When I was asked to model the signal boxes for the Stainmore project, I thought it would be a simple matter of producing a couple of NER standard boxes and duplicating them along the route. Consequently, I tracked down a rare and expensive edition of the North Eastern Record and prepared to start modelling.
First job was to assess how many were needed. Obviously, there would be one at each station, so that was 15, plus some stations had 2 or 3 signal boxes, bringing the total to 21. Just for good measure they also had one for every quarry along the route, which was another 3 and there were additional signal/crossing cabins, plus junction and siding boxes which increased the total by a further 5!
So, 29 boxes to build, but not a problem if they were all to the same standard. How wrong could I have been?
Firstly, the roofs. Some slope front to back, some from side to side. Some roofs were pointed and others hipped. Also note that many of the sloping roofs had ornate gable ends, whilst others were plain.
Still, at least this variety of roofs should be on top of standard NER boxes...............
They were tall, they were short, they were big and they were small, anything but standard.
But hopefully they would have been built from a set of standard materials which would minimize the variety of textures I would need to model them....................
Most were of brick construction, a few of stone and the more exposed moorland boxes had a render finish for added weather protection and one, at Hulands Quarry, was timber clad.
Finally, there was the issue of the steps. Some had the steps on the left, others on the right. Many had straight stairs whilst others had L-shaped flights of steps and, as for Kirkby Stephen West, I think the designers spent too long in the Croglin Castle Hotel ( a popular drinking den for Kirkby Stephen railworkers), when they planned these ones.
Still, in the end I can only work with what is there, so I do my best to reproduce a reasonable facsimile of the Stainmore Route signal boxes in an attempt to properly represent the look and feel of this atmospheric stretch of railway.
The following is a glimpse at some of my efforts to date:
So far 14 done, nearly half way. But wait a moment, did someone just say that Ben has extended the route to include Penrith to Tebay?!
I can only hope the LNWR definition of "Standard" was a lot more consistent than the NER's.................................