Friday, August 26, 2011

The Handyman Hall Estate railway

Time for some thoughts on my prototype for the 009 railway. For a long while I've been a bit of a fan of the Heywood estate railways and have always fancied having a go at one. For those not familiar with the concept, basically the landed gentry years ago would build a small gauge railway ostensibly to transport farm produce and other items around the grounds of their country pile. Some, such as Sir Arthur Percival Heywood, were pretty serious about developing these into real working lines. Others, I suspect, just wanted to build a model railway and there's nothing wrong with that.

The photo shows Percival's classic and best known locomotive, Katie. She was an impressive beast being able to negotiate incredibly tight curves thanks to some nifty swivelling axle arrangements that I will not be explaining further here. Go and find an engineer or better still, buy the excellent book on the subject. However the man himself worked with 15 inch gauge railways. I will be modelling a 2ft gauge line.

This isn't so far out of the question. Doddington Hall used to have a 2ft gauge railway. It was sold lock, stock and barrel in 1982 to those restoring the Groudle Glen Railway and now forms the basis for this excellent little line. There is also at least one existing line that uses narrow gauge trains to move lavender from field to packing shed and thier stock looks a lot like the stuff I have from Minitrains.

So, my plan is to build part of the railway at Handyman Hall. Literate types might recognise this as the location for the Tom Sharpe novel "Blott on the Landscape". Neither the book or TV series mentioned a railway but then they didn't mention there wasn't one either.

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