Adding a Layer of Cork Track Underlay

I have added a layer of cork track underlay to one of my baseboards. This will be the terminus baseboard.

I brought a sheet of cork from the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association. Using the full size print out of the track plan I created a paper template and cut the cork sheet to shape. It was glued into place with lots of PVA glue, then weighted down with lots of heavy objects and left for a week to dry.

Next, tracklaying. Gulp!


Gasp – A Second Baseboard !

Baseboards must be like busses. You wait ages for one to come and then two arrive together.

Well not quite. I was so pleased with the first baseboard that I decided to build a second one while I remembered how. 🙂 It did take a week to build the second one, so they didn’t arrive simultaneously.

To hold the baseboards together I have decided to use hinges with removable pins. You can pull out the pin to separate the two halves of the hinge and separate the baseboards. I saw this in the British Railway Modelling video of their ‘Edgeworth’ layout (at around 2 minutes 10 seconds in the video). I’m sure this has been done many times before but this is where I saw it for the first time. It looked a neat idea, so I thought I’d give it a try.



Is This A Baseboard I See Before Me ?

I am quite excited by the idea of the Granta Valley Railway. So much so that I decided to build the first baseboard.

I sketched out a simple design and went to my local builders merchant for the wood. The tops and sides are made of 9mm plywood. The builders merchant cut these to size using their large electric ‘sheet saw’. The cuts cost me nothing and saved me a lot of time. The frame is simple pine wood measuring 44mm x 19mm in section.

The first step was to attach the pine frame to the plywood edging. I pre-drilled holes in the baseboard so that I’d be able to attach the sides and ends to it.

The sides and ends were positioned and attached to the baseboard.

Here’s the finished baseboard, glued and screwed together. I know I’ll never be a cabinet maker, but I’m quite pleased with it.

Granta Valley Railway, Cardboard Mock Up

In my last blog I sketched an idea for the terminus of a freelance tourist line in SCARM. To test whether it will work I’ve printed it 1:1 and mocked up some buildings from cereal packets.

Creating a cardboard mock up is rather an odd thing to do, but it allowed me to experiment with different arrangements and look at things from different angles. Here’s the arrangement I liked the most. From left to right we have: a cafe, the ticket office, a storage container and a maintenance shed for the stock.

I’m encouraged. It combines a sense of purpose with a sense of space and I think this design could capture the feel of a country terminus for a rural tourist line.

It really could work. I should build it.

Months of agonizing over. Decision made. Onwards and upwards!

Granta Valley Railway, A Quick Sketch

To provide a home for the 09 stock I have been building I’ve decided to create The Granta Valley Railway a freelance, tourist line built on an old standard gauge track bed.

Obviously, the line will need a terminus.

The terminus for a modern tourist line doesn’t need extensive facilities. Let’s keep it simple: A run around loop, perhaps a small maintenance shed and a siding to store a wagon or two.

Then, we need to think of the passengers. Well, the railway isn’t a fancy affair: a platform, a ticket office and somewhere to buy a cup of tea. This will be all the line can afford.

After much sketching, designing track plans in SCARM and lots of scratching my head, I have settled for the design you see above.

It will allow me to create a 09 terminus for a ‘present day’ tourist line on a board 122cm long x 46cm wide (approx. 48 x 18 inches). It’s compact, so it won’t take up too much room at home and it could be transported to exhibitions (if other people like it!). Plus, it could be expanded by adding other boards if I decide I really like modelling in 09.

I rather like the sketch. So far so good…

A New Year, A New Layout

Shelford (Cambridgeshire) around 1924.

Things have been rather quiet on this blog in January. Yet, behind the scenes there’s been a whole lot of thinking going on.

I have an idea for a new layout. Here’s the inspiration behind the idea.

A Little Bit of Railway History.

Shelford is a small village about 3 miles south of Cambridge and has had a station since 1845. On the 1st of June 1865 a branch line from Shelford to Haverhill was opened. This branched off the London to Cambridge main line just south of the Shelford station, near the small village of Stapleford. It ran through Pampisford, Linton, Bartlow and into Haverhill. Initially, the line ran close to the River Granta along what’s sometimes called the Granta Valley.

Sketch map of part of the Stour Valley Branch Line (Shelford to Bartlow).

