Planning Harrogate

harrogate at the station
Ex-Harrogate gas works Peckett No. 2050 of 1944, now running on the private Statfold Barn Railway in Staffordshire.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be planning layouts when I already have one that needs work. But sometimes it just happens.

Usually it’s due to a specific piece of inspiration. This time, its a new product. RT Models has just introduced a kit in OO9 for the Drewry diesel bought by the 2′ gauge Harrogate gas works railway in 1949. Due to the very small loading gauge of the tunnel at the gas works end of the line, the Drewry (and indeed the other three locos used during the line’s history) has a cut-down cab which gives it a rather distinctive look.

Actually the Harrogate line has been in my mental file of “things to model” for a while, and having 1/4 of the loco roster in kit form makes things that little bit easier. So, while waiting for my kit to arrive, I started looking at the track plan for the New Park terminus of the line adjacent to the gas works to see what I could fit into a reasonable space.

Harrogate Gasworks plan

“Reasonable space” turned out to be about 5′ x 2′, which is even on the small side for OO9 but I thought captured most of the character and operating potential of the original site. Things are simplified of course by it being a purely industrial line – the only traffic to represent being coal in and tar and ammonical liquor (byproducts of the gas works) out. After posting the plan for comment on the NGRM forum, there was some discussion which led to a few alterations and additions.

A key part of the real operation was weighing the incoming coal wagons, for this purpose a weighbridge was located on the first loop (the lower track in this plan). From here the layout was set up to allow a wagon to be shunted directly into any of the coal drops. In my initial drawing, with a weighbridge in the same location, the crossover would not allow a shunt into the upper coal drop siding.

Harrogate Gasworks plan mk2

By flipping the crossover round there was then access to both sidings from the weighbridge (now drawn in behind the loco shed) but the balance of the two loops was lost. However a third coal drop siding was added which got things a bit closer to reality – there were four sidings until 1939 when one was lifted.

Harrogate Gasworks plan mk3

Finally, by slightly shortening the first loop and extending the length of the whole plan by less than 6″, the original balance was restored. The loco shed was also moved and reduced in size to give more space for the weighbridge and its hut. I would like to thank fellow blogger Michael for the key parts of conversation on NGRM which got me to this point.

So I’m not saying I’m going to build this layout. But if I did build a layout based on the Harrogate gas works it would probably look pretty much like this.

RT Models - Harrogate gasworks Drewry diesel kit

For the time being I just need to build the Drewry…

This entry was posted in 009, 2' gauge, harrogate, ideas, model railways, narrow gauge, planning, track plans. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Planning Harrogate

  1. Michael Campbell says:

    Go on, you know you want to… it would be a great exhibition layout!

  2. Phil Parker says:

    He's not wrong, it would be a very interesting exhibition model with a reasonable amount of action and big enough to interest exhibition managers. Put a small display of prototype photos alongside to increase the frontage by a couple of feet and things look very promising.

    Nice track plans by the way, how did you draw them ?

  3. stephen says:

    The plans are drawn in Adobe Illustrator, which I am currently attempting to master (or least amateur). Some useful PDF track templates were posted on an OO9 Yahoo group a few years ago, which open as editable object in Illustrator so that made life a lot easier.

  4. kcb says:

    No connection with this post – t,ying to gain contact with you about using, for publication, a photo of yours

    contact via google account

  5. bowaters bert says:

    of course your going to build this ;)

  6. Paul says:

    I was brought up in Baldwin Street, New Park in the 1950’s when the Gas Works line was still active. In fact, a photo taken on Coronation Day shows myself and a bunch of other locals against the railings seperating the street from the “gassy”, with the tar/water tank building behind us. My gt-grandfather was a carter there, and as a kid myself and mates would sneak through the railings and play along the tracks and in the tunnel. I’d love to see this completed, although as I live now in the USA, a photo would have to suffice.
    Cheers … Paul

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