Monday, 18 April 2016

Class 40 - A Whistler of Many Origins

The latest loco which I have finished is a hybrid Class 40.

D235 Apapa
I do like class 40s in their original livery - the green emphasising the enormous bulk. Whilst no longer than the steam locomotives they appeared alongside, that they were one unbroken piece must have made them seem enormous to enthusiasts in the late fifties.

The body is mostly Lima with Bachmann nose ends running on a lowered original class 40 Bachmann chassis which has been rewheeled for P4. The body has been covered in Shawplan parts - Brian Hanson's detailing parts are always a pleasure to use and his class 37/40 windscreens and their associated backing plates really do make the model I think. But also the small details of the step an inspection plates on the buffers (Hornby Class 50 spares) also help add to the final result.

It represents D235 Apapa as it was early on in its career in British Railways green with small yellow warning panels. The grey roof is my usual cheat of using Halford's grey primer as a base but keeping it for the roof colour! Why add more layers of paint than we really need? Especially when we want as little paint as possible around those beautifully fine etchings by Shawplan. The fan grille is a lovely piece in its own right and deserves careful finishing. The warning panel yellow is Humbrol's Trainer Yellow and the bufferbeams are Humbrol Matt Red Brown - a nice subdued red which doesn't over power like normal buffer beam reds would.

A good view of the vitually complete but unpainted body shell - the mix of parts in plastic, brass and stainless steel. Models at this stage always rather satisfying to look at, seeing how you've combined various elements to complete the model.

On top of this is a typical coat of dirt but with class 40 specific bits such as the leak around the cooling fan grille - very typical of the class when you begin looking.

I'll leave you to judge if the effort has been worth it.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Real Life Low Relief

We were wandering round Malton yesterday, as we have plenty of times before, but I'd not noticed this building before - well not properly! If you ever wanted a prototype for your low relief building, this is it!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Corgi Rail Legends - The Missed Opportunity?

Corgi have a range which is half way between the railway and die-cast market, their Rail Legends range. A range of die-cast model locomotives in, what will be to many, an unusual scale. The range reflects Hornby's main range, clearly sharing research between the two teams - remember that Hornby own Corgi.

I've seen them in various places (the NRM shop has a decent selection of them as some of the range are of locos from the National Collection - I've often looked at them and thought they have potential - someone told me "they're TT you know" and having always thought that 3mm scale is a lovely scale and such a shame it never flourished as it really should have done. I gon to Warley with my good friend james and we both commented a couple of years back, whilst looking at a 'Blue Era' 3mm scale layout, what a nice size it was. It's size when compared with 4mm scale would really give advantages for modelling modern block trains. I also recall a couople of continental TT layouts being on the local exhibtion circuit in the nineties - European and US TT uses a smaller scale of 1:120, rather than the 1:101.6 used with our UK based scale of 3mm:ft. Bear this bit of trivia in mind...

Every so often I trawl through the 3mm Society's website and suppliers like 3mm Scale Model Railways mentally planning layouts as I read! And much like the more niche and specialised scales there are some beautiful modelling to be seen! Two which instantly spring to my mind are Everingham and Masham - they're both North Eastern Railway based so no wonder they appeal to me!

I even have a stock of Kitmaster 'TT-3' Mark 1 coaches in stock which I bought off eBay 'just in case'. It is one of these coaches which lead to this post...

The Corgi Rail Legends version of BR Britania 70013 Oliver Cromwell.

It's a very well proportioned and finished model and represents pretty good value. Twenty years ago we'd have gone mad for RTR which this much seperately applied detail!

My parents bought Thomas a model of 70013 Oliver Cromwell from Corgi's Rail Legends range for Easter. No I'm not sure why either - they never bought me Easter presents! He was quite taken by the model as it's very nicely done - for the price it's pretty good, perfectly proportion and more seperately applied detail than many ready to run locos of not that many years ago! Clearly smaller than the trains he's used to, but not as small as many he's seen at shows (N gauge). So we talked about the size/scale and that lead to me digging out a couple of the Kitmaster coaches, based on having previously been told "they're TT". I was rather surprised to see the coaches towering over the loco. A quick Google revealed Corgi had used a scale of 1:120... Not the British scale, but the continental scale. To me, as a railway modeller, it seemed rather odd. Of course they're really ornaments, aren't they, so to Corgi I guess the scale doesn't matter as long as the end result will be bought by the public. It did however write off my thoughts of using the LNER pacifics they offer as the basis for for an ECML themed layout - a serious thought too at one point!

