Penhafod Upper - 1978

Tell us about your layout, where you put it, how you built it, how you operate it.
NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:49 am

First of all, I have to declare that Penhafod, described below, is intended to be used as a demonstration layout for Acc+Ess Protocab, so please let me know if you think it's inappropriate for this forum.
A number of members have asked me what's happening to the Brighton MPD layout I was building a couple of years back (also for Protocab demo)... well, it was coming on nicely with all shed roads and approaches laid, the first buildings (the weighhouse and the S&T hut) installed and work just started on the roads to and from the turntable. Without concrete knowledge of the prototype, I had bought a Metalsmiths Cowans and Sheldon 60' turntable as being the closest match to the photos, on the basis of the handrail stanchions being installed on top of the timbers not on brackets alongsde. I got as far as completing the table then noticed that the walkway timbers seemed to be flush with the railhead, whereas the C&S had the rails and chairs laid on top. Then CALAMITY! I had serious doubts that I had the right turntable and despite lots of enquiries could not confirm which table it was. I have now concluded that the turntable is a Ransomes and Rapier 70' but no one makes a 4mm version to the quality of the Metalsmith's output. The nearest seems to be the Peco one! The other show stopper has been work on a new design of point motor but this is taking an age.

penhafod.png
penhafod.png (30.07 KiB) Viewed 5765 times
Therefore, putting this layout on ice until these problems have been sorted, I have returned to a layout I started in P4 in 1978! It was originally a testbed for Hubert Carr's Geodeck baseboard system and I can tell you that after 39 years in all sorts of horrible storage and atmospheres, the baseboards have not twisted or warped one millimetre!
The layout was inspired by John Charman's 'Charford' layout, featured in Railway Modeller in January 1961, which had an island platform terminus and a curve around to a fiddle yard. With Jim Russell present at the Protofour Convention at Heathrow in 1976, I purchased a works drawing of the canopy at Henley on Thames and this has been the reason that Penhafod hasn't progressed beyond the initial stages. I have been puzzling how to create the upright supports to scale. So much has progressed technically since 1978 to the point where such considerations are much easier to solve. I also faltered at how to operate the points, I had no idea how the tie bars would operate or the control mechanism. Strangely, I never once thought about asking an expert! Surely this is why we all attend Scaleforum?
The layout is based on the Taff Vale Railway but in the late 1950s. A colliery had been sunk in the 1900s not, as normal, in the valley but on a very rich seam at the top of one of the southern slopes along the Hafod valley. A junction with the TVR main line from Treherbert was established at Trehafod and a one and half mile branch up a significantly severe 1:50 led to the colliery. The geography was somewhat difficult and the only way to get into the colliery from the branch would be to run up to a headshunt and back into the colliery. A small community grew up to serve the colliery and this led to the opening of the small station.
DV00002.jpg
DV00002.jpg (107.2 KiB) Viewed 5765 times

The very restricted area means that only relatively short trains can be accommodated, equivalent to 12 coal wagon plus loco and brake van. Empties coming up from Trehafod draw into the headshunt. The brake van is either pushed into the loco spur or collected by a loco already there. The remaining empties are pushed into one of the holding sidings, releasing the loco for further traffic. An NCB loco (there are two, soon to be three) collects the empties to be propelled into the colliery sidings beyond the Cefncoed Road bridge.
IMGA2286.JPG

(The bolt secures and aligns the adjacent baseboard)
Passenger traffic is served by two coaches on the south platform to permit loco runround. Three can be accommodated on the north side. However, the introduction of DMUs to the valleys in 1957 mean that both platforms can take the three car DMUs.

The layout will be fully signalled and turnout operation will be mechanical, interlocked.
penhafod_traverser_fiddleYard.jpg
penhafod_traverser_fiddleYard.jpg (159.31 KiB) Viewed 5765 times
The 'theatre' of operations is, of course, a con. Empties propelled into the siding actually run on to a traversing table where they are lined up with the tunnel mouth for the branch to be run into the station. Loaded coal wagons do the opposite, run down the the branch on to the traverser where they are lined up for the next exit from the colliery.
IMGA2302.JPG

(The cutting into the tunnel on the branch to Trehafod on the right, with the shameful con of the line that is supposed to be going into a hidden colliery on the left)
Penhafod was originally built for DC operation so wire droppers abound. However, as a Protocab demo, it will be wireless operated.
One design criterion for the Penhafod track layout is that it had to incorporate the double slip that I built in 1968 as my very first Protofour venture! Consequently, and given the history, all the track, with the exception of the traverser is built to the Brook-Smith rivet system (with the original Stuiolith presses and punches!) to which chairs have been added cosmetically.
Building 'Brighton' and the researches I have been able to carry out on line (the facility of which wasn't available in 1978) and in a plethora of books and mags, has taught me a lot. Templot didn't exist in 1978 when I planned Penhafod and the Templot website and, indeed, the S4 website, are such wealths of readily available info, that there is little excuse (apart maybe from limited time!) to get things wrong. So, if and when you get to see Penhafod, please don't tell me off for getting things wrong - I was young and inexperienced (and I needed the money...). However, joking apart, I very much welcome criticism and comments and particularly suggestions.

