Hall Royd Junction Signal Box Nameboard
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Evolution of a model railway layout: Hall Royd Junction

The layout is centered on Todmorden, on the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's Calder Valley main line which connected the railway's system in both counties.

The map below - an extract from the well-known tile map at Manchester Victoria - shows the primary routes through Todmorden, with mineral (coal); freight and passenger traffics originating from Leeds and Bradford in the east were directed either to north west Lancashire via Copy Pit, Rose Grove, Blackburn, Preston and Blackpool; or to south west Lancashire via Rochdale, Manchester, and so on to either Liverpool or Southport.

The actual physical division of traffics took place outside Todmorden at Hall Royd Junction, the subject of the model.

The modelled lines are shown in bright blue. The routes from the east over Copy Pit are marked in pink whilst the lines to Rochdale and Manchester via Summit Tunnel are marked in orange.

Manchester Victoria station tile map extract marked to show the location of Hall Royd Junction and primary traffic flows east to west.

The original plan was to have Todmoden station on one side of the loft and Hall Royd Junction on the other, and in this way replicate the prototype railway between the west end of Todmorden Station and Millwood Tunnel, with the lines to Stansfield Hall Junction represented by a simple loop behind a backscene, so a train setting off for Blackburn and Copy Pit would reappear seconds later at Hall Royd.

The first section laid out was Hall Royd Junction, with a compact set of storage sidings at one end of the loft, as shown in the schematic below.

Hall Royd Junction model railway layout schematic showing original dumb-bell configuration with small storage yard

However, it became very apparent very quickly that the storage sidings were too short and on too tight a radius for stock to enter and exit easily.

The solution was to provide a much grander set of storage sidings on what had been intended to Todmorden Station and viaduct.

Hall Royd Junction model railway layout schematic showing original dumb-bell configuration with large storage yard

Trains could now be effectively marshalled and despatched. The original thinking was that trains to both Copy Pit/Rose Grove and to Manchester where similarly marshalled, so a Class 110 DMU could legitimately disappera towards Rose Grove, and then a similar looking unit re-appear from the Manchester direction. This didn't really work in practice, and there were a number of trains that clearly only have one appearance/route, such as the Red Bank parcels which should only run from Leeds/Bradford to Manchester and under no circumstances return via Copy Pit!! There needed to be a set of storage sidings representing Manchester Victoria and points west, and so these were fashioned over Christmas 2016 thus:

Hall Royd Junction model railway layout schematic showing original dumb-bell configuration with enlarged Leeds/Bradford storage yard and small Manchester storage yard added.

The Manchester storage sidings consist of three roads which run the full length of the layout, and can be accessed at both ends, so a train can run through these sidings and then be reversed in the Leeds/Bradford yard before returning to the Manchester sidings to await its next appearance. As it is a single track lead into Manchester, a cross-over between the up and down lines was provided behind the scenic break at the left hand end of the layout.

But this still meant that trains that were unique to the Copy Pit route were still doomed to return from the Manchester direction. The final solution, implemented in August 2017, was to provide an exit from the rear of the main storage sidings. This was finally commissioned at the beginning of October 2017. This coincided with the commissioning of a replica of Alan Pegler's famed 'Northern Rubber Special' which saw 'Mallard's' only visit to Hall Royd, complete with restaurant and buffet cars, and the ex-Devon Belle Observation Car M280M.

Hall Royd Junction model railway layout schematic showing original dumb-bell configuration with enlarged Leeds/Bradford storage yard, now tow-ended, and small Manchester storage yard.

The storage sidings had been laid out as terminal roads, but the opening up of the far end will now see the roads re-worked for through running, although the 'back' road will remain single ended to accommodate the Red Bank newspaper vans.

The various routes through the storage areas are illustrated below. Trains from/to Leeds and Manchester use the orange route. Trains that are loco worked pass out of the Manchester sidings using the black line emerging from the right of the storage area to be reversed, before being sent back into the sidings to await their next working eastwards.

Trains for Copy Pit/Blackburn and Blackpool take the pink route, but they have the advantage of being on a continuous run, so an empty coal train passes through the layout left-to-right, and a fully loaded one from right-to-left. The Pegler special always runs right to left (the return working would require sleeping cars and the Midland Compound!), whereas the Summer Saturday specials run both ways, remembering that we should differentiate between morning and afternoons as the secials would be Blackpool-bound in the morning and Leeds-bound in the afternoon.

Hall Royd Junction model railway layout schematic showing 'routes' that trains to Manchester and Copy Pit take.