The Ulpha Light Railway

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Armchair Modeller
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:35 pm

This afternoon I popped up to Sheffield and got some track supplies, including SMP plain track, rail and sleepers for the pointwork. Since then, I have been busy preparing a design for the new track and stripping the old track off the first baseboard. I also did a deeper investigation into the problems with the river varnish.

I traced the old track on board 1 to capture its alignment exactly. I then used the tracing as a background in Templot to help me design the replacement track. I found that the old turnout had a kink in it around 2/3 of the way between the switch and the crossing. This might explain one of the more serious gauge problems - and why my stock kept derailing there. I also decided to model straight-cut point blades. As a result, it was impossible to exactly copy the alignment of the siding without making an awkward S bend in the siding. At worst, the cattle dock needs a small realignment.

Ripping up the old track was fairly straightforward, though tinged with sadness. I carefully removed the Colin Waite point rodding first. The track was laid on cork, which came up relatively easily. The trackbed is 5/8" blockboard, by the way, so very robust. No damage was done, other than the loss of the cosmetic signal operating wire, which was very loose in places anyway.

As for the river, I discovered that the varnish was painted over a thick layer of clear resin, or similar. The two did not like each other very much! The varnish layer had shrunk, lifted up and curled at the edges in various places. I was hoping to be able to get right down to the river bed to start again with the water. This now seems impossible. More head-scratching!

Here are some photos. Firstly, the pointwork as it was. To the right is part of the old waggonway track, which was laid on stone blocks. Notice also the Colin Waite point rodding. You can probably just about make out the signal wire and posts, running along the left-hand side of the track.

Ulph008.jpg


and as it is now.

Ulph009.jpg


This is part of the stripped-away river bed. The paler colour is the underlying resin. The orange colour is what remains of the overlying varnish.

Ulph010.jpg


Tomorrow promises to be very hot again, so further work indoors seems likely. A start on the new turnout and catch point are the likely targets.

Hardwicke
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Hardwicke » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:11 pm

Usually muddy. The model has genuine Leen sand and coal !
It's at Ruddington this weekend.

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:54 pm

Hardwicke wrote:Usually muddy. The model has genuine Leen sand and coal !
It's at Ruddington this weekend.


At one time the River Leen was supposedly very clean and pure, which is why dye works and the like were situated along its banks. Not how either of us remember it though! Anyway, this is all completely O.T. :)

Today, I cut out the sleepers for the pointwork on the first board and stuck them onto the paper template. Normally, I prefer to build track in-situ, but the scenery on Ulpha makes that impossible. The templates were previously stuck down onto some thin card and pinned to a piece of wood to try and minimise distortion during the construction of the track. I also began folding up some Masokits chairs. The football was more exciting than I had anticipated, so not enough chairs have yet been prepared to begin the assembly of the pointwork just yet.

I also had another brief look at the waggonway bridge over the river. The plaster stonework is definitely coming away from the underlying card. It looks like there is no way to retrieve it from the river without doing even more serious damage, unfortunately. The piers are embedded in large puddles of resin. Looks like I shall have to destroy it and build a replacement. Repairing the area around the old viaduct would be messy, so I very carefully cut around 12" off the end of the board and put a new end on. This will make the board lighter and easier to transport.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I am crossing Kinder Scout on a 13 mile walk, so no time for modelling. :shock:
Last edited by Armchair Modeller on Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:51 pm

The amount of remedial work would appear to be growing exponentially ;)
Tim Lee

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:06 am

Apart from track, the wiring, the weight reduction and the NG fiddle yard, pretty much everything that's a problem is on this board, Tim. I knew that from the beginning, which is why I chose this one to start with.

A real shame that the old bits have deteriorated to the point where they have to be replaced, but I hope to enjoy working on the replacements - and it is still far easier than starting a new layout from scratch.

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:18 pm

I finished folding up the Masokits chairs for the pointwork on the first board today.
Ulph008.jpg


I also removed the old river bed. I broke off the resin, one small piece at a time. The resin was laid on nappy liner, on a bed of chicken wire. Now only the chicken wire remains. I think a bed of plywood would be a better foundation. Much more solid - and of course, flat.

The next job will be to build the pointwork. I am also looking into possible designs for the new waggonway bridge. Ideally, I would like to model it on an actual example, with good photos and or drawings to work from. The old model was a stone structure with quite narrow arches. Real waggonways seem to have used wood, stone or iron. The nearest waggonway bridge I can find geographically to Ulpha was a viaduct at Preston. This was of wood construction and later served as a footbridge, as seen here.

Ulph013.jpg
Ulph013.jpg (168.12 KiB) Viewed 839 times


More research is required before I make up my mind what to do for the best.

