Category Archives: Fisherton Sarum

Article on Fisherton Sarum published in British Railway Modelling magazine

The February issue of British Railway Modelling magazine has today hit the shelves (subscriber copies should have landed on doormats by now too) and features an article about Fisherton Sarum. The article discusses designing and building  a layout taking inspiration from an actual location rather than being an exact scale model of a location or being totally fictitious,  just as I have done using Salisbury as the  inspiration for Fisherton Sarum.

The article coincides with Fisherton Sarum making an appearance at the Festival of British Railway Modelling exhibition at Doncaster 11/12th February 2012 a show organised by Warners Ltd.,  the publishers of British Railway Modelling Magazine.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy the article, I welcome and feedback so please let me know what you think.

If you are able to get to the Doncaster show in February please come by and say and say hello, Fisherton Sarum will be stand 11. I will be ably assisted by my Mum and Dad (dad of course is featured on my layout in his younger days trying to bunk the shed, just as he did at Salisbury),along with Roger, Mark and Daniel from the High Wycombe and District MRS.

Hold the front page…

Fisherton Sarum makes the front cover of the February issue of British Railway Modelling

To coincide with Fisherton Sarum making an appearance at the Festival of British Railway Modelling exhibition at Doncaster 11/12th February 2012,  the February issue of British Railway Modelling magazine features an article about Fisherton Sarum.

This  issue of the magazine is published during the first week of January 2012 and my article discusses designing and building  a layout taking inspiration from an actual location rather than being an exact scale model of a location or being totally fictitious.  This is of course just as I have done with Fisherton Sarum using Salisbury as its inspiration.
The article is accompanied by a completely brand new set of photographs taken by Paul Bason.

I hope you keep an eye out for the magazine and enjoy the article, let me know what you think. If you are able to get to the Doncaster show in February please come and say hello.

Talking Stock # 5 SR Inspection and Cinema Coaches

Two of the more unusual items of rolling stock built by the Southern Railway were the cinema coach and also the 100 inspection Saloon.  Marc Models have now produced kits of, or will supply Ready to Run, these unique prototypes.
These models of both coaches and generator vans are in etched brass and have the correct style bogies.  A resin cast generator is fitted into the vans that can be viewed through the van windows.

Cinema Coach No.1308s paired with its Generator Van No.1309s

The Cinema coach was built during 1938 utilising an underframe from a fire damaged ‘Thanet’ stock composite No5337. It emerged from Lancing in November 1939 and could seat 60 persons. Initially it was used for wartime staff instructional films and subsequently staff mutual improvement classes.

An alternative view of the Cinema Coach the Generator Van

Numbered 1308s it was paired to a generator van, no 1309s, converted from an ex LSWR 24’ passenger luggage van.  The unit lasted some considerable time, well into British Rail and was finally withdrawn in 1973. Whilst in British Rail ownership it was repainted in 1964 with a Blue and White livery close to but not quite the same as Rail Blue and Grey.

Inspection Saloon No.100s paired with its Generator Van No.97s

The Inspection saloon as it was officially designated and numbered 100s, built in 1946, was in fact a sleeper coach with 11 beds longitudinally placed within individual compartments. There was a central corridor, an attendant’s room and also a shower room, hence the large water tank mounted on the underframe. Each compartment also contained a wash basin and even a trouser press!

An alternative view of the Inspection Saloon (in reality a Sleeper coach) and Generator Van

Although it was built to Bulleid’s standard 64’6” coach length and body profile the construction of the body was entirely plywood and formed a bit like an upside down boat hull. Even the bogies were unique to this coach mounted on radial pads which was said to give a very smooth ride.  Whilst Bulleid remained as CME the coach running paired to its own generator van 97s converted from an ex SECR utility van in 1947 and was also often run along with dining firsts and a saloon brake.

Due to the use of the Cinema coach for staff mutual improvement classes I can justify its occasional appearance on Fisherton Sarum having being shunted into the coal stack siding road allowing the shed staff and loco crew to take part in such classes.
The Inspection Saloon will either trundle past on the main line to and from the West County or will occasionally be seen berthed in the carriage siding.

