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

Howarth Goods Shed: 4mm scale

I personally think building a freelance layout well is much more difficult than building a scene based on an actual place. I say this, as although the various structures I built for the layout looked the part in their own right, I never felt that the townscene created was believable; it failed to 'come together'. As I write this, there is some discussion in the letters page of 'Model Railway Journal' as to whether the Model Railway Club's Coppenhagen Fields presents a believable vista of Victorian London, so I am not the only one!

I had difficultly in planning trips to West Yorkshire to find suitable prototypes in 2000, and so was heavily reliant on the Internet. One structure that was unusual in that it had been extensively photographed from all sides was Howarth goods shed. This is a mighty fine structure, and would have been worth preserving in its own right. I cheated by using the Will's engine shed windows, and it proved a remarkably straight-forward building to make. In an ironic twist, it has now been sold to somebody who lives in the Worth Valley, and has now taken it down the road to compare it with the real thing! Apparently the model does look the part when placed on the goods yard wall.

I found some snaps of the old layout the other day, and had forgotten just how many changes I made to create the effect I wanted. I had decided that the my 'county' goods shed was far too small for the large conurbation that I had created, and also I wanted the trains to not always be visible, with visitors having to pear round structures to see the trains. The goods shed had been at the other end of the layout, and was replaced by some Walther's structures which were supposed to be a Post Office style parcel handling depot.

At the other end of the layout I had a two-road loco shed, but the lack of serious servicing facilities meant that it wasn't a 'believable' feature. The footprint of the Howarth goods shed covered this area very nicely!

What was very striking, pulling this model out again, is how large the structure actually is, given that it was located on a single track branch line. Its sheer size gives a feel for the volume of goods traffic that a small goods yard like Howarth might have been expected to handle in the 1890s.

For the first few photos, I have placed the model on the current layout.

Howarth goods shed 4mm scale. Canopy side three quarters view

Howarth goods shed 4mm scale. Three quarters view from office end

Howarth goods shed 4mm scale. Canopy side

Howarth goods shed 4mm scale. Rear elevation

Howarth goods shed 4mm scale. Offices

Howarth goods shed 4mm scale. Plain end

Howarth goods shed 4mm scale. Canopy side three quarters view