If I’m completely honest….. I had already chosen the location before starting these ‘Planning’ Blog posts, but thought it was worthwhile writing out my thoughts and ideas I had gone through when planning the location.
Before I reveal all, it’s possibly worth looking at the reasons behind this choice. Towards the latter end of 2013, I had almost decided on another location, Alne north of York. It was three track main line (not completely quadrupled until the late 1950’s), nice open stretch of main line and had a junction with a privately owned line, the ‘Easingwold Railway’. Could have been easily done in the space available, but after weeks of planning I had some feelings of concern. It’s all very well watching expresses flying by all day, but this could easily become monotonous, with limited shunting movements.
Operational interest had to play a large part, so I began looking at the other stations along the stretch of line. Northallerton was out due to it’s complexity (maybe one day!) and the other stations of Beningbrough, Tollerton, Raskelf, Pilmoor, Sessay and Otterington were of a similar size to Alne, so I would end up with the same operational issues I had seen before.
This left one station, Thirsk.
A relatively large station serving a market town in the Vale of Mowbray. Looking at the WTT, there was numerous stopping trains, plus trains coming across from Leeds Northern Main line via the junction at Melmerby. Some trains terminated as well as originate with stock clearly requiring shunting over night and the carriage roster show a number of vans require attaching a detaching within the operating day. After further investigation, it appeared pre war Thirsk still only had an up and down line, with it quadrupled a few hundred yards north of the Station. This would mean that some goods trains on the slow would have to wait while those on the fast would get priority. Everything seemed to make sense and the boxes of my dream layout were being ticked one by one, the next question would be, can it fit within the dimensions of 32ft by 14ft. The answer is yes with some compromises.
The station wouldn’t be an issue and could be modelled to scale, it would be the mass of marshalling yards north of the station. Research has shown these yards had been developed during the First World War, but had fallen into almost abandonment between the wars (the outbreak of the Second World War would see them developed once more). Therefore, I see no reason these yards can’t be compromised in length to fit within the boundaries of what is possible.
So there we have it, planning is well on it’s way to develop Thirsk 1938. My next blog update will talk about a lucky bit of horse trading between myself and a friend. More on that another time.
Raise your glasses to Thirsk!