In March 2014 Julian Birley, the originator of the Evercreech New (EN) layout was downsizing and the future of this superb layout was in doubt.
Following consultations with Simon Kennedy acting as an intermediary, it was confirmed with Julian that he thought the idea of the Yeovil Group taking on EN was great as it would have a better opportunity of being seen by people if it is with a club rather than an individual.
Dismantling of EN started in July 2014. It took two Wednesday visits to dismantle EN and move it to CS2 our clubrooms. Only the front of EN was being taken by YMRG.
EN is available for exhibition. It has already been a static exhibit to Evercreech Village Hall as part of the 50th anniversary of the closing of the S&DJR. EN has now been rewired and the old Tortoise point motors replaced with servos. The signals have been similarly modified. EN can now be used as a shunting layout utilising just the station boards and can be controlled by either conventional DC or DCC controllers. Our objective now is to graft EN onto the fiddle yard used by The Summit. That will give us two large 7mm layouts available for exhibition.
The buildings on the layout are by Allan Downes and some used a fireclay mix to simulate the Mendip stonework. In places this had deteriorated and the goods shed has recently been subject to some superb repairs and a light wash to blend the repairs in and to better simulate the limestone actually used at Evercreech.
Construction of the new boards that will connect Evercreech New to The Summit fiddle yard. The two large boards are 12′ corner to corner. One end will feature a full length Prestleigh Viaduct with the twin tunnel bridges in Cannards Grave Cutting as scenic exit. The other end will feature Pecking Mill Viaduct and will use the three arch occupation bridge that still exists between Pecking Mill and Evercreech New as the scenic exit.
This is the stillage that we will need to transport Evercreech New to Taunton later in October. This stillage will carry both of the large boards with room for more boards stacked on top.
At the northern end of Evercreech New the opportunity has been taken to represent the full eleven arches of Prestleigh Viaduct. The model being over 8′ long. The carcass is laser etched based on a drawing originally from Bob Alderman. Our model uses laser etched card and MDF to represent the arch and the various brickwork bonds used. The stonework is represented by Slaters vacuum formed stone sheet.
Prestleigh Viaduct was normally viewed from A371, this being the original side and the inside of the nominal curve on the prototype. Our model needed to be on a tighter curve and to be viewed from the outside of the curve. As on the prototype the brick arches are parallel and the piers wedge shaped to make the curve. The side visible to the punter is therefore the side not visible from the A371, where (being the widened side) the stone was not of such good quality as the original, and had required a lot of repairs both in blue and orange brick. On the side the plastic stone has been cut away and thinned in an attempt to fairly represent the extent and nature of these repairs. Both the blue and orange laser etched card will be toned down in due course. In this context it is interesting to note that it was the ‘new’ side of Bath Road Viaduct that collapsed in 1946!
Prestleigh Viaduct in-situ, clad and ready for Open Day.
Pecking Mill Viaduct
At the southern end of Evercreech New the decision was taken to model a bit of an oddity; this being the still extant but girderless Pecking Mill Viaduct. This was a five (or six) arch viaduct with a central wrought iron skewed girder span.
With the kind consent of the landowners a full survey was made of the surviving structure and immediate surroundings of the bridge. Close inspection revealed that it had much in common with Prestleigh Viaduct with abundant brick repairs and with Flemish Bond in evidence on original work which is a bit of a thing on S&D bridges and viaducts, but unusual outside domestic architecture.
The Bath extension was