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Upper Hembury GWR Branch Line - Members Personal Layouts. - Model Railway Layouts. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2021 06:02 am
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Colin W
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Some Background on Upper Hembury

Those who have visited my planning notes for this layout may be familiar with the broad back story which I've presented so far regarding the arrival of the railway to Upper Hembury in the Western Blackdown Hills of East Devon.
I'm going to provide a brief summary of what can be found in the various materials at Planning Notes- PN Post #61 and following but also bring to light further specific details which have since emerged.

1) Why Upper Hembury needed the railway

In the parallel world of my setting, the upper areas of the River Tale valley were a thriving community with some significant industry to be found but very poor connections to the outside world (see PN: post #64)



Recent research in some obscure archives has turned up detailed maps of Upper Hembury, hitherto unknown!
I cannot vouch for their provenance and indeed the composite shown has been stitched together from some of the poorly preserved remnants!



'Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland' (with additions) #
https://maps.nls.uk/index.html

The small town centre sits at about 170m in the flat region just below the deep sides of the Tale Valley, which rise to above 250m on the ridges. While the centre was compact, the valuable valley floor farming land meant that the area favoured by the local residents was beyond this map to the right, along the desirable West facing slopes of the Tale valley which overlook the entire Exe River area, away to the left of the mapped area shown.

As can be seen, the river and road define a narrow corridor in which limits where the terminus could be constructed. Fortunately the end section opened out on the town on two sides near its centre and lies conveniently on flat and available land. Land to the west of the river lies low and is prone to flooding.

We will return to this map as it plays an important part in the railway construction and hence my project.


# No such place exists of course, feel free to explore to see our World's equivalent setting.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2021 09:04 am
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Colin W
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GWR Plans at Upper Hembury

Further delving into archives turned up early plans which the GWR prepared for the terminus at Upper Hembury.

Here I have overlaid them on the maps I've recovered from the 1881 OS Survey (see acknowledgement and footnote in Post #1). At that stage, any "arrangement" with the LSWR was just a prospect so these drawings show only the main approach, station, run around loop and location of the Goods and Traders yards. Businesses already were located along Bridge Rd from the river to the Town Square and with the Creamery equally close, the choice of Goods Yards location was straightforward. Access to the Station approaches was somewhat more problematic if a further river crossing was to be avoided.

The whole Station Precinct area was positioned well back from the lower reaches of the river which was well known to overflow its banks after heavy rains.


 



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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2021 05:33 pm
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Petermac
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Love it Colin !! :Happy

I'm amazed you managed to unearth these old archives - I'd have thought the village amateur historians would have seen every map from Doomsday onwards but obviously they missed this one ............. ;-)

Looking at the map, I can see there was certainly a need for a railway connection and I'd guess it must have been a very profitable line during it's lifetime.  Creameries and tanneries had a high demand on traffic both ways to say nothing of the agricultural traffic.

Looking forward to watching it develop. :thumbs



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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2021 10:24 pm
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Colin W
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How the Railway came to Upper Hembury

This expands on my Planning notes PN: Post #64 where I looked at the reasons why the LSWR didn't address the local merchants and residents calls for a branch line from Upper Hembury to the southern mainline at Honiton.

The approvals process of the nearby privately constructed Culm Valley Railway from Tiverton to Hemyock provides useful insights  (Ref: Wikipedia)

"A public meeting was held at Uffculme on 15 May 1872 and the idea was received with enthusiasm....... There was some discussion about the location of the Hemyock terminus, in case extension to the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) were later required: Honiton is about ten miles away, but over challenging terrain." (around the Tale Valley I believe!)

Enter the GWR

When the GWR turned its attention to the opportunity in the Tale Valley, economic conditions had improved sufficiently for them to make proposals with local landowners in local meetings and move to seek Parliamentary Approval.

"Accordingly in the 1882 session of Parliament, the GWR sought and gained authorisation of a line from Cullompton to Upper Hembury"

With a thriving local business community serving the rich agricultural production of the region it was planned for the line to have a predominantly freight focus and the rail infrastructure was planned accordingly. A significant Goods Yard and Merchants facilities were planned, backing onto Bridge Road with ready access. Sidings would serve the Creamery and Tannery, both of which struggled with the poor road access of the region.

