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Patrick Davey

An NCC Narrow Gauge Diorama

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Here are a few photographs of an LMS-NCC narrow gauge diorama that I have been working on or a few months (on the QT).  It's a representation of the small halt at Capecastle on the Ballycastle line in North East county Antrim - the location was notable for having one of the few tunnels on the Irish narrow gauge.  The layout is more of a diorama as it is not currently intended for it to be operational - building the appropriate motive power being the biggest obstacle...... It actually grew out of a desire to get back into the modelling groove by trying out a few techniques which had become a bit rusty.....the plan is to follow this post with more details of how the diorama evolved - every stage was photographed.  Hope you enjoy!

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The photos wouldn't post in chronological order but you'll get the sequence ok!

I should also point out that the diorama is not finished - lots of scenic work still to be done.

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Looks very interesting, I think the QT is the way to go! Sometimes too much advice can be an obstacle.

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3 hours ago, GNRi1959 said:

Looks very interesting, I think the QT is the way to go! Sometimes too much advice can be an obstacle.

Thanks Tony - what I meant by 'on the QT' was that I have so far managed to protect herself from unnecessary worry about himself returning to the hobby.......

26 minutes ago, Galteemore said:

Very nice Patrick. What track gauge are you using? 

009!  First excursion (ha) into this area!

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Superb!

And the passenger shelter will be easy - I think it’s still there - standard NCC concrete box!

jhb171Senior surveyed the line in 1947 for the NCC with a view to costing its conversion to Five Fut Three.

Once the UTA came along, it was all scrapped!

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I like the idea of a diorama we can expect the buildings and structures to be to a similar standard to you GNR (I) signal box and waiting shelter.

Are you planning to complete the model in 3mm or 4mm scale?

Brian McCann modeled the County Donegal in 3mm on 9mm track, Worsley Works produce suitable coach sides for the Ballycastle in NCC days, though the Compound Tank locomotives used on the Antrim narrow gauge would be a challenging model in either scale.

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Very kind Mayner, thank you! It’s 4mm, I wasn’t planning on tackling coaches or locos but now that you have told me about the WW coach sides that might change things a bit......!!!

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Am a big fan of dioramas. Fairly quick to do and a great way to try out new techniques. Will look forward to following progress!

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Making further progress - am enjoying checking out new materials & techniques, including using hanging basket liner as a base for the grass & foliage, and I have just acquired some seafoam trees to help build up the wooded parts of the diorama.  Hoping to have Capecastle ready for the RPSI show in November!

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Posted (edited)

Nice work Patrick. I shouldn’t really admire the bus given what the UTA did to Ulster’s rail network but that livery is rather nice. On the plus side, the driver’s lost if that route blind is anything to go by! 

Edited by Galteemore
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Galteemore said:

Nice work Patrick. I shouldn’t really admire the bus given what the UTA did to Ulster’s rail network but that livery is rather nice. On the plus side, the driver’s lost if that route blind is anything to go by! 

Ha ha totally - shows how reliable the replacement bus services are going to be!

Thanks for the nice comments Galteemore 👍🏻

Edited by Patrick Davey
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Actually, Patrick, when I saw the bus, I thought you were modelling the Ballymena and Larne's Ballyclare branch!

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I admired the wee bus too, and it's traditional to have a bus on the bridge...😉 

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And it's a good excuse to secretly collect models of what we used to think of as "the enemy".

IF I ever get Richhill finished, you'll have one of Jim's  PS2s with a "Carrickmore" blind up on it (a former home!).

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Some more scenic progress on Capecatle.  I am actually approaching the final stages with this diorama - just some trees to add then the very limited platform furniture and a wooden shed for the lever frame which controlled the siding. Then some tidying up of the sides of the baseboard to hide the edges of the polystyrene ceiling tiles which form the base of the landscaping.

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Some further progress - the van is from the Peco range and will, regrettably, shortly be dissected and grounded for use as the station building, as on the original.  Pity, it's a lovely van!!

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None of my business, of course, Patrick, but that seems a shame. Would a Parkside Dundas kit be a cheaper way of doing it? Or bodge one up from thin plasticard? 

