Barmouth Junction, Dolgelley, Penmaenpool and Gwynant Bridge
by Geoff Taylor
words by Geoff Taylor
photos by Geoff Taylor, Andy York, Mike Wild and Alan Buttler
The name of the layout is called Barmouth Junction, even though Penmaenpool station and Dolgelley goods yard make up more of the whole layout. This station was really what got me interested in the first place and thought if I had enough space, it would make a great model. It certainly takes up more space in the railway room than the other scenic sections. I've had to compromise in that both the up branch and main lines splay inwards instead of outwards, but it doesn't really detract from the look of it. At its widest point, Barmouth Junction scenery is seven feet wide, making for some nice open countryside. Single tracks enter from three different directions and then each platform has up and down tracks, with headshunts at each of the three directions. Note the different styles of platform faces of stone, wood and concrete. The signals have been made by Tony Geary and the station lamps by Alan Buttler of Modelu. Woodlands scenic ballast has been used throughout the whole layout and by very carefully glueing it down neatly and weathering, looks the part. The painted backscene has been done by a local artist and I've blended the ground cover up to it, trying to use the same colours to match.
Anyone who knows the area will realise that the lovely Barmouth bridge hasn't been modelled. This is due to the fact that I didn't think it would be very interesting for a model, as it is so long and also, I could then model the other scenic sections instead. It was a good decision during the planning, as everything fits and works better than it might have done. Another factor in planning, was the need to make a workbench to make my models in the same room.
I've made the Junction baseboards at a height of four feet and then the lines drop by using gradients to get underneath and round to the next station. It finally goes down to three feet in height for the lowest baseboards. The main reason for this was that instead of going off scene and straight into the next station or scene, the trains will go on a bit of a journey before they reach them to make it more interesting.
Some of the locos can't take more than three coaches up the gradients, but it is not a problem, as the real trains could be three coaches and up, so I have accepted this and have had no problems.
Trackwork is made up of hand-built points made by John Bailey and SMP plain track, which although not as good close up as the Penmaenpool track, looks the part.
Barmouth Junction was featured in the August 2017 issue of British Railway Modelling magazine.
Light locos turning on the loop at the junction were a common feature in steam days and one that I've replicated in the sequence. The above pic shows two locos, an Ivatt and a Dukedog, running backwards to turn.
Penmaenpool station is closely based on the real station that closed in 1964 and everything is in the right place. The platforms are a little bit shorter than the real ones, due to the usual lack of space most of us have for our model railways. However, it functions exactly as the real one would have done and it is probably the most scenic of all the layout sections with its buildings, river and steep sided mountainside behind.
The trackwork is all hand-built with individual chairs and sleepers. The pointwork was constructed by my late friend John Bailey and he suggested that I make the plain track in the same way, which would mean that I had to construct all the plain track with the individual chairs as well. I hadn't done anything like this before, so it was a challenge. First of all, the design of the track was drawn out on Templot software and then printed off full size. This plan was glued to the baseboard and then the sleepers were cut and glued on to the plan. One rail was attached to the sleepers and by using gauges, the other rail was then attached. It was a long and sometimes tedious job, especially when some of the chairs were put on the wrong way round! I soon learnt my lesson with that and double checked as I went along. I have to say that the track looks superb and I'm glad that it was done this way.
I have to say that I'm well pleased with the finished layout of Penmaenpool. It was the last part to be constructed, but the first to be finished. My laser machine came in very handy for the many parts of the platforms and the bridge with huts. By the way, that is a 4mm version of me on the George Hotel balcony.
Penmaenpool was featured in the July and August 2016 issues of British Railway Magazine.
I would have liked to model both the goods yard and the station at Dolgelley, but due to the usual lack of space, chose to model the goods yard only. The platform ends can just be seen under the bridge, so at least when we are operating, we know when to stop the trains. Again, it is single track until just before the station platforms, which have both up and down tracks. The yard has the same number of sidings as the real one and has a goods shed and cattle dock, as well as the oil terminal track.
This is quite a nice scenic section, with the river running right along the front of the scene. The railway sits on a particularly low embankment, closely following the river, which gives a good reflection of the trains in the water. The largest building here is the oil terminal, which occupies one end of the section. I've tried to make the models as close as possible to the real ones and they are all in the right place. Dolgelley yard is fifteen feet long with a backscene that was painted by a local artist. The other structures here are the goods shed, low relief cottages, bridge over the railway and river, a rather old wooden warehouse and the water tank.
Trackwork is SMP plain track with hand-built points.
Dolgelley goods yard was featured in November 2017 issue of British Railway Magazine.
The river bridge is called Gwynant bridge and a visit was made to measure it up with plenty of pictures being taken to produce the finished model. It was made entirely from plastic strips and angled strips. The slate seen in the above picture was collected from the area around Barmouth bridge and then sorted out into appropriate sizes and glued in place. The river is made up of layers of varnish over a painted and a glueing of various stones, shale and sand. The rock formation was made from polystyrene shapes glued to the baseboard with a very thick covering of building plaster over the top. It was left to dry for a few weeks and then carved into the rock cutting, using various tools. Trees were made from 'Forest in a box', sprayed with browns and greys and then Woodlands scenics was glued to the branches.
© Geoff Taylor, Andy York, Mike Wild and Alan Buttler