Fairlight Works

Official blog of the High Weald Light Railway (1977) Co. Ltd.

Planning Harrogate

009 harrogate ideas model-railways narrow-gauge planning track-plans

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…