SKIPTON & DISTRICT RAILWAY SOCIETY
0 gauge layout of the Skipton & District Railway Society
The Nidd Valley
Light Railway was owned by Bradford Corporation Waterworks Department and the
Corporation also operated its public passenger services. As far as the
Waterworks Department was concerned, the railway’s primary purpose was to
carry goods, materials and labour to construction sites high in the Nidd valley,
where two large reservoirs were built at Angram (1904-1919) and Scar House
(1921-1936). However, the 6-mile stretch of line between Pateley Bridge and
Lofthouse was constructed under the terms of a pre-existing Light
Railway Order of 1901, taken over by Bradford Corporation in 1904, which obliged
the Corporation to operate a public passenger service between those two places.
Lofthouse was the
public passenger terminus of the line. The station also possessed a modest yard
where wagons were assembled for the steep climb to the reservoir sites, a
further 6 miles up the valley. The industrial 0-6-0T locomotives used by the
Corporation and the contractor, John Best & Sons of Edinburgh, could take
only 3 - 4 loaded wagons each up the grades to the reservoirs, so even quite short
trains had to be banked.
NVLR was opened in 1907, closed to passengers on the last day of 1929, and was
closed completely in 1937.
layout represents the station area at Lofthouse exactly to scale, with no
selective compression or other subterfuge to make the trackwork fit the
left-hand side of the layout, representing the climb to the reservoirs, is based
on fact, but is not an exact representation. Similarly, the section of the
layout below Lofthouse is a somewhat fictional representation of the gentler
country in the lower dale.
Everything on the baseboards, including all buildings and trackwork, is scratchbuilt. For the track plan and the railway-owned buildings, we had the benefit of copies of the original drawings, which are still in the possession of Yorkshire Water plc. The trackwork uses Code 100 flat bottom rail, spiked directly to the sleepers to represent the 55lb per yard light rail used in the original.
and rolling stock are a mix of kit built and scratchbuilt items. The stock
represents vehicles owned both by the Corporation and John Best & Sons. The
Dingham Autocouplers used on the stock were specially developed for the
layout by a club member and are commercially available. See www.dingham.co.uk/.
All stock is built and owned by various Society members.
See www.dingham.co.uk/. All stock is built and owned by various Society members.
Bradford Corporation Locomotives
With one exception, the following models are believed to be entirely authentic, i.e. they accurately represent locos owned by the Corporation which actually ran on the NVLR. All the Bradford Corporation locomotives were named after dignitaries connected with the Waterworks Department.
Holdsworth - an ex Metropolitan Railway Beyer Peacock 4-4-0T (BP No 707 of 1866), purchased by the Corporation for the opening of the line in 1907 and painted in Metropolitan-style livery at Neasden before despatch north. Its 5ft 9in driving wheels made it unsuitable for operations on the steep grades above Lofthouse and it spent its time on the Pateley Bridge to Lofthouse public passenger service. Scratch-built.
Milner - Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T purchased new by the Corporation in 1909 (HC No 882 of 1909). Milner worked both passenger and goods trains. Scratch-built.
Beatty - Manning Wardle Class M 0-6-0ST (MW No 1669 of 1905) purchased by the Corporation probably about 1921. The model is not totally authentic, being based on a kit of the somewhat smaller Manning Wardle Class K.
Blythe - Avonside Engine Co 0-6-0ST, purchased new in 1925 (AE No 1894 of 1925). Worked mainly on goods traffic between Pateley Bridge and Scar House reservoir site. Built from an Agenoria kit.
Hill - steam railmotor, see below.
In addition to the locos listed above, Bradford Corporation from time to time owned a further ten locomotives. These are represented, rather than modelled, by running various industrial 0-6-0 and 0-4-0STs of appropriate age and size.
Edna - Manning Wardle Class F 0-4-0ST. Slaters kit.
The last two locos were built for a Selsey tramway layout, which hasn't materialised yet.
The contractor, John Best & Son of Edinburgh, had many locomotives working on the two reservoir projects. They mainly worked within the reservoir sites and were rarely seen at Lofthouse. None has been modelled.
In 1905, the Great Western Railway purchased two articulated steam railmotors of decidedly odd appearance from Kerr Stuart of Stoke-on-Trent. These became GWR Nos 15 and 16. They had many features in common with a design that appears to have originated from Mr Hurry Riches of the Taff Vale Railway, including the 2-2-0 wheel arrangement of the engine and unusual inside-bearing bogies at the passenger end. As well as the Taff Vale, the LSWR, LBSCR, MR and L&Y operated vehicles with similar features.
On the GWR, the railmotors were not a success and were not used long on that railway. Both were soon offered for sale. No 15 was bought by Bradford Corporation for the NVLR in 1921, but No 16 failed to find a buyer and was broken up.
No 15 was named Hill (though it seems never to have carried the name) but was not immediately successful even on the Nidd Valley. With the engine pushing, it had trouble ascending the relatively gentle grades between Pateley Bridge and Lofthouse and had to be sent to the triangle at Starbeck, near Harrogate on the North Eastern for turning, so as to put more weight on the driven wheels of the engine.
After 8 years in the construction (on and off), a scratch-built Hill has finally made its appearance on our model railway to run the Pateley Bridge - Lofthouse passenger service at quieter times.
The NVLR purchased ten 4-wheel coaches from the Metropolitan Railway for the opening of the line in 1907. These are represented on the layout by two brake thirds and two thirds. The regular Pateley Bridge - Lofthouse passenger train consists of brake third/third/brake third and the Lofthouse - Scar House (reservoir) train is a single third with the NVLR fitted goods brake van behind.
The ex-Met 4-wheelers are made from "Quintessential" kits (no longer available). These might have been described by other manufacturers as "aids to scratch-building", but certainly preferable to the chore of building panelled coaches from polystyrene sheet.
Goods stock is mainly kit built and many kit manufacturers are represented. The goods transported are summarised below.
What Goes On?
Nidd Valley Light Railway possessed only two goods brake vans, yet it must have
operated an intensive goods service from the mainline network to keep the
reservoir builders supplied with coal for 27 steam navvies and 15 locomotives
located at the reservoir site and two steam-powered stone crushing plants
supplying stone for massive quantities of concrete. In addition, there was
gunpowder and huge quantities of cement, in those days carried in bags in vans, not to mention general supplies to be carried for a
population of more than 1000 men working and living on the site, many accompanied by their
timetabling for the goods traffic shows that the goods brake vans must have been
detached from Scar House-bound trains at Lofthouse – otherwise, the necessary
traffic could not have been accommodated. A banking engine, attached at
Lofthouse, was relied on to
provide the necessary braking at the rear of the train.
To support this contention, there is a famous photograph of a goods train
ascending the bank between Lofthouse and the reservoirs. The train has 14
wagons, mostly vans, presumably loaded with bagged cement. It is double-headed
and has two bankers. All four locos are obviously working hard and the last
wagon in the train is an open - clearly not a brake van.
To support this contention, there is a famous photograph of a goods train ascending the bank between Lofthouse and the reservoirs. The train has 14 wagons, mostly vans, presumably loaded with bagged cement. It is double-headed and has two bankers. All four locos are obviously working hard and the last wagon in the train is an open - clearly not a brake van.
the return trip to Pateley Bridge, we reasoned that the trains would be
double-headed as far as Lofthouse, to provide the necessary braking power at the
front end of the train. From Lofthouse to Pateley Bridge, a goods brake van at
the rear of the train would be a legal requirement, because that part of the
line carried public passenger trains.
this explains the complex goings on at Lofthouse. Every goods train bound for
the reservoirs has to have its brake van detached and shunted into Lofthouse
yard. A banker (or two) is then attached to the rear for the climb up the 1 in
28 to the reservoirs.
all goods trains descending the bank and bound for Pateley Bridge have the pilot
loco detached and shunted into the spur. The train is then drawn forwards before reversing
into the yard to pick up a brake van.
we first produced the photographic backscene in 1999, it was something of a
novelty. At least, we were not aware that anything of the sort had been
done before. At that time, the
most frequently-asked question about the layout was, “How did you do the
backscene?” It’s made from several series of photographs of the north and
east sides of Nidderdale, put together to form panoramas, scanned in a digital
scanner, manipulated in digital software, printed as “posters” on A4 and
pasted on the backscene. This sort of thing is a lot more common now since
digital photography took hold but, in 1999, it was unusual if not unique.
High(ish) quality digital photographs (1600 x 1200 pixels or better) of the layout are available to Exhibition Managers on request, either as prints, on CD or as email attachments (.jpg format). There is an album of lower quality photographs available on this website but, beware, it may take several minutes to download over a dial-up connection.