Chronicling the development of my Cambrian and Narrow Gauge 4mm scale model railway

Making a Z turn

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Well it isn’t really a U turn. A U-turn means you go away from your original decision. And I’m not.  It’s just for some time I’ve been pondering my z gauge module mimicking 15″ gauge.

Although the plan was OK to use Dalegarth and have it as an interchange with the the 2′ Mid Sodor Railway, the idea of an automated scene with a loco arriving, uncoupling from its train, turning on the turntable, running round, coupling back on again and then leaving just seemed a bit difficult. A bit!

Then the other week Phil Parker on his blog showed the Sgts Mess kit for the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway armoured train. I’ve always liked it. Firstly as a NG fan but also for the sheer audacity of using everything possible for defence in WW2.

RH&DR Armoured Train

So I asked Phil a question. Which he answered.

Soooo, what does that mean? Well, it is slightly too big.  The wagons are way too wide for a start so I may need a cut and shut but I reckon I can make it work with the chassis I was going to use for River Mite and some z gauge bogies so I’m going to go for it.

The bogies themselves took some sorting. when the wagons were originally on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway as granite hoppers, they had a very English looking bogie. However, the photos of them on the RH&DR show them with something very similar to a Bettendorf bogie.

R&ER bogie hopper

Further, the photos of the tender of Hercules in this period suggests it has got the bogies from the granite hoppers. Which makes me wonder if the bogies under the RH&DR tenders were Greenly designed and so were the ones on the granite hoppers or whether the RH&DR swopped the bogies when they realised the R&ER ones were superior than the ones they were using under their tenders.


Either way Micro-trains do a “passenger truck” which is suitable to go under the tender and a Bettendorf “truck” which can go under the wagons.

The automation will be easy because it’s just an out and back so even the facing points at the entrance to the station can be faked making it all a lot easier and a lot cheaper.

I might build the open passenger cars as originally intended and use them as troop carriers or ammunition carriers or some such.

I’m also quite tempted to do it as a Box File Railway using 2 box files plus one for a fiddle yard so I can make it with no space required. A good week’s planning!

Author: Chris H

Having now officially reached middle age, I am a rolling stock engineer and have worked in many different locations including a 7 year spell in Sydney, Australia, where I arrived with a suitcase and left with a wife and a son. I am now based back in my home county of Yorkshire where I juggle full time work, being a Dad to two rascally mini-mes, and trying to fit in railway modelling, assisting the GWR 1014 County of Glamorgan project, and visits to the top left hand corner of Wales and Beamish. In addition to my heavily railway themed life, I am interested in rugby, cricket, reading crime novels, falconry, and medieval re-enactments.

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