THE NORTH-WEST WALES 16mm MODEL RAILWAY GROUP
A GROUP WHICH IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ASSOCIATION OF 16mm NARROW GAUGE MODELLERS
THE ABER ROAD LIGHT RAILWAY
A 45mm Gauge Railway built by
Isobel & Brian Watson
All photographs courtesy of Brian and Isobel Watson.
The Latest News Update:
The BEAR Line - November 2018
Those of you who have been to our small railway will recall we have an ageing Oak tree in the front garden around which the track runs at one end. The tree has been requiring 'thinning' for some time now so this year we had it 'pruned' professionally whilst I was ill and couldn't work on the railway anyway.
During the 'thinning' the removal of some dead branches higher up, which turned out to be loose, was required. Mind you we didn't know how loose they were until the workmen placed a ladder against it. Suffice to say we're pleased to have had it attended to and made safe.
Unfortunately, during the process some timbers fell onto the track bed causing some damage to it and I also had to replace some track work. Because of my hernia operation (which should have been straight forward), and subsequent problems requiring additional time in hospital due to a serious allergic reaction and subsequent blood clots caused by the dressings, I was unable to repair or replace the damaged sections. Thus, no serious trains have run on the Aber Road Railway since July.
As I felt able, I have been repairing the baseboards and replacing track where necessary. Now I have to re-assemble a couple of buildings that also suffered. The moral is - be careful how your trees are pruned!
Hopefully, we can resume services on the "Back Ecton to Aber Road (The BEAR Line)" in 2019.
Finally, as it seems popular nowadays to give a raison d'etre for it's existence here is ours with an explanation of the origins of our stations' names.
Well, because of where we live "Aber Road" is self-explanatory. Back Ecton may confuse people though. Before moving to Wales Isobel and I were very friendly with a farmer and his wife living near Hartington. Along with John and Ruth (with whom we are still in contact, 'though John passed away some years ago, so we are no longer in contact with him!) we spent lots of time regularly helping on the farm: John's milking cows supplied milk to a cheese factory in Hartington. Have you ever had fresh milk from the cow? Beats your blue top!
We rather liked the life and as Sheffield University, at that time, were looking for staff who might take early retirement we looked at purchasing a property in the area, which is near Bakewell (anyone heard of Bakewell Tart?). We found this place called 'Back of Ecton' (Grid SK104578). It was in the wilds yet only a couple of miles from the farm. Unfortunately, and beyond our control, the sellers changed their minds. It is in memory of this place and what might have been that we have named our terminus: "Back Ecton".
We can assume our railway was a short branch to the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway, which was only the other side of Ecton Hill. The L & M connected at Waterhouses with the North Staffordshire Railway and ran to Hulme End, the L & M country terminus. En-route the penultimate station to Hulme was at Ecton. I believe copper was shipped from there (circa 1907) as in that location were/are disused mines on Ecton Hill close to Ecton station. Later, in the 30's, there was a creamery. I have a photo showing milk tanks on 'transporter wagons' at Ecton creamery.
Really, I suppose on our line we should use L & M, or at least W & L, stock (Gavin, please bring your J.B Earle, or is it E.R. Caltrop, loco to run here one day) as opposed to the WHR (1964 Co) stock we currently have. The excuse (do I need and excuse?) for using WHR 1964 stock is: I am a member and used to drive for them before I had my cancers.
All in good time eh?
The photographs, below, show some of the damage caused to the track and track bed during the tree pruning work.
The Aber Road Light Railway is a 45mm gauge line with continuous running and shunting facilities and is raised above ground level by approximately 750mm. It has a minimum track radius of 4 ft. and the loading gauge clearances are 170 mm width and 180 mm height. There is no track power on this line.