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:58 pm

Curious to see how well a curved backscene might fit the baseboards, I did a bit of work in Templot

Ulph014.jpg
Ulph014.jpg (8.03 KiB) Viewed 775 times


The angle from baseboard to the next is around 14.5 degrees, measured as carefully as I could. I drew the rear baseboard edges for the 2 main boards and then curved a line to give the best fit at baseboard joints. In the middle of each baseboard I would only lose around 1 inch of scenery, reducing to zero at the baseboard ends. That seems a small price to pay for a smooth, curved piece of sky. I can now use the plot to construct a 'negative' master. I can then make the new backs for the baseboards from laminated ply, clamping everything together to the master when I glue the laminations together. That way, I should get a consistent curve.

In other news, the plywood river bed for the first baseboard has been installed. I have also removed the existing intermediate lateral cross members on this board and replaced them with a diagonal one. The board is now very rigid. Well worth doing! Again, nothing that will remain was damaged during surgery.

I shall be making the new pointwork over the next few evenings, all being well. Otherwise, I really need to get back to my 2mm layout for a few weeks, so there won't be much to report on here for a while.

Hardwicke
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Hardwicke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:43 pm

SMP track is undergauge, or used to be.

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:10 pm

Hardwicke wrote:SMP track is undergauge, or used to be.


I checked two lengths of new SMP carefully with an Exactoscale gauge and both passed OK - whereas the brand new C&L I tested with the same gauge 2-3 years ago didn't. Similarly, the C&L/K&L/Alan Gibson flexible track currently on the layout currently doesn't pass the test.

I shall check the lengths of SMP flexitrack again very carefully before laying them, as the main objective is to lay track that meets the standards. If I am not happy, I shall build all the plain track with Masokits components instead.

Out of curiosity, Michael what do you recommend people using? Just curious ;)

Hardwicke
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Hardwicke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:40 pm

DSC_3654.jpg
DSC_3654.jpg (51.78 KiB) Viewed 735 times

This is quite a nice bridge. Road but not dissimilar to tramway bridges at Stratford for instance.

Hardwicke
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Hardwicke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:55 pm

I have used Exactoscale/NewTrack as marketed by C&L now, ever since I built Forge Mill Sidings. I remember SMP did not match C&L ( old).

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:42 am

Hardwicke wrote:I have used Exactoscale/NewTrack as marketed by C&L now, ever since I built Forge Mill Sidings. I remember SMP did not match C&L ( old).


Thanks, I hadn't thought of Exactoscale.

Having bought 5 lengths of SMP though, I shall persevere with that for the moment. Not surprised it doesn't match up with C&L though, as C&L is definitely under gauge in my experience.

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:06 am

Hardwicke wrote:DSC_3654.jpg
This is quite a nice bridge. Road but not dissimilar to tramway bridges at Stratford for instance.


Yes, that does look attractive! Plenty of time to think about it though, as the bridge will be just about the last thing I do on the first board.

I thought of a very short version of this, but think it would be way too modern. ;)

Image

The Solway Viaduct, courtesy Cumbrian Railways site. There are good drawings on the Grace's Guide site.

EDIT

The new bridge or viaduct will have to be around 360mm long, 70mm high and over a river around 70-80mm wide. It will be skewed at around 45 degrees over the river. That probably limits the options quite a bit.

Hardwicke
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Hardwicke » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:42 pm

The old siding from Bulwell to the Council? siding ( was it originally a "night soil" ?) that now forms part of the cycle path is at about 45 degrees and although now steel, has the remains of the earlier wooden trestle bridge abutments.

Hardwicke
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Hardwicke » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:55 pm

I've found an old map and although the line and bridge is not there (no date but pre Group), there was a cornmill.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:29 pm

probably not relevant ... but I always liked the Dowery Dell viaduct

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XLEkUVl6XY
Tim Lee

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:25 pm

Many thanks both of you for your suggestions. :thumb

The viaduct is supposed to be disused. I am kind of walking a tightrope, as a timber viaduct probably would not have survived long disused without rotting away and falling down, whereas a metal viaduct of the Dowery Dell/Solway Viaduct kind of style would likely be too late for the history of the plateway, as it was supposedly built in 1814 according to the Rail Model Digest article.

I really do like the tall spindly appearance of the cast iron viaducts. Maybe I need to change the history! Here is another photo of the Solway Viaduct, on the https://crossingthemoss.wordpress.com site.

Image

Drawings are available online for the Solway Viaduct and the span is just about right. It was famously hit and seriously damaged by icebergs, so there are some good photos online too. I would need to adapt the design to a skew-style, but that should not be difficult. The nice thing about this one is that the Solway Viaduct and also the earlier Kent and Leven viaducts, which were not far from Ulpha, were all designed by the same firm, so this general design has the right pedigree. We would only be talking about modelling 3 spans and 2 iron piers - the outer ends would rest on short stone retaining walls.

