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FAIRFORD  BRANCH LINE

 

All set up for the last outing of the layout at The Big Model Train Show in Christchurch 2011

 

 

    This layout began as an experiment to  build an exhibition layout consisting of two scenic boards and a fiddle yard, total length about 5m x 0.8m(16ft x 2ft2in).  My friend Stephen Beck and I had first designed a track plan that involved a station, engine shed, goods shed and dairy factory, each placed in a corner of the joined two main boards. The track was laid down and wired, but we found it too constricting and busy in operation so decided to look for perhaps doing an actual branch line terminus that had interesting features when operating and for the viewing public.​The reason Fairford Branch was chosen was that it had the running rule of smokebox first and the locos were turned beyond the station and had a water tower, engine shed, goods shed and cattle dock. It also had an interesting shaped Signal Box and small loading dock alongside. As we live 12,000 miles away and had never been to Fairford or surrounding region, we worked from the book "Branch Line to Fairford" by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith published by Middleton Press. The other sources of reference used were "The Fairford Branch Line" by S.C. Jenkins, GWR Branch Line Termini by Paul Karu and Martin Loader's website "Fairford Branch Line". Martin gave us a great deal of help with additional facts and information about the branch line. His input was greatly appreciated and made decision making on what to include at lot easier.

     The track plan used is the 1903 as produced in the book. As we were modelling in the 1930-40's we were unsure about the handing of the point by the Goods Shed or the second siding alongside the Engine Shed. We looked at all the photos and websites that we could and decided to leave only the one siding by the Engine Shed and make the point by the Goods shed left handed. It wasn't until I obtained a copy of "Great Western Railway Branch Line Termini"  in 2009, that the second  siding alongside the Engine Shed was indeed in place in the 1930's and that a lamp hut and two coal merchants offices needed to be added to the Fairford station yard. The layout grew quickly in 2006 with two scenic boards added to be between the fiddle yard and the Fairford boards followed by an impulse decision to add the Lechlade station and yard (two boards) in May 2007.  Lechlade Station and yard were laid on the south side of the track, whereas Fairford was on the northern side, thus balancing the layout as a whole. The last board was added late in 2007 which measured 0.86m on front edge and 1.4m back edge. This fitted between the Fairford station and the scenic boards and gave the 13degree angle the track took when leaving Fairford. 

      I  made inplants for Fairford Station so that the two different eras can be displayed; pre 1943 and 1944 onward. I have also kept the old features and the changes except the added 1944 siding in the yard, thus there is the coaling stage, cattle dock, yard crane, extra plate layers hut plus two coal merchants office huts  that keeps the layout interesting to run and view.

        One feature I have incorporated, is an airfield which is sited on the angle and connecting scenic boards. This is to acknowledge the importance of Fairford's airfield during WWII and therefore created a lot more movements apart from the milk traffic.  I  have a Spitfire either landing (into) or taking off (out of) the backboard and another ground running up it's engine. There is also a Sopwith Camel trainer parked up as well as a low relief hanger, and the proverbial pilot's MG sports car parked alongside a  Nissan hut. 

      The drop down pages briefly show the way the layout was developed and is not as extensive as my old site. I have completed a photo journey of the layout and ended with a selection of photos of the last outing of the full layout at the Big Train Show in Christchurch in October 2011.  The layout is now stacked in the train shed which is a purpose built 4m x 3m shed for my trains. I will be refurbishing the boards as they were looking a bit tired and I have improved my scenic skills since then.  I've place the building of the turntable kit conversion and motorising it in the "Special Projects/construction" section.

      An article on this layout appeared in the December issue of Railway Modeller 2010 and also a small one in GWR Modelling.  

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY & LINKS

 

            This is the list of books and websites in order as the main sources of information when building this layout as none of the people involved had ever been to see the area of Fairford or Lechlade.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Branch Line to Fairford by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith published by Middleton Press.

 

This was the main source for building the layout. I contacted Vic Mitchell to gain permission to use some photos for a PowerPoint  presentation on a laptop or photo frame unit when exhibiting

 

The Fairford Branch Line website by Martin Loader;- see Links below

 

I found this site late January  2005 and Martin was a great help and support in obtaining extra information so we could get as close as possible to do an accurate model.

                                                                                                                                             

The Fairford Branch  by Stanley C Jenkins published by The Oakwood Press.

 

Stephen found this book on his bookshelf  in June 2006 where it had been there for 17years!!

The book gave us a lot of background information and found that the Fairford Station buildings Stephen and I had made were spot on.

 

Great Western Branch Line Termini  by Paul Karau published by Oxford Publishing Co.

 

Finally I obtained this book in January 2009 which confirmed that the second siding beside the Engine Shed was in place in the mid 1930s.

 

The Whitney & East Gloucestershire Railway  website by David m Howse;- see Links below

 

A good site for general view of the line and gave post closure views and information .

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LINKS

 

The Fairford Branch Line       www.martin.loader.btinternet.co.uk/Fairford_Branch.html

 

The Whitney & East Gloucestershire Railway  www.d.m.howse.btinternet.co.uk/homepage.html

 

The GWR Modelling site   www.gwr.org.uk