Swalinbar [from Florencecourt in 1883] and Arigna. The latter would have left the mainline at Dromahair and run via Drumkeeran, where there had been ironworks in the 18th century, then down the western shore of Lough Allen to Arigna. Here there were coal desposits, which were the basis of the proposal. In fact, there were at least two, the SLNCR’s just mentioned in 1904 and an independent line from Collooney, via Ballyfarnon in 1914. The latter was my initial proposal in an earlier blog, but the former is now the fiction behind my layout.
The reason for the change is partly from the acquisition of Neil Sprink’s history of the SLNCR, but also because the orientation of the backscene on the layout better relects the likely SLNCR route and physical geography of the area. On the map, the station has been rotated 180 degrees, with the line exiting to the east & also moved north of the minor road from the actual Cavan & Leitrim station.
Had the line been built, subsequent history would have most likely followed that of its parent, with railbus & railcar taking most passenger traffic and steam power for freight. However, I still like the idea of the M&GWR/GSR having a hand in the coal traffic, which is the excuse for my J26 tank. Being wholly in the Republic, it seems likely that most traffic would have been to/from Sligo, so a timetable will be created to link with mainline ones at Dromahair.
Had the line been built, I guess it is just possible that it might have outlived the main SLNCR’s closure in 1957, not least because coal traffic could have continued to run & perhaps a link to the new power station on Lough Allen in 1959 would have brought welcome extra revenue. This could even have kept the line open until that closed in the 1990s. My larger version of the Arigna community might even have kept passenger trains running too. If so, the Railcar B could easily have continued into the 1980s, with C or G class diesels on freight. It is something to keep me interested as far as future stock building is concerned!