Saturday, 21 November 2015

Keeping Dry (1)

The Bluebell Railway is a heritage line running for 11 mi (17.7 km) along the border between East and West Sussex. It uses steam trains which operate between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with intermediate stations at Horsted Keynes & Kingscote. The first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway in the world to operate a public service, the Society ran its first train on 7 August 1960, less than three years after the line from East Grinstead to Lewes had been closed by British Railways.

The final replacement link to the national rail network at East Grinstead came in 2013.
One of the many projects underway is the building of a new extended carriage shed.
The picture above is of a Stroudley Terrier 0-6-0 tank loco hauling two of the heritage coaches in question. The one next to the engine os an ancient London Brighton and South Coast vehicle and the other is from the former London Chatham and Dover Railway. Since 1926 this beauty was a private dwelling! It was rescued, restored and mounted on a fromer goods wagon chassis. The report below was published last year.

The Bluebell Railway has launched a major effort to get 20 pre-nationalisation carriages presently in open storage awaiting their turn for attention under cover as quickly as possible. The Cash For Cover Appeal aims to make a flying start on Operation Undercover Phase 4, an extension to the existing carriage shed and restoration workshop at Horsted Keynes.
Planning permission for the structure was secured in October 2011 but an application for Heritage Lottery Fund cash towards a comprehensive new building was turned down earlier this year (2014). A re-think has resulted in a scaled back scheme which will involve supports and a roof over the current maintenance road and four proposed new roads. The long-term aim remains of eventually adding sides, doors and other facilities.

Carriage sheds are, to use a technical engineering term, "big"!

This is the aerial view of the shed outside Brighton Station:-
A better idea of scale can be obtaines by looking at the six coach train alongside another huge shed at Orpington..
A gaze along the train shown here at Streatham will illustrate distances further.
Today's rolling stock with its modern durable paint finishes is almost always stored outside, but for cleaning and maintenance cover is required - and a lot of it.

It therefore follows that railway modellers do not often make models of carriage sheds. They are just too big. This Bachmann Brnchline building looks impressive in the catalogue picture ...
... but when you realise that it is only one coach long (and a bit!), you observe that it just ain't BIG enough. For electric stock as illustrated you would need at least four installed in line.

That's over £80 quidsworth of keeping dry!

So what leap of modelling insanity would persuade fbb that he really needed a carriage shed on his tiny back-yard layout. The chubby one's trains are only two carriages long!
Interested readers may remember (how could they ever forget?) that the fbb layout "back story" is that it (like the Bluebell Line but much smaller) illustrates a preservation society that collects old railway carriages; so, just like its full size counterpart, somewhere is need to work on these varied and interesting vehicles.

Actually, the reason is much more practical. The East Devon weather is such that some protection is needed for the trains as the layout is outdoors. With a carriage shed, two trains can be stored under cover with a further two tucked in the tunnel. Four trains can thus be stored and ready for use.
So fbb hatched a cunning plan. Make your own carriage shed. Now that is a huge modelling project for a hamfisted amateur. But his eagle eye was on the Dapol, but formerly Airfix, platform canopy kit.
A line of these would make a splendid roof and allow those viewing and controlling the line to see what was in the shed. But the canopy was only wide enough to span one track and fbb wanted at least two lines under cover. 

There were five roof trusses in each kit ...
... which might be widened in some way.

So out came the finely crafted set of tools, namely Mrs fbb's kitchen scissors. Let the kit bashing commence!

Tomorrow our amazed readers will see how the old man managed to turn some kits first released in 1957 ...
... into something which would pass for a model of a carriage shed, perhaps best viewed at midnight or in a thick fog.

An expertly built model was illustrated in the July Hornby magazine. It is on the "Twelvetrees Junction" layout built and maintained by Editor Mike Wild and his colleagues. As can be seen from the plan ...
... the building (No 15 on diagram) is realistically BIG.
It houses the layout's compliment of Southern Region electric multiple units, mainly of four coaches each.


 Next model rail blog : Sunday 21st November 


  1. Orpington's fine shed, illustrated, was demolished in the early 90s with the arrival of the networkers, which, as fbb rightly points out, are now stabled in the open air at this location. The shed was, apparently, previously, the southern's longest carriage cleaning shed (according to me trail). The sidings there now accommodate 4 X 12 coaches.

    1. (Aargh! According to KENT RAIL!!!!! ....