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by Karl Crowther


The layout is a nostalgia trip back to 1970s Halifax, an interest in the area and period reawakened initially by Kier’s atmospheric Wibdenshaw. Then, it was Pete Johnson, Ian Manderson and Tony Wood’s “The Brewery” that led to the idea of a small shunting layout based very loosely on the area around North Bridge Station on the former GNR route via Queensbury to Bradford. Commenced in 2008 and still under construction this image gives a good overall impression of the scene being created.

One end of the layout is dominated by a set of coal drops inspired by those of similar pattern from Halifax (Town) and Sowerby Bridge stations. The entrance gate to the coal yard is from Halifax and of note is the woodwork still in ‘steam era’ colours. The stonework has been created using Wills sheets and painted with Humbrol enamels. Further detailing of the ground – coal dust, vegetation and general detritus is to follow, but this hopefully gives some idea of where it’s heading.

Dominating the centre front of the layout is this impressive set of steps leading to a pedestrian overbridge (with an almost equally steep ramp the other side). This is pure North Bridge and is a scene I’ve harboured a desire to create in model form since being a teenager. There is still much small detail to add – lamp posts, bus stops, street signage, weeds etc. but I’m really pleased with the overall appearance of the stonework.

The footbridge was constructed using Wills Vari-girder sections. Individual units were first assembled back to back in pairs. After checking all the edges were square, the main spans were then joined together onto a sheet of plate glass and once complete the full span was capped with styrene strip. A very strong bridge structure was the outcome.

The coal drop piers were made using Wills stone sheet for the sides, with the facing end made up from individual pieces to match the original. After the adhesive had fully hardened, further shape was given to the stones by scribing with a scraper-board knife. The top deck has planking which has been shaped to follow the rounded back walls of the coal cells. Once the wooden hoppers have been inserted, I doubt if the rear walls will actually be visible, but as least I know they are correctly curved as in the prototype!

This GNR rail-built buffer stop was constructed following drawings given in an article by Steve Hall in MRJ 48. The rails were annealed using a mini-gas torch before bending to shape. The actual beam is styrene, as is the bolt head detail.