A view from the line #4 The water tower a presence and pressure…

The imposing long building beyond the turntable at Fisherton Sarum is a representation of the water tower, dormitory and stores building at Salisbury. It dominates the turntable end of the layout and although over 2 foot long is actually a good 6 inches under scale length.

The imposing water tower, dormitory and stores building

The water tank at Salisbury held 110,000 gallons and fed both the shed and the station water cranes totaling 12 in all, with eight in the station and four in the shed yard. The water pressure at Salisbury was maintained unusually high to allow for double headed engines at the station to be watered at once. This meant that crews had to be somewhat cautious when using the cranes or risk getting very wet!

My grandfather when a ganger leans on his ballast fork looks down the embankment from the main line towards the shed building

The dormitory was provided to be used by locomotive crews on “Double Home” turns, requiring a night away. There is some conjecture if it was actually used as such and if it was possibly only for a short period of time after opening and certainly not after WW2. Double Home turns to points further west to Exmouth Junction and beyond certainly existed to the early 1960’s.

The Railway Magazine at the time the shed was first built in 1901 said in its description of the shed and the amenities: “the dormitories had comfortable beds, washrooms, latrines and mess facilities”.

A view of the water tower and stores building showing the covered loading dock

I feel that if used by crews it must have been far from idyllic being located so close to the shed area and I am not sure what kind of noise the huge tank above would make when refilling. It is noted, however, that double home turn arrangements at other locations could be at best local Bed and Breakfast lodgings or at worst coaches used as dormitories!

The van of items for the shed from Eastleigh works is unloaded at the covered dock

Even if the dormitories where not fully utilised the building was certainly used as a large stores for the large amount of parts and equipment needed to keep a shed the size of Salisbury going. There would have been regular deliveries of such items from the likes of Eastleigh works. A small covered loading dock area was provided, unusually accessed via and requiring a shunt over the turntable.

The freelance houses behind the water tower as Q class 0-6-0 passes on the main line with an up goods

My representation of this building whilst, as mentioned above, being slightly shorter in length to suit the space available is from the turntable side as close as I can get to the original, including the tall windows and blind arches, whilst maintaining the proportions. In reality the rear of the build building faced directly on to Cherry Orchard Lane which as it was much lower than the ground level on the shed side must have been a very imposing sight.

On Fisherton Sarum I have added a freelance cottage scene on this side of the building (so that the layout was not just railway infrastructure)  and also added a small office directly on to the rear of the building itself to provide a further access to the stores building and monitor access to the shed via the rear road entrance from Fisherton Sarum’s version of Cherry Orchard Lane.

Talking Stock #4 Cabs and Deflectors, Bulleid Light Pacific variations

When first introduced 21C101 to 21C163 had the original Bulleid style cab with narrow front lookout and two large side windows, the rear one of which slid forwards behind the front. Complaints were made due to a restricted forward view, not helped by the position, inside the cab, of the vacuum ejector controls, in front of the window on the driver’s side. Therefore starting in July 1947 the cabs were modified, with a wedge shaped front (sometimes referred to a ‘V’ shaped) giving a larger front window area. This resulted in a slightly smaller side window area which was then fitted with three windows the rear two of which slide behind the front to give in effect the same open window area as the original style cab.

21C102 ‘Salisbury’ with original style cab and short smoke deflectors (brass scratch built cab)

The Hornby Light Pacific models all have the modified cab arrangement which restricts the of prototypes that can be modelled in either Southern or early British Railways Liveries.

21C103 ‘Plymouth’ like 21C102 above with original style cab and short smoke deflectors (SRG whitemetal cab sides)

To suit my own modelling period on Fisherton Sarum of 1946 to 1949 I  have therefore modified a number of my Hornby Bulleid Light Pacifics to  the original style cabs.

s21C148 ‘Crediton’ in early British Railways livery has original style cab and the standard length smoke deflectors (SRG whitemetal cab sides) 

This involves cutting of the Hornby cab moulding, quite a daunting task on a £70 / £80 or more model, and replacing with either a scratch built brass cab, the Nickel Silver etchings from RT Models.  or utilising replacement cast whitemetal cab sides that are now available from the Southern Railway Group (The production of these was prompted by my original conversion being detailed on the SREmGsite).  After fitting the new cabs I tend to repaint the entire locomotive using either Railmatch or Precision Paints aerosol malachite green and number and lining transfers from the Historical Model Railway Society.

