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portwood junction a new dawn

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research has begun and working towards my first realm layout from scratch. in the end my ideas will combine that of the busy Great Northern mainline between Dundalk and Belfast. 

time period will be 1950s to late 1970s. this enables a variety o locos and rolling stock.  however intial plans i drew up on a modelling software made me realise that to model the track around Portadown would require at least a 20ft scenic board far beyond my scope and space. this means the layout will be combining the themes of Portadown with that at goraghwood. portrayed if the area around Goraghwood had been enhanced more as a railway junction. 

hopefully soon i can get access to the layouts 'home' and get stuck in

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here is the first stage of the layout planned out, rough idea knowing the space i will have available to me.

Based on Portadown from Ian Sinclair's Along UTA Lines with a few changes around the sheds and good sidings to make better use of space.

layout v1.jpg

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If you have the space Portadown would be terrific both from a watching trains go by and serious operating perspective, especially if you have room for a working junction with the Derry Road and Armagh-Clones line. Its an ambitious project that would take several years to complete in OO with RTR locos and a lot longer if you go down the finescale route with kit and scratchbuilt locos and stock in 21mm gauge

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I'm assuming this is 00 gauge; if it isn't everything has to be scratchbuilt!

First, your design. I can't help feeling that if you were to simplify the sidings etc in and around the station, you'd have more room to do things. There are a lot of sets of points there - each one takes up space. 

I'm assuming that the blue road is the Derry Road - if so, an amendment in design might see it disappearing into a tunnel or something and curving left to go up the side of the layout,  joining eventually onto the yellow marshalling yard. This would enable a Derry service, which was running up to early 1965. If you prefer later, fair enough.

The red sidings - might it be an idea to just make 2 or 3 longer sidings, instead of a self-contained run-round? There are plenty of run-round facilities in the station. An over-complicated track layout can actually restrict movements, and especially storage of wagons / empty carriages, etc.

I'm presuming that you're looking at a model of the older pre-1970 station buildings with their three platforms. By your era, one was no longer in use.

Now, to the rolling stock.

Portadown, obviously, will have both CIE and UTA / NIR stock. Let's break this down.

1.  Goods

The UTA abolished goods in 1965, so any time after that it's CIE stock only; this is good news, as more CIE stuff is available than UTA. In the period you're looking at, and from my own personal memories as well as books, a typical train coming into Portadown would have 30-40 four wheel wagons, at least half of which were standard CIE "H" vans. Provincial Models make these kits - easy to assemble, and you'll need a fair few!  PalVans were common too, as were CIE "bubble" cement wagons and open wagons; these latter being about a third wooden-bodied, and two-thirds Bullied corrugated opens. You can buy all sorts of off-the-shelf wooden-bodied five-plank opens and repaint them. Provincial, again, make ex-GNR ones; CIE would have had a few of these too; and Provincial also make the essential CIE corrugated open. Liveries of all this: all grey up to 1970, after which brown starts making an appearance, and bubbles (initially standard wagon grey all over) start becoming orange and grey. Logos: "Flying snails" still on about a third of goods vans, with the CIE "broken wheel roundel" on the rest. On grey PalVans and H vans, the roundel is tan, with white letters in it; apart from that, all logos and lettering on everything is white. Once bubbles are repainted orange, the lettering and logo on this is black. A grey wagon has grey ironwork and chassis; a brown one has brown ironwork and chassis. Black ironwork and chassis are simply not accurate at all for Ireland, with a few notable exceptions (none of which apply in your world!); leave black chassis to Hornby BR models!

Any residual stock of UTA era still hanging about will be Courtaulds (ex-NCC) wagons used on ballast trains - a browny red colour, with "U T" still stencilled on them - see pics in the excellent book you refer to, "Along UTA lines". See also "The Ulster Transport Authority in Colour" by Derek Young. Also a few old GNR ballast hoppers and a GNR guard's van, the same type as "Ivan" at Whitehead. These would, by your era, only be used for ballast trains, but wold often be stored at Portadown. If you have these, you'll need either a NIR "DH" class 0.6.0 diesel shunter, or an NCC "Jeep" to haul them. If you're modelling a GNR goods brake van, fer gawd's sake don't paint it like "Ivan", which is utterly inaccurate! Black ironwork - no. Black chassis - no. Cream inside balcony - no. That's three; as the late Mr Paisley might have opined, "Nevaaar Nevaaar Nevaaar"! These things were grey all over, always, including all ironwork and balcony interior - though they WERE cream INSIDE, or possibly cream upper and mid-brown lower! 

White or cream wagon roofs are, like (so Madam tells me) as much a "no-no" as tartan socks with open sandals......!

Someone showed me a couple of pictures one time of (I think) an old match truck off a breakdown crane or something, and a GNR or NCC guard's van in early NIR days. The pictures were black and white, and clearly showed all of the ironwork in a much darker colour than the grey body. In the photo, it certainly looked black. But a black and white photo tells us nothing about colour in general, still less any extent to which it is weathered or worn or dirty. The reality was that in these pictures the ironwork was rusted within an inch of its life, with little or nothing or the original paint left. Moreover, the paint on the wooden bits was badly faded. It looked (in black and white) like the light grey and black ironwork seen (again, totally incorrectly) on the NCC guard's van on the DCDR. But is wasn't. If you like this contrast, then a Provincial model of this (I'm not on commission from Leslie, honest!) would look very appropriate hanging about your Portadown, so badly weathered that its actual livery is almost impossible to tell.