A bit more digging found this article by Simon Kohler of Hornby. It's bascially about how he thought and considered that Hornby should reintroduce TT as a ready to run scale and range. What an interesting thought - however, there was one section which, to me, is one of the most arrogant pieces I've read concerning the model railway trade.

"I suppose the most radical decision I made when putting my initial thoughts together was to scale the UK ‘TT’ to match that of the European ‘TT’ which is 1:120. The old Tri-ang ‘TT’ was scaled to 3mm:1ft which equated to something like 1:101.6. according to Wikipedia. For me it was time for the days of UK bastard scales to come to an end and although I may not be keen on losing the UK£ to the €uro I had no such qualms over the new UK ‘TT’ being compatible with the rest of Europe even though it may not have suited everyone."

For 'radical' I think 'arrogant' is more appropriate. And saying "according to Wikipedia" does not really give you much confidence in his background knowledge of the hobby. And it seems a very sad "I am Hornby - you will do as I say" attitude. And why would UK TT need to be compatible with European TT? How often would he think that an A4 would be seen alongside German electrics? If someone decides to run their layout so, I would suggest that the mixing of scales bothers them very litte - they're just doing their own thing!

It also shows a horrible either disregard or complete ignorance of the 3mm Scale Society who have done an awful lot to maintain and support the scale nearly fifty years. Although the society, as with many other specialist scale societies, is not huge, it is worth noting that these societies and their members are very vocal when it comes to promoting their scale and activities. So, you have a captive audience who would be, I think, supportive of new generation RTR products in their chosen scale. Then there would be scope for articles in the mainstream and finescale model railway press too. And I always thought Mr Kolher was comercially savvy?

So maybe there is a connection between this and Corgi's choice of 1:120 for their Rail Legends series? We'll never know, but isn't it a shame they didn't choose our traditional and much loved 3mm scale?

Friday, 1 April 2016

Industrial Steam in East Yorkshire

In the early part the twentieth century parts of East Yorkshire witnessed the sights and sounds of a number of narrow gauge steam locomotives fussing their loads of chalk across parts of the Yorkshire Wolds. A little known industrial railway connected various quarries in the Market Weighton and North Newbald areas with the North Eastern Railway just outside Market Weighton - it opened 110 years ago and lasted just thirty years. This was the East Riding Quarries' system.

The Wolds are chalk hills which gentle undulate from near the Humber round to Flamborough Head – many quarries have been established all over East Yorkshire to exploit this resource, some are still worked. Most notably near Melton, just to the west of Hull – for many years their products left by rail too. Further north the quarries at Burdale and Wharram ensured the Malton & Driffield line lasted as long as did – these workings have been well documented too fortunately. Numerous small quarries can still be scene right across the Wolds too. And it is these quarries which provided the need for the subject of this post.

If you walk along the disused line between Beverley and Market Weighton, once the hills begin to rise and the line climbs up into the Wolds, you cannot miss the number of former quarries which almost litter the area. A number of these were served by the line too. Much of the Wolds, however, did not have the luxury of a rail connection and what limited products were produced had to leave by other means. Rivers and canals are not common in the east of the county – the Wolds does not have a navigable water way.

The railway was the brain child of Douglas Richardson – the Richardson family owned lands in the North Newbald area. On the land were a couple of chalk pits which were being a local man was paying to work and sell the stone.

Chalk (Calcium carbonate) is used for many things – a common use of chalk from Burdale and Wharram, for example, was to be used in the production of steel. It’s used as a flux for during the process of converting iron into steel. Other uses have included ceramics, whitening agents in paper and many other uses in industry. Richardson was aware that the small quantities from the workings on their land had worth, but not in the small volume which was produced. Other similar existed pits (too small to call quarries really) and if the combined produce of all of these could some how be shipped together, then it might prove profitable. Just how to achieve this was the stumbling block – transporting by horse and cart was a non starter.

A photograph which is believed to be from around 1931 or 1932. The gentleman by the loco is Gordon Shappey who managed the line in later years. He had worked for the Richardson family for a number of years. His son, Arthur Shappey, served as a fitter and driver in the final years of the railway.

