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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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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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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow thanks again john. Your info is very well detailed and amazing. It'll be great to get all of the above stock running some day.

As an update my layout may be changing names (for the 3rd time already). With a loft space now becoming available in our home I have the possible decision of doing a 2 station layout atm it falls to a what if warranpoint never closed.

The idea would be having goraghwood on one side and warranpoint on the other wall. Main line trains would have a continued run thru a hidden or raised track behind warranpoint and branch trains have the line connecting the 2 stations. 

Atm with my array of LMS and GWR rolling stock I could run it with them mixed until I build up my Irish models (so far they are only 111 and 112, 142 in super train, 6 cravens 3 mk2s and EGV in various liveries of orange and soon to be painted maroon and blue MK2s for NIR)


And for those curious. Warranpoint will if I can manage it be a portable layout for shows. 

Edited by sayhall27
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Just a few more random wanderings of thought......

Warrenpoint would make an excellent prototype. With tracks all parallel, Mills architecture and an overall roof, it would be a gem. 

Stock for the branch in your era was inevitably AEC railcars or one of the Gardner articulated ones - that would make a very unique model but you'd have to scratchbuild it. Excursions were where the interest arose - you'll need two or three of the 00 Works U or UG types. The UTA often used ex-GNR 0.6.0s on the branch, but a U or S or towards the end an NCC "Jeep" were occasionally to be seen. carriages here would have to be ex-GNR types, mostly wooden bodied. This, unfortunately, will require scratchbuilding.

What the modelling world is really crying out for is a RTR AEC railcar set. This can be used in GNR, CIE, UTA and NIR guises. The types bought by both CIE and the GNR in the early 1950s would become almost as standard on many routes as the comparatively dull ICRs and CAFs are today.  CIE's ended up as Dublin area push-pulls. The GNR ones were split between CIE and the UTA; the share which went to the latter ending up in NIR's maroon and light grey.

To add colour to a Warrenpoint layout, or any GNR area layout in UTA days (1958-68), you've some interesting livery variations. The GNR's navy blue (NOT modern "Craven blue") and cream didn't just all disappear on 1st October 1958. Some GNR cars would have their GNR markings painted out and a UTA roundel put on instead, with UTA-style numerals. Some would get the yellow and black end wasp stripes while still in GNR navy and cream. The UTA initially painted their cars all green, front end included; but very quickly (I think from 1962) the wasp stripes were added. 

While this didn't apply to the AEC or BUT cars, some railcars had white on the front of the cab above the wasp stripes. If you do any NCC area railcars, this can apply to them.

An interesting detail in UTA green livery is that loco-hauled stock had a straw line at waist level, like on 728 at Downpatrick. This was edged in red on both sides. Tiny traces of this line can be seen on one end of the ex-Golfer's Saloon at Downpatrick in the carriage Gallery. Railcars, however, and railcar intermediates, did not have this waist line.

Goods into Warrenpoint was generally in the hands of D or U class 0.6.0s. You can safely say that about a quarter of the stock would be CIE; especially the standard "H" vans; check out Leslie McAllister's Provincial Wagons range. Bread containers on flats would also be common, especially the red Inglis ones.

Goods brake vans were inevitably of ex-GNR style. Don't model them on "Ivan" as fantastic though its restoration is, the livery is utterly inaccurate. Plain grey all over - roof, sides, inside balconies, ironwork, the lot. However - one convenient thing is that in your era the N I Government had already decided that there was no future at all in the railways, especially rail freight, so no new rolling stock was built, and the remaining ex-GN and NCC stock in use became more and more dishevelled. As a result, the livery is nothing more or less than extremely heavy weathering over varying shades of grey - not varying on account of being painted differently, but on account of being extremely work-worn. On many vans and open wagons, replacement planks just weren't painted at all. Guard's vans - very heavily weathered and the chassis on everything non-passenger just a nondescript brown brake dust coating.

The GNR, NCC and UTA didn't paint all their wagons plain grey like the GSR or CIE did. The GNR painted fitted vans brown (all over). Forget about these white roofs you see on some models; none were ever thus in reality. While (post-1970) CIE brown wagons were brown all over, roof included, I am almost certain that brown GNR vans had grey roofs. No open wagons were brown. The NCC, however, painted the wagons used for the Courtaulds coal traffic in a brownish red colour, with black chassis. Some of these would have appeared the odd time as far south as Warrenpoint, though standard GNR opens were the norm there.

