Upton & Blewbury ( A preserved line on the old Didcot Newbury & Southampton Railway)

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 Toms been on at me to get a thread up and running so here goes

   It all started with Blueberries, A four year old granddaughter, and an old copy of railway Modeller.

 I was reading the magazine, she was eating the blueberries.    

    Papa what's that your reading ?....
 A magazine about model trains sweetheart...
    Papa do you have any model trains ?.....
Yes I do...
    Papa can I see them ?.....(later after a good rummage)....
    Papa they are really nice !  can we run them ?.....
We need a layout for that sweetheart...
    Papa can you build us a layout ? with tunnels and bridges and a station so we can run them ???......
Ummmm   yes sweetheart, ....
    Papa what will we call our station  ? ".......

             I took one look at her face, laughed and Googled ... blueberry station, and up came



:-     Upton & Blewbury on the Didcot Newbury & Southampton Railway

A Little History

1882 -1966


   The Didcot Newbury and Southampton Railway  ( DN&SR ) was an independent railway opened in 1882 (The first section), to offer a shorter route from the north to Southampton and finally made it as far as Winchester in 1885 (12 miles short of Southampton) where it joined the LSWR line at Shawford  Junction. Unfortunately it had to rely on its rivals for connections to and from the main lines and the GWR to supply and run rolling stock etc . Covering aprox 44 miles from Didcot to Shawford Junction it had 16 stations with their own unique architecture and 2 additional halts built to serve an army camp and an RFC Station during the war.
  With limited passenger  numbers its main business was freight , serving the local farming community and local businesses and serving the thriving horse racing community it carried :-

    horse boxes along with grooms and jockeys to and from race meetings , sheep and cattle, local farm produce, Potato traffic from St Malo France, and also served a cement works, Timber yard, brick works,  and various other small businesses. During the war it was upgraded and saw very heavy traffic  helping in the build up to D day, and in its declining years saw heavy coal and petrol/ oil traffic. It also catered for football specials and holiday traffic.
   Finally closing down in 1966, the line has almost completely disappeared.

The layout Planned


OO gauge, Dc
My interest is in the first three stations , Upton Blewbury  (for obvious reasons )  Churn Halt, And Compton Station, covering  a six mile stretch.



    The premise for the layout :-

 Instead of closing down and being completely lifted, the first three stations were taken over and preserved by Didcot Railway centre to give them a short excursion line as far as Compton station, using the sidings there as an overflow storage area for rolling stock being restored / preserved. This gives me the excuse to run anything I like ( including the rough old stock I currently have ! )

 I'm going to try and replicate some of the old station buildings and houses unique to this line but as it's a preserved line I also get to use any GWR and LSWR infrastructure available . I'm not going to attempt to build an exact replica but use the information I have to create the 'feel' of this sleepy backwater line . A track plan is difficult at the moment ,I have a vague plan in my head but  as I'm using what code 100 track I already have and some code 75 donated by Tom (that has been Toto'd  :P But is reclaimable)  the layout growth will be fairly organic (see what fits and adapt as I go ) As funds are short I'm using old stock and track that I have from my old layout dismantled 12 years ago and taking inspiration from  an Ausi Friend  And using re cycled materials as much as possible.  Baseboards have been built  and I'm starting to work on introducing various levels to replicate the rising and falling nature of the line running over and through the chalk downs.  yep  old track and points, two codes ( 75 and 100), rising and falling levels, and the whole thing able to be dismantled for moving this time just in case we have to move again ( had to rip out my old layout many years ago as it was built in to the loft roof ).....glutton for punishment or what ? but an interesting experiment :wacko:

But enough for now, I'll try and update with some pictures and an explanation of what's been done so far in the near future to show where things stand
cheers for now


Edited by mattc6911

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And about time too. I wondered when you were going to break cover:ph34r: and with the minimal harassment as well.  You are getting better:D just the very thought of me nagging got you moving.





Edited by Toto

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Well done Gary. 

In matts defence I know he's made a start on a couple of ideas, playing around with track positioning and the dreaded inclines. He's also done oodles of research on the prototype. 

Just needs to find the time for the leap of faith.

he has a great man cave ........ If you'll forgive the expression.



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Ok I'll Try and bring you up to date. ( No track plan Gary just some dodgy pictures )

As mentioned, After being inspired by Gormo's efforts using recycled materials I cleared some space in the workshop and made up some baseboards using three hollow core doors that I had. These were then covered in Green Fibreboard left over from a Job , glued down with pva and then sealed with dilute pva to help against damp. These then stood for almost a year with other things taking priority. After inspection they were found to still be solid, flat and no signs of deterioration, These were then supported at the back by some old kitchen unit carcasses and the rest of the layout is supported by free standing adjustable legs ( wooden posts , flat base and kitchen carcass adjustable legs screwed to the top)  The doors are held together by hinges with removable pins so they can be stripped down if we move and the whole thing is anchored by one 6" nail in the back left corner which sits loose in a hole through the first door and kitchen unit below { surprisingly strong and stable set-up ) 

So I had this.



