Paul A. Lunn returns to the Lakes with another branchline full of modelling potential.
It could have been something very special. As BR withdrew its last steam locomotives in the summer of 1968, the Lakeside Railway Society, led by charismatic Lancaster doctor Peter Beet, was trying to buy as many as possible. The LRS had a grand scheme – to ensure that steam would continue to bring tourists to Lake Windermere. BR only wanted to retain one branch line to feed Windermere. It kept the EX-LNWR branch open, closing the former Furness Railway branch on the other side of the water. The LRS wanted to operate the Lakeside- Ulverston branch, using a fleet of ‘Black Fives’ and others, based at Carnforth shed. Sadly, it was not to be for a new by-pass obliterated most of the trackbed. Nevertheless, both schemes continued, albeit individually. Carnforth would become a steam centre, providing a home for the likes of Flying Scotsman and Sir Nigel Gresley. It’s now the headquarters of West Coast Railway Company. The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway successfully preserved the surviving 3½ miles of railway but its shortness shouldn’t detract from the outstanding scenery of the Lake District. Treat yourself to a visit and be inspired!
This 16ft by 10ft ‘OO’ gauge ‘U’-shaped layout is set firmly in late Lms/early BR days. It replicates the prototype track plan as near as possible within the confining space and includes some dramatic features, such as the quayside, ornate overall roof and waterside offices. An ‘N’ gauge version would mean a massive reduction in overall length to 8ft and a minor reduction in width to 8ft 3in, but retaining the operating wells as per the ‘OO’ gauge layout.
FACTFILE: THE LAKESIDE BRANCH
Opened: June 1 1869, built by the Furness Railway. Past operators: LMS, London Midland Region. Current operator: Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway. Route: Plumpton Junction-lakeside. Intermediate stations: Greenodd, Haverthwaite. Closed: September 2 1967; Lakeside to Haverthwaite reopened on May 2 1973.
This 16ft by 10ft 6in ‘OO’ gauge layout is set in the preservation era. It includes all the dramatic features, including a quayside terminus, a riverside run and rock face tunnels at either end of the Haverthwaite section and distant hills. I’ve provided non-scenic sidings for additional stock in two locations, one suitable for use with a Peco Loco Lift. For additional operating interest, I’ve provided a passing loop between A and B so that trains can pass. Similarly, at Lakeside, I’ve reintroduced Platform 2 so that two trains can be in the station at the same time, with departure locomotives waiting in headshunt C before backing on to an awaiting train.
Beauty and drama
A rocky cliff face covered in vegetation provides an ideal dramatic backdrop to what can only be described as a beautifully picturesque station at Greenodd. There’s much detail to be replicated here, though none more captivating than an outward-facing platform seat providing a grand view across the Leven estuary. Note the distant plate girder bridge, trader’s warehouse beyond a moderately busy goods yard, and the optical illusion of the platform waiting room and signal box behind, merging into one.
Windermere Lake Cruises operates three of the four former BR vessels: MV Swan, MV Teal and MV Tern. The oldest is Tern, a steamer built in Essex in 1891 and rebuilt with diesel engines in the 1950s. MV Swift was scrapped in the 1990s.
Above: It’s the end of a branch line, but Lakeside on June 14 1953 has all the hustle and bustle of a main line terminus. The platform roads are jammed with coaches as a Stanier 2-6-4T prepares for departure. Meanwhile, a ‘Black Five’ is serviced ready for its next duty.
This end of Lakeside station, however, retains much of its character. The signal box and signal are retained from BR days, although the latter now only sports two arms. LAYOUT FACTFILE • ‘OO’ gauge • 16ft by 10ft 6in
Left: Haverthwaite station, looking towards Ulverston. Road improvements obliterated a good proportion of the branch and Carnforth never got to service locomotives for a steam-hauled service. Instead, the former 10A became Steamtown Railway Centre, while the surviving Haverthwaite to Lakeside branch would eventually reopen – as the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway – in 1973. LAYOUT FACTFILE • ‘N’ gauge • 15ft by 8in
Above: The deep rock cutting at Haverthwaite provides the ideal scenic break. The LHR is home to the only two surviving LMS Fairburn 2-6-4Ts, Nos. 42073 and 42085. Left: Unable to use Carnforth shed as a servicing facility, the LHR has had to build its own workshops and storage sheds at Haverthwaite station. Hunslet ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST ‘Repulse’, complete with Giesl ejector, rests outside the shed. Above: Step off the train at Lakeside and, within a few yards, you’re standing at the southern end of Windermere, looking north towards the glorious Lake District.