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HOLMEWORTH

by Kier Hardy

 


Traffic flows freely through Holmeworth whilst a class 08 shunts wagons above, on a glorious sunny West Yorkshire day in the 1980s.


Holmeworth was my first venture into EM gauge, and initially consisted of 4 continuous circuits of track around the edge of a standard 16ft garage, with construction taking place during the mid-1980s. The Gloucester Model Railway Club's EM layout aptly named EMFORD gave me the opportunity to convert and test rolling stock to the wider gauge with success, so plans were drawn up for a layout 16ft X 8ft with a central operating well. The concept was very experimental (with some of the trackbed on 3ft radii with gradients) and provided a good insight into the limitations of track and motive power. This view shows a class 37 hauling ballast wagons down the curved gradient past the Allbright Engineering building.


Tracks emerged from tunnels at different levels on the left and negotiated a section of crossovers, before curving around and under a road bridge to the right. The tracks at the midle of the layout were laid so that a further 8ft of layout could be inserted between the sets of crossovers to feature a station. In this short format it attended a few exhibitions before the additional baseboards were built.


A large proportion of the locomotive fleet was Lima with double motored drive units giving excellent hauling capacity and controlability.... and they were cheap too! A favourite loco of the late 1980s period was 37405 Strathclyde Region, having been photographed during a visit to Glasgow Queen Street at the time when many new liveries were starting to appear. Good experience in repainting and modifying stock was gained during this time, but in the end I decided to stick to a mid-1980s theme instead of trying to keep pace with the changes.


Plan showing the additional 8ft station inserted between the crossovers, and providing the equally long yard with a facility to access the works on a slightly lower level. The split level storage yard at the rear of the layout was designed as a 2-tier arrangement for maximum capacity, but never reached completion due to the restricted access, awkward curves and gradients.


A Deltic entering the station with a Bradford bound train, and a glimpse can be caught of the sidings in the background. After the station and platforms had been constructed, I felt a replacement off-scene storage yard was required, with better access trackwork and to a modular design.


The new storage yard is made up of six 4-foot long baseboards, and at 30 inches wide can accomodate 16 sidings which suits the 4 track mainline circuits. The stock remains in place even when travelling to shows and back, with the baseboards each acting as large flat stock boxes. All the pointwork is concentrated on the outer two boards which hinge over for transit, and the 16-foot long sidings are laid with aluminium angle section. The main reason was a greatly reduced cost, and secondly this arrangement keeps the stock in place incase of a rough shunt.


56074 Kellingley Colliery with a loaded MGR train heads for Drax Power Station. With new 180 degree curves at each end of the layout, the redundant trackbed was made into a feature at both ends of the scenic section.


An Inter-City 125 unit slows for the station.


British Railway Modelling magazine article, showing part of the abandoned section leading towards the tunnels. It's ironic to think that model trains once used to emerge from those tunnel mouths.... that's progress!


Plan showing the final arrangement with just the tunnels remaining as a redundant feature. The engineering works was demolished and a track crossed a road to serve some industrial sidings at the opposite end.


A brace of type two power 25196 & 25313 - both Craftsman conversions on the Hornby class 25.


This and the following few snaps were taken at exhibitions, hence the poor light and quality.


Holmeworth attended well over 40 exhibitions during its life, and the grand finale came when it appeared in Utrecht, Holland during November 2000.


The layout was broken up shortly afterwards, and many of the buildings, structures and other salvageable parts have seen further use on Greg Brookes' Shenston Road layout.


Canada Road regular D2511 is seen shunting the yard.


A lot of visiting rolling stock was provided by Pete Johnson, and this view shows some of his locos.


The scratchbuilt ballast cleaner by Steve Adcock, which regularly had its wheels reguaged back to 00 for use on his Russel Bridge layout, and back to EM for display on Holmeworth.


37009 at Holmeworth - A double motored Lima version which has since been upgraded with etched windscreens and other extra detailing, and continues to see regular use on Wibdenshaw.

Photographs on this page courtesy of Tony Wright / BRM / Kier hardy