Tag Archives: Westhill Road

Westhill Road Ramblings#1 3B or not 3B choosing a signal box

Welcome to the first of my Westhill Road Ramblings as I think thoughts (or why isn’t that thunk?), yes dangerous I know, to develop the concept in my mind / imagination and start to make actual physical progress on my new little scenic diorama type layout. To read my introduction to Westhill Road click here. As the layout progresses my imagination, vision , concepts and ideas board will be covered via such ramblings posts, whilst more details on some of the physical items will be covered in my Workbench Witterings series.

Now on to the main subject of this post the signal cabin. The original thought in my mind I had for Westhill Road, with its small level Crossing and minimum signalling and only one point (plus a co-acting trap point) for the siding, was to utilise one of the lovely Kernow Model Rail Centre LSWR ground frame cabins.

The three potential options for the cabin at Westhill Road
The signal box diagram for Westhill Road

However upon developing the concept for the layout further and looking at signal Box diagrams for similar locations on the Southern, and having created a signal box diagram for Westhill Road that required a 10 lever frame, I soon realised that such a ground frame and cabin would actually be too small.
I initially thought about using my scratch built model of Hawkhurst signal box that I built from scratch many years ago now, when still a teenager, but feel that using such signal box at this location would possibly also be out of character for a small wayside halt and crossing  location as Westhill Road and maybe affect the balance of buildings I intend to have on the layout, as it will located directly in front of the roadside combined station masters house / booking office.

A cruelly enlarged picture of my scratch built Type 3B ground signal box. The roof is not affixed yet whilst it awaits some final details and a signaller to be added.

I decided to take a look at the idea of using ground-based signal box. The LSWR have a number of different types of boxes, as the design involved throughout the years, small ground versions of the signal cabins were quite common across the network at smaller locations such as level crossing gates and small stations and these could either be directly mounted on the ground or onto a station platform. I therefore settled on the idea of an LSWR type 3B signal cabin as these were used at similar crossing gate locations.

A birds eye view inside the box
A view showing the knee frame
A quick snap showing the effect of the illumination, (a scratch made lamp shade hides a tiny surface mount LED)

These Type 3B boxes were introduced in 1889 and were generally located in and around Plymouth and also on the Ilfracombe line in North Devon, including wonderfully named locations such as Stoney Mill Gates, Vellator Gates and Duckpool Gates. Unlike the earlier Type 3 and 3A boxes they did not have toplights (replaced with weatherboard or any ornamental valances. As these ground level boxes did not have an interlocking room beneath the floor they utilised a raised ‘knee frame’ with shorter levers.

This slightly more plain style is, in my thinking, ideal for Westhill Road as it gives a slightly more general and not to area / company specific appearance. I have therefore knocked up a quick scratch built version of such a ground box, that is internally detailed, complete with a knee frame and each individual short lever, coloured to match the Westhill Road signal box plan,  and illuminated (as will all the buildings I build for Westhill Road). I will detail the build process in a near future Workbench Witterings post before you ask, and although I do not yet have the actual layout built to plonk it on, I already feel of the three options it will look the part.

 

Westhill Road, an introduction #2

My first Westhill Road, introduction #1 post provided a little of the what and the why behind the plan for Westhill Road, this introduction #2 covers more of the what, and some of the when, with respect to the plan of the layout and the scenic side of things.

As I disclosed in my #1 post Westhill Road will comprise of a single track line passing from left-hand rear corner, through a small SR Concrete wayside halt, a single goods siding and a level crossing before exiting through to the front right hand corner.

A quick badly drawn sketch of the inner workings of my imagination
A typical Dartmoor stream from my inspiration folder

As a picture says a thousand words, even though my 2D art skills are not as honed as perhaps some of my 3D model making, please excuse the quality of the quick sketch left. Hopefully it shows the key elements of the plan and includes the main scenic features.

There is a small stream, reminiscent of a babbling Dartmoor brook / ‘lake’ in a shallow valley in the front left corner, the railway enters behind some trees from the rear left on a small embankment. The ground level also falls away behind into the backscene, and possibly a farm build hides away at the rear lower level (not on sketch before you look), as this also helps trick the eye into believing the effect of increased depth.

