Ulpha Light Railway

Tell us about your layout, where you put it, how you built it, how you operate it.
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Neil Smith
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:53 pm

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Neil Smith » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:50 pm

I don't get up the valley as often as I would like but it is a gorgeous part of the world and only the relatively isolated position, narrow road, and the lack of a lake somewhere along there prevent it from being a tourist honeypot! Had there been a railway, that would have opened it up in a way it never has done in real life. Looking forward to reading more in due course! :thumb

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:51 pm

Loads of people drive between the Wrynose and Hardknott passes, not even realising they are in Dunnerdale. The entrance to the main valley is so insignificant, I suspect most people just drive past it without realising it goes somewhere. Same at the southern end.

Not much will be happening about the replacement layout for some time unfortunately. Much of my time these days is spent with my 93 year old mum. Maybe some stock later in the year.

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Neil Smith
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:53 pm

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Neil Smith » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:42 am

Absolutely - blink and you miss it at both ends, especially the north which is a somewhat desolate spot! There was a piece in a local paper a few years ago about a local shepherd up there who was trying to dry washable nappies outside in midwinter, taking them back in a solid sheet of ice!
Just a thought - it struck me reading the thread that were it not for the historical chosen name for the original layout "Ulpha Light Railway" that there could be a case of rethinking the "history" a bit - and to ask why the Furness Railway company would not have bought this line out. They (the FR) were quite keen on empire building after all, and would probably have seen the ULR's mineral and tourism potential with pound signs behind the eyes!
And as the ULR would have relied on the FR for the majority of its onward traffic, the big company would have had the small one over a barrel were the ULR board to try to ignore a takeover offer...
This could then open up slightly easier loco and rolling stock options possibly, including the Co-Bo, as well as relieving you of all that complicated history around when the waggonway was replaced, what was covered by a LRO, etc.
All the best
Neil

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:17 pm

The BR stock was just to get something up and running quickly to prove the track etc. Now I have a more laid back schedule, I think the 1930s might be a more interesting period to model - a limited amount of internal combustion, but some cranky steam stuff too. Maybe even a tramway like the Wantage or the Dublin & Blessington, rather than a light railway. I have actually sold the Class 28 by the way - it is now running back in OO gauge configuration, I believe.

When I got the old Ulpha layout, I had considered the possibility of through running to/from Ulverston. Maybe workers for a top secret wartime factory to boost the coffers of the railway. After all, if modern tourists can't find Dunnerdale, what chance had the Germans, in either war? ;)

I think an FR/LMS/BR layout would probably spoil the unique modelling opportunities that a cranky, out-of-the way local concern could have though. No reason not to run a bit of main line stock secondhand mind. FR 2-2-2Ts like those sold the the WC&PR, for example - or the FR railmotor that mysteriously disappeared, allegedly to cover-up an accident.

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Neil Smith
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Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:53 pm

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Neil Smith » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:41 pm

Some good idea there! The old Furness railmotor was, I understand, built into a house near the foot of the incline at Kirkby in Furness and apparently it is there to this day..

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:45 pm

There were two originally 2 FR railmotors, plus 2 trailers. One is supposed to have disappeared from the records rather suddenly and without explanation - No2 I think.

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:07 pm

One final shot before I put this aside for a while. The last plan was far too wide. Here is a better one. I forgot to draw in the quarry, so you will have to imagine it on the left of the plan, next to the incline.

Ulpha-New-Plan.jpg


I even found a good location on the north end of Ulpha village to site it, at Crosby Bridge - complete with stream (Crosby Gill) and genuine old mill buildings in the background

Ulph102.jpg


The site would be in the little triangle at the top of the red circle, between Crosby Gill and the road. The mill was actually a corn mill. Even in the 1860s it is described on maps as an old corn mill - presumably disused. Could easily have been converted for bobbin production though, as were others elsewhere. I haven't drawn it on the plan, but the remains of the old waggonway could be modelled as an abandoned branch going into the mill grounds.

The incline would be ideally sited to access the stone quarries, drifts and mines on the hill above. Lots of trees to model!

Still needs a lot of work, but I am happier with this one.

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:18 pm

I forgot to include the old OS map in the last entry. Here it is, with the approximate site of the area modelled circled and a very crude idea of the line of the railway added. The property called Oak Bank didn't exist on earlier maps, so could not have been built there if the tramway/railway really existed. Apologies to the owner.

