Barnstaple Town in 009
by Bob Barnard
click on image to enlarge
I have been building a re-creation in
model form of the famous Lynton and Barnstaple 2ft gauge line in North
Devon in my spare time for over 40 years, off and on. I therefore possess
stations and rolling stock that have been operating for longer than the
original line did in its first existence from 1898 to its closure in 1935!
Construction of my model of Barnstaple Town station took place in 2003/4.
It forms part of a larger L&B layout installed in my loft. The station is
a rather unusual and constricted shape in order to fit into the one
remaining corner of the loft that was without model railway. It is also
the most portable section of my layout, and therefore the easiest one to
take to exhibitions.
When I began modelling in 009 scale (4mm/1ft scale, with 9mm gauge track –
one of the most common standards for UK narrow gauge modellers), there
were few items commercially available for this scale, although today there
are many kits for L&B rolling stock. Track is proprietary 009, with
pointwork hand made to suit each situation. Buildings and scenic items are
built from scratch using some 00 scale components. The points at
Barnstaple Town are operated by slow-acting mechanisms.
The locomotives are mainly scratchbuilt, with only wheels, gears and
motors bought in, apart from “Yeo” which is built from an etched brass
kit. Passenger coaches are mostly home built from plastic sheet, whilst
freight stock is a mixture of scratchbuilt and kitbuilt items. The
couplings are the correct “Jones-Calthrop” chopper type, as used on the
The standard gauge SR N Class
2-6-0 and coaches that usually occupy the Ilfracombe platform were built
by my late father.
signalling is a particular feature of my models, with all the semaphore
signals fully working. Some stations have lever frames with full
mechanical locking between signals and points, but this is still a future
project for Town station. Entry to the single line sections is controlled
by a “Tokenless Block” system that I designed myself, based on the systems
used on some secondary lines in Britain.
Operationally, Barnstaple Town is rather unusual. The line ran ”mixed”
trains throughout its life, with goods vehicles added to many passenger
trains, and shunting taking place at intermediate stations on the journey
to Lynton. The main sidings and sheds for the L&B were located about ½
mile from Town station at Pilton Bridge. As a result, many of the trains
were assembled there, and propelled through the town, over two busy level
crossings, ready to meet passengers arriving from main line trains on the
Southern Railway’s Ilfracombe line. It was also necessary to shunt wagons
to the transhipment siding at Town, for example to load with coal and
other bulky supplies for Lynton.
Research for my models is a fascinating aspect of the hobby, and in this I
have been helped greatly by the fund of knowledge that exists within the
Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust, of which I have been a member for many
Barnstaple Town, along with other sections of my L&B model have been
described in the L&B Magazine, and have been exhibited at a few Model
Railway Exhibitions in the Lancashire and Cheshire, as part of the L&B
North West Area Group display and sales stand, which promotes interest in
the L&B in the region.