I have just spent a lovely few days in Wales, as a mini Birthday Holiday. The plan was to spend some time doing some location searching regarding the Blaenau Branch, but most importantly to visit and operate Geoff Taylor’s layout, Barmouth Junction.
Weather was awful on the journey over on Wednesday, with thick flog surrounding Cwm Prysor and Trawsfynydd, so I headed south towards my accommodation and a visit to Alan Buttler’s ‘Modelu’ workshop. It was truly fascinating seeing how the 3D printing process works. Alan also offered me a non stop tour of what remains of the Mid Wales Branch and Moat Lane Junction…with a grand finale being the view of the Clywedog Reservoir, the building of which was the last duty the Mid Wales line performed before closure.
Thursday came, and I awoke early to meet my friend Simon, as we headed off to operate Geoff Taylor’s ‘Barmouth Junction’. Before we move onto the layout, I have to say what excellent hosts Geoff and Sharon were, looking after us from arrival until departure (hope we didn’t eat you out of house and home!)
The layout really is something else, ingeniously designed with simply beautiful modelling. The start is ‘Dolgellau Sidings’ which I operated under Alan’s careful eye (as well as Barmouth Fiddleyard). This area is still being worked on by Geoff but it’s not hard to be able to tell what part of the country you are supposed to be viewing.
4585 is seen shunting in Dolgellau Sidings. © Alan Buttler
From here we move onto Penmaenpool Station itself. I have visited the real location many times, most recently last month with my Father. Looking at the model, and you feel like you are there….60 years ago.
A Collett Goods gets the right away with a train bound for Bala and Ruabon. © Alan Buttler
My Croes Newydd 7414 sits on Penmaenpool Shed, awaiting a return working to Bala.
Another of my locos, 4645 works a local Pickup Goods along the shore of the Mawddach Estuary © Alan Buttler
Finally we arrive at Barmouth Junction itself, where the Llangollen line meets the Cambrian Coast line. There is so much for the eye to take in, with the estuary in view behind the station.
An interesting move in the operation sequence, was seeing locos head off scene with a train to Barmouth, before seeing the loco return a few minutes later to turn on the triangle (which can be seen in the photo above).
Dukedog number 9000 is seen at Barmouth Junction while being turned on the triangle. ©Alan Buttler
It was a truly enjoyable day, and if I had any doubts about moving to DCC, they had gone by the time I had operated my first train. The lenz LH90 controller was comfortable to hold and would be simple to use at a show with Cwm Prysor.
Friday’s journey home took me back through the heart of Snowdonia. With the weather not as foggy, I stopped just East of Trawsfynydd to do some location spotting. I shall post more on this tomorrow, but it involves the idea of a ‘Modular Layout’ which in essence, will allow extended boards to Cwm Prysor.