I started work on the Cordale Hall (Model) Railway in August 2018 and began posting about its development in January this year. Posting stopped abruptly in March and modelling stopped shortly afterwards.
My father had not been in the greatest of health and he passed away in May at the grand old age of 91. Since then, much of my time has been taken up with sorting out the ‘stuff’ in his house which had accumulated over 60 years of marriage. Then his house had to be got into a suitable state for selling - mostly painting all the rooms with white emulsion paint to freshen things up a bit. Although I still haven’t managed to get the property on the market yet, work is coming to an end, and I have some time to think about modelling again.
Rather than going back to the Cordale Hall Railway and carrying on from where I left off, I decided a new mini-project might provide the impetus to get going again.
The Duke of Kensington was having a think a couple of months ago, and decided that he needed to do something to make the railway more popular with visitors over the winter months. Looking at what brings in crowds to preserved railways, he decided that Cordale Hall could do with running some ‘Santa Specials’. Not a man to do things by halves, the Duke decided that he needed to build a line to the North Pole (not literally!) where children could meet Santa Claus and parents could be relived of their money at a new, upmarket (and hence expensive) catering outlet. While travelling from Cordale Hall to the North Pole, the line would pass through a snow-covered winter village to build up excitement on the journey.
The subject of the mini-project will be this winter village. In September I was given a micro-layout board from Scale Model Scenery which fits in a 22 litre Really Useful Box (the wrapping paper sized box). While fine for a micro-layout in N or 00, it was too small for what I wanted. There is a larger Really Useful Box (the 77 litre, Christmas Tree box), which at about 4 feet long would be about right. The box is on order and should arrive shortly. Perhaps foolishly, I decided to build the baseboard while waiting for the box to arrive. My carpentry skills are best described as ‘Measure one, cut once, curse, cut again, bigger curse, stick a bit back on’.
I found some houses and trees in Hobbycraft which seemed like a good starting point. Dobbies provided a bag of snow and some snow spray. The main point to note is that this is not an accurate portrayal of actual buildings and scenery. It is more of a stage set through which the Santa Special will pass. Possibly the scene will be populated with figures from the Lemax Christmas range. Maybe some of the items and characters from Lego Christmas villages can be pressed into service.
Any of the Cordale Hall engines will pull the service, though the red and green ones would fit the theme better. A few new carriages will be needed, with a more festive colour scheme than Cordale’s standard Oxfor Blue and Cream.
There will just be a single line of track passing through the scene. I doubt if this will be wired up, so the layout will be more of a diorama.
With a two month deadline, work has started on putting individual slates on the cottage roofs. They are so steeply pitched that snow is unlikely to stick to them!