The other side of Minffordd...

I've a life long love of the Ffestiniog railway and so of course, like many of you, my interest in Minffordd has always been of the narrow gauge variety. Having recently picked up an old Peter Johnson book on the Cambrian a number of photos of the late 1970s and early 80s caught my attention, here there may be potential...

Illustration by James Hilton 2023

Integrating an interest in standard and narrow gauge in a small space is not always easy - especially if trying to give at least a nod to the prototype. What I saw in the pages of this book was a relatively compact site with a variety of natural view blocks... whilst my current 'Bae Ceredigion' day dreaming is focused upon N scale here I had in mind a home for some of the recent wonderful Bachmann 009 Hunslets. Suspend reality for a moment, and accept some hacking of the prototype and you can evoke the character of the constrained site with just two turnouts - I suggest Peco medium radius Code 75 bullhead - and a short stretch of 009 track. Operation may be limited but the stopping DMU service would allow the distinctive revving up of the mechanical drive system upon departure. A sound fitted Class 24 from the SLW range, perhaps even in green with a FYE could shunt the wharf... collecting loaded slate wagons, delivering spent ballast or coal. It's Sulzer purr stirring the soul as it potters around the weed strewn sidings. The narrow gauge, buried almost to rail head plays host to a few knackered old slate wagons and a beat up Quarry Hunslet (or even Linda) moving perhaps a coal wagon or two around. You could have the 009 disappear off stage left, behind the somewhat caricatured slate warehouse. Presentation would work best as a cameo, but need not be a box, subtle curves would allow a better match to the site and how much of the narrow gauge rail and road over bridges on the right would be open to the space you had available.

Taking a snapshot of reality and distilling this to the elements that stir our souls is just one approach, perhaps a more artistic take on small layout design. I hope to explore this further in my new book which is being written at the moment.

If you would like some help designing your own project, my design service starts at just £160. If you'd like me to build you this layout, then get in touch - usual methods, contact form in the menu here or via Facebook or the forums. Until next time though, more soon...

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  1. This is a location that I've played around with in the past, admitedly more from an FR perspectiveI've always been intrigued by locations where tracks are in odd juxtaposition to each other, and it also goes back to my recent comment about the photos that inspired me in childhood.

    1. I’ve always thought of it from the narrow gauge view point too, but I’m recent months the juxtaposition of standard and narrow gauges has been interesting. I’ve a scheme based on Tywyn in N in mind as well, but with more static narrow gauge models!

  2. I think there is a whole area of "different" but very prototypical OO9 layouts to be explored away from what are often very cliched layouts. Especially if you choose your period carefully. Harbour branch of the VoR for instance


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