I have good access on three sides with the longest side up against a wall but i can reach the back of this from the hatch. the intention was to keep any complicated stuff to the front and sides with mostly simple track and scenics on the back stretch so I wont need to use the hatch that often. I decided I wanted a rising and falling landscape so the first step was to put in a high level platform to hold Upton & Blewberry station. Although this represents the first  station on the line from Didcot , In reality on our layout it will be a terminus with the line 'disappearing' off stage.

So this gave me


Next up an actual picture ! or two ( apologies for the poor shots but its very difficult to get a decent angle )


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So, Baseboards ( back-scene board attached but I'll cover that later >. no Tom not  cover the back-scene Cover the Topic, keep up Son )


Basic shape



Now with the terminus high level board in position



The high level board is made up of  off cuts of plastic ceiling panel, covered again in fibreboard



And this


To Make this



The plastic Panels clip together on the long edge so 4 pieces siliconed together make up the top level with large pieces of fibre board glued on top which makes a surprisingly light and strong base. It still needs supporting at regular intervals as  it will sag over time on the long length, but this can be done with blocks of polystyrene, blocks or lengths of wood etc. Now I have my base level and my High level but I still want some more uppy downy so how can I achieve this ?  more on that later :) (:

Next up  the Back scene





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Ok Mr Impatient, The Back scene

First I needed a back board, light weight , removable and damp proof  so out came a couple of full length 25 Cm wide ceiling panels, siliconed together and then simply Velcroed to the wall. the join between the two boards was filled with decorators caulk, flexible and paintable. The curve around the corner was made using laminate floor underlay panels (from B&Q) left over from a floor Job, again Velcroed in place and the join filled .So I'm left with this full length board , 50 Cm high




which was painted blue


Rather than buying printed back scenes I decided to Try painting my own so started building up layers of greens for the hills and blues and greys for the sky 

From this


And this







Until leaving it at this


The hills are probably too dark for the area I'm doing but once I start actuall scenery I'll blend it and lighten it as I need.

 Oh and I splashed some yellow paint on the back wall of the work shop to make it a bit more cheerful. 

So that's the backboards done for now

So now to look at more  ' Uppy downy ' and track :) (:

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Ok to bring it up to date. . . . The uppy downy bit

   So I've got the flat baseboards and the high level terminus, I wanted to try and introduce some rising and falling lines rather than just flat boards, Introduce some circles of track for the GD to run trains with at least one station she could stop at, and have an area where I could do some shunting.  First I experimented with different levels of sloping track to see if I . . . . Yeah forget all that wall of text stuff, a picture speaks a thousand words so here goes a couple to explain where I'm at right now.

First the high level terminus





This will represent Upton & Blewberry, Single line coming in from Didcot ( stage left through the tunnel) Twin track through the station with a spur for a goods siding , cattle dock etc  This will then return to single track spiralling round and down, running through Churn halt and finally running into the sidings next to Compton ( that's the two stations and the Holt I'm looking to model ) The actual platforms for Compton station will be on The two rising and falling Ovals running round the outside of the layout. More pictures then bringing me up to where I am now







Probably clear as mud :giggle: So each of the rising sections mirrors the baseboards below, not in actual size but they share the same join between boards and are going to be individually wired so they can be removed at any time. they are made up the same way with ceiling boards and fibreboard on top and at the moment are just supported on free standing blocks. So this means although I've experimented with the inclines, If I have problems once I start testing the actual track I can lower the incline a bit. The spiral down was tested before and works but at the moment what you see on the high station and the spiral itself has just been plonked down as a visual aid while I run the loops. Again the polystyrene and white wood strips are just representing the approximate position  of platforms. As I said I'm not trying to build the actual line , just  get the feel of this sleepy backwater line ( now being preserved and used as an overflow for Didcot )

Ok now I'm up to date I might get some peace from Tom and his Posse :rolleyes:  Work will be slow through the winter as its baltic out  there at the moment and spare time will be put into buildings for Victoria Rd ( Inside where its warm :thumbsup:

Cheers for now



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I am impressed Mathew. one has been very busy. As you say, a picture tells a thousand words. I've been tutored into the theory of Upton Blewbury for some time but I must admit I can see the fuller picture now. Very impressive Matt. I'll give you some time off for good behaviour. Don't worry, I'll be back on your case before long.:D 

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Mate, you have been busy !

I did expect to see all the track down, ballasted and the scenics started ! :huh: No, actually it's a great start. Good to see you getting stuck in. Question for you... Since when did you start calling Toto your grand daughter... lollol

Cheers, Gary.

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emmmmm What's your point ? :P its  a cold dusty ( sometimes dampish ) workshop I only painted that back wall to cheer It up a bit when I'm looking at the layout and the other three walls you can hardly see any of due to stuff on shelves :whistling:



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