Pinhaven Harbour
My previous BR Southern Region layout
push pull train in platform 3
Pinhaven Harbour station with a 3TC unit and a class 33/1 diesel in the bay platform
(platform 1).  The Crompton is a superdetailed Lima model and the 3TC unit was converted from Mainline Mk1 coaches much the same as BR converted loco hauled Mk1s to TCs.


This layout was built on the highly dubious premise that the LSWR built a ferry port on a river estuary somewhere in West Dorset or East Devon to rival the GWR's port  at Weymouth.  It proved to be such a success despite its single track approach (caused by local topography) that the Southern Railway expanded it in the 1930s making use of Government capital work grants.  As this success was in no small part due to customers from the Bristol catchment area, the GWR swallowed its pride and obtained running powers to provide connecting services from Bristol.  My model portrayed the harbour station in Southern Region days, though the rolling stock run on it was from the late 1950s through to the late 1980s, so encompassing its incorporation into the Network SouthEast sector.

Construction of four baseboards was done in my parents' garden on the Queen's Silver Jubilee Day in 1977, however these were for another layout which never materialised.  Establishing myself at work, courting and getting married played their part in nothing happening model railway-wise for several years.  Pinhaven Harbour was eventually born onto these boards, used in a L shape configuration different to the original rectangular intent, on the floor of our flat in 1980.  The layout was stored folded up on our landing and had to be put onto the living room floor to be worked upon or have running sessions.   By the time we moved to our house in 1982 trackwork and wiring was complete and working, but no scenic development was possible.  A sequence timetable had however been devised and was run on occasions my wife was out!  Our house came with a floored attic ( ... this had a large influence on its choice) so the layout was installed, this time with legs,  into the attic.  Subsequently a fifth board was inserted to ease the track configuration on the approach to the station and add additional facilities.  Another change at that time was the abolition of the 5 track fiddle yard and its replacement by four 5 track cassettes.


double heading EDLs We retrace our steps to where the line emerges from the fiddle cassette onto the scenic section and work back towards the station.  Here a service double headed by Electro Diesels, presumably to provide 1200 bhp well away from the Southern Region's electrified section, cross the river bridge heading towards the station.  Note how the river is well used for recreational purposes.  The class 73s are Lima models.


A higher view, showing the rear of the engine shed and builders' merchant.  The loco is a King Arthur, a repainted Hornby Sir Dinadan with a kit built whitemetal bogie tender, and the coaches are a Mk1 3 set of repainted and flushglazed Lima coaches. King Arthur class crossing the river bridge


Pinhaven Harbour was a quintessential British fiddle yard to terminus layout.  Leaving a fiddle cassette a train entered the scenic portion of the layout through a tunnel and then immediately across a river.  The line then curved sharply right through 90 degrees.  On the outside of the curve was a two track engine shed, turntable, loco coaling/servicing road and a single carriage siding. The engine shed was accessed from the turntable. On the inside of the curve was a large builders' merchant's yard, the firm being named after my father.  My father was a builders' merchant and as a boy I spent time during school holidays helping him weighing nails, counting screws, stacking tins of paint, moving earthenware pipes, etc.  As a result this part of my layout was finely and accurately detailed.  The station goods yard was along the front of the layout between the builders' merchant and the station.


the builders' merchant's yard The builders' merchant's yard in the foreground with a Battle of Britain class loco on a goods working passing behind.   This loco has an Airfix kit body on a Hornby chassis. The tender of Airfix origin has been cut down.  Behind the train is the engine shed, turntable, water tower and loco servicing facilities.


Lots of activity in the station area!  In the background a parcels train from the Western Region hauled by a Standard Class 4 4-6-0 (Mainline) is entering platform 3.  Note the LSWR signal box behind it.   In the goods yard a M7 (Hornby) is doing some shunting.  The headshunt for the goods yard ran parallel with the bay platform. activity in the station throat


In its 5 baseboard incarnation the station had three platforms.  Platform 3, at the rear of the layout, was the Southern Railway's addition (and my fifth baseboard reconfiguration)  to provide increased capacity for GWR trains connecting with ferry sailings.  This platform road was formed by extending the run round loop for platform 2 which still had to perform the run round function when platform 3 was unoccupied.  Turning round the infrequent trains in platform 3 had to be done by shunting.  Platforms 2 and 1 were the original LSWR station.  Platform 2 being the main platform and platform 1 towards the front of the layout being a bay platform for local services.  The sequence timetable was amended to reflect the expanded station and during this the opportunity was taken to synchronise it, at least in theory, with the real Southern Region West of England mainline timetable.


Long before class 66s hit our shores! The other Southern Railway.  A GE 44 ton switcher (Bachmann Spectrum) and a GP30 (Bachmann) have travelled across the Atlantic!   The low nose GP30 (one of my earliest American stock purchases) was bought before I knew much about the prototype, and this picture was taken very much in the early days of high quality RTR US outline models. I am much more discerning about what I buy these days.


The buffer stop end of the station showing the lack of station buildings. I did actually start on buildings for platform 3 in Southern Railway 1930s brick and concrete style.  The main station building would have been to LSWR style.  The three boxcars in the goods yard headshunt are common on West Country workings - but not this West Country! Boxcars by the buffers (not track bumpers!)


10 years in the house and two daughters later the decision was taken to break up the layout.  By this time only the station buildings remained to be built.  I was growing weary of the repetitive nature of the terminus operation, it did not give my stock much of a run, and it was unsuitable for running stock from my relatively new interest in modelling American railroads.  So a new layout   with a continuous run - Southern Eclectic - was designed to run both my British and American rolling stock.  All of the rolling stock and buildings from Pinhaven Harbour were stored for possible re-use on the new layout and eleven years later  most of it is still in boxes.  Before Southern Eclectic could be started there was first a two year interlude whilst the attic was rebuilt to provide better conditions.

Colin Duff. 5th March 2003.


all photographs are copyright

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