Thursday, 30 April 2009

"Manifold" is outshopped

I have managed to complete my first locomotive for the Riber Valley Railway a diesel electric locomotive named Manifold. This is my first attempt at Kitbashing and this is a fairly drastic butchering of the Dapol Railbus kit mounted on an elderly but unused Piko chassis which I have had in a drawer for several years.

Its not perfect but for a first try I am pretty chuffed.

Sometime in the future the railbus will be attacked again to produce a version of the diesel railcars found on the truely magnificent County Gate model set on the Lynton & Barnstaple.

However that is a way down the road as apart from anything else I need to build a layout to run things on.

The ex works pictures are below.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

The Track Plan

This is the layout plan I hope you can see it. Basically the twn board on the left has a general goods siding a 2 road shed with adjacent carriage shed and the siding at the bottom is the dairy loading siding. there is scenic break at the 4ft mark. The dotted tracks are all hidden.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Plan

So I have a story and have a fully developed railway in my head but that's nearly all! I have developed a track plan based on 2, 4ft x 2ft boards which will be in the loft one a town section at the terminus in Kirk Riber and another a scenic rural stretch with hidden sidings behind. It will also form a hidden loop to allow continuous running.
Layout work cannot start until bathrooms are refitted next month and then I can board out the rest of the loft.
In the meantime I am accumulating bits generally off ebay, and kit bashing a diesel loosely inspired by the Czech T47 using the ubiquitous Dapol railbus as the base. This is nearly finished and I will try & post pictures soon. The next project being the conversion of a fleet of Triang TT ore hoppers into bogie coal hoppers for the Merry go Round Train.
As for timescale there isn't one! It will happens when it happens so watch this space.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Scenario

I was always told that a good model should have a scenario from which to work. So here goes...
The Riber Valley is located between Derby & Chesterfield in North Derbyshire. the local landowner Sir Henry Thistleton (3rd Baronet) had historically developed a number of coal mines in the area through the 19th Century. The largest being the Riber Jubilee Colliery adjacent to the Midland Railway mainline south of Chesterfield. The success of this pit had led his surveyors to look further up the Riber Valley and their surveys indicated further rich seams just outside the village of Kirk Riber some 7 miles distant. In 1898 this led to the sinking of the first shaft of what was to be called Riber Main Colliery. Sir Henry felt that rather than give the Midland Railway access to "his" valley he would develop his own railway as he felt there was money to be made from both passengers and general freight so the Riber Valley Light Railway was born.
To control costs the gauge of 2ft was chosen as this matched the internal system already in use at the Jubilee colliery where the coal from the new pit would be transshipped, however Sir Henry did not believe that narrow equated to small, so a generous loading gauge was chosen similar to that at the nearby Leek & Manifold Valley Railway.
So the line opened with two locomotives a third being added shortly afterwards.
The colliery prospered as did the railway. A second shaft was sunk in 1920 to increase production. In 1921 Sir Henry appointed Capt Charles Lawson as General Manager. Capt Lawson had been involved in the light railway network behind the lines during WW1 and was a passionate supporter of all things narrow gauge. He strengthened the loco fleet and later designed the hopper wagon which allowed the railway to operate an early form of "merry go round" coal trains.
The railway further benefited from the opening of an Express Dairies Creamery in Kirk Riber in the late 20's which was used for milk transhipment to London in tankers carried on a transporter wagon. The 4th Baronet Sir James Thistleton was a close associate of Churchill and saw the war coming so ensured the line was well invested, although road competition saw the line increasingly dependent on Coal and the daily milk tanker.
The war left the line run down and some clever lobbying left the it outside the control of British Railways. Some of the money raised by the Nationalisation of the mines was re invested in the railway.
By the mid '50's Capt Lawson was determined to modernise and cut costs. Diesel locomotives were introduced and a railbus purchased to try & boost the dwindling passenger revenues. this proved to be to no avail and the decision of Express to cease Milk Transhipment in 1960 coincided with the abandonment of the passenger service and the railway ceased to be a general carrier. Sir James then agreed to the Company passing into the hands of the National Coal Board.
The line continued to provide a dedicated service until Riber Main Colliery, its reserves exhausted, closed in 1966.....
The railway is set in that mid fifties period just as the new diesels arrive. This will give me the opportunity to run both types of traction. One day!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A Start!!

Well where to begin. Back in my youth longer ago than I care to remember I was into all things narrow gauge. I was a volunteer on the Welsh Highland Railway in the very early days in Porthmadog and did a bit of 009 modelling. then I guess life intervened with university, career, and family! the latter 2 are still there but maturing and so I feel an opportunity to hText Colourave a mid life crisis and get back to a bit of modelling. I have no doubt progress will be slow and sporadic,but I will try and keep this up to date