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David Holman

Belmullet

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Things have been quiet of late on the modelling front - though I have done two exhibitions in three weeks, with another next Saturday too. However, have decided to start a new broad gauge thread, post Arigna Town, as have made the decision to call the revised layout Belmullet. And it will remain that now, as I have invested in a bespoke control panel which now carries that name. The rest however, is as outlined in the brief thread called Blacksod Bay.

 As can be seen from the photos, the new panel is being supplied by Megapoints and will use servos to work the points and signals. Am hoping that using this system will cut down significantly on the amount of soldering required to set up all the controls, with a lot less wiring as well. Time will tell.

 The other thing I've been spending my hard earned cash on is a bespoke piece of track work, namely a double slip from Marcway of Sheffield. At least, that is what has arrived, even though I actually ordered a single slip. I realise of course, that either piece of track would have been pretty rare on any Irish branch line, especially one in the far west of County Mayo. Nevertheless, with only 11'8" of scenic space available, compromises are required and a slip of one sort or another was the only way to make the track plan work. Whether I stick with the double slip as supplied, or convert it to a single, I'm not yet sure - though the former certainly gives me more operational flexibility.

The former Arigna Town boards are now about as stripped down as they can be:

  • The display boards at the front have been removed, as this face will eventually be the back scene. This will have a profiled inner board, following the contours of the distant hills on Achill Island and the Blacksod peninsula, with taller sky boards slotting in behind
  • All buildings have been removed apart from the station itself, though the signal box will eventually go back where it was, with the water tower, Co-op warehouses and Railway Inn moving to new locations. A loco shed and a warehouse/distillery will be new.
  • Trackwork is undergoing some radical changes, with the new slip temporarily in place in the photos, plus the turnout it replaced now enabling an end loading dock  by what is now an island platform.
  • All points have had their tiebars removed. New ones will be fitted below the baseboards, with dropper wires from the point blades connecting to them, so the operating servos are kept out of sight. Eventually, there will be three new signals controlling departures at the platform end.
  • A large hole awaits the arrival of a new, electrically driven turntable. This is a laser cut plywood model from Kitwood Hill Models Store. Two tracks will lead from the far end - one to the loco shed [a mock up of which can be seen in one of the photos], with the other running just in front of it, which will be useful for stabling stock in the open.

 So, there we are, Belmullet it will be. Am hoping to get busy making up some half track, so I can at least get the new rails along the front of the model laid - by which time maybe the turntable and all the wiring components will have arrived. 

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The MGWR used double slips usually as part of a crossover from a main running line to goods yard or a loop at several main and branch line stations. The arrangement on your layout is not unlike Broadstone or Galway on a slightly smaller scale.

You may need to build some Emerald Green or Royal Blue engines to offset the GSWR black of your time period David!

There is a Hamilton-Ellis colour print of a train on the Clifden Branch with a MGWR 2-4-0 in the short lived royal blue livery in "The Trains we Loved" (Allen & Unwins version)

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That's good to know, John. As for black, I like it better than the grey, but MGW 4-4-0 Wolfdog is down to be my next engine and it will be in green!

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Belmullet is a lovely name for this new revised project, good luck with it.

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