Playing trains in Wonderful Wales

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.

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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.

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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.

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A Collett Goods gets the right away with a train bound for Bala and Ruabon. © Alan Buttler

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My Croes Newydd 7414 sits on Penmaenpool Shed, awaiting a return working to Bala.

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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.

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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).

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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.

🙂

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2 thoughts on “Playing trains in Wonderful Wales

  1. Tom

    I don’t seem to be able to log on, here is my comment:

    This is my spiritual home, which I will be revisiting in two weeks time to celebrate my 70th birthday. I should explain before going further. I am a Brummie but my father’s business partner, who was from Stourbridge, had to retire early for health reasons and due to his wife (who we all knew as “Jimmet”) being quite wealthy they bought a house in Borth y Gest, the upscale coastal village outside Porthmadog. When my father died early, in 1956, I found Borth y Gest to be a refuge from then on for about eight years, ending in the great freeze of 1962/3 when we were stranded on New Years Eve at the PYG Hotel (tough!). This is all history now, but boy, those memories do roll in!

    I also went to school in Oswestry from 1955 to 1964, so the Cambrian is engraved on my trainspotter’s soul. I used to visit 89A and the Works as often as possible, mostly on Sunday afternoons. Alan knows about this aspect of my life!

    The models, layouts and concepts you show are all exemplary. I feel I am being transported back in time, which is as it should be. Thank you!

    Paul Ashton (focalplane)

    >

    • Hello Paul

      Sounds like you lived in the perfect time with an interest in steam and the Cambrian.

      It was fascinating on Wednesday when Alan was showing me where Moat Lane Junction was, and what is left of it….now trains rumble by with passengers knowing little to nothing of this former Junction.

      Glad you are enjoying the blog. If I can achieve a fraction of what Geoff and others have achieved with their layouts….I’ll be happy. 🙂

      Tom

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