For comparison 34004 ‘Yeovil’ post Locomotive Exchange Trials has a modified wedge or ‘V’ Cab and extended smoke deflectors.

As well the change in cab styles there also a number of different length smoke deflectors fitted starting with the original short length that then were increased in length to the standard length, whilst the three class members assigned to the Locomotive Exchange Trials in 1948 were all given extended deflectors, which they kept until either withdrawal or rebuilding, Note these three locomotives also received the wedge shaped cab prior tot the trials too).

Further information and a step by step process can be found on my Talking Stock #7 post here or the Southern ‘e’ Group (SeMG) site here or my RMweb blog here

Further comparison 34090 ‘Sir Eustice Missenden’ with standard length smoke deflectors and 9′ wide wedge shaped cab from new.

Whilst on the subject of cabs it should also be noted that the last 40 built from 34071 to 34110 also had wider 9′ 0″ cabs (wedge shaped from new) instead of the earlier 8’6″ width.

Fisherton Sarum – Size matters…

Obviously in some instances, despite what you might be told elsewhere, size does sometimes matter.  In response to a comment made on a previous post I thought I would provide some further information as requested.

An overview of Fisherton Sarum

To recap the overall scenic section of the layout is 8’ long by 3’ deep split into two 4’ x 3’ boards. These two boards bolt together face to face for transportation.
At each end of the layout are two fiddle boards, that due to using cassettes are simple flat topes with no track each being 6’ long. The one at the east (right hand) end of the layout is two levels to allow for the difference in heights between the shed track work and the main running lines at the rear.
All this has been designed from the outset so that they fit (i.e. total set up length including fiddle yards of 20’), along with the rest of the layout equipment and rolling stock into the back of a Ford Mondeo estate car.

A track plan of the scenic section, sorry about the quality of the image!

With respect to the buildings on the layout:
The four road engine shed is approximately 650mm long by 300mm wide which allows for two tender engines to be held in each road.  A total of 8 Peco inspection pits are used within the shed.
The coal stage is approximately 260mm by 140 wide and the track level of the stage is approx 50mm above the shed rail height. The other main building is the imposing watertank and stores building, keep an eye out for a dedicated post about this structure. The main part of this building is 600mm long by 75mm wide.

I hope this gives a better idea of the size and context of the layout and some of the structures.

A view from the line #3. Taking coal at Fisherton Sarum.

The elevated coal stage at Fisherton Sarum like the shed, as discussed in my post A view from the line #2 below  opened in 1901.  Just like the Shed itself, the coal stages were also built in a house style and as such as well asSalisburysimilar stages existed at Eastleigh,Basingstokeand Plymouth Friary.  Construction was wooden lapboard panels within a steel frame and a slate roof.  Loco coal for Salisbury was supplied from the South Wales coal fields by the Southern Railway loco coal contractors Stephenson Clarke, their wagons were manually unloaded within the stage into wheeled tubs that could then be tipped into the coal space of the waiting engines.

The coal stage at Fisherton Sarum with ex Stephenson Clarke wagons already been emptied

Using photographs from the stage at Salisbury and scaling from known dimensions I was able to create a set of drawings prior to construction of the model. As per the original the model is constructed using a framework (in plastic strut rather than Steel) with Wills lapboard sheets infilling between the frame uprights. The additional ventilation sections just under the roof line were painstakingly made up from layers of micro strip. The roof is constructed from Wills slate sheet on plastic roof trusses.

The platforms from Wills wooden flooring sheets and contain piles of unloaded coal and also men filling representations of the wheels tubs, the railed ramps on the outside of the building to allow the tubs to be tipped are also modelled. Working lighting is also provided,  scratch built from small LEDs and plastic.

Resident Salisbury Z class 957 pushes loaded loco coal wagons up the ramp in to the stage.

The style of the embankment for the ramp up to the coal stage (albeit slightly shorter and steeper), the buffer stops and the walling at the end is as perSalisbury. I have also modelled the hanging tarpaulins on each end (presumably to reduce the effects of the weather on staff working inside) using doped tissue paper.

