Wyre Forest Model Railway Club
Dave Rook HISTORY – Bincombe is an ‘N’ gauge model of a fictitious junction station on the railway line between Dorchester Junction and Weymouth. This line was actually built by the G.W.R. but on which the Southern Railway acquired running rights. Following reorganisation during the 1950’s full control of the line passed to the Southern Region in 1958. The station is modelled in the Spring/early Summer of 1959 when ex-G.W.R locomotives still operated from Weymouth to Westbury, Bristol and Paddington and ex-S.R. locomotives ran from Weymouth to Bournemouth or Waterloo. Bincombe is situated at the top of Upwey bank and in reality only consisted of a small signal box which was mostly used to turn back banking locomotives to Weymouth, via a double ended siding placed between the two running lines. This feature is retained at the northern end of the model. The modelled junction represents a G.W.R. branch line to Lulworth, again fictitious, which departs northwards from the station under a single track bridge. THE LAYOUT - Bincombe is permanent, as it is attached to three walls of my study and measures 17’ 6” along the main wall of which the scenic section of the layout takes up 13’ 6”. At each end the main lines divide into four reverse loops with a number of short sidings in the middle. The layout is in effect a ‘dog bone’ shape. The return loops take up a wall length of 7’ 6” at the Dorchester end of the layout and 4’ 6” at the Weymouth end. The Lulworth branch line runs into three independent sidings at the rear of the Dorchester loops. The Weymouth loops and sidings are on a board that is about half an inch lower than the main layout and therefore on exiting the fiddle yard via the tunnel mouth the trains continue to climb at an average gradient of 1 in 72 for the first 3’ of the scenic section. As on the prototype heavy passenger or goods trains heading towards Westbury are usually banked although similar trains for the Bournemouth direction are normally double headed. In view of the gradient it would have been necessary for all unfitted freight trains to stop to have the brakes pinned down before proceeding down the bank. For that reason, on the model, a goods loop is provided behind the station. Peco code 80 track is used for the majority of the layout although the three single slips and one point are code 55. The points on the scenic section are powered by Tortoise point motors whilst those in the storage loops and sidings use Peco motors operated on a route selection basis by a diode matrix and capacitor discharge system. The semaphore signals, which feature both lower and upper quadrants, use a Ratio mechanism linked to Fulgurex motors. Although the majority of shunting is carried out in the storage areas the local goods train does shunt the small yard twice a day and about 30 wagons are fitted with magnetic D G couplings. Small Seep magnets are located in the yard for handless uncoupling. To ensure that trains ascending the bank do so at a realistic speed there is half way up the bank a speedometer so that operators can check the scale speed of any passing train in the up direction. It is planned to install a similar device on the down line close to the platform.   OPERATION – This is my main interest, which may be difficult to understand as there is little in the way of shunting and the vast majority of trains just run from one end of the layout to the other either non stop or just stopping for 30 seconds at the platform. However, it is the variety of trains that make the operation interesting especially when it is essential that trains in the fiddle yards are in the right place at the right time. The layout runs to a 24 hour sequence timetable of 129 movements which normally takes around four days to complete. In order to handle stock as little as possible the fiddle yards hold in total 29 trains ranging from a Western diesel rail car to a 12 coach Channel Island Boat Express. For each ‘days’ operations between 38 and 40 locomotives are required to haul these trains from a total number available at the moment of 48. Of these locomotives 15 are kit built and the majority have had headcode lamps and vacuum pipes added. For the Southern locomotives white route disks have been added. Also available are 80 coaches, in all four liveries that would have been around in 1959 and about 260 freight wagons of which 130 are kit or scratch built. These are formed into 7 general merchandise trains up to a maximum of 35 wagons. In addition around 50 ‘non common’ wagons are not allocated to trains but act as replacements each time a train departs from the fiddle yards. Hence, no two freight trains are ever the same. In addition there are also fish, parcels, newspaper, milk and engineering trains. The coaching stock is also made up into sets, of which a number have been close coupled. As per the prototype these sets are strengthened by the addition of ‘loose’ coaches. As I have not yet found a working timetable for the line of 1959 I have produced my own timetable from a number of different sources. Most information is taken from a 1954 working timetable although the passenger services have been updated to 1956/57. For 1954 I also have information on coach formations which includes the length of trains and types of coaches. The correct length of freight trains can only be a guess. The timetable for the fictitious branch to Lulworth is based on the line to Fairford although amendments have been made to allow trains to run to/from Weymouth between main line services. The timetable has slight amendments for each day between Monday and Friday. Saturday is not modelled as I do not have sufficient space on the layout to hold the large number of coaches that would be required. Likewise, Sunday would be passenger services only and un-interesting. CONCLUSION – As stated earlier it takes about 4 days to operate the 24 hour timetable, which to date has been done 22 times. After the completion of each ‘day’ there is usually a break of 2/3 weeks which is used for maintenance, construction of new stock or to add more detail to the layout. Visitors are welcome at any time but please ring 01902 843760 for an appointment or contact me by e mail on d.j.rook@btinternet.com. I have been a long standing member of both Wyre Forest Model Railway Club and the ‘N’ Gauge.
An un-rebuilt Southern pacific on a stopping train from Waterloo.
A 74xx pannier, built from a modified 57xx kit, awaits departure to Weymouth from the branch platform.
A rebuilt Battle of Britain pacific passes through the station with an express to Waterloo.
A pannier tank on the Lulworth service is held at the junction signal, awaiting the passage of a DMU from Bristol.