Tuesday, 12 October 2010


I think I will stick to traditional DC control rather than DCC, it looks good, but I just feel that set up costs of several hundred pounds for a good system isn’t necessary for a layout of this size. In the future I might convert, but I doubt it.

The timetable has already been bashed into an operating sequence which would require three passenger sets working Plymouth to Launceston (changing loco at Launceston), a pair of  auto set for Plymouth to Tavistock services, a Princetown passenger set and three goods sets. (One Tavistock and Launceston goods, and one Horrabridge and Princetown and one all station stopper)

Very often the goods services were double headed; for example the Tavistock and Launceston freight very often had a 45xx and a 57xx, the pilot loco would then work on to Launceston shunt for a couple of hours, then work back after lunch with the goods, sometimes joining the Tavistock loco, dependent on the load and how long the shunting at Launceston took.

Most passenger trains were two or three carriages, which by 1955 started to be newer designs and by 1957 Hawksworth stock started to appear in increasing numbers. Auto trains were a mix of Collett and Hawskworth stock, again depending on the period.

My Model

Originally Horrabridge was not going to be a exhibition layout, but gentle persuasion from a number of members on several forums and members of my local Scalefour club (Devon Riviera Area Group) has changed my mind, although this layout is primarily for home use.
The scenic section of the model will be 15ft long and 3ft wide with two 5ft long by 18 inch wide fiddle yard boards giving a total length of 25ft. The boards will be curved to the profile of the track. At home the layout will lose one 3ft section and will operate as a roundy-round being stored either in the garage of the loft.   
All of the boards will be built using an adaption of the beam method using 6mm ply with the scenic boards being 3ft by 3ft to ensure that the boards are easy to manage. Although the fiddle yard boards will be one 5ft unit. The fiddle yard will be operated by train turntables with 5 roads and additional siding space to allow marshalling of stock and swapping locos without the need for handling the loco.
The period that I am wishing to portray is BR WR circa 1956-9, this period I feel is the most interesting as Crimson & Cream and Maroon stock if prototypical, with older ex GWR designs and more modern MK1 stock running side by side, which I feel looks rather nice!
For Horrabridge to run authentically 5 passenger and 3 goods sets are required, however additional services such as an engineer’s train and milk trains will feature in part of the sequence. Additionally the cattle market at Launceston had a quarterly grading day were a early morning cattle train would run collecting wagons from all stations.  
The track work will use products from Exactoscale, with steel rail being used for the scenic section and cheap Nickel Silver for the fiddle yards. I plan to use B7 point kits and gently curve the points; I’ve managed this with one by removing some of the webs and laying it over the Templot print out. Fortunately all of the point work is a very gentle curve.
Rolling stock will be a mix of RTR and kit built items. The main locomotives which ran on the branch were 14xx and 64xx with auto carriages, these services terminated at Tavistock and 45xx, 4575 and 57xx working passenger and goods services to all stations on the branch. Fortunately 4 out of the 5 classes are covered with RTR models, Bachmann produce their excellent 45xx, 4575 and 57xx which initially will run with their original chassis with either Ultrascale drop in or Alan Gibson wheels, long term I will upgrade the RTR chassis with Highlevel and Comet replacements. The 14xx is an old Dapol model which will have a Highlevel chassis with a 60:1 gearbox and Ultrascale wheels. I am currently in the process of detailing the 14xx body using the Mainly Trains detailing kit and additional Alan Gibson parts.
Hopefully one of the RTR manufactures will produce a 64xx before long!    
Passenger stock will be a mix Collett, Hawksworth and MK1 stock. I have a selection of suitable RTR stock which will be supplemented with Blacksmiths and Comet coach kits, although this is more of a long term project.
Goods stock again will be a mix of RTR and kit built items. I currently have 30 or so wagons at various stages of construction, ranging from part built kits, to wagons which require painting, numbering and weathering! My own preferred method for good running is springing, I’ve built a number of wagons with Bill Bedford springing kits and Craig Welsh’s sprung chassis kit for PO wagons. I have used MJT internal rockers and W-Irons in the past, but I prefer springing, despite it taking a little longer to get a wagon running smoothly. Having said that I have a large amount of uncompensated stock, mostly RTR items which have had the 00 wheels replaced with Alan Gibson items, which run very satisfactorily.  

History of Horrabridge Station

Horrabridge is a small country station on the 31 mile branch running from Plymouth through the West Devon countryside to Tavistock then crossing into Cornwall and entering the large county town of Launceston.
The station opened for passengers in June 1859 and February 1860 for goods. Closure came on 31st December 1962, with the track being lifted in 1964.

The station had a large goods yard, as wagons were stored here for the Princetown branch as Yelverton (the junction station for the Princetown branch) didn’t have any goods facilities. Another interesting feature of the station were the two water columns which were installed for Princetown locomotives which would run to Horrabridge to water before returning to Yelverton with any freight wagons.

Below is an old OS map from 1906 showing the station layout, on the ‘up’ side the main station building, Saxby and Farmer Signal box, goods shed and further along the ‘up’ head shunt was a privately owned granary, built of local stone. On the ‘down’ side (Up being towards Plymouth, Down to Launceston) a small waiting shelter and the siding for the Princetown branch, a water tower and permanent way buildings.