. The Grand Tour .





The Grand Tour - Huddersfield Railway Modellers Group

The layout you see this weekend is at the beginning of year four in a ten year building programme.  As with many projects, a lot of work goes in before there is anything tangible to show for the effort. This layout of is no exception. Progress from now on should be much more spectacular.  

Following the sale of its predecessor, the North Meltham Light Railway, in April 1998, the group started detailed planning. This took up most of the remainder of that year, but a start was made on the modular baseboards in late 1998 and work progressed on the trackbed at a rate which enabled us to stage the first steam-up two days before the end of the millennium.  

Year 2000 has witnessed a start on the scenic aspect, although with six major locations to model and blend together, this phase of the layout's development is likely to take up the next four or five years of our time.  

So what are we trying to achieve? The whirlwind tour of several Welsh and one English narrow gauge lines, some defunct, others still fully operational and thriving.  

The main station depicted is Harbour Station on the Festiniog Railway at Porthmadog (still spelt Portmadoc in the era modelled). Trainsh set off from here across the famous cob, but instead of curving to the left towards Blaenau Ffestiniog, they go straight on, over what will eventually be a section of the Aberglaslyn Pass on the former North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway in the 1920s.

The trackbed next enters the permanently non-scenic section leading to the fiddled yards, before emerging from under a double track road bridge into Southwold Yard. The visit to England is brief, as leaving the yard we go over the main engineering feature of the Talyllyn Railway - the Dolgoch viaduct, 120 ft long and nearly 60 ft high.  

Leaving the viaduct we negotiate the back streets of Welshpool on the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway of the 1950s and return to Harbour Station.  

The scenery may be in its early stages, but the loco's and rolling start are as wonderful as ever, even within the constraints imposed by running them indoors, for this is, after all, a scale seen at its best in the garden.

Published by
Chris MacKenzie for the
Virtual Narrow Gauge Model Railway Exhibition
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