Sunday, 31 January 2016

Nearly Milford

A couple of years I came up with this plan for a friend while he was thinking whether to go 4mm or N gauge - in a space of 13' x 6' a full blown mainline firmly set in the 1990s. For part of the nineties, he was signalman at Gascoigne Wood Signal Box, when it was a very busy job with large numbers of coal trains in and out of the loading facility at Gascoigne Wood on the Selby Coalfield. It couldn't be more different these days - though the box at 'Gas Wood' is the only older box in the York OM area to have air conditioning as the dust from the gypsum workings gets everywhere and they can't have the windows open! Anyway, that's digressing, just a bit!

'Nearly Milford'

I just hope you can all read my writing!

So with the area in mind, a scheme inspired by the general workings seemed appropriate - it's not Gas Wood, it's more like South Milford, but it certainly has hints of it. The photo below shows the huge extent of sidings and facilities at South Milford.

The key features, I think, centre around the ability to send trains in and out of the sidings between gaps on the 'mainline'. The sidings would be, I think, where trains from the local pit would wait to join the mainline. There's also a small capacity for wagon repairs too. You could justify an 08 or 09 shunter as a pilot. Even an 09 on a trip to Knottingly with crippled wagons along the mainline would be entirely appropriate. Even in 2016, Knottingly depot still uses a class 09 for local trip workings. Has to be an 09 though, the 08 is too slow! Other motive power could be 31s, 47s and 60s on oil trains; 37s, 56s, 58s and 60s on coal workings; 37s, 47s, 56s and 60s on steel trains and later on pretty much anything on Enterprise trains! I personally would make room for National Power class 59/2s - they were a real feature of railway operations in this part of the country and the moved trains in such a quiet, graceful manner. Local passengers would be in the hands of Pacers, 150s, 156s and 158s and you could have the odd Cross Country service with either an HST or a 47 and loco hauled stock. All of this would really exploit some of the excellent stock which is now available in this scale.

Scenically a couple of things help I think - the dummy junction with its single line hints at a larger and more complex appropriate for the area (and could literally lead somewhere if you had enough room) and one end of the fiddle yard has been left open to appear to be another junction, more scenic space and it gives the impression of the trains really going somewhere. I would certainly develop the fiddle yard a litte more to allow more flexibility in the operation but other than that I was pretty pleased with it. With enough room, it would be an amazing P4 project!

The Real Milford - South Milford in 1997 with one of National Power's class 59/2s just setting out on to the mainline. Photo - J Wells

Friday, 1 January 2016