2mm Scale Association - Diamond Jubilee Challenge Layout - Tewkesbury Quay branch

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by David Varley, 11 February 2018.

  1. David Varley

    David Varley Western Thunderer

    The 2mm Scale Association celebrates its Diamond Jubilee in 2020 and towards the end of last year announced a layout challenge to mark the event.

    The rules are pretty simple - build an operating layout to 2mm finecsale standards with a scenic area no bigger than 600mm x 240mm and with at least one working point/turnout, the layout to be capable of being transported by private car or public transport.

    So, what to build? Quite a few ideas popped into my head and some of them are still bouncing around and occasionally get joined by new ones (one came along this morning for instance) but the clock's ticking (the layout has to be ready for the Diamond Jubilee Expo in 2020 and I'm not the fastest of modellers) and a start had to be made.

    I've moved around the UK a bit over the years and have always become interested in the railways of the area I was living in, but one line which has always stuck with me as very modellable (and in a small space to boot) is the Tewkesbury Quay Branch.

    Built by the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway as a single track line between Ashchurch and Tewkesbury, it opened in 1840 and initially terminated at a very compact station close to the centre of Tewkesbury. It was extended in 1844 to a quay on the River Avon, but in 1864 (when the Tewkesbury and Malvern Railway opened its line between those two towns) it closed to passenger traffic and became a goods only branch.

    On leaving the junction with the Malvern line, the Quay Branch curved around Tewkesbury's main goods yard and then passed across Chance Street, the first of three level crossings between the junction and the quay. Having run between Downings Maltings and some allotments, the branch then entered into a small, cramped yard, bordered on one side by Station Street and on the other by the window-less backs of a number of terraced houses.

    Immediately on entering into the yard, the line passed a small single road engine shed and there was also a dead-end siding which was used for coaling locos, though when the shed was built there was also a small coaling stage immediately adjoining it.

    The branch then became double track before crossing over Oldbury Road and running into the fromer terminus station which only had a single platform but had an overall roof over both tracks, the second line acting as a run-round loop.

    Immediately to the west of the station, the line crossed Tewkesbury High Street and then ran along Quay Street (with a loop serving Tewkesbury Brewery) before crossing the Avon, passing through the Borough Mills compex and then terminating at the quay side.

    When the DJLC was announced, it immediately occured to me that various bits of the branch would lend themselves very nicely to the permitted dimensions without too many changes having to be made.

    The thought also occurred to me that it would be possible to do two or three separate layouts but build them in modular fashion so that they could ultimately be joined together to form one larger layout. But where to start?

    Out with the old plans and the maps ... a bit of head scratching regarding dimensions and compressions ... and a decision was made - the engine shed area would fit lengthwise with only minimal compression and there wouldn't be any compession required width wise with the whole yard area and Station Street fitting in the area allowed and possibly even room for part of the cattle yard on the other side of the road.

    So, boards were made - kept very simple for the moment and constructed out of PVC foamboard (rigid but light) and a plan produced ... and a start has been made on the terraced houses which will form the back drop to the layout.

    The very simple baseboard (fiddle yards will be cassettes).


    Plan, backboard and background buildings placed losely on the baseboard.




    And a couple of close ups of the smaller terrace houses that form part of the backdrop.



    It's probably a bit odd, but I like to have one building finished to spur me on to other things, so the next job will be to get the terrace painted and tiled.


    David V.
  2. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Hi, I will watch this with interest. Are you planning to model it with the elevated coaling stage or the level coaling stage?

    As an aside I'm not sure whether you found this in your research - for interest the original plans for the 1840 station are contained within the "Second Series of Railway Practice". It contains details of the plans for the stations

    the google book scans are quite poor - this site has one the best scans I've found, especially if you download the pdf

    Catalog Record: Second series of Railway practice: a... | Hathi Trust Digital Library

    Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 23.02.20.png

    Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 23.30.22.png

    Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 23.41.57.png

    Have you used this before for the boards? The only reason I ask is I used some foam board to make a little test track for ballasting. I didn't brace it adequately and it bowed quite badly once the track was glued down. I hate for the same to happen here so it's just a word of caution to ensure adequate bracing.
    Rob R and David Varley like this.
  3. David Varley

    David Varley Western Thunderer

    Thanks very much, Adrian - I hadn't come across those plans before or the book they come from, but they look very interesting. I've seen a photograph of an engine entering the station through that rather impressive facade and that would be something I'd want to model if I go on to do that part of the branch.

    My current thinking on the coaling stage is to have it either with the small coaling stage immediatey adjoining the shed where the line enters the yard or to have the slightly raised siding which was used to coal locos from wagons, but I'm not intending to model the later version of the coaling stage - I believe that was built in 1958, which is outside the timeframe that I'm working to (late Midland/early LMS).

    As for the PVC Foamboard, I built some boards with it about three or four years ago and they been fine with no signs of bowing or warping. That said, it probably isn't what you'd usually think of as foamboard - this is the stuff I'm using - PVC Foamboard - The Plastic People - and it's a lot denser than the usual sort of foamboard that modellers use and has a tougher outer coating.

    Thanks for the word of caution though - I may add some bracing or at least a third support once I've got the track down.
    cmax, mswjr, jonte and 1 other person like this.
  4. BCN-Pete

    BCN-Pete Western Thunderer

    Excellent David - will follow with interest...;)