Talking Stock #2 The 1948 Locomotive exchange trials

The 1948 locomotive exchange trials took place from April  though to September 1948 with Waterloo to Plymouth being one of the chosen routes and utilised during may and June 1948. I was keen to introduce some of the locos that ran on the Southern during the trials into the locomotive fleet on my Fisherton Sarum layout as it is based on Salisbury and as such was a stopping off point for the trials.

To provide a little background; in the immediate aftermath of the formation of British Railways the newly formed Regions were generally allowed to continue the locomotive build programmes that had already been approved and put in place by the previous railway company up until the end of 1950.  In the meantime it was decided to compare a number of engines from the previous big four in order to ‘supposedly’ consolidate designs and good practice for the future locomotive development of the new organisation after 1950. My own views on the success or otherwise of the trials may well form the topic of another post in the future.

The exchanges were to trial locomotives in three categories: Express Passenger, General Purpose and Freight Locomotives.  Locomotives and their crews from each region had a small number of runs on each route, the week before, to gain limited route knowledge (although generally recognised as not enough) prior to the main test runs for which dynamometer cars were attached.

34006 'Bude' with extended smoke deflectors and paired to a Stanier tender. Whilst this tender pairing was for when off Southern metals, she did test runs out of Waterloo in this condition.

Hornby have already produced a limited edition model of Bulleid West Country Class No. 34006 Bude with a Stanier tender and complete with the correct extra long smoke deflectors.  The three Light Pacifics so fitted only did a couple of test runs on the Southern in this form which is a good enough reason to run Bude.

34004 'Yeovil' as back on the Southern reunited with her original style tender.

I have also matched a renumbered and named Hornby ex Bude and paired her with a standard 4500 gallon Bulleid tender as 34004 “Yeovil “as she ran on return from the trials.

Double chimneyed A4 60033 'Seagull' complete with tender with cut down raves.

Ex LNER A4 class No. 60033 “Seagull” took part in the exchanges on the Southern Region and was created by renumbering and naming a suitable Bachmann model which also involved the fitting of a replacement white metal double chimney from 247 Developments.  I also modified the tender as those tenders fitted to the A4s on trial had the raves cut down at the rear to allow clearance for the water cranes at Euston Station.

Duchess 46236 'City of Bradford' on the main line passing Fisherton Sarum

Once Hornby produced a version of their Duchess class in LMS lined black of the ‘Semi’ variant (i.e. a de-streamlined version) I used this as the basis for City ofBradford.  For this conversion I renamed and numbered Hornby “City of Manchester” and coupled it to a slightly modified Bachmann 2-8-0 WD tender.

Rebuilt Scot 46154 'Hussar' also fitted with WD style tender

I have also created a model of the Rebuilt Royal Scot class locomotives No.46154 “The Hussar” that also took part in theWaterloo–Exetertrials utilising one of the recently introduced Hornby LMS lined black models suitably renamed and also fitted with a suitable WD style tender in the same way as  above.

A view from the line #2. The shed at Fisherton Sarum itself.

The shed opened in 1901 at Salisbury was the fourth to be built and replaced the two older sheds that were near the Station itself (on what then became the west yard) that were together known as Fisherton shed (Fisherton Street being the name of the road next to the station, and forms one of the reasons for my layout being called what it is). Just in case you were wondering, the first shed (of the four) was located at the original Salisbury Milford terminus.

One of the two malachite liveried N Class Locomotives simmers outside the front of of the LSWR Style shed at Fisherton Sarum

The London and South Western Railway realised at the end of the 1800’s that they required larger engine sheds and servicing facilities at Basingstoke, Eastleigh,Salisbury and Plymouth Friary. All of these sheds, despite being of differing sizes for example Salisbury at one of the scale had ten roads whilst Plymouth Friary at the other had three, were built to a common ‘house’ style in substantial brick with large arched style windows, slated covered gable style roofs with longitudinal glazed sections, glazed end gables, ventilators running the length of the shed atop each gable. Each shed was provided with wooden smoke troughs over each line and a number of offices including those for the shed master, timekeeper, washroom, stores and mess room. There was also a sand drying room with its associated furnace and chimney.

A vew of the rear of shed showing the offices and to the right the bottom of the chimney for the sand drying. As at Salisbury the entrance was up a set steps from the road at a lower level.

