The Model Railways of Chris Nevard

Polbrook Gurney Colliery
Polbrook Gurney Colliery

The Model Railways of Chris Nevard – Well worth a detour.

One of the best blogs about model railways. Chris Nevard’s approach, attention to detail, colour and one of the finest exponents of the “cameo” layout, shows that an awful lot can be done with a few well-chosen pieces.

I’m aspiring to this on Boltorr Rd.

The Model Railways of Chris Nevard

Brew Street
Brew Street
Check this out...
Check this out…

The Princetown Branch

Nice view of the trackbed/path including an overbridge which, I'm pleased to say, bears a resemblance to the tunnel portal on the Boltorr branch
Nice view of the trackbed/path including an overbridge which, I'm pleased to say, bears a resemblance to the tunnel portal on the Boltorr branch
The Princetown Branch – Boltorr Rd halt branches off north from some unspecified point on the Princetown line.
The mouth of Boltorr tunnel - 2mm MDF and DAS clay
The mouth of Boltorr tunnel – 2mm MDF and DAS clay

I’m fortunate that I’m able to get really good, atmospheric images from the real, but sadly now closed Princeton branch, by my own personal photographer, Jamie Halton.

Dartmoor 365 on Facebook has also been a valuable resource.

Images like these are important for me to be able to replicate the topography, vegetation and tone of my own scenery.

Running In – Please Pass

As the the time to start laying track approaches it’s time to look at the motive power.

Most of this stuff has been collected over the years but has hardly ever been out of their boxes. When I can, I like to get stuff that is either closely associated with the Plymouth and west Devon area, or at least could have reasonably been found there on occasions.

The engines will eventually be fitted with DCC, but now require running in to make sure their mechanisms run smoothly and without issues

Hatton's ex-GWR 14xx 1470 0-4-2T - Laira shed
Hatton’s ex-GWR 14xx 1470 0-4-2T – Laira shed

I achieve this on my DCC programming track, although for this process I use 12v DC via a regular old school controller. Since running a loop isn’t practical the engines run on Bachmann EZ Riders, basically, a miniature rolling road.

This time I’m running three of my smaller engines. Two ex-GWR steam engines – 1363 0-6-0ST and 1470 0-4-2T, and a privately owned 0-4-0 Sentinel diesel.

This is my DCC programming track. Rolling road is by Bachmann EZ Riders. The basic 12v controller easily powers three small locomotives
This is my DCC programming track. Rolling road is by Bachmann EZ Riders. The basic 12v controller easily powers three small locomotives
Heljan ex-GWR 13xx 1363 0-6-0T  - Laira and Priory
Heljan ex-GWR 13xx 1363 0-6-0T – Laira and Priory

I run the locos for about 20 minutes in each direction at a moderate speed I estimate to be no faster that that particular prototype might reasonably run at. Towards the end of each session I up the the rate to eleven for a minute or so and then down to the slowest possible, for a couple of minutes, looking for a very smooth low speed.

Hornby Sentinel/Rolls Royce 0-4-0 diesel - Esso Cattedown works
Hornby Sentinel/Rolls Royce 0-4-0 diesel – Esso Cattedown works

In this case I had to run the Sentinel on its own, because, even though it was just run in, and not yet even on the much more controllable DCC, it runs very slowly and smoothly indeed, probably below scale walking pace. Pretty impressive!

This trio, being quite short wheel-based tended to waddle a little. I’m not too bothered about that because in reality the prototypes tended to do that as well, so, no problem.

Well, it was fun. The next time I look at these it will be time to install DCC.

Slow running from Hornby Sentinel – 12v DC

Next? The Fjords…

I’ve spent a little time working out how to fit the Boltorr Dam and river bridge together.

In fact, it should not be as difficult as I first thought the problem might be.

Drone view of the realigned dam edifice. A couple of retaining walls should sort the topography out.
Drone view of the realigned dam edifice. A couple of retaining walls should sort the topography out.
Looking upstream with the new, more adequate retaining walls. Partially treated, but I'll wait until the whole structure is in place before final rendering and weathering
Looking upstream with the new, more adequate retaining walls. Partially treated, but I’ll wait until the whole structure is in place before final rendering and weathering

By moving the dam southwards; ie, toward the right, I can get a reasonably realistic looking watercourse for the Boltorr Brook, and, hopefully, maintain a realistic lie of the land into the river valley.

With respect to the bridge abutments I’ve increased the size of the retaining wall on the viewing side of the line. My next task is to firmly position the dam, establish the contours of the land and the embankment, then build connecting retaining walls, render and then finish the effect in situ so that there is a unified overall effect.

Another consideration is the profile of the rear scenic break as the slopes roll off the tor towards the river valley.

Easy, huh?

I’ll go through construction of the opposing abutment in the next posting.