The loco is more of a puzzle. Records of the motive power are certainly not complete. The majority seemed to be ex-contractors' machines - some did not last long and other than being able to say this is a Kerr Stuart product and similar (but obviously slightly larger) to 'Sirdar' which ran in Northumberland at Cawfields Quarry.

The location of photograph is believed to be new North Newbald

A chance conversation with one of his Uncles provided a solution – his uncle was a civil engineer who had been involved with the construction of a number of reservoirs in Yorkshire in the latter part of the nineteenth century. To aid the movement of materials, narrow gauge railways had been used. Narrow gauge would prove perfect for the terrain involved. Standard gauge would be too expensive and not suited to the area where some steep grades and tight curves would be required. Richardson had also learned that similar lines existed in Leicestershire for transporting iron stone.

The original style of 'tub', as staff called them, used on the railway.

Two foot gauge was discounted as too small. The more substantial nature of three foot gauge stock was considered advantageous – derailments in the quarries turned out to be more problematic as a result of the larger nature of the locomotives though! The wagons used, however, were of a ‘tub’ style and their low centre of gravity proved very successful. So much so that at a couple of locations they remained in use, pushed by hand, at a couple of locations until the mid-seventies!

The first loaded train left Goodmanham Siding on 1st April 1906. The final train left in 1936, just thirty years later - the workings were not exhausted but the cost of this method of working was simply too expensive to make it worthwhile.

The Route Described

The railway had its exchange sidings with the North Eastern Railway’s York – Beverley line near Goodmanham, just outside Market Weighton. It was known as Goodmanham Siding. ‘Exchange Sidings’ is a grand term. It was one siding, the narrow gauge raised above the standard gauge to allow the tubs to be tipped into the waiting wagons beneath. Moving the standard gauge wagons was achieved with horses. Simple but it worked. The big disadvantage was that stone could not be stored, the only place where it could be stored was in the the tubs! This lead to the line, at its height, having a rather large number of wagons – most of which were built in the company’s own workshops using wheels and fittings supplied by Robert Hudson Ltd. Some ‘new’ wagons would often reuse parts from accident damaged examples. The gradient from Goodmanham up to ‘Arras Top’, as it was known (due to its proximity to the hamlet of Arras), was particularly steep. No trace of the line, the workshop buildings or the row of cottages exists here today – only a slight dip in the current A1079 gives any hint of what was once here. From here the line headed in a south easterly direction towards the quarries on the land of the Richardson’s.

The line then headed across between Sancton and High Gardham - the track bed is now a Bridle Way marked on some maps as Beverley Lane. Near Hesslekew Farm a branch ran towards Gardham, crossing the main A1079 on the level, by the level crossing was a substantial brick building which served as a work shop for a number of years.

Continuing south from Hesslekew the line followed the approximate path of Wrangman Dale Road (a bridle way now), crossing Beverley Road before the line swung round towards North Newbald. Just here one line began to climb steeply to access chalk pits around High Hunsley - beyond here the lines were laid and lifted as traffic demanded. Only lighter locos could use the lighter laid lines - in early years a small ex-contractor Manning Wardle 0-4-0st named Hunsley worked exclusively on this part of the railway. Following the great war, a re-gauged, 'Protected' style Motor Rail Simplex was used here - it was very suited to these lightly laid lines. Trains would be marshalled waiting for larger locos to take them to Goodmanham. This loco affectionately became known as 'Gertie', eventually the name was signwritten on at least one end of the loco on the 'protected' panels.

A line ran to North Newbald itself - a number of workers were provided with house at North Newbald and workmen's trains ran from here to certain key points. For these workings three crude coaches had been in constructed in the workshops. The station was located opposite the site of the present day school, just by the junction of Beverley Road and Townsend Road.

From Wrangman Dale Road a line ran east towards Walkington - the main route here lasted until the railway closed but, as with High Hunsley, branches and connections made the railway quite transient. Records of exactly which quarries and workings the line served vary from poor to non existent!


Operation was 'interesting'. There was no real form of train regulation and when the line was at its peak, it was possible to see trains following each other, seemingly just yards apart. The facilities at Goodmanham dictated this style of operation - with no ability to store stone at Goodmanham Siding, stone had to tipped directly into the waiting mainline wagons. At Newbald sidings were provided to store loaded wagons ready for transport for unloading - this lead to a large number of wagons which were never really used to their full potential, spending much of their stood awaiting movement.