I think I may have just talked myself into having a go at this one :? I will have a long think about it. Please be patient though - lots more to do first!

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:56 pm

The supposed history of this imaginary line was published in Rail Model Digest No3. I have recently done some superficial research into the industries, local shipping and real railway lines in the area. All very interesting. It made me think that the route and history of the line might have been just a little different to that previously proposed. A few quick alterations and here are my thoughts...

Possible Ulpha Light Railway Timeline

Real history in BOLD, fictitious history in plain text

C1750 Wooden waggonway built from Duddon Bridge (ironworks) to Lady Hall Marsh where lighters could dock. This was gradually extended up the Duddon Valley to the Ulpha area and beyond to tap mineral resources and wood for charcoal (used in iron production).

C1780s Waggonway re-engineered as a plateway

1848 The Kirkby branch of the Furness Railway was extended to Broughton Wrong side of the River Duddon for the Ulpha Plateway to connect with directly.

1851 Whitehaven & Furness Junction Railway opened to Broughton, connecting with the Furness Railway. Short plateway extension built to new exchange sidings just west of the Duddon Viaduct at High Shaw

26 August 1857 Morecambe Bay line opened, Ulverston to Carnforth

1859 Plateway rebuilt as a standard gauge line with heavier bridges etc. Rail Model Digest article states 1848, but surely a little early? 1859 would be contemporary with the Coniston Railway. The route was abandoned north of Ulpha.

1896 Light Railway Order applied for, to run passenger services. Line rebuilt in places to eliminate a few very sharp curves etc. inherited from the old plateway - (conveniently including abandonment of the river bridge on the model)

C1920 Narrow gauge line laid on the abandoned bed of the old plateway north of Ulpha for mineral traffic and tourism.

With this history, the iron bridge spanning the river could have been built in 1859 and abandoned when the line was straightened in 1896. Overall, the history does make reasonable sense to me. Unless I have severe problems building the beast, an iron bridge it will be. 8-)

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:08 pm

After looking into the viaduct question a little deeper, here are a couple of drawings adapted from those found on the excellent Graces Guide site.

Firstly, the Kent Viaduct (on the Carnforth-Ulverston line) of 1856

Ulph015a.jpg
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And secondly, the Solway Viaduct of 1869

Ulph015.jpg
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The Solway Viaduct design is beefed up a bit and taller than the Kent Viaduct design. Otherwise, they are very much the same. I am pretty confident now that I am on fairly solid ground to adopt this style for the old plateway bridge over the river (not long enough at 3 spans to be called a viaduct). Also, the drawings of the Solway Viaduct from 'The Engineer' are as good as I am likely to get for any old structure. I am 100% convinced now that this is the way to go.

Otherwise, the track work is progressing well. I hope to have some photos soon. I have also been finding some good photos of rivers, mills and weirs online to base the re-modelled river on. Also, I have now joined the Cumbrian Railways Association http://www.cumbrianrailways.org.uk/ to help me get more in the mood for the railways of the area.

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:22 am

It is two and a half weeks now since I took Ulpha into my 'care'. Seems a long time ago already ;)

I am enjoying all the research - mainly into local history, local mills and of course, cast iron viaducts.

I found drawings of another Solway-like viaduct - this time in Brazil. Brunlees was the engineer of this viaduct, the Solway, Kent and other similar works.

1866-Mugi-Viaduct.jpg


I decided to start work on the piers first. These are probably the easiest bit to construct. Supplies have been ordered. I am really looking forward to what is sure to be an interesting challenge.

Bobbin mills are another line of research. There is a preserved one at Stott Park in the Lake District, which I really must visit. Here is a photo I found of the one at Caldbeck. The amount of wood in the yard suggests a very busy mill. The Lake District appears to have been the principal supplier of bobbins the the Lancashire cotton industry - at least until plastic took over the market. The coppicing of trees for the industry was widespread.

Caldbeck2.jpg


The model mill on Ulpha was perilously close to the baseboard edge. At some point, it had suffered minor peripheral damage. I found two screws under the base of the model which released the model. For safety's sake I plan to move the building closer to the middle of the board. The fact that I have to remodel the river and the river bank makes this easy to do without much, if any additional work. It should guarantee the long-term preservation of the building. Looking at photos of old water-powered mills, they tended to be built only just above river level. Here is a nice example at Rutter.

Rutter-Mill---05.jpg


The supply to the water wheel was usually via higher level water. This was provided by placing a weir across the river to dam it, or by building a leat (artificial channel) from higher up the river. Rutter Mill was immediately down from the Rutter Falls, a natural feature. There is just room to model something a bit like this on Ulpha. The chimney shows that Ulpha's model mill was at some stage converted to steam power. The water wheel would probably be long gone.

