Highbridge Wharf

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Paul Townsend
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Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:09 pm

Highbridge Wharf

Postby Paul Townsend » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:46 pm

Highbridge Wharf report

About 30 years after I should have done it, I am making good progress adding the Wharf sidings.
My best excuse for the long delay is too much time spent playing trains!

Here are two exciting ( for me :D ) piccy of todays test rig of the second baseboard, done to check it fits the revised woodwork etc and that track alignment at the joint is near enough OK to proceed.



The first board where the train is has been ballasted and has its initial weathering. This was built over last couple of months, which entailed taking the Burnham line ( curving off to the right ) out of service for a month of Engineer's Occupation. Rather a long job for 1913! It was fully tested as a standalone board with servos operating turnouts and was reinstalled last week, levelled and loco tested in situ OK. Point rodding awaited.

The newest board's status is track all laid except for the raised Broad Gauge crane line on the wharf edge to the left. That will eventually receive two lovely little Victorian steam cranes, and appropriate small coastal trading ships, one steam and one sail. Several of these were owned by the S&DJR. Track droppers are in place and ballasting is completed except round the TOUs. Wiring starts now which will take a week at least, including servos, TOUs etc. then weathering, adding ground grot etc once all operations prove OK.

Here are two piccies of this newest board as it is today, awaiting droppers connecting up....boring task !



EditorTim tells me that in the July Snooze you will be able to read "Modernising Highbridge" so hold your breath for the next instalment.

The Wharf was a major source of S&DJR traffic and will give much operating interest especially for those who like shunting. Alex Jacksons predominate on my S&DJR.

Incoming ship loads were mainly Baltic timber which fed the large saw mill on the wharf ( to be modelled in half relief at the end ) together with coal and rail from Ebbw Vale via Newport just across the R. Severn. The coal was just for local consumption but the rails serviced all of the Western part of LSWR and all S&DJR of course. Exports were mainly local farm produce and especially cattle from the large cattle market in the town which was very active before the railways arrived, the Wharf originally being connected with the Glastonbury canal up the tidal R. Brue.

I hope to have the Wharf lines fully operational by the end of July and then need to get lots of cosmetic stuff done. The A38 level crossing gates must be working together with the adjacent signal box, Lamb pub etc.

Then I must get back to working on Dartmouth.....only 13 months to its next Exhibition.

John Palmer
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:09 pm

Re: Highbridge Wharf

Postby John Palmer » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:30 pm

Paul, this is a splendid development and I look forward to learning more about it the July edition of the News. The way in which you have managed to capture the essential features of the track layout at the east end of the Wharf is particularly impressive.

However ;) , there's a mistake with the signal most closely seen in your second picture which carried the Up and Down starting signals for C Box as well as the distant for B: that distant ought to be a lower quadrant arm, so giving the unusual mix of both upper and lower quadrant arms on a single mast. By the time the upper quadrant arm was applied to the Down starting signal the distant beneath had probably assumed fixed status, so clear aspects for both were no longer required. Also, the mast should carry either a ringed or 'S' arm below the stop and distant, which was probably marked 'Shunt by Down Starting' on the lever plate.

Your commentary on the traffic is of much interest. Although the last ship to use the Wharf did so in about 1948, the tracks alongside continued to be occupied by long rakes of wagons (presumably for convenience of berthing) which I found fascinating when inspecting them on my occasional visits with my mother as a very small boy. The Baltic timber carried into Bland's sawmill by the sweat and sometimes the blood of the workforce seems to have found its way onward by railway as sawn timber if the attached picture (I think from the camera of the late John Madeley) is anything to go by. This shows a Johnson tank adjacent to a couple of opens loaded with sawn timber that have been parked in the platform 2-3 road at Highbridge, probably prior to despatch on an Evercreech-bound freight. They are likely to have been loaded at Bland's before being tripped across the GW line to await such despatch.
58086 alongside timber traffic at Highbridge.jpg

I strongly suspect that the rail imports to which you refer came from Dowlais rather than Ebbw Vale, in view of the Wimborne-based Guest family's strong connection with the Dorset Central Railway and the planned linking by rail of the Bristol and English channels. One of the Guests became the principal ironmaster at the Dowlais works and it would be only natural for the family to exploit their railway connections and what would become the GKN conglomerate by shipping Dowlais product to a Somerset and Dorset port for onward carriage. Indeed, I think this point may be confirmed by Robin Athill's history of the S&D, although I haven't checked.

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Highbridge Wharf

Postby Paul Townsend » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:24 am

Thanks for your kind comments, you must join us for a visit once the Wharf is operational.

To my shame, signal modelling at Highbridge has long suffered from shortage of roundtuits.
None are operational, yet. I have loads of info and photos ready to bring them up to the standard expected by Chris Osment, Tim Venton and other knowledgeable advisors. The GWR set are well modelled from Sprat&W parts and all await servos. The S&DJR signals are crudely thrown together from Ratio kits. Being fragile and often very tall some got bust. The more complex ones are just a representation of major features and are incorrect in detail for the time being. Clearly, I spend too much time playing trains. Must do more modelling! Eventually they will be replaced by accurate metal ones and will work.

Ta for the piccy. It gives an interesting operational move for the paused timber train. And ta for the reality check re steel works source of rail. It doesn’t affect my model ops but I will check Athill to correct my narrative.

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Tim V
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Re: Highbridge Wharf

Postby Tim V » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:09 pm

The article in the next News is not about the wharf, but about other operational aspects - but interesting nonetheless!

An article on the Wharf developments would make an interesting piece though ... No pressure Paul :D
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

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