Ulpha-1899-Map.jpg

Winander
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Winander » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:11 am

Richard,

Apologies if you have seen this, but the bibliography of the Cumbrian Railways Association may have some useful references for you.

http://www.cumbrianrailways.org.uk/bibliography.html
Richard Hodgson

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:40 pm

Winander wrote:Richard,

Apologies if you have seen this, but the bibliography of the Cumbrian Railways Association may have some useful references for you.

http://www.cumbrianrailways.org.uk/bibliography.html


Many thanks. I have relied mainly on the Internet for my research, but books on Dunnerdale and various industries in the Lake District are also useful. Strangely, no books on the Ulpha Light Railway are listed, though they do say the list is incomplete ;)

Winander
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Winander » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:27 pm

Richard,

If you find anything you consider useful additions, please send me the details and they can be added to the bibliography.

regards,
Richard Hodgson

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:05 pm

Winander wrote:Richard,

If you find anything you consider useful additions, please send me the details and they can be added to the bibliography.

regards,


It may take a little time but I shall certainly check through everything in due course.

As for the model, here is the latest design effort. I did a 22 mile walk on Sunday, so yesterday I was unavoidably sat in a chair for much of the day thinking of relatively effortless things to do. This one is much more compact at around 3 metres long and with 3 x 1m by 500mm wide baseboards on a curve. I have reduced the main line to single track only (no passing loop), but there will be plenty to keep an operator busy with the inclined plane. I think it now includes all the main features of the old Ulpha in one way or another, including traces of an old waggonway.

crosby_bridge.jpg


The halt is closely based on the original 3ft gauge Ravenglass & Eskdale intermediate stations.

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:43 pm

Here's the Templot stuff for Crosby Bridge. What would we do without Templot, I wonder ;) Please refer to my previous post for a detailed explanation of the various features.

crosby_bridge_ulr_1.jpg


crosby_bridge_ulr_2.jpg


The top of the incline neatly terminates in the fiddle yard. I would envisage handling only 2 or 3 wagons at a time. The fiddle yards for the main line would probably be cassettes so I could switch wagons from one end of the layout to the other behind the scenes. I haven't shown the LH fiddle yard board on the diagram as it would be relatively simple.

The boards would all be the same - 4900mm radius inside and 5400 radius outside and 500mm wide. Each around 1m long. Curved boards ought to be more rigid than rectangular boards, weight for weight, (at least if my previous experience is anything to go by) so can be more slender in proportions.

I was thinking about building the baseboards open-plan with the trackwork on rigid lightweight wooden bases attached to the main boards. Apart from strength, this would allow the more complex track to be built on something solid away from the main baseboards before final assembly. The trestle also needs a mini-baseboard to support it and the track around it. I was thinking about getting the main baseboards laser cut professionally to ensure a consistent radius.

First up though, I shall have a go at restoring the trestle. In general, this should be relatively straightforward (I hope). A couple of minor alterations will be necessary though. The headroom under the loading chutes is too tight at the moment. I shall have to carefully detach them and reattach at a slightly different angle. Also, I have been told that the full-size structure would be a bit lightweight to support itself, so I may add a few intermediate supports to give the structure a stronger look. Here is a photo (courtesy of Paul Willis) of the trestle in all its former glory.

DSC_4915.jpg

Armchair Modeller

Re: Ulpha Light Railway

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:38 pm

I have now built a base for the trestle. This will sit on the baseboard in due course, complete with a fully restored trestle and track. The base was made of old scraps of 6mm plywood. It was assembled upside down on a flat worktop to ensure that the top is flat. Assembling the rebuilt trestle on this base will be much easier than trying to do it directly onto the main baseboard.

Ulph103.jpg


The trestle looks to be in a sad state only because I have temporarily detached all loose support legs. All the legs will be carefully cleaned before reassembly. I have prints of a number of images of the trestle in its original form to help recreate the look and feel of the original.

The track has been planned in Templot. I found sleeper spacing details for the original Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (3ft gauge) and used these for the standard gauge sidings. I am not yet sure whether to use lightweight bullhead or flat-bottomed rail for the standard gauge sidings under the trestle. Maybe code 55 f/b rail would be appropriate. I will assume that whatever I choose is the original railway track, laid once the waggonway was converted to a railway. The main line (on a separate trackbed) will probably be code 75 bullhead, as if the main line had been relaid at some time with something heavier.

The baseboard on which the trestle will reside will be open plan. My idea is to build much of the scenery and track as a kit of parts. The quarry wall, for example, can be made away from the baseboard and only put in place when I have made one that I am completely happy with. That is all a long way off yet though. Firstly, I shall restore the trestle and lay the adjacent sidings. The right hand edge of the trestle base in the photo coincides with the planned baseboard joint, whereas the left hand end will be well short of the baseboard end to allow room for a quarry wall.


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