SKIPTON & DISTRICT RAILWAY SOCIETY
O Gauge, Geoff Holmes
In the 1870’s, the North Eastern Railway Company were building steadily from Arthington to Otley and then, in partnership with the Midland, through to Ilkley, thus giving the Wharfedale towns direct access to Leeds, via Otley and Arthington (NER), and Bradford, via Shipley (Midland).
The Duke of Devonshire with his massive estate at Bolton wanting a station for his friends, and for the movement of stone from Hambleton Quarry, and timber from his saw mill, approached the NER to build a branch from Ilkley to Bolton. With the Midland at the time showing no signs of linking Ilkley and Skipton, the Duke offered land for the branch which would leave Ilkley by a triangular junction at the gasworks, and descend to the valley bottom just short of Addingham, then follow the River Wharfe to a terminus at Bolton Priory (not Bolton Abbey, as the Midland eventually named its station). The Duke had seen the NER terminus at Richmond, and provided funds for a similarly designed station near the Priory.
The above is a “massaged” version of history, but it gave me the basis for what I decided to build.
The layout is an exercise in minimum budget 7mm modelling. All track is hand built on PCB sleepers, the points are Marcway components operated by Tortoise motors. Signals are from Scale Signal Engineering, and the signal box interior is a Springside kit. All other structures are built from scrap materials. The station buildings, signal box, water tower and bothy are constructed from various thickness of scrap ply or plasticard, covered in modelling clay, which is scribed to represent dressed stonework. The fencing is from coffee stirrers collected at many station buffets (12in:1ft). The scenic contours are formed from fly screen mesh, covered in “one-coat” plaster mixed with dilute PVA. All the platform equipment is constructed from the scrap box, including the lamps and barrows. The back scene is a 360 degree panoramic view made from 15 digital photos taken from close to the river footbridge at Bolton Priory. The rolling stock is mostly kit built and the locos are a mix of scratch built and kit built. Other items including the barrels, milk churns, coal sacks and the Scammel truck (Roxey Mouldings) were purchased at Halifax Gauge 0 Guild show.
During operation, trains arrive from and depart to both Leeds and Ilkley, with freight traffic generated at Hambleton and the saw mill, hauled by the Duke's industrial locos.