Generally, the ex-GNR stuff stayed on their former lines, with NCC stuff remaining in its erstwhile territory too. Exceptions were Jeeps which appeared more and more on the GNR as ex-GNR types were withdrawn. From 1967 to 1970, nothing but Jeeps were left. I remember seeing these on ballast trains on the GNR often. 

On ex-GNR lines, the UTA simply kept the GNR Eastern District* station colour schemes. Station name boards** were wooden and bright yellow, with cast iron letters screwed on, and no surrounding frame like on CIE. As NIR came in, most were repainted maroon with light grey letters. Others just fell apart and/or were replaced by more modern NIR ones. The last GNR yellow station nameboard was on the down line at Dunmurry; it was still in place in the early 1980s. Station paintwork was dark green - not as dark as carriages, more like dark CIE green - and cream. The cream was a darkish shade and a 1 inch black line separated the green and cream. Large painted areas, e.g. signal cabins***, were cream, with doors, door frames, window frames and gutters in dark green.

Warrenpoint would have had the green and cream to the end, and its nameboard was yellow to the end. The former Strabane one, heavily reconstructed, can be seen in Cultra.

Bread vans or flats with bread containers could sometimes be seen tagged onto the back of railcars sets, or fitted parcel vans. Ex-NCC "Brown Vans" were not really to be seen on the ex-GNR at all - very rare, and probably not at all south of Portadown.

CIE "Tin Vans" could appear - again, rarely. You'd probably need a dirty silver one or a green one for your period.

CIE excursions came into Warrenpoint on occasion. I believe an "A" class got into there once at least, probably on an IRRS jaunt. Laminates and Park Royals for the load - all in green. 141 class locos made it to Omagh on several occasions in 1963, but I am unaware of a 141 ever getting into Warrenpoint. I do not believe that a 121 ever travelled on either the Warrenpoint line nor the Derry Road.

I hope that's of help.


          *  The GNR Western District (Dundalk - Cootehill - Carrickmacross - Enniskillen - Omagh / Bundoran, and Portadown - Cavan / Belturbet) has an entirely different paint scheme, the details of which I have; light brown dominated. While much of this didn't survive, the UTA painted the Derry Road stations in an attractive scheme of leaf green, light grey and red; this was also applied to a number of NCC stations like Antrim, Ballymena and Ballymoney. Antrim still had this scheme into the early 1990s.

          **  Why have people in England and the Isle of man started calling station nameboards "Running-In Boards"? They don't move anywhere............

          ***  While on the subject of nomenclature, we're all aware here, I'm sure, that in Ireland we have signal cabins, while across the water they have signal boxes!

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Further wanderings;

Railcars - Allen Doherty's Worsley Works make a range of "scratch-aid" kits including the AEC and BUT cars (plus MED types as seen on the Larne and Bangor lines). A certain level of skill is required for these, and you need to get your own chassis, motors, etc. One of his K15 coach kits would make a suitable intermediate too.

On the ex-GNR section, the UTA and NIR almost always ran railcar sets in three-coach formations, sometimes four. I never saw a two-car set on the GN.

Allen also does the 70 class sets. These were only on the main line. They arrived two years after the "Derry Road" closed - a pity, as a run in one over that live would have been amazing. 70s never got into Warrenpoint either, as it too was closed when they arrived. But if you're doing the main line too....  70s were never green; they arrived in what would eventually become similar to NIR livery. The initial red / maroon was (I think) slightly lighter on 70s when new.

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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.

I see that you've moved on from your original idea of copying what is in my loft! By the way, a clever way of modelling the station, goods yard and shed - I split it up with the "Junction" - roundhouse and goods yard on on side of the house, the station round a ninety degree corner. 

Shame on you, Mr Beaumont (only pulling your leg, of course) - the BLUE line in the diagram is the ARMAGH line - the apparently strange jumble of crossovers beside it is in fact exactly as it was, serving among other things the coaling stage. Of course it should have been a double track line, as would have been the Derry Road at this point. Like our friend, I have ignored the Derry line (loud hissing from the wings?) - three way junctions are hard to model! My Derry trains will come in on the Dublin main line, round the back of the roundhouse; while the Armagh trains (much more important in my eyes, keep to their "proper' line in front of it!

Good to see another GN man making a start - good luck!


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