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Wensleydale Railway Project

The Wensleydale Railway Co. Ltd. preserved 22 miles of the former Northallerton to Garsdale line which originally opened to passengers in 1878. Presently the railway operates time tabled services over 16 miles of the line from Leeming Bar to Redmire and is working to restore the full length of the line as part of a historic railway experience in the Yorkshire Dales.

In December 2010 Wensleydale Railway contacted Cleveland Model Railway Club to see if they could assist with the restoration of a model railway layout that had been donated to them for display at Bedale station. An initial visit and survey revealed that although the 8' x 4' (professionally made) baseboards were sound, the scenic layout had deteriorated significantly over the years. Another major problem was that the simple track layout had very tight curves and short points leading to poor running and many derailments when the layout was operated. The best course of action was to strip the whole layout and start again.

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The layout was removed to the Club premises where it was carefully stripped of everything that could be salvaged and reused while a track plan was created that gave Wensleydale Railway the aspects they wished to see on their new layout. This included a double track, through station and several sidings where they could display rolling stock (relevant to the Wensleydale line) for visitors to view as a static display when the layout is not operating.

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The above track layout and outline costs were finally agreed between the Club and the Railway and work commenced in the spring of 2011 The whole surface area of the baseboards was laid with cork mat to reduce running noise and smooth out any remaining surface irregularities before the position of the new track layout was marked out. The Club were given some discretion as to the detail of the scenic modelling and it was decided that it would be an interesting feature for visitors if the replacement station building was modelled on that at Bedale where the layout would be housed when completed. Here are some pictures of the existing building and some of the model building in progress -

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The station building has been made with embossed brick plastikard on a plastikard carcass. All the windows and doors are scratch built using plastic strip. Although not fully complete yet, it does have the main roof in place and slated using 250g paper cut into strips which are glued in place using PVA and slightly overlapped to create the right appearance. Work is continuing to finish the side entrance, the additional single storey building on the other end and the conservatory at the rear platform side.

The signal box has been created from one of the two old Hornby models retrieved from the original layout. Restoration includes cladding the plain walls with embossed, brick effect plastikard and it has had new windows fitted together with a walkway and handrails. The original plastic roof has had slates attached in the same fashion as the station building.

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Both buildings have been painted using Precision Paints enamel dark brick colour. The technique employed was to first paint all the brickwork in mortar colour which is immediately wiped off with kitchen roll leaving the mortar joints filled with paint. Once dry the whole area is over painted using the dry brushing (load the brush with paint then wipe it on kitchen towel until virtually dry) method. Several coats are needed and should be left to dry before the next is applied. Windows, doors and framework are then touched in using a fine brush. Roof slates given two coats of an appropriate blue/grey colour.

The hillside with a tunnel beneath will represent a typical Dales field complete with Dales barn so familiar to visitors to the area. This model is completed and was built using polystyrene food cartons cut and scribed to represent the stonework then painted using the techniques described above. One advantage of this method is that it is very light yet quite strong when braced internally. Although not a faithful representation of any one particular barn it is modelled from photographs as shown below.

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Further details and photographs will be added as the project progresses and it is hoped that the layout will be handed over to Wensleydale Railway before the end of 2011. If this type of project work is something that appeals to you and you would like to get involved then please do not hesitate to get in touch, details can be found in the Contact us section.

More information on the Wensleydale Railway can be found on their website: