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jhb171achill

Dugort Harbour

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At last, a new year and a new layout, after a gap of many years with a garden railway dismantled some 6 years ago, and the Austrian 009 in boxes for longer.

I'm really starting from scratch here, and plan to show bits and pieces as this develops. It truly is at start stage now, as all i have are two coach kits, a signal cabin kit, a 141 and a J15. 

The layout will be based on an imaginary GSWR outer terminus, something like Valentia Harbour, inspired by Westport Quay, Baltimore, and the like. The idea is that there's a long branch from somewhere civilised, where the Dublin trains arrive, and this outer outpost was probably built in 1890 with thoroughly unrealistic expectations as to how busy it would become! Result - it's become a backwater off a backwater, surviving only because of beet and maybe (like Westport Quay) to bring an oil tank full of diesel for CIE buses down every so often. It's the mid 60s, and the line hasn't long left - it will eventually succumb to the 1967 round of closures which killed the Mallow-Waterford and Thurles-Clonmel lines.

That's the setting.

I had agonised for quite some time as to whether to resurrect my 009 stuff, as German and Austrian narrow gauge has always been a big interest of mine. Using 9mm gauge would have allowed a significantly sized terminus for long distance trains -  a Corris-type thing with a few tiny slate wagons was never of much interest to me personally. On the other hand, as Leslie, Murphys, SSM and others here brought out more and more "proper" Irish stuff, I became tempted. Trouble was, like so many others here, space was at a premium, and the only way to do a "round-and-round" 00 gauge was to go into the garage. This place is used by daughter's car, so it would be necessary to have it on some sort of electric hoist when the car was in. After some consultation with one of our experts here, it became clear that this is only going to happen when i win the Euromillions. Since I don't buy tickets, I have to concede that this is unlikely to happen any time soon.

So it was back into the house. A chance conversation with someone in the 009 Society (of which I am a member) suggested selling the lot of Austrian stuff - in fact, I advertised them here too. I am also a member of the Austrian Railway Group, and I advertised them there too.

So it was back to the area once reserved for an 009 layout. It became clear that a shunting / fiddle yard layout is all that's possible here, so there it is; the genesis for the idea. What it will lack in operational possibilities (in terms of a continuous run and terminus shunting), it will hopefully make up for in other ways.

Small outer termini like those referred to above tended not to change much through their lives. We see Arigna Road, Bantry and so on - you could put stock dating from typical scenes in the 1930s there, and 1960s, and neither would look out of place. Thus, to provide interest, I intend to eventually have a set of stock around 1945 (GSR maroon gives way to CIE dark green era), another set to deal with mid to late fifties; this allows laminates, early diesels and Park Royals to appear, and by degrees, we're out of the grey'n'green era into the black'n'tan. So what it lacks in operational variety, it will hopefully make up for in rolling stock interest. Things like J15s and six-wheeled coaches will span all of these periods, as will many wagons.

I'm currently in discussions with Baseboard Dave and others - updates will be posted as things develop during the year.

I post this initially as I'm aware that there are others here with issues about space, and thoughts on how to deal with it. I did consider N gauge, but until and unless there are a good range of high quality kits, or better still, RTR stuff, this isn't going to happen for either myself or many others. Maybe, in ten years time, there will be enough N stuff - for example, one might expect 3D printing to improve drastically in quality, but we'll see.

I intend to have this finished to a high exhibition standard and displayed. But that won't happen overnight, and will involve me perusing in great detail the scenic works of a number of maestros, like the Holmans of Arigna, for example. 

 

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Apart from not being 21mm [!], sounds like a good plan JB. Don't want to muddy the waters on that one though. The one thing you haven't mentioned is 3' gauge. With 12mm track it would be the correct scale/gauge combo and there are a few things out there...

 Re scenics, suggest you get yourself a copies of Gordon Gravetts books on the subject - Grass, Weeds etc for certain and Trees too. Very readable and easy to apply too. All my own stuff is nothing more that replicating what he describes.

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Love the scenario JB and who better to ensure rolling stock authenticity! Definitely one to watch so lots of luck with the progress. Dave’s baseboards are top drawer. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm looking forward to the scenic side of it. I had a great meeting with baseboard Dave today (thank you very much for your time, Mr. L!), and we discussed the whole project in detail. Understandably, he is very busy and actual construction won't start immediately, but the collection of rolling stock will.

David Holman, yes, I hear you! - and it had occurred to me to maybe base a terminus on something like Glenties (SHORTER Donegal railcars!) or Ballyshannon. It would run on 00 gauge track and the model would be an appropriate scale to use it as 3ft gauge. However, Railcars 12-20 would need a fair sized turntable and running them backwards wouldn't be an option.

Another one on that scale might be one of the mine offshoots of the Ballymena, Cushendall & Red Bay Railway; a couple of converted Isle of Man tanks and a few short wheelbase coal trucks - the passenger train being a twice-daily one-carriage affair.

However, what I'm focussing on now will resemble Westport Quay in some details, and Valentia* Harbour in others. The idea is that of a "branch off a branch" extension. Perusal of old timetables shows that Valentia was operated more as a shuttle from Cahirciveen, where the main train terminated, while Baltimore was operated as a further extension of the main line train which went only as far as Skibbereen. Equally, Westport Quay traffic tended to operate only to and from Westport Station. The idea here is to allow very short trains in a terminus setting which is way smaller (and thus shorter) than most - while retaining absolute authenticity.

If Murphy Models ever get around to doing a RTR horse, Fintona would fit this bill absolutely exactly. One might allow a little licence here, and assume the GNR pogrom never happened, and Fintona survived until, say, 1968. Had that happened, it would almost certainly very quickly have become just a goods siding, as freight into the town was still quite busy; but had a passenger service been retained, just watch UTA buy the Sligo Leitrim railcar from CIE, or transfer in a double ended thing like NCC 1 or that old GNR Gardner car which used to do the Derry - Strabane locals.

It looks, thus, as if this year will be spent gathering locos and rolling stock. The eventual idea is that there will be three separate sets of locos and rolling stock. One will span the 1940-50 period, all steam, with older wagons, many cattle, and convertible "soft-tops". Half a dozen six wheelers, maybe a few each in GSR maroon and original dark CIE green, will fulfil the passenger requirements.  Another set of stuff will utilise some of these, but Park Royals, laminates, McAllister "H" Vans and "C" class diesels appear. Tin van heaven... Finally, a motley collection of maybe nothing more than one each laminate of several types, a Craven, Park Royal, Bredin and an stray old GNR K15, a three-car Worsley AEC set (LONG term!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and along come the 121s and 141s; this lot all black'n'tan.

Don't hold your breath folks; Rome was never built in a day, and the above will take a good while to build up. There will be wallet-related matters to consider too, of course, plus hopefully successful applications to the Dept. of Domestic Planning, Tidiness, and Fiscal Approval.....  The major card I have to play in my planning applications is this:

 

       12.01  Please describe the major benefit of said application for the Construction and Housing of a Layout to the overall domestic economy, with particular reference to the back of the upstairs sitting room. 

       It'll keep him off the streets    It will keep me occupied, thus preserving peace and quiet downstairs.

       _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

       (Administrative use only. Please do not write below this line)

       Decision:    Application Granted.

 

M'lud, I rest me case. I'm off for a cup of tea. Over'n'out.

 

(* The GSWR, GSR and CIE almost invariably called it Valencia).

Edited by jhb171achill
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Jonathan that sounds a great concept.  Really looking forward to following your layout project as it evolves over time.

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An excellent choice and era JHB,I am personally delighted that you are proceeding with your layout, I'm sure you won't regret it,

Looking forward to seeing Dugort harbour develop and the best of luck with it.:cheers:

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David, once this is finished, I'm definitely going to have a go at a 21mm thing - probably a Holmanesque imaginary offshoot of the Blessington tram...... long term.

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Sounds like a very well thought out scheme John. With the rolling stock currently available you should be able to get realistic operations up and running at an early stage to keep up interest while working on more long term projects. I can't wait to see the mixture of green, silver and black and tan rolling stock at Dugort Harbour in the 1960's. 

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Thank you, Patrick. It'll be small and simple, just like Banagher, Skibbereen, Westport Quay  or Baltimore in 1960!

Discussions with Baseboard Dave satisfactorily concluded now. J15, 141 and two laminates in stock, and orders in with Provincial Leslie, SSM and Worsley.....

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Posted (edited)

A couple of things I have learned about designing a model railway, it's really easy to over estimate what will fit in your available space. It's also really easy to under estimate the amount of satisfaction a simple uncluttered layout designed to be operated prototypically has to offer. 

Edited by patrick
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Posted (edited)

Looking forward to seeing this layout progress. The Fintona horse tram idea is worth considering. I built a model of the tram in 1992 which was purchased by the Transport Museum in Cultra. At the time, Tony Miles was toying around with the idea of a tram fitted with a drive shaft that linked with the horses rear end and made it walk! Detailed work....

Edited by GNRi1959

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On 06/01/2018 at 7:33 AM, GNRi1959 said:

Looking forward to seeing this layout progress. The Fintona horse tram idea is worth considering. I built a model of the tram in 1992 which was purchased by the Transport Museum in Cultra. At the time, Tony Miles was toying around with the idea of a tram fitted with a drive shaft that linked with the horses rear end and made it walk! Detailed work....

Now THAT would have been a sight to see!!!!

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