It started with a pint…
He asked me to do a series of articles on scenery etc and I was looking for the next theme for my YouTube videos so the two are fitting together perfectly!
I was planning to do a slate quarry layout next but that doesn’t have a huge variety of scenery so wouldn’t be best suited to a series of articles as well. We talked about brickworks, potato or other industrial private railways but I still had my heart set on slate. I started looking at Port Dinorwic, where the Dinorwic quarry shipped their slate abroad. It’s a fascinating location. What caught my attention was a photo with the 1ft 10 3/4′ narrow gauge crossing a standard gauge line – modelling heaven!
Further research entailed with help from Steve – he put me on to the 25″ to a mile Ordnance Survey maps held on line by the Scottish Library. You can see the area I’m looking on here. Thankfully I do have the plan as photos of Port Dinorwic, now Y Felinheli, are not that common. I’ve picked up a lot of books in the last year but still not a huge amount of resources out there. I’m planning a visit later in the year although there’s very little left apart from one building. It’s a nice building to model though!
I have been reading Cameo Layouts by Iain Rice which has been inspirational. I started drawing up plans on a track planning software but could not get it to fit in 4′ by 2′, the maximum I want to go to. I decided to go in and purchased a Bachmann Jinty, sound chip and 4 shock wagons (thanks to Steve for identifying those in a picture). I found a video which shows the last standard gauge train in Port Dinorwic – you can see it here – start at 10 minutes in. That is the era I’m going to try and capture – the end of the line so to speak.
I already had two Shapeways printed OO9 slate wagons. Seeing the stock has made me feel much happier that I can fit everything that I want in. Rather than relying on the computer, I’m going old school with laying it out on paper.
My first thoughts on buying my first ready to run UK models in 10 years is that the couplers are still a pain – they didn’t use anything like the Kadees I’m used to and no one seems to have nailed a really good UK option. Thankfully this train will remain connected all the time as I won’t have space to put in any siding for it.
Also, US wagons normally come in multiple numbers but these are all the same so I’ll need to renumber them. Some decals needed but at least Bachmann lettering comes off easily.
Doesn’t the Shapeways printed OO9 look titchy! I can loads of those wagons in and have another 10 currently printing. I’ve not got the wheels yet but am thinking of using double flanged so I might design and print those myself – I just don’t have time to design the whole slate wagon when this one looks so good and is relatively cheap. I do have a Ruston and a Port Class Hunslet coming from Shapeways too with some eBay bought N-scale chassis. Neither is spot on but in this scale, they’ll do for now.
The decoder is going to be a real challenge to fit in but comes with Jinty sounds pre-loaded from Digitrains. They’ve already fitted a stay alive capacitor and speaker for me – what service! Now I’ve just to get it in with perhaps a front lantern too!
The track is going to be a real challenge but more on that later.
Anyway, I’ve escaped tidying for long enough so back to cleaning out my layout room ready for a visitor, Charlie Conway from MRVP, next week. I’ve just bought a tonne of boxes from Hobbycraft to put everything away in…