Cattle traffic was a lesser concern. There were already large markets at Honiton and Exeter so there was limited demand to transport large numbers of cattle and a small dock and siding were considered sufficient. The track plans in the earlier post were drawn up to meet these needs and suitable lands and properties acquired so that building could commence.

There was one final concern regarding access across private land on the estate of Dunkswell Grange. That is a story in itself which will keep for another day.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 13th, 2021 11:31 pm
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Sol
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I can see this "history" being found in a few years time by a budding author who will publish a book on ancient railway history...



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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2021 01:15 am
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Colin W
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Sol wrote: I can see this "history" being found in a few years time by a budding author who will publish a book on ancient railway history...

I hope they read my fine print!



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 Posted: Sun Nov 14th, 2021 02:39 am
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John Dew
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Great stuff Colin. You are clearly in your element with all this   “historical” research” . It was clever of you to super impose the anyrail track plan on an ordnance survey map. It really put the railway into the context of the surrounding countryside.
Best wishes



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 Posted: Mon Nov 15th, 2021 06:32 am
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Colin W
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Thanks to all for your feedback.

From working with the maps of the location, real enough despite my minor "tweaks" to history and nature it is clear that my track design fits in well at scale. My 4100mm (13.45ft) of available length scales up to a little over 1000ft in real life. Room enough to capture the full approaches to the Terminus as the track follows the broad curve of the river as it nears town. GWR Engineering would surely have done something similar to maximise utilisation of the available space.

When I started overlaying track plans on the map what did stand out was the inadequacy of Anyrail's more flexible resources to accurately mirror my Templot designed plans.  Important now as the placement of the L-Girders required an accurate charting of the track which I'll be laying.

So, one more map, revised and showing the positioning of the core Templot derived lines, the baseboard outline and dimensions overlaid on the OS 25".



The twin L-Girder structure backs onto the walls with 400mm separation which will leave all the point motor access zones totally free. I'll need some further bracing under the station and where the baseboard widens at on the right in front of the Traverser zone.

We head to the Timber yard Wednesday morning and construction will then begin!!



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 Posted: Mon Nov 15th, 2021 08:37 pm
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Martin Wynne
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It's sad that so little remains of the railway at Upper Hembury.

The station was located in this field, but you would never know it now:

 https://goo.gl/maps/5GmpVorJzihGpwpX6

Upper Hembury Memorial Hall now occupies the site of the goods yard:

 https://goo.gl/maps/1DowFH6TsqEUWVkc7

The map records no evidence of the railway, but does have the names of the cottages:

 https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=19/50.83554/-3.27933

But notice the building called The Sidings, so not completely forgotten.

:)

Martin.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 16th, 2021 12:16 am
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Martin Wynne
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The station at Upper Hembury occupied a delightful rural position alongside the River Tale. This photo was taken a couple of years after closure.



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 Posted: Wed Nov 17th, 2021 08:19 am
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Colin W
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Progress Report

I went with my carpenter to Bunnings today and selected suitable timbers for the L-Girders and related infrastructure. He's coming back Monday to cut and put it all together for me.

If this sounds lazy / unable, I assure you that's not the case (says he with a good Passes in both "O" Level Woodwork and Eng. Drawing) but I lack the space and tools to deliver the precision needed for this job. I know Kev will do it 100% and that's what matters. Additionally, he's also got a bl
ϕϕdy big truck which is a big help shifting long lengths and big areas of timber that I have no hope getting in my set of wheels.

Downstairs got a "sort out", removing anything likely to be in the way. Plan is, given requests from the grandchildren, to retain Westown- Heathfield while the new layout is progressed. Given the height difference and the narrow footprint of U-H this is entirely feasible but for how long together will be determined by "other forces!"

I had the presence of mind to acquire a second NCE setup when Rails were deep discounting them and the AUD was stronger, so double Ops is all planned and allowed for. ;-)


PS Thanks are due to Martin, not only for access to his excellent software but also for all the internet and photographic confirmation that I'm not (totally) delusional!





