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Ystwyth Valley Railway

by Midwalesstokie (James Dowling)
Here’s a short article on my modest garden railway, recently renamed as the Ystwyth Valley Railway.

We moved to our current house in September 2007 and the line was started in April 2008 after we’d finished work on the house and the weather was starting to get a bit better. Fortunately, at the time of construction, a member of the Mid Wales G scale society decided he’d had enough of garden railways and was selling everything. Luckily my Dad told me about this so we headed over to his house one day and left with a trailer full of track, stock, locos and all his wooden supports and trestle bridges that were just going to be burnt!

This was very fortunate and meant I had enough of everything to completely finish my railway off so one weekend, with navvies travelling from as far afield as Welshpool, construction was started. This was my first garden railway and at the time I just wanted something simple that didn’t need much maintenance and allowed me to just run my trains. My Dad has a large garden railway that does need a lot of maintenance so I knew I didn’t want this. To this end the line is a very simple oval with two run round loops and a line running into the storage shed / workshop where the stock is stored.


The first train

An overall view of the line

The ground the line is built on rises about 3ft in it’s length of 35ft so the line enters the shed at waist height and spends much of it’s length running on the wooden supports rescued from the scrapman. At the far end of the line, the track is at ground level and runs around a pond. The track is a mixture of LGB and Aristo, again rescued from the scrapman with the smallest curve being an LGB R2. I must admit that I have a preference for 32mm track, I think it just looks better, or failing that Peco 45mm track with a much more acceptable track profile. However, the chance to purchase such a large amount of track at such cheap prices could not be missed ands as my Dad’s line is 45mm, it made sense to go down this route. It also means that my W&L stock looks more at home although when I started I never anticipated I would have as much W&L stock as I now have!

My stock is list is ever changing, at one stage I had 25 locos with the majority of them being battery. I always preferred steam though and slowly began to get rid of many of my battery locos and began replacing them with steam. I now have six steam locos from a variety of manufacturers, Cheddar, Roundhouse, Regner and Accucraft and also a handful of battery powered locos.

A Roundhouse Elsa hauled freight banked by a Regner Konrad

My rolling stock has also changed a lot with the emphasis now being on British narrow gauge rather than American or European. The advent of Accucraft’s W&L stock really provided the driver for this change.

I grew up in Llanfair Caereinion and am a life member if the W&L so I had to get some examples of the stock from the line. My latest purchase is an Accucraft Countess which takes it’s place alongside the three Pickering coaches, a rake of wagons and a more modern train made up of three Zillers and a Mav coach as running in the W&L today. Don’t be surprised if more W&L stock joins the roster soon. A Pearse Hunslet is high on the list of wants with a Joan not far behind and I have some Roundhouse loos as collateral!


Countess passes the Accucraft Baguley Drewry, masquearading as a Chattenden lookalike

Sadly, the line will probably not live to see it’s 2nd Anniversary as a house move is imminent. It has taught me that I would like some more scenery, I’d like a more interesting run and I primarily like running trains so the new line will be built with these things in mind.

Accucraft Superior with a Winter service

Elsa and Konrad thrash uphill on a cold Winters day. Elsa is fitted with a Summerland chuffer and the noise certainly reverberates off the shed
Roundhouse William with a train of IP stock. This loco is also fitted with a Summerland chuffer and is the loudest loco I have heard
Cheddar Hercules - a fantastic engine which is very solidly built. Again this is fitted with a Summerland chuffer