The Hawkhurst provender store that will be centre front on the layout

A provender store building (from Hawkhurst) and large trees are front and centre allowing glimpses of the concrete wayside halt and siding through and behind with more trees blending the background into the backscene further behind.

The road to Westhill itself crosses the line and past the small LSWR type ground frame cabin (from  KMRC), although I might include a proper signal box (I have a scratch built Hawkhurst signal box I could use, I haven’t fully decided yet as it might be too large for the scene), and then the combined station masters house and booking office (more likely similar to that at Alverstone on the Isle of Wight than the outline shown on the sketch).

A small tin tabernacle will be helping with the element of perspective at the rear RH corner

The road continues past a small tin chapel on the left and a row of workers cottages on the right, both sized to assist with creating an element of perspective, before disappearing off to the right rear corner.

With respect to the when, my usual modelling period as regular readers will know is 1946 to 1949 and primarily Westhill Road will be no different, however, like Canute Road Quay, I intend to keep any permanent specific period identifying features to a minimum, to enable me to ring the changes with eras by changing rolling stock and any road vehicles to enable the time period to be portrayed anytime from grouping through to the start of the 1960s.

Future posts will cover some of the buildings already teased / shown above in more detail and will of course also document the ‘making up’ and progress of Westhill Road as I go along, so watch this space…

Westhill Road, an introduction #1

It is about time that I formally introduced you to Westhill Road there has been a teaser page on here for quite some time, as with many plans timing has slipped somewhat from the original intention of it being a post-Christmas last year winter project. However with much of the items needed for its construction already purchased I plan to hopefully start building in earnest during these forthcoming winter months.

Whilst I still have plans for larger layouts, perhaps maybe for the future, space at this time is still a limiting factor.  The plans still include Hawkhurst in Kent, the Colonel Stevens SR branch line terminus, but ultimately Lydford Junction in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor.
Most of my rolling stock building has always been with these two layouts in mind, and believe it or not Fisherton Sarum was my first ever layout build and initially only to be a stop gap measure…
Some of the buildings that I have already built for these future layouts will actually make a temporary appearance on Westhill Road. Having already built Canute Road Quay as a 4′ x 12″ shunting layout, that has already provided endless entertainment and enjoyment in both its building an operation, I saw the opportunity for another small layout/diorama that has more of a scenic countryside than the dockside setting of Canute Road Quay.
So I will introduce Westhill Road over the next few posts that will will answer the usual questions of what, why, how and when…
Firstly, the what and a little of the why…
Westhill Road will be different from Canute Road Quay as it’s more of a diorama than a shunting layout as such,  but mainly a chance to enjoy the more scenic side of constructing a layout.
A hint of what is to come…
Westhill Road signal diagram

The Tim Horn baseboard will still be 4ft wide but will be 6″ deeper Canute Road Quay to help, along with some perspective modelling, to further create the illusion of space and depth. It will only comprise of a single track line passing from left-hand rear corner, through a small SR Concrete wayside halt, a single goods siding and a level crossing before exiting through to the front right hand corner. Careful placement of trees will assist to hide the entrance and exit points.

The layout will include working, servo operated SR rail built signals and level crossing gates, all interlocked with each other and the co-acting siding turnout and trap point, see the signal diagram left.

A future post will provide more details of the intended scenic side of things.

Now a bit of the why, starting with why Westhill Road? Fisherton Sarum has a huge nod to my grandfather who worked as a ganger at Salisbury where my father was also bought up.  Westhill Road is a nod to my Mothers side of the family where I spent some of my formative years in Torquay at my grandparents who lived on Westhill Road.

Westhill Road therefore has no real railway connection or real setting; it could be somewhere west of Dartmoor; you could equally be somewhere on the Isle of Wight railway network or perhaps even somewhere in Kent. So yes an imaginary location and initially it will be a diorama, although ultimately I do intend to have simple fiddle yards at each end but these won’t be part of phase one. The initial purpose it to build something that has scenery at its forefront and allow me to test and experiment with different scenic techniques, perspective to create depth and the, new to me, use of servo motors.

It will also give me a a different scenic setting for photographing locomotives and rolling stock; and much of the placement of buildings and the many planned trees will be with allowing view points in mind, as you look into and through the layout.

Future posts will cover much more of the what and some of the when; and will of course also document the progress of Westhill Road as I go along, so watch this space…