More on Eastwell
At first this was called "Sherdington".
Sherdington was ten feet long from buffers to fiddle yard baseboard, a large turntable with six storage roads. An disused engine shed covered the mechanical lever frame. At this time the only signal was a plastic kit. This was easily damaged so eventually metal scratch built versions were substituted. These were moved around as the track layout was changed. As built the goods yard area was adjusted to give a narrow cart track between two sidings. The end loading dock line behind the bay platform had a second siding added - to give access to the turntable which was planned for the extension. The signal box was an Airfix kit which lasted the whole exhibition life of the layout. A small scenic section behind the buffer stops has yet to be installed. This was retained as part of the brewery baseboard - one of the later extensions.
The late Alan Browning at an exhibition in Ilford Town Hall showing the earliest version of Sherdington.
These next photographs shows the goods yard entrance with weighbridge has been added and the first stage of the extension to that end of the layout. This new baseboard was reused as part of the brewery baseboard.
The first incarnation of Ropeway Sidings at the station end. There are exchange sidings reception roads are seen in the foreground. The first signal has been replaced and another added to protect the level crossing. The level crossing gates were operated for train arrivals and departures. As a two gate crossing the sequence of operations is more complex than a standard four gate crossing.
Even the ground signals were made to work, but were quite vulnerable to heavy handed track cleaning. However the goods yard remains cramped and will be extended during later development stages. A plastic screen had been added to the front of the layout to stop little prying fingers causing damage.
This photograph was taken outdoors during the summer of 2001 on test before an exhibition. The signal box is missing and the inner home signal's post - the splitter for the platforms can just be seen. By now a outer home existed protecting the colliery siding points and the level crossing.
An advanced started was placed to allow shunting within the station limits without closing the level crossing. An earlier photograph showing the original location of the platform splitter, also used to protect the level crossing.
The main running line curves away towards Ropeway Sidings whilst the road bends left to cross the exchange sidings by bridges before approaching Josephs Ellis's foundry.
A photograph taken in the station only format, the cottages by the level crossing were used as a view blocker for the station area and to take one's eye away from the backscreen's straight edge. The location in the garden of a clothes line from a Presier kit does not give the chance for the clothes to stay clean being so close to the railway line.
The new station quarry and part of the tarmac works can be seen to the left in the distance, the cottages scene was not affected by this change. The new signal on the tarmac works baseboard is the only change to the main line - the signal box is absent from the photograph and should be in the space adjacent to the lamp room.
Looking along the whole of Eastwell Station, with the new country area in the foreground. An engine shed has been added to the new tarmac plant and quarry area but the working hopper is not fully clothed as the acrylic see through sides testify.
The station area has been widened to a straight line backscreen and the goods yard is now at its full width.
The new quarry hopper has loaded a train of wagons, behind are the cottages, level crossing and Eastwell signal box. Most of the hoppers are from Mainline, but five are former ratio kits bought secondhand from Pendon.
Both the crusher plant and then the tarmac plant hoppers worked.
The new hopper had a different mechanism from the crusher plant. It was large enough to hold a train of wagons loads. The crusher plant was electrically operated on two roads, the tarmac plant control was by a Boden cable. The inset is a closer view of the delivery mechanism, one road for rail the other for road vehicle loading.
The station in its final guise a train waiting to depart. In the background the T P Tiddles brewery, the brewery tap public house and coal merchants offices. The footbridge was added to give a visual break across the station.
The brewery baseboard included a canal basin and small oil distribution point. Looking from the canal basin towards the footbridge shows the brewery and adjacent cottages . Between the brewery and the yard are the cattle docks and another loading bay. It was possible to shunt wagons into the brewery yard via a wagon turntable.
Passenger train coaches would be left adjacent to the platform buildings as an extended locomotive run around was provided by the new baseboard. The original crossover by the station building was retained so that shunting the cattle dock would be achievable from the platform loop.