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 Posted: Sun Nov 21st, 2021 11:03 pm
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Colin W
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Construction Day

I write this to the buzz of a bench saw; work has begun. This is the space, "Opportunity in search of an Application" as I see it. A difficult angle to get a decent photo from as my back was to the wall (literally). The tiles are square, 250mm including the grout spacing, so the available area can now be seen "naked", 1450mm * 4400mm in all it's glory. A far cry from the acres in which others of this patch can frolic around but no matter!





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 Posted: Mon Nov 22nd, 2021 05:38 am
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Colin W
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Construction Day 1 -update

Only a few hours later, voilà, we have the backbone of the structure in place. Two parallel "L"-Girders; 420mm front to back edge. The layout is 500mm at its narrowest, opening out in the bend of the "L" and nearest the stairwell where the traverser storage will sit behind a narrow scenic section. Two supplementary Girders will span these wider areas to provide additional support for the joists.

Top of the base is at 1010mm, to which we add joist + top (42+12mm) to a give surface height of 1064mm.
Orientation has North at the foot (laundry end) of the "L" shape which by pure chance coincides roughly with the prototype setting (NNE as best I can judge). I'll be able to have pleasing "Sun setting in the West" photos again.

Legs and a shelf underneath, both anchored to the wall will provide further support. Glad I'm getting this done for me, Kev makes it look easy (it is to him with all the right tools) and I'd still be looking for something crucial in my shed!





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 Posted: Mon Nov 22nd, 2021 09:53 am
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Longchap
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Well done Colin, you have truly started now and your drive and enthusiasm will carry you forward with the enjoyable construction and modelling stages. How are you handling the construction and fixing of the backscene?

Following with great interest.

Best,

Bill



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Mon Nov 22nd, 2021 10:19 am
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Colin W
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Thanks Bill,

This time the backscene will be plain sky until it looks to be clearly lacking something. The view, from the West across the river (not modelled) will be towards the rising ridge of Hembury Fort so once all the various establishments are in place I'll need to see if any views of rising hills are required in the background. I'll know what I want when I see what I don't want. Could be a tricky one!

Having the backscene flush to the walls is new for me. I can get around the back at W-H, something the (now not so) little ones will miss greatly. The presence of a solid base means I should be able to make something robust and mounted for easy removal.

Perhaps even more demanding will be concealing the entry to and side of the Traverser zone, a configuration inspired by the Much Murkle setting. I can't use the technique Nick used on MM viz. well placed bridges as my tracks lead down to the riverside Tannery. A road crossing the tracks has nowhere to go!

I've done a mock up version of a setting for the approach tracks entering the traverser but I'll say more once baseboards are added and I can display it in situ.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 22nd, 2021 12:02 pm
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I too am a long standing admirer of Nick's MM and have enjoyed operating sessions and chatting with Nick at exhibitions. His cassette station is cleverly located behind the cider plant, the entrance concealed as you describe. Other sight blockers could be employed such as buildings, clumps of trees or such like and I'm sure you will employ an appropriate visual distraction.
Have fun, still watching here and thank you,

Bill



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Mon Nov 22nd, 2021 06:18 pm
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I love the smell of freshly cut wood - especially when it becomes baseboards!!

Good luck with the venture

Barry



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 Posted: Mon Nov 22nd, 2021 07:42 pm
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That looks very promising Colin :thumbs



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 Posted: Tue Nov 23rd, 2021 01:59 am
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Colin W
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Construction Day 2 -update


A very short morning was required to level everything up then install legs / shelf supports. This will give me a 400mm shelf almost the length of the wall for lots of invaluable storage.
:doublethumb
The "L" bend angle brace was added so the next major step is the top surface. We need to get the ply and I need to recheck the design to define the main cuts. Kev has the kit at home to handle cutting the big sheets.



I've enough 2*1" joists to see me right after a further Bunnings trip, required to get the things SWMBO forgot to tell me last time!



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 Posted: Tue Nov 23rd, 2021 03:59 am
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That looks very smart indeed Colin and speedily built.  The difference between a carpenter/joiner and a DIY woodworker eh ?

Looking forward to seeing the ply in place.  :thumbs



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