SKIPTON & DISTRICT RAILWAY SOCIETY
0 gauge layout of the Skipton & District Railway Society
Please Note: Wards End is undergoing a major rebuild and is not at present available for exhibition. The new Wards End will be a straight layout.
Wards End was the unfinished home layout of Barry Pickford, late member of Skipton & DRS, and was kindly donated to the Society by his widow, Margaret. As a memorial to Barry and also because we thought it was a pretty good layout, we decided it should be finished. At first, we intended it should be used just for "playing trains" in the clubrooms but sometime later, we decided to convert it to an exhibition layout. This has involved completely re-wiring the layout and installing Tortoise point motors so that it could be operated remotely from the back. There were also many buildings to be constructed or finished. This process is still ongoing.
Wards End is a minor terminal station in an urban setting, hemmed in by retaining walls, tall mills and Victorian terraced housing. Its fictional location was originally somewhere south of Manchester on a branch line from the main line near Poynton. The time was the 1950s. There is a real place, called Wardsend, exactly where Barry imagined Wards End would be, but he changed the spelling and we believe he never intended the layout should represent the real Wardsend. Because we have insufficient ex-LNWR stock to run the layout in this location and time-period, we have moved the layout's fictional location to somewhere south-east of Leeds, where facilities were shared between LNER (ex-NE) and LMS (ex-LNWR) in the 1930s.
Two tracks enter Wards End from off-scene. The near track is the single line branch from Leeds and the further track is a private line to a small colliery. Loaded coal wagons are worked along the colliery branch by the colliery's own locos into the exchange sidings at Wards End and are taken away by LMS or LNER locos. The branch provides a shuttle service to Leeds, worked by push-pull trains or a steam railmotor with an occasional through train from further afield. As well as the colliery exchange sidings, the yard at Wards End has a goods shed, a cattle dock, side- and end-loading facilities and a small loco shed. A kick-back siding serves a small factory making card clothing for the textile industry. (Ask the operators what card clothing is. Clue: it's not jackets and trousers made from cardboard.)
The layout was never intended for exhibition when Barry designed and built it. Fortunately, it is sectional, but the sections are very heavy, being rather large and built from 12mm marine ply. Plain track is C+L and point and crossing work from the same source or is rail soldered to PCB sleepers, with cosmetic chairs added after soldering. All this is Barry's work as is all of the landscape understructure and many of the buildings. The station building is beautifully constructed from card by Barry's son, Geoff. Other buildings were made or finished by SDRS members.
Stock is the property of several Society members and represents LMS/LNER as running in the 1930s. The colliery possesses a large variety of industrial locos mostly in pristine condition because its owner is something of a railway fanatic who does not tolerate dirty locomotives.