The image of Rutter Mill also gives me inspiration for the appearance of the model river. Relatively low water for summertime, exposing small rocks on the river bed.

Behind the new site of the mill, I have cut the blockboard trackbed back slightly to reflect the new route of the old plateway from the Solway Viaduct-style bridge. This removes a little more weight! The bridge will be set at around 45 degrees to the baseboard. The radius of the plateway trackbed coming off the bridge will be around 600mm. I shall build a low retaining wall, giving room for a small mill yard and approach road.

The end result won't quite be like the original. It will retain all the principal features though - and hopefully eliminate the problems.

Meanwhile, construction of the turnout and catch point for the first baseboard is almost complete. I just have the inside halves of the chairs and the point blades to add. The latter will have to be added when the track has been installed on the baseboard, as the pivots will have to be embedded in the baseboard.

Ulph016.jpg


The remodelling of this baseboard will take quite a while, but it should be interesting and rewarding to do. As I stated before though, this board is the only one that required any major attention to the scenery. The track will probably need replacing on the other boards and weight reduction is necessary. The scenery though is in very good condition and requires little, if any work to get it back to 'as new' condition.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:45 pm

methinks someone has their mojo back :D :D :D
Tim Lee

Alan Turner
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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Alan Turner » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:07 pm

I see you have abandoned the interlaced timbers of the original?

regards

Alan

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:09 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:methinks someone has their mojo back :D :D :D


I have been working on a little something else since early this year...

Ulph017.jpg


It is a tiny layout for the 2mm Scale Association's Diamond Jubilee Challenge. Not mentioned before on here because it is the wrong scale. If anything, that is what got me going again after the disappointment of not being fit and able to take Neversay to Scaleforum last year. That really did knock the wind out of my sails. :shock:

I don't want to leave Ulpha rotting in the garage until I finish the 2mm one - but there is now only just under 2 years to get the 2mm one finished before the Challenge deadline. I must get a move on with both!

:?

EDIT

With the current hot spell of weather, it is much cooler indoors, so another incentive to do some modelling - as opposed to walking, gardening etc.
Last edited by Armchair Modeller on Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:12 pm

Alan Turner wrote:I see you have abandoned the interlaced timbers of the original?

regards

Alan


Yes, sorry Alan but I did it this way as Ulpha is now set in a slightly more modern era and this turnout is on the main line. I shall think very seriously about doing some of the interlaced ones in the sidings in due course.

EDIT

One of the problems I noticed with the original turnout here was that it had a kind of S bend in it, as if it had become slightly distorted before being stuck down on the layout. With full length timbers, I hope that is less likely to happen. 'Safety first' with the first turnout! When I have more time, I can probably figure out how to make interlaced timber turnouts in a safe way - like making them in situ on the trackbed so they can't get misshapen.

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Re: The Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:52 pm

A couple of narrow gauge items arrived today - the Bachmann Baldwin 4-6-0T and a WD bogie wagon. Very nice they are too. These are the main reason why Ulpha now has to be post-WW1 at the very earliest.

Ulph018.jpg


I shall use these to test the narrow gauge track and clearances in due course. I have had thoughts about the narrow gauge fiddle yard. It was just a very short pull-out shelf with two tracks under the scenery on board 2. With a kickback siding, I could get at least 3 much longer sidings in under the hillside on board 3. Something like this. Maybe some small sidings for locos too. This should make the narrow gauge a little more flexible and interesting to operate in the long run. There is plenty of room under the scenery to make these changes without affecting the appearance of the scenery at all.

Ulph020.jpg
Ulph020.jpg (11.71 KiB) Viewed 208 times


I have now laid most of the new track bed on the first baseboard. I used 2mm MDF which, when combined with the template stuck on top, is just about the same thickness as the old cork track bed. I prefer something nice and solid. There is some very gentle superelevation on the plain track.

I have removed most of the old backscene board on this baseboard, which was fairly easy to do. I shall replace the back ultimately with a lighter, curved structure, as mentioned in a previous post. I shall have to get the new back for the middle scenic board installed first though, to ensure that I get a nice, smooth, consistent curve to the backscene throughout the layout. Fortunately, the scenery is very solid and will hold itself in place until I get proper support installed again. Here is a photo. The recess at the bottom of the image is a space for the temporarily removed mill building and the mill yard.

Ulph019.jpg


All of the demolition of the damaged and problematic bits etc. is now pretty well finished. More or less everything from now on should be positive - restoring the track, wiring and scenery to something presentable and fully functional. The solitary signal survives unscathed. The damage to the stone wall in the background is part of the original scenery by the way, not vandalism on my part ;)


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