Unseen from the front the small coal order offices in the station yard had detailed windows. These photos were produced by an experimental pin-hole camera long before small digital cameras made this kind of photography available to everyone. In contrast the rear of the main station building was never modelled as no one was expected to see it.
In front of the station building a builders merchants stack of materials was being constructed, although this photograph does not show the brewery tap - public house adjacent to the row of cottages behind the station.
The foreground of the station another disused quarry was built to fill the gap between the goods yard and the foundry complex.
There was also a canal in the vicinity of the real Eastwell so naturally we developed a canal basin, or at least part of one at the end of the line - in a way mirroring the earliest of waggon ways linking an industry with the motorways of their era.
The real purpose of the Eastwell branch was as a mineral line and thus Ropeway Sidings dominated the area between the station and the rest of the world or fiddle yard. It started from a single line drawn on the first plan to become exchange sidings and an industry and to support the use of larger locomotives (and operating potential as a model) the need for a turntable, not located at the sidings but at the station. If you want an example similar to this look at Great Rocks in the area of Peak Forest were the ICI hopper trains originated.
The entrance to the off scene fiddle yard was through short tunnels, one for the mainline and the other for the colliery. In the far distance can be seen the crusher plant. This is an early photograph showing the quarry incline as one single line. The industrial locomotive is a Hamblings "pug" - the first industrial for the railway.
The entrance to Ropeway Sidings, the brake van of an arriving train being moved and a passenger train passing on the main running line hiding the small workman's halt, not listed in passenger timetables.
The tunnel mouth in the distance was carved from limoneum and was installed on a 2 foot baseboard for the very first version of the layout. This baseboard was subsequently fitted into the Ropeway Sidings baseboard.
An underslung gantry mounted signal shown below had not been installed close to the tunnel mouth when the other photographs had been taken.
The three storage sidings at Ropeway, pinned in between the incline and the industrial line wandering off to a colliery via a tunnel. In actual fact this colliery line went to the main fiddle yard and allowed fulls and empty trains to be circulated without leaving the track.
As the main line enters the short Ropeway Tunnel behind the signal box are the remains of a power house, this marks the beginning of the old calcining banks and a quarry now being worked by mechanical diggers which replaced men using pick axes.
The crusher plant area in early years. This used very sharp curves to restrict the use of stock usable here and differentiate it from the main-line.
At the last exhibition showing the "broomstick" curve was used as well as the traverser/fiddle yard extension. In the background is the storage sidings including a vertical stock storage system can be seen.
A road overbridge on the model includes lines to access to storage sidings for the colliery as well as the alternative industrial line into the fiddle yard and beyond is a non-working narrow gauge line to the tarmac plant crossing the main line.
The final development phase for Eastwell was the building of a "Tarmac" plant. This was derived primarily by reference to one book and was the basis for buildings and new railway traffic. As the mineral traffic was removed from the station following the development of Ropeway Sidings a new tarmac plant would provide a purpose to increase goods traffic through station goods yard.
Les Hoffman who originally gained approval for a small portable layout in the Ilford club which was the genesis of Eastwell.
Alan Browning whose short life laid much of the foundations of Eastwell and whose rolling stock has formed the backbone of operation since the beginning.
Derek Brown, Alan (Ebernezer) Garden, Bob Barrett, Claud Standfast, Clarry Edwards and Phil Chopin whose skills, support and friendship will not be forgotten.
Gary Farr, Paul James, Geoff and Peter Haynes, Paul Bason, Mike Bell, Cryil Kiy, and Nick Ridgeway, who have and may still play are part in this story.
Gordon Farrow, Martin Paterson, Mike Chaney, John Sneyd, Tony Hill, Tony Gains, Tony Edwards, Bob Pearman who have contributed in some way to the project before moving on to other things.
All those others from exhibition organisers, the trusted suppliers, the band of exhibition groupies and those whose negative attitudes spurred us on to make the project worthwhile.