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1 hour ago, Galteemore said:

None of my business, of course, Patrick, but that seems a shame. Would a Parkside Dundas kit be a cheaper way of doing it? Or bodge one up from thin plasticard? 

Yes fair point and I’m on the same train (ha) of thought..... the van has easily removable couplings, vacuum pipes and brake gear but the rest of the chassis seems to be moulded to the body which was causing some head scratching as I needed the van to be lower down on the platform. So I slept on it and may have awoken to a solution.....rather than chop the chassis to make the body lower, I’m going to sink the immediate platform area lower so the van can go into this, and stay intact, minus the removable parts which can be stored inside as the roof is also removable. So in the event of the diorama being decommissioned, the van can be returned to running order with the removable parts to hand! Pretty smart!!!

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8 minutes ago, Galteemore said:

Now that is clever! 

I can add a sign saying ‘No Peco vans were harmed during the making of this diorama.’ 😎

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2 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Do we know the origin of the van body - was it a Ballycastle van or a broad gauge one?

The only photo of it which I have seen JB is from an angle (in Colourpoint’s excellent reprint of Dr. Patterson’s book) so hard to be sure - the van seems to have had a non-original roof added which makes me think it might have been one of the ‘open head’ vans, therefore needing to be fully covered over for use as a building. I eagerly await further photographic evidence......

I wouldn’t normally do this but here’s part of the photo I’m referring to, Admin can remove if breaching copyright......

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I’ve also noticed from looking at the photo that I have placed the platform too far away from the track.....fixable by adding a new platform face in front of the current one, although it won’t really be noticeable without a train present, which won’t be likely. Still, if it starts to annoy me I can fix it ok. ⛏🔧

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Interesting.... without seeing the full width of the van it's hard to tell which gauge it was.

Some of the camping coaches at Ballycastle were old (broad gauge) Belfast & Northen Counties six-wheelers.

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41 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Interesting.... without seeing the full width of the van it's hard to tell which gauge it was.

Some of the camping coaches at Ballycastle were old (broad gauge) Belfast & Northen Counties six-wheelers.

Yip, plenty of photos of those ancient vehicles, and indeed my mother remembers them from childhood visits to BC. Did I read that they were brought to Ballycastle - very slowly - along the NG line, with NG bogies attached? Can imagine the anxious moments getting them through the tunnel.....

Part of the challenge in these scenarios is is to make a ‘best guess’ decision based on sometimes very limited evidence - my next guess will be to do with the colour of the station nameboard and the lettering thereon.....have only seen colour photos of NCC-region UTA nameboards from broad gauge stations and they had either black lettering on a yellow background or red lettering on a cream background (nicer!).  Will assume that one of these will be correct for the NG lines, until more concrete evidence emerges. 

JB, what would one give to have a copy of the Ballycastle line survey that JB Senior authored.......

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I remember my uncle talking about it,the narrow gauge,running from Ballycastle to Ballymoney through my home village of Armoy.The station is still there to be seen.There are still some places where you can still see where the track ran but well over growen.:tumbsup:

Edited by Northman
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I don't know what happened to Senior's survey of the line - I don't think it survived the UTA's purges of paperwork in the early 1960s. I saw a one-page carbon copy of a summary of it, though I don't know where this is now - I certainly haven't got it. Also, he told me about it.

Basically, about 1947 - I think - the NCC wondered if it would be worth converting and just sent a civil engineer over it. Senior's report said it was perfectly feasible, with a few tweaks to bridges. Despite the narrowish loading gauge of the original Ballycastle stock, the bridge dimensions were quite generous, allowing the (by Irish standards, huge!) ex-Ballymena & Larne corridor coaches to go to the line later on. (I'd love to have seen those carriages!).

The last paragraph gave a summary of costs. These were deemed by the pen-pushers to be too much, given the likely traffic. Had the conversion been completed, the UTA would have closed it anyway. It might have bought the line a few more years, say until 1955, but that would have been that.

Station nameboards were black with white letters in earlier NCC times. I think, but am not sure, that station paintwork was green and a lighter colour at one stage, and a buff colour with maroon later. In that case, it is possible that station nameboards changed to buff with maroon edging and writing. If I can dig up more on this I will post it, as I'm unaware of an NCC-era layout.

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