8ft x 2ft
Situated somewhere in the Forest of Dean, Bicsdale is a fictional place where one of the typical drift coal mines is operating in the Forest in the 1950’s. Originally built to serve a somewhat remote nearby small township, the mine has a connection from the Ross and Monmouth railway and there is still plenty of passenger traffic with station facilities and a timber merchant also on hand. The extension into the yard through the bridge to the side of the tunnel entrance was formed when Bicsdale number 1 drift (this now closed entrance can be seen close to the coal drops) was found to be capable of producing sufficient coal to export via the railway. Later on the mining operation was transferred to number 2 drift, and the tramway runs off-scene towards that entrance which is still in use. Regular services both passenger and freight run from both the Chepstow and Pontypool directions normally with ex-GWR locos and from north of Ross with ex-LMS stock, still maintaining the joint running of pre-nationalisation days.
Pointwork is all hand-built using C&L matched to their flexitrack. Operation is completely DCC, including point control, managed by JMRI, and normally controlled using tablets and smart-phones. All stock is fitted with Kadee® couplings for ease of shunting.
Layout operation is based on an imaginary week at Walker’s Ridge. In keeping with its supposed remote location, passenger services are handled by a single RDC (Rail Diesel Car) or a Gas-Electric rail car. Occasional freight trains bring in coal, fuel and other supplies for the community. The layout is a ‘shunting puzzle, and full use has to be made of the wye tracks to place the freight cars in the correct location for loading or unloading. On Sundays, tourist trains may visit Walker’s ridge, and these often have an open car or similar which needs turning on the wye before returning. Train operation is by DCC control, and points are solenoid operated via a CDU.
Click here to see the full operating sequence…….. (This would go to a separate page with the operating sequence on it)
This layout is owned and maintained by Barry & Penarth Model Railway Club as a tribute to two late members, Captain W (Bill) Walker R.F.A. (retired) and Brian Scoulding.
The saw mill was built by Bill as a small diorama, and later given to Brian who, in 2002/3, incorporated it into a small railroad setting on a single baseboard, and named it ‘Walker’s Ridge’. It was exhibited in this form for a few years.
Brian donated the layout to BPMRC shortly before he succumbed to Motor Neurone Disease in November 2007. Club members have since added the wye board to create a ‘shunting puzzle’ layout. The backscenes were painted by Club member David Woolnough.