Generally a loco would spend it's time on a branch a day at a time. For example, one loco would spend a day working exclusively between Newbald and Walkington Heads (and other points along the branch) bringing loaded wagons down and returning with empty wagongs to be filled. Occasionally a second loco would be doing the same between Newbald and High Hunsley - normally one loco could manage both tasks at usual levels of traffic. Another loco would take loaded trains from Newbald to Arras Top or Goodmanham depending on arrangements at the exchange sidings.

The Gardham branch never produced much traffic so generally a loco would spend a morning as required taking empty wagons and collecting loaded wagons.

As time went on, especially post 1930, it would be unusual to have more than three locos in use each day. Only if a train was waiting would a third be required anyway - normally one loco collecting loaded wagons would be sufficient with Gertie preparing tubs for collection at High Hunsley.

During 1936, as part of the general run down, locomotives were being sold off leaving only Gertie as the soul motive power. For the final four months she spent her time collecting final consignments from quarries for few remaining trains from Goodmanham - now down to just one every two weeks.


The line closed in the summer of 1936. Run down had been quite gradual. As road transport had become more economical, the railway lost purpose - some of the smaller pits ceased to be worked but Walkington Heads continued until 1973, still in the ownership of the Richardson family, sending out stone by road although a number of tubs continued to be used round the quarry itself.

Few jobs were lost - the final years had seen a skeleton staff running the line with everyone concerned having to take on multiple roles and jobs.

The final trains to be worked were scrap trains which saw Gertie hauling loads of recovered materials. The scrap merchant used her to move items round at Arras Top before her turn came round too.

The Line Today

In the eighty years since closure, virtually all traces of the line have all but vanished. Three buildings have survived - the workshop building on the Gardham branch can clearly be seen from the A1079. In the intervening years it has been rebuilt to suit various purposes but it is substantially still the original structure of 1910, when the branch opened. Another building remains at Goodmanham, now property of Yorkshire Water. This is a substantial brick structure, reflecting the confident nature of the enterprise. It is contrasted rather greatly by the third surviving building. This is no more than a hut which stands at High Hunsley. Today it stands in excellent order, though it may be like 'Trigger's Broom', just how much of the original structure remains is questionable. So much so, it meant quite a bit of research was required to establish if this was the original a structure or merely a new building on the sit of the original. It dates from 1919 and replaced the original wooden shed used to house the Hunsley. It allowed facilities to maintain and service the replacement Simplex meaning it didn't have to leave High Hunsley - Hunsley made weekly visits to Arras Top for boiler wash outs.

If you know where to look, signs of the railway can be found. The most obvious, which even the lay person will notice, is the incline to take the line up to High Hunsley. This represented the most major earth work on the system - for once money was spent as it made for a much shorter route than the original proposal to reverse at the site of North Newbald station.

Near Newbald one of the best preserved earthworks left on the route - this is where the line to High Hunsley climbed a steep grade to gain height rapidly.

One problem with the line is that, much like the Sand Hutton Light Railway, its short life means it missed inclusion in the more detailed Ordnance Survey maps. Details from the company's records, along with notes and correspondence of Gordon Shappey's, do at least provide some information. Exploring the route is difficult - much of it was laid over private land. in the case of the Richardson family's land, it was very straight forward however elsewhere rent was paid for a strip of land or agreements reached to allow transportation of material from chalk pits where proceeds were split between the company and the land owner. So please bear in mind that for the most part, the route is still private property. Around the Sancton and Newbald area parts have become bridle ways, however human activity has meant that no physical remains beyond light earth works have survived.

However, as mentioned some isolated sections did remain. At Walkington Heads Quarry, track and 'tubs' remained in use until the seventies. They were pushed by hand or tractor as required. Their stability meant they were still considered worth using nearly forty years after the railway closed. The quarry cannot be visited now - since it closed itself in 1973 it has been flooded and trees surround the pit disguising the industry which once was here, see below. Sadly the route between Newbald and here has completely disappeared, mostly ploughed out.

Roadworks in 1998 along Beverley Road, Newbald, at Wrangman Dale Road did reveal a pair of rails beneath Beverley Road! They were removed without ceremony. This short section is believed to be the very last section of the system.