On the 9th August 1865 the section of track from Haverhill to Sudbury was opened allowing travelers to go from Shelford to Sudbury and on to Marks Tey and Colchester. The line became known as the Stour Valley Railway.

Initially, many of the stations were well appointed with goods yards of varying sizes and the line did a useful service transporting goods such as coal, corn, beet and livestock.

Shelford Station, look at that lovely Great Eastern Railway goods shed.

The line between Shelford and Haverhill fell into decline and was eventually closed to passengers in March 1967 as part of the Beeching cuts (boo hiss to Beeching!).

In Stapleford some local people discussed running a preserved steam railway along the old line from Shelford to Linton, a distance of around 7 miles. Unfortunately, the track was lifted in 1970 and nothing came of the idea.

The Shelford to Haverhill Line Today

Today, the route of the old line through Stapleford, to Pampisford and Linton is quite easy to trace. Some bridges still exist and much of the track ran on raised earth works which are still clearly visible in many places.

Stapleford with the Cambridge to Liverpool Street line in the background. The Haverhill branch line ran alone the raised earthworks in the field.

The branch line continued across the field behind the line of trees in the distance.

At the end of the field this bridge carried the A1301 over the branch line. It still carries the road, even though the line has disappeared.

Between Sawston and Babraham the line crossed this country road. The bridge has gone but the embankments either side and the dip in the road are still visible.

In the dip of the road is the base of the old bridge.

Scramble up the slope and you are greeted with this view of the old trackbed heading towards Linton. It is amazing that the line is still so clearly visible.

In Linton, the station building still exists and is used as offices. What an elegant place to work.

At the southern end of the line, the route from Sudbury to Marks Tey is still open, and has been branded ‘The Gainsborough Line’ to commemorate the painter Thomas Gainsborough, who was born in Sudbury.

Here’s Where I Have to Declare an Interest

I moved to Stapleford last year. I live close to the London Liverpool Street to Cambridge line, and opposite the field where the Stour Valley Branch left the main line and started its journey to Pampisford and Haverhill. Along one edge of the field runs the Granta River which meanders from Haverhill, past Linton and on into Cambridge following a similar, but not indentical, route to the old branch line.

What If….

…an enterprising group of railway enthusiasts built a narrow gauge line along the old standard gauge track bed…

It’s has happened elsewhere (The Bure Valley Railway, The Wells and Walsingham Railway and the Steeple Grange Light Railway to name only a few examples). Perhaps the idea is not that far-fetched.

I am thinking of building a freelance fantasy… ‘The Granta Valley Railway’… a narrow gauge railway with a terminus in Stapleford, in the field opposite my house, and a line running along the old trackbed to Pampisford and beyond….

Building an Avalon Line 09 Closed Coach

Recently, I made an Avalon Line Semi Open Coach. When I build kits I often assemble them, then paint them. I’d found painting the completed semi-open coach rather fiddly. So for my closed coach kit I decided to paint the parts and then assemble them. First of all I sprayed all the parts with primer.

I want to fit some 7mm Narrow Gauge Association coach door handles.

I drilled holes for the handles and test fitted them. They look good. Perhaps a little big, but I like them.

Next, I masked off the places where I would have to apply glue to assemble the kit, and I painted the interior of the coach.

Then I assembled and painted the chassis, foot wells and seats. It’s a bit rough but it will be hidden inside the coach.

I masked the interior of the coach with masking tape…

…trimmed off the excess masking tape…

…and sprayed the parts with Macragge blue from Citadel. (Sorry for the blurry photo. I got excited by the blue).

I even managed to spray part of the garage floor too. Oops. I’m glad I like that blue 🙂

To paint the solebars and head stocks I masked off the edge of the blue paint and splashed on some Humbrol dirty black.

When I stripped off all the masking tape, things were beginning to look good.

Then it was a pretty simple job to glue the sides and ends to the chassis assembly. I lightly tacked one end and side in place with very small amounts of super glue. Then I repeated the process with the other end and side. It only took a minute or so for the glue to dry and, luckily, everything was looking good. Finally, I reinforced all of the joints with some expoy glue. I find this much more durable than superglue.

There are a few jobs still to do: applying decals, adding windows, painting some passengers, weathering and varnishing. I will get round to these at some point in the future. For now, I lodged the roof in place and took a photo. Looking good!