Using original drawings of the shed at Plymouth Friary along with measurements and photographs of the foundations still evident at Salisbury itself I was able to build, mainly from Wills embossed plastic sheets of the two different brick bonds and slates etc, a representation of this classic style of LSWR shed for Fisherton Sarum. Some Slaters plasticard and other plasticstruct / microstrip of various shapes and sizes were also used.  I used sixteen Peco inspection pits to form the track and basic floor of the shed infilling with plasticard to represent a concrete floor.

A of the inside of the shed from above minus the roof

Even though this is much smaller version of the shed from the original it is still nearly three feet long and the roof in particular and therefore access inside the shed was always going to be a challenge. I therefore opted to make the pair of gables roofs removable providing access to the interior of the shed, At shows more often than not I leave at least one half of the roof off to allow visitors to view inside, usually because if I leave it on they ask me anyway if they can look inside…

Looking in through the front doors of the shed

General shed clutter, work benches, tools, lathes, water taps and hoses etc. have been made from a mixture of GEM, Langley Models, Springside and scratch built parts.

Talking Stock #1 Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics

This is the first in hopefully a series of posts looking at the various items of rolling stock that have and operate on Fisherton Sarum. Over time the intent is that the series will include locomotives, coaching stock and wagons.

First up are Bulleid’s masterpieces the Merchant Navy class in original ‘Air Smoothed’ condition. I am not going to get into discussion about the success or otherwise of the design as plenty has been published elsewhere, but to cover some of the models that I have built / can be seen running on Fisherton Sarum.  All of the Merchant Navy models you see here have been built from, the now discontinued, Millholme Kits and using a few additional castings by the late great Albert Goodall (See my update post about his castings here).

The first of the class 21C1 ‘Channel Packet’ was introduced in February 1941. Being under war time conditions the class was even promoted for justification reasons as a mixed traffic locomotives! The whole of the class were named after then famous shipping lines.  The original style of “air smoothed” (rather than streamlined) casing is shown in the picture here of a model,  by Stan Chandler, of 21C1 in as built conditions, so in reality a little early for my usual modeling period on Fisherton Sarum (but she does occasionally make an appearance). Soon after introduction it was apparent that a better form of smoke deflection was required to improved the drivers view, already restricted enough by the casing, and after various trials changes were made and the more familiar style of smoke deflectors were fitted by 1944/5.

In contrast to the model of 21C1 in original condition, 21C6 represents the period that I model i.e. 1946 to 1949, still with original style cab, standard smoke deflectors and all other fairings in place. 21C6 being one of the first series MN’s had the sweep to the cab front, distinctive curved fairings in front of the cylinders and the side casing made from limpet board, hence the prominent rib horizontally along the middle of the side. She is paired with an original style 5000 gallon tender. She has been finished using Railmatch post war malachite green, lining and decals from the HMRS and nameplates from Fox Transfers. I have also fitted a Fox Transfers Atlantic Coast Express headboard for good measure.

The second series 21C11 to 19 were introduced between December 1944 and June 1945 this series such as my example of 21C14 had detail difference from the first 10 with changes made to the shape of the casing including; a flat front to the cab and a more angled and slightly higher bottom body side edge, exposing more of the driving wheels and was coupled to a revised larger 5100 gallon tender.  She is seen here complete with the Devon Belle headboard and wing plates from Fox Transfers (although I have some doubt over the correct size of their wing plates as they seem slightly too small to me.

The third series introduced shortly after Nationalisation in 1948 and 1949  were numbered in the New British railways numbering sequence from new, 35021-35030 and had modified V shaped cab from new (that was also being retro fitted to all members of the class to give improved driver forward visibility), were even more angular in the bodyside around the driving wheels and were paired with an even larger 6000 gallon tender. 35023 is pictured left while 35021 is currently still on my workbench. My model of 35026 in the later Brunswick Green livery can often be seen running on the High Wycombe and District MRS’s layout Hinton Parva.

Further information about the real Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics can be found on the excellent SeMG website here. 

Another reason for choosing 21C6 as the basis for my model is that was one of the few members of the class to be allocated to one shed only throughout here life which was in her case Salisbury, which is of course the inspiration for Fisherton Sarum. I am also a member of the of the 35006 Locomotive society who are very close to getting her back to working order and further information about the society can be found here or clicking on the menu bar above.