Pilton Yard in 009
by Bob Barnard


Construction of my model of Pilton Yard took place around 1980, but it was stored for several years before being included in a larger L&B layout in my loft in the mid 1990s. At this time it was integrated with the River Yeo Quays section to form a continuous L-shaped scenic section. The scenery and structures at Pilton were refurbished and detailed in 2005.

The track plan is the same as the original, although the size is compressed somewhat.

Track is proprietary 009, with pointwork hand made to suit each situation. The controlled points are operated by slow-acting mechanisms, whilst the yard points are operated by individual switches and rodding under the baseboard. Dummy point rodding of the correct round type has been added to the layout for the sake of appearance.

The lattice semaphore signals at Pilton are built from MSE components, and operated by modified Maplin power relays. Clearance of the signals is dependent on correct point detection, but Pilton does not yet have full interlocking between points and signals, and is operated from an interim switch panel. Lever numbers are pure guesses on my part, as the original numbering is not known; when I build the final lever frame I will renumber the points and signals in a more likely sequence, based on continuing research by L&B experts. Entry to the single line sections is controlled by my “Tokenless Block” system.

Buildings and scenic items are built from scratch using some 00 scale kits and components. The sheds are constructed from thin ply and stripwood, covered with the appropriate embossed plastic sheeting.

Pilton Bridge signal box is constructed using parts from a Ratio plastic kit, and contains a dummy lever frame and Tyers block instruments.

Although there are no photographs of the L&B’s turntable being used to turn vehicles, the model can be operated by hand, if required – but there is no point, as the chopper couplings are all single-ended! The terrace of houses backing on to the yard is an imaginative representation of the original, using card kits to save time in construction. At the front of the layout, a mill race flows, carrying water from the River Yeo upstream to Baker’s Mill on Braunton Road. Near Pilton level crossing, the line squeezes between the earlier buildings originally occupied by a fellmonger – the offices became the L&B HQ until 1935, but the yards remain in the foreground of the layout.

L&B, and provided workshop facilities, as well as sheds for locomotives and carriages. The goods yard dealt with the general freight carried on the line. The line ran ”mixed” trains throughout its life, with goods vehicles added to many passenger trains. The trains were usually assembled at Pilton, and propelled through the town, over the two level crossings, ready to meet passengers arriving from main line trains on the Southern Railway’s Ilfracombe line at Barnstaple Town. It was also necessary to shunt wagons from Pilton to the quay siding and the transhipment siding at Town, for example to load with coal and other bulky supplies for Lynton.
There are plenty of photos of the original Pilton Yard, from most angles, so research for this section was quite straightforward.

My L&B models have been described in the L&B Magazine, and some have been exhibited at the restored Woody Bay, and at 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.

Bob Barnard




      bring 'Lyn' back to life