Tony Hagon

User avatar
Noel
Posts: 1183
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:04 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby Noel » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:06 pm

I would have thought that this might have been a candidate for operation by an auto train, as with the Ynysybwl line? Mind you, if the Rhondda trams had got there, the passenger service probably wouldn't have survived into the diesel unit era...
Regards
Noel

User avatar
Tim V
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby Tim V » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:32 pm

Thinking of bringing it to a Scaleforum? It could qualify as the oldest layout?
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:35 pm

Ah, very definitely, Noel... I already have a TVR autocoach kit (one of the matchboard sided variety that used to run the Ynysybwl branch) and that with a 64xx (one of the Stephen Poole kits, also already in works) would do the trick.
The roster is for
- a 3 car DMU for Barry Island via Radyr (to join a 3 car coming down from Treherbert);
- a B set and 56xx or 45xx for Barry Island via the BR Wenvoe line
- a 3 coach suburban for Newport via Pontypridd and Caerphilly
running on an hour cycle
interspersed with empties and coals up and down the branch in between...
Fortunately, the section between Trehafod Jct and Penhafod Upper is only a mile and a half, and with the 25mph restriction up and down, gives us a 5 minute headway (for exhibition purposes only!). I've created a train graph and I now need to create a WTT!
We can manage with three operators, one shunter (fiddle yard), one signalman and one Station Master (supervising the 'operators' who will be the viewing public!) plus one 'spare' to let the others release in turn for exhibition viewing and PN breaks.

To Tim... we'll wait the call from Terry! I reckon we won't be ready for this year's Scaleforum but we may have an embryo for 2018.

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:44 pm

By the way, re the buses, Noel... Penhafod is one of the further outreaches of PUDC but there is a Rhondda service from Ponty through Penhafod to Tonyrefail and Bridgend. I'm thinking of an outrig board which will hold the continuation of Cefncoed Road and some typical terraced houses, so I can have a couple of buses on show.
Ain't imagination grand?!

TH

User avatar
chrisf
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:59 am

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby chrisf » Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:34 pm

I like the sound of this! I'm not quite clear what period you have in mind though and the thought of an hourly passenger service via Wenvoe is certainly too good to be true. If only ...

Chris, whose interest in the railways of South Wales stemmed from having grandparents in Barry

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:04 pm

Hi Chris
My period really stems from around 1958 to 1964 when the English Electric Type 3 (later class 37) took over. I fear serious poetic licence on the timetable. In reality a branch like this might have had a couple of trains in the morning and one, maybe two at most, in the afternoon, and nothing on Sundays. I think this might not be the most stimulating display at exhibitions!
My interest in the area is that my Welsh Mother and Grandmother migrated from West Wales just after the First War. I think around 1920 and was certainly there during the Depression in 1926, living in Telekebir Road, Hopkinsontown. She met new friends during her time at Mill Street School, Pontypridd, and we used to stay with one particular friend who live on the Parade at Ponty and from whose front window I could see trains going up and down the Merthyr line on the many occasions we stayed in the period in question.

User avatar
Noel
Posts: 1183
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:04 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby Noel » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:51 am

NorthHighlander wrote: I already have a TVR autocoach kit (one of the matchboard sided variety that used to run the Ynysybwl branch)


Just for the record, ex-TVR autotrailers were all fully panelled, whether purpose built or conversions. The matchboarded trailers were former GWR railmotors, converted in 1916-20. The last survivors were 111 [dia A7] and 118 [dia A9], condemned in October and November 1957. Both ended their days on the Abercynon - Aberdare service.

Since the PC&N lost its sole passenger service [provided by a 64XX plus an autocoach in its latter days] fairly early in the 1950s in reality, perhaps you could extend it to run Penhafod Upper to Machen, change for Newport...
Regards
Noel

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:01 am

"Since the PC&N lost its sole passenger service [provided by a 64XX plus an autocoach in its latter days] fairly early in the 1950s in reality, perhaps you could extend it to run Penhafod Upper to Machen, change for Newport..."