Parcels and mail were an important part of life in your era. While "out of print" now, John Mayne's CIE "tin vans" are something I'd look out for, as these will be seen on the CIE "Enterprise" in your times. Irish Freight Models do one too - again not available now, as I understand, but you never know what might turn up. It's an easy enough thing to scratchbuild too. Tin vans could be dropped off the goods train with the morning papers from Dublin - and they featured in the early morning newspaper train themselves, along with just about anything else - "H" vans, old ex-GNR "P" bogie vans (there's one at Whitehead). Latterly, NIR converted a few old GNR railcars and ec-UTA "MED" centre cars as parcels vans. These were painted all maroon.

Containerisation was just coming in, during your era. Irish Railway Models do the cement bubble, as I'm sure you know - an outstanding model. They plan to have other items in the future from the "early modern era" (1970s). In your time, containesr were on 4-wheel CIE longer wheelbase flat wagons.

Guinness was carried in round grey cylindrical containers, usually in open wagons of either wooden or corrugate type.

Kits are available of CIE brake vans - essential for your goods trains. Grey until about 1970 / 1, brown after that.

2. Locomotives / motive power

Steam is king! The UTA never bought a single diesel locomotive - they inherited a few, notably the unique BCDR Bo-Bo, No. 28, which spent its entire UTA life shunting in Belfast. It never pulled a train anywhere in your era. It's a tragedy that it wasn't preserved - it was scrapped in 1972 or 3. You're looking at Jeeps, jeeps and more jeeps. By 1965, what was left of ex-GNR locos were withdrawn; i think the last was 0.6.0 No. 47 or 49, which I remember seeing shunting at Adelaide about then. It sat in the open with another like it for several years until they were scrapped on site. If you want to test time a little, you could go for 1963/4, when a few ex-GNR types ("S" class No. 60 & 171, and a handful of UG and SG3 0.6.0s) were still in use.

Now, you could be purist and build these from scratch, or sell your house to pay for half a dozen professionally made ones. Or, if you weren't fussy about accuracy, get a LMS Stanier 2.6.4T or two and botch them as UTA / NIR. There are several British 0.6.0s which, if budgets are limited and eyesight not acute, might be altered to at least resemble a UG or SG3. Look up the excellent products of 00 Works - they did a run of ready-to-run UGs, but again, they're currently "out of print".

For CIE, you're in the land - for those times - almost entirely of the 121 and 141 class, obviously in the original black'n'tan livery. These were produced by Murphy Models and occasionally pop up for sale here. The "supertrain" livery appeared from 1972 onwards, but black'n'tan was still about for a good few years after that. I photographed many locos around CIE still in this livery in 1975-8.

But for UTA and NIR overall, there's no avoiding railcars. Here. we are looking at ex-GNR AEC and BUT cars. Kits of these are available, but would require a level of skill to put together; don't be put off; many here have started with zero skills and become superb brass-kit-makers. Silverfox do a re-liveried British Craven railcar, which looks quite acceptable; I'd darken the roof colour a bit though, being pathologically obsessed with liveries, as I am.

You'd need to scratch build a 70 class set for the UTA / NIR "Enterprise".

If you want to model the NIR 1970 "Enterprise", you'll need one of Silverfox's Hunslet diesels, or scratchbuild one. The carriages are BR Mk. 2 design (as seen in Whitehead!) and standard BR types can be got and repainted; some will need slight alterations of doors etc.

3.  Carriages

SSM do some lovely coach kits. You will need CIE laminates and Park Royals for the "Enterprise". All brass. For UTA types, you need a Jeep for Sunday School excursions, but carriages - SSM "K15" ex-GNR open third - these were commonplace on GVS - Dundalk. Obviously, on the break-up of the GNR in 1958, CIE got some and so did the UTA. So, a couple in UTA green and another within your CIE set in black'n'tan might be interesting. You can buy some standard Hornby / Bachmann LMS stock and if you look at (I think) 238 at Whietehead - the NCC vehicle with the wood panelling - that's what you're matching with, as the NCC got some English carriages over after their own were destroyed by German bombs in York Road in the 1940s. By the 1960s, the UTA mixed them up to a small extent; while mostly ex-GNR types were to be seen on the GNR lines, and NCC types north of York Road, the odd interloper could be seen, especially on excursion trains. K15s were also used as centre cars for AEC sets. Without a steam engine, though, in particular a Jeep, there's little point in having much of a stock of UTA steam-era carriages. Look at the ruins of 114 at Whietehead - carriages of this type were used on GVS - Portadown trains as centre cars, as the large mail compartment was used for carrying mail. I think NIR stopped carrying mail on this route about 1972/3.

For a very short while, between 1970 and 1974, a Hunslet could be seen on very occasional excursion duty, with a set of retained carriages consisting of the following - 

- a few ex-GNR carriages (one being a 114-lookalike, No. 595; brake open 3rd / mail)

- ex-NCC stock (mostly now steel panelled, like several at Whitehead)

- maybe only in 1973/4, a couple of ex-GNR AEC and BUT power cars, now "de-engined" and used as passenger stock.

NIR had a total of maybe a dozen of these altogether, which they retained simply for occasional excursions. The sight of a set of nine of these, which I saw in Lisburn once, behind a brand new maroon Hunslet, was odd indeed. Few photos have survived, as they were rarely used, and often at short notice. If you do this, you won't need a steam engine! (But you WILL need a Hunslet!). This rake of coaches were in a special "loco hauled but not Enterprise" livery of all over maroon, with a 3" light grey line at waist level. In other words, the same as the Enterprise livery, but with maroon lower instead of blue!

That's about all i can think of now...... hope it's of help.

Look up the available stuff from Irish Freight Models, SSM, Silverfox Models, Murphy Models, JM Design, Provincial Wagons, 00 Works, and others listed on this site which I might have inadvertently forgotten.

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