Hall Royd Junction Box nameboard as preserved at the East Lancashire Raiway, Bury

Thurlstone Great Central: Yorkshire Junction in OO 

Visiting layouts that never leave home is always a great pleasure, and a recent visit to Kev Greenhalgh's 'Thurlstone GC' OO gauge layout was no exception.

The following photos can give a flavour of what is stunning piece of work. Back in the day Kev was an Art Student, and this is so evident in the exquisite execution. The layout resides in an 18 foot x 10 foot loft, but the skillful way Kev has assembled a number of cameos has created a feeling of something much larger that the physical footprint would suggest.

The main line is double track, and circles the loft, with a set of storage sidings behind the backscene. There is a typical Great Central 'main' through station, with three platform faces, with a double track junction. The 'branch' then also sets off behind the backscene to re-emerge in front of the storage sidings, to end at the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's branch terminus at Bullhouse.

Bullhouse benefits from both a colliery and a gas works, and - given the 1910 setting - has recently benefited from the L&YR's experimental electrification programme, with the Denby Dale - Bullhouse branch having been selected for further experimental work, so anticipating by a hundred years the UK Department for Transport's announcement in March 2008 that tram-train vehicles would be operated on a trial basis over the Huddersfield-Penistone-Barnsley-Sheffield route (‘the Penistone line’), mostly in South Yorkshire. Only Kev has got on with his trials, and has laid an appropriate length of side-contact third rail, and can operate an all-electric service using a two-car LYR electric set. In the works is three-car slam-door BR set, for which the bodies built and painted.

Thurlstone GC OO layout: Map showing location of Bullhouse LYR branch station.

And is the LYR electrification trial with the exquisite two-car original LYR set leaving Bullhouse. This Kev inherited, and is a Shapeways 3D body originally painted in green. Kev has masterfully dealt with the layering so often associated with these models.

Thurlstone GC OO model: LYR 2-car Bury electric set departs from Bullhouse.

Thurlstone GCOO model: LYR 2-car electric set departs from Bullhouse, and passes under the main road bridge.

The electrics have not yet totally ousted steam, and the Rail Motor still gets the odd turn. I think these make very attractive models, and Kev has successfully mastered the intricacies of the Jidenco kit. There is also a trailer car, but loadings on the day of my visit didn't justify its use. 

Thurlstone GC: LYR Railmotor stands at the Bullhouse branch terminus.

Thurlstone GC: LYR Railmotor stands at the Bullhouse branch terminus showing roof detail.

Bullhouse is a compact station, with a goods siding terminating in the gods shed, and cattle pens accessed off the run round loop. The neat and compact gas works is to the left.

Thurlstone GC: Bullhouse LYR station

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Bullhouse gas works

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Bullhouse station signal box and rear of colliery loco shed

Moving round the layout in an anti-clockwise direction, the next feature is the colliery loco shed occupied by the utterly delightful Hornby 'Thor'.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Bullhouse colliery loco shed and 0-4-0ST 'Thor'.

A further turn to the left, and the centre of Bullhouse village comes into view. The West Yorkshire vernacular is beautifully caught.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Bullhouse village centre

The main line emerges from the storage sidings behind the village centre, and the exit is artfully concealed by the houses, and the placing of the whitewashed cottage and occupation crossing to distract the eye.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: whitewashed cottage and occupation crossing.

Bullhouse Colliery occupies one end of the layout, with the main line at a higher level behind it.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Bullhouse colliery 1

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Bullhouse colliery 2

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Bullhouse colliery 3

Up above the colliery stands a wonderful Great Central trident guarding the junction at Thurlstone. Care has been taken to ensure that signals are placed correctly, and cover the potential movements required.It was the Great Central that first introduced the yellow distant arm at Marylebone in 1916, but this is 1910 so no such modern developments here yet!

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: GCR triden signal

The signal box is neatly placed within the diverging tracks of the junction. Part of Kev's mastery is that Ready-to-Run seats very comfortably within the whole, and it comes a surprise to realise that this is a Bachmann item!

 Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Thurlstone Junction signal box

The front of the layout is occupied by the headshunt and related tracks for the goods yard.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Thurlstone goods yard headshunt with LYR Class 27 ("A" class) 0-6-0 tender loco in attendance.

And now looking back towards the Junction.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: looking towards the Junction signal box.

Turning the camera the other way, the station finally comes into view. Note the positioning of the various huts: a deliberate ploy by Kev. Note the heavy presence of LYR locos in the foreground: from left-to-right, a Hoy 2-6-2T, an Aspinall 2-4-2 Radial tank and an 0-6-2T: something very similar to the preserved Taff Vale tank running on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway today.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Thurlstone station platforms

Tim Brearley looks on, as a Robinson 2-8-0 heads through the station with a mineral train. The village filling the far right corner looks so natural, and very Yorkshire.

Thrlstone GC model railway: Thurlstone station with onlooker.

The placing of the goods yard distracts the eye from the curving main line behind. The placing of the coal drops also attracts the eye, whilst the good shed and mill fill the scene nicely to create a satisfactory whole.

Turlstone GC model raiway: Thurlsone goods yard, coal drops, village and mill.

The mill is the final building making up the Thurlstone scene before the tunnel.

Thrulstone GC OO model railway: Thurlstone mill

And finally the main line heads back to the tunnel and the storage sidings. But before there, there still a hut and a hillside to explore. The rear of the hut is decorated with the sort of stuff no self-respecting Per Way department would be without. The sieves should be noted, involving the mesh used in medical plasters. The broken board with its text is particularly noteworthy.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: Permenant Way hut detail

The tunnel mouths are based on the originals at Woodhead. The cliff face was created from a mould and aluminum foil, and took just 24 hours!

Thurlstone GC model railway: cliff face

Rolling Stock

The layout features a representative selection of both GCR and LYR locomotives and stock. The Hoy 2-6-2T is not often seen in model form, and this one features actual Radial trucks at both ends.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: LYR Hoy 2-6-2T side on

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: LYR Hoy 2-6-2T cab interior detail

Thirlstone GC model railway: LYR Hoy 2-6-2T top view

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: LYR Hoy 2-6-2T three quarters front view

There is more than a passing similarity between the Sonic Models GC Class 9N (LNER A5) and the Hoy tank. The 9N's coupled wheelbase is 1mm longer, but you can't help but wonder if a 3D-printed bodyshell could be fitted to the Sonic chassis to produce a working Hoy! Think the Robinson probably wins the beauty contest.

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: a comparative shot of the Sonic GCR Class 9N 4-6-2 and a scratch-built LYR Hoy 2-6-2T

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: GCR Class 9N comparison with LYR Hoy 2-6-2T: three quarters front view

And perhaps an appropriate place to finish is Kev's hand painted 'G F Sleight' Private Owners Wagon. However, he decided one side was enough, and the rear is plain!

Thurlstone GC OO model railway: hand painted private owners wagon