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Saltersbrook Lane first services

by Brdaypus Nick

Something of a misnomer as 'The Itinerant Railway' has provided me with plenty of temporary running. However, this was the first proper run on the new permanent track. I needed to test the track before cluttering it up with scenery. Mind you, I couldn't help but add the portable track on to give the trains somewhere to go...

First, an overview of the "Saltersbrook Lane", the permanent bit, round-and-round the new rockery, about 18inches above lawn level. Still waiting for the topsoil to infil the middle:

Next, the bottom end of the branch, added using the portable track on stilts. This follows the approximate alignment of Phase 2. The passing loop and short siding are on the future site of "Pogmoorside"

Looking back from the far end at "Sough Dyke" which is at ground level for the top lawn:

The final alighment here will be closer to the fence with a suitable backdrop to hide the chain links.

This is as far as the portable boards will take us and is about 3/4 of the planned mileage.

So what sort of service can I run with this line?

Well, the 'Big Railway' Sheffield to Huddersfield line runs just beyond the bottom of the garden and I can hear the trains passing at around ten to and ten past the hour. This makes it easy to run a true 'connecting service'. Timetabled passenger services run mixed and "may be subject to delays for shunting".

Early Sunday morning (well, not that early, I had a lie in!):
Coaches neatly stabled in the bay and No.9 raising steam.

Fresh paint on the station building and the enamel signs have been burnished. Pity no one remembered to wind the clock. The wheelbarrow arrived after the stationmaster requested a new barrow. The lady who took the message in the stores knew more about gardening than portering...

"Rockall", complete with Manx-and-England-united headboard, still raising steam slowly in the (invisible) loco shed. The "Tiddlywink Freight Computer" has left  three wagons in the work's siding. M1 has been in for attention to a loose coupling (really). M3, at the far end, holds farmer Mcspreading's cart which has had a bearing replaced as an 'outside' job. The luggage brake has just delivered a load of used envelopes for the work's stationery boiler...

Having missed the departure, we see the Up Mixed setting back to place M3 in the short siding at Pogmoorside. The new Planet 5 2.4GHz radio gear makes shunting much more relaxed. No danger of a 'full gear' glitch mucking things up.

Now forming the Down Mixed, No.9 has collected a van from the headshunt siding at Sough Dyke and, with the burner turned right down, waits for the connection from the Big Railway. The grossly overscale garden light is part of an experiment in mood lighting.

A few moments later, the train rattles over Glen William Viaduct on its way home. Note the 'floating pier'!

There were some short, sharp gradients on the temporary track which limited the loads of trains. Lady Anne could only manage 1 coach + 2 wagons, Wrekin could just take 2 coaches + 2 wagons. The resulting backlog of freight was cleared by running a goods train using a 'Q' path in the timetable between passenger trains.
The three M wagons are conveying Pogmoor Sands(1) finest glassmaking silica sand for delivery. The screens at Saltersbrook handle sand from other sandpits as well at the local produce, so wagons frequently run both ways loaded. Anyway, that's my excuse for not unloading them at each end. That particular consignment came a long way to be graded as I collected it from a beach in the Isle of Man!

A touch of the O Winson Links! Trains ran into the evening on Sunday. No.8 waits with the 9.40 departure after a heavy shower. With less than 5 minutes to go, the guard is allowed to turn the carriage lights on.

Monday was playday! (So what was Sunday?)
A friend brought some LGB stock to give my track power a stress test. 2 motor Harz 2-10-2 poses with my Otto conversion. This sort of photo is usually captioned "Dignity and Impudence". Oops, I just did...

Catching the watery winter sunshine (In August?) and also with 2 motors, "Nikki and Frank S." arrives with a mixed bag of stock. Either loco romped away with everything we could hang behind them. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with live steam. Then I start driving again and I remember!

On Monday evening Dr Beeching struck:
So it's back to going round and round the rockery.

Until next time...

(1) Note to foreign readers (outside Barnsley) "Pogmoor Sands" is a famed local tourist attraction. Just like the funfair at the end of Wigan Pier...