Monday 30 July 2012

Beyond Polbrock

Back of an envelope sketch of the Mendip Colliery extension to Polbrock
Last weekend I popped down to Camrail in Bradford on Avon with Polbrock under my arm to show it off for real as an almost finished work in progress where I was gobsmacked to discover that this little scenic plank has quite a following with its web and 'Workbench serialization' in Model Rail Magazine (the original and still the best home of how to make things - ok, plug over!)

Engaging with the the little audience, discussion went along the lines of extending Polbrock by another 3 feet and incorporating the Mendip Colliery project to the right of the pub. Mendip Colliery having been on and off for a couple of years now, both in print and right here in this BLOG, with readers and surfers weekly emailing me asking what's happened to it and when it's going to reappear.

So, to get the ball rolling, earlier today I had all the colliery buildings laid out on the carpet with Polbrock and came up with the attached sketch. The through line running along the front, the colliery behind it, also with its own fiddle yard exit to suggest something more. Looking at the sketch above, that's Polbrock on the left where you can see the pontificator's favourite tipple house.

Mendip Colliery buildings already made. All I need to build is the loading screen and maybe a replacement engine winding house.
Polbrock simply unscrews and drops out of the display case it's currently in, so extending the total length ex fiddle yard extending to around 6 feet would be simple. I'd have to build (or extend) a bigger display case and the backscene could easily be extended and reprinted, perhaps with more of a North Somerset feel (which is in fact where the original photos for Polbrock were taken).

The name Polbrock would go, and a new North Somerset inspired name would replace it. Something or other 'Gurney' could work. Compton Dando, Compton Gurney, Charlton Gurney & Asham Gurney having been suggested by a couple of fellow mudellers.

Polbrock station, siding, crossing and pub would stay as is, but the SR colours would become WR brown and cream. The pub and crossing seen below would be in the middle of the layout and make a nice scenic punctuation. Trains would have a good run too.

The Pedant & Armchair, with the Mendip Colliery extension the pub here will be towards the middle of the layout, the coliery board being to the right. The WW2 pillbox will be replaced with a small signal box and the crossing will most likely get some small gates
My carpet mockup felt just about right, the tall chimney just to the right of the Cornish engine would contrast really well with the halt. The halt could be named after the colliery possibly, it mostly serving the miners. Whilst the track layout will be pretty basic, luckily most of the North Somerset coal field mines were very compact indeed, the 3ft x 1ft extension being quite a limit - but it does fit just without looking too silly.

The plan is be to have it ready for Railex end of May '13. It's already invited, I just needed to blag a few more feet which I've seceded in doing successfully.

Polbrock is booked into Model Rail live (see ad top right), so work on opening up the right hand side of the layout will start in the autumn and be mini-serialised in Model Rail magazine, where I'll discuss problems of extending the layout, hopefully a few new scenic features and finally drawing a line, hopefully a happy one under Mendip Colliery.


  1. Great idea. I really look forward to following the progress on this one

  2. Chris, I will definitely be inspired (stealing) by your version of Polbrock.

  3. Morning, I realise this is way back in history but I am just starting to scratch build and was wondering if you might have some pointers.
    I would like to replicate the brickwork on the pub here and have been trying to think how you created that effect. Would you mind going over this with me, unless of course it is a trade secret haha :)

    Keep up the blog, it is of constant inspiration!

    1. Get some stone effect plasticard from you local model shop or exhibition. Practice.


All posts will be approved before they go live, posts from spammers will be deleted and marked as spam.