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Wolston Tramway

Page history last edited by Ian Stock 11 years, 4 months ago

James Finister


 

My current line has a long and torturous history.

 

My father, in the early 1960's had what could be considered a typical garden railway of the time. Bonds O gauge three rail track,, Basset Lowke locos, and a few Eames coaches.

As a child my first railway set was one of the last Hornby clockwork sets, featuring Percy. Then Triang Big Big train came along. Then there were the excllent John Wenlock articles in RM, and Merlin. Merlin: However much people now revile Tom Cooper I have to say he did so much to popularise NG garden railways, and also recognised the basic problem that 16mm scale on 32 mm track was too small for practical purposes.

 

Instead,of course, people went on pretending they were building 16mm railways, when in reality they were working to the meaningless concept of what we now call RH scale.

 

My first garden railway was probably quite typical. A continuous run built on brickwork with a station leading off it. Oddly I was more attracted to the other railway I built in the garden, which used Big Big train stock and a Brian Clarke Simplex with a couple of Wiskit tippers.

 

Over the years the concept of the railway I wanted to build evolved into a line that resembled the Welshpool and Llanfair but that instead ran between the Herefordshire town of Leominster and the village of Weobley. That during this period I lived in a house that would have been one of the intermediate stations is totally coincidental.

 

The Weobley and Leominster was based around a very believable scenario. When after a few years I found myself living in the Warwickshire village of Wolston I looked around for an alternative scenario.

 

First of all I discovered that there had once been a railway staion here, and in fact the field our house is  built on is known as Railway Meadows. Secondly there had been a factory on the site, that had built early plastics and during the wars, explosives. Additionnaly there were a lot of industrial railways in the area, including the Swell known Southam quarry system. 

 

So the backstory behind the current story is this:

 

I t was built by the Bluemell brothers, well known bicycle builders, when they moved to the village, and was heavily influenced by the Decauville system,, al;so developed by bicycle makers. As well as building an industrial system the Bluemells realised it could also serve a social function, in particular supporting the local fishing club. During the wars it served an ammuntion factory, so there is a lot of ex WD stock on the line. Somehow it survived in a state of decrepitude up until the sixties, which is the period in  which the model is set..

 

As a model it is a long way off being my ideal of what a 16mm garden railway should be. It suffers from being a ground level line in a small space that has to co exist with family life. In many ways it resembles a sketch of waht I want to achieve one day.

 

 

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