Ah, a good idea, Noel... done and the WTT amended accordingly! I realised that the panelled autocoach was out of my period but since this is all pretend and I rather like the look of the coach (but nothing, of course, to do with the fact that I picked it up at a S4um Bring and Buy) we can imagine that it actually survived into 1959...

Several orders and four customer loco conversions to process this weekend, but will be coming up for air from time to time to continue with soldering fishplates(Brassmasters) and tie bars (Ambis).
headshunt crossover tie bar progress.jpg
First of the pair of tie bars installed on the headshunt (loco release crossover), using - at right - one of the original Studiolith setting jigs! Note the not-deliberate mistake... (clue: chair keys)



TH

User avatar
Tim V
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby Tim V » Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:53 pm

I can see one chair mistake, are there more?
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:00 pm

Well, I only had the one in mind, Tim,and it doesn't include the ones that aren't sitting properly because of the Brooke-Smith rivet... I'll have to remedy those...

TonyH
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:54 am

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby TonyH » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:16 pm

Chairs on switch rail ?

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:02 pm

... it's a very short switch... probably an A switch which back in 1978 I would have chosen because it was the shortest not because it was the most appropriate.... 5 slide chairs are probably adequate for that without looking it up..

User avatar
chrisf
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:59 am

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby chrisf » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:15 am

Tony, may I add a bit more history, just for the record?

As Noel has said, the PC&N line lost its passenger service in 1956. The Barry main line, aka the Wenvoe line, had the legendary St Fagans Pullman [auto diagram JB out of Abercynon] which was steam worked until 1960. The Barry - Pontypridd service on that route latterly amounted to one train a day, a dmu minus its trailer. It lost its passenger services altogether in 1962 and closed in 1963 after Tynycaeau Junction box burned down. On the rest of the Valleys network there were savage economy cuts in 1958 even as the dmus were being delivered. The passenger service on the Porth to Maerdy branch in particular was reduced to, in effect, peak hours only. As for B sets, these were superseded after the timetable recast of 1953. Prior to the change there had been some portion working with B sets being detached for Maerdy or Aberdare from trains bound for Treherbert or Merthyr. In the late 60s the management, ever keen to cut costs but strangely reluctant to drum up trade, tried portion working again by combining trains to Treherbert and Merthyr as far as Pontypridd. This was not their finest hour.

Chris

Terry Bendall
Posts: 1659
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:02 am

NorthHighlander wrote:To Tim... we'll wait the call from Terry! I reckon we won't be ready for this year's Scaleforum but we may have an embryo for 2018.


Consider yourself called! :)

Terry Bendall

User avatar
Tim V
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby Tim V » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:19 pm

The mistake I see is behind the clip - a key pointing at the space where a fishplate should be - it should be pointing the other way.
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:51 pm

Thanks for the notes.... in order:
Thanks for the update, Chris... although we all travelled to Ponty in the early and middle fifties, I was too young to remember anything prior to around 1958, so I can't really remember any of the RR 0-6-2Ts, certainly not the autocoach from Ponty to Ynysybwl but I am very grateful to have been around to capture the end of steam. I remember, with affection, playing tenning is Ynysyngarad Park with my Mum and Dad on a summer Saturday and play being suspended too regularly for my Mum's patience to watch long specials headed by 5101s and 56xxs. I don't remember any tender locos on the line, but they must have been there in the guise of 2251s, 43xx/7321s. I'm hoping to justify a Hall taking a rugby special from Penhafod to Paddington through with three coaches on the Saturday roster. I think I'm pushing my luck to hope that a Castle would have found its way up the branch!

Terry - roger, that. Even if it's not scenically complete, I think it will be operationally ready by 2018. Thanks for the invite.

Tim, yes, that's the chair that I was thinking about. It's no longer keyed that way round, along with EIGHT (!!) others that I replaced this afternoon. I also achieved a 39 year first in being able to retrofit tie rods to the sidings turnouts where the ends of the rods poke through the stock rails!

TH..

User avatar
grovenor-2685
Posts: 3224
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:02 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby grovenor-2685 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:06 pm

I also achieved a 39 year first in being able to retrofit tie rods to the sidings turnouts where the ends of the rods poke through the stock rails!

Being able to model stretchers and rodding without problems must be one of the major benefits from battery power.
Regards

TonyH
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:54 am

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby TonyH » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:07 pm

The slide chairs look OK, but the other chairs look to have the keys on the inside.

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:25 pm

Yes, Keith.... when I first started the layout, I was following Bernard Weller's guide notes and I used the perforated brass strip captured by the rivet under the sleeper and a fairly chunky dropper wire soldered to it... there is a forest of these droppers under the board! I don't now need insulated fishplates or turnout polarity switching, and, being brought up in the Land of the Third Rail, it was such a nice experience to be able to walk about sidings etc. with no fear of being electrocuted! Even the Brighton layout needs insulated fishplates and other niceties because of the return current from the third rail. Penhafod doesn't even have track circuiting and the approach to the home signal the other side of Cefncoed Road can be seen from the signalbox so it won't even need a treadle!

TH

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:27 pm

Tony H... (a good name and initial!) no, there are some dodgy halves trying to sit down on the rivets, but there aren't any inside chairs as far as I can see, but I will do something about those chair halves..

User avatar
Penrhos1920
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:00 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby Penrhos1920 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:24 pm

Noel wrote:
NorthHighlander wrote: I already have a TVR autocoach kit (one of the matchboard sided variety that used to run the Ynysybwl branch)


Just for the record, ex-TVR autotrailers were all fully panelled, whether purpose built or conversions. The matchboarded trailers were former GWR railmotors, converted in 1916-20. The last survivors were 111 [dia A7] and 118 [dia A9], condemned in October and November 1957. Both ended their days on the Abercynon - Aberdare service.

Since the PC&N lost its sole passenger service [provided by a 64XX plus an autocoach in its latter days] fairly early in the 1950s in reality, perhaps you could extend it to run Penhafod Upper to Machen, change for Newport...


Searching through photos of the PC&N autotrailers I have found:

W1067W with 6411 in August 1964,I think that is an ex Taff?

An A26 / A28 type trailer

Matchboards as per Noel's

And 6433 with a JF target that's not in my list of targets.
Getting it Alright

Penrhos Junctions near Caerphilly - Barry Rly, Rhymney Rly and A(N&SW)D&R 1920 and pseudo modern image in S4F
and
Awrhyllgwami for DEMU challenge
and
Dispelling the P4 drop in wheel myth
and
TOERAG Obergruppenführer

User avatar
chrisf
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:59 am

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby chrisf » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:04 am

May I offer some more info?

The trailer W1067W is of Rhymney Railway origin. JF was the target that should have been displayed by the Abercynon based 64xx which provided staple power for the Pontypridd - Caerphilly - Machen service in its last years. The loco was normally at the Machen end, by contrast with that on the St Fagans Pullman which was at the Pontypridd end. It must have been a bit of a faff if a trailer was found to be the wrong way round.

Tony, I think you will find that tender locos were a very rare sight indeed in that part of the world. They were used on the Pontypool Road to Neath line [2-8-0s] and between Newport and Brecon [22xx] but that's about it. Excursions such as those from Treherbert to Paddington at Bank Holiday weekends were hauled by pairs of 56xx to Bassaleg Junction where the main line engine took over.

Chris

NorthHighlander
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby NorthHighlander » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:27 am

Thanks for the additional info re the autocoaches. Bearing in mind that the branch from Trehafod to Penhafod Upper was 1:50 for nearly a mile, the locos would have to be chimney first up the branch, so the autocoach would be propelled from Ponty to Machen...

I've dusted off the file I created back in the day, including the signalling layout and locking table. I got it mostly right, but some key omissions, so I'll draw up a diagram and post it here for comments and I'd welcome suggestions for improvement.

TH

User avatar
Noel
Posts: 1183
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:04 pm

Re: Penhafod Upper - 1978

Postby Noel » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:15 am

chrisf wrote: I think you will find that tender locos were a very rare sight indeed in that part of the world. They were used on the Pontypool Road to Neath line [2-8-0s] and between Newport and Brecon [22xx] but that's about it.


Pretty rare, I agree. Some sheds, such as Aberbeeg and Abercynon, never had a tender engine allocated in BR days. However, there were a few others: LNWR G2/G2A 0-8-0s from Abergavenny or Tredegar worked as far south as Ystrad Mynach, and had worked further down in earlier days, and also worked excursions to Barry Island until 1956 or 1957. From 1954, the ore trains from Newport to Ebbw Vale were worked by 9F 2-10-0s, usually with another 9F as a banker from Aberbeeg. That must have been spectacular, but never got the same attention as Consett. In earlier days, the Taff Vale had substantial numbers of 0-6-0s on their main lines.

NorthHighlander wrote:Bearing in mind that the branch from Trehafod to Penhafod Upper was 1:50 for nearly a mile, the locos would have to be chimney first up the branch, so the autocoach would be propelled from Ponty to Machen...


The original line from Caerphilly to Machen was steeper than that at its worst, but was used downhill only after the Machen loop was built, so perhaps less of a problem.
Regards
Noel


Return to “Layouts and Operations”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests