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Mardale 1 Layout             


The layout I called Mardale first started out as a test track in our model shop we used to own in Workington, Cumberland, (later to be renamed Cumbria). My father built the test track in 1971. Later he expanded it into the usual oval that would accommodate tail chasing trains for running in our shop.  After several years as our model shop's test track, it was partly dismantled because we needed to simplify it into a "U" shaped layout.  It originally was a tail chasing oval but its physical size prevented us expanding displays or rearranging the shop.  After a few months it was rebuilt into an a portable exhibition layout as shown in the photo below. This was at the request of Mr Daniels of the Derwent Railway Society.  After the exhibition we decided to store the layout and we built a simpler test track for the shop that would take up less room.  In this early form when it went to show at the exhibition the station was not named.

The layout before rebuilding as Mardale. It is shown here at one of Derwent Railway Society's (DRS) open days in the infancy of the Society. 

This was my first 4mm scale layout I built using PECO 00 gauge code 100, flexible trackwork.  Instead of it being of the continuous oval form like the test track  it was remained a "U" shaped layout with a fiddle yard comprising a six stage sector plate. My modelling preferences were leaning towards the Western Division of the LMS after getting inspired by articles in the Railway Modeller by David Jenkinson and seeing his new Settle and Carlisle layout at the York Model railway exhibition. I bought a book by OS Nock about the LNWR and in the coffee bar at the exhibition I met Mr Nock who saw the book I bought and offered to autograph it for.  I said I was building a freelance layout of LNWR origin and he suggested I model a  route that one could describe as a "Might have Been".  He went on explain how an alternative route had been partly surveyed but it never got past the planning  stage. 

An enquiry by the Government saw the route over Shap Fell as the better one and this is the one we use as the West Coast main Line today.  We chatted about the alternative route and I was intrigued by his account of the route that in his opinion should have been the West Coast Main Line. He thought the WCML route should not have been taken over Shap Fell but to take a simpler route along Long Sleddale valley, though a mountain via a tunnel and emerge onto Mardale Common and skirt the western shores of Haweswater and continue to Penrith. I looked at a map of  the area and decided I would build an imaginary line using OS Nock's info but in model form terminate as a branch line serving the village of Mardale. To sum up; we had the railway era, the company and it was to be an ex-LNWR line terminating at Mardale. I intended to expand the layout into its original oval form  but it never progressed any further than the track plan on the layout page. Then for some unknown reason I decided to jump back in time and to have only LNWR period stock so all the LMS engines and rolling stock that were suitable for use in LNWR days got the makeover treatment.

In its Mardale form it went on show at several exhibitions and shows.  It did a second appearance at the DRS Cockermouth exhibition as well as several other venues in Cumbria.  At Barrow in Furness it ran well and we had a few guest operators at the controls.  One of them turned out to be OS Nock himself and he had praise for the layout.

In reality Mardale village and valley was flooded to increase the size of Haweswater and turn it into a reservoir for supplying water to Manchester.  From Haweswater water flows through pipelines to Manchester.  There is no pumping of water involved as the water is fed from the reservoir using only gravity.  The pipeline runs under a  mountain by means of a tunnel in the same vicinity the railway would have taken if the alternative route had been built.

To find out more about my other layouts use the 'My Model Railways' link in the floating menu to the left of this page

Many thanks
for choosing to visit my web pages.  

 Tom Jenkins 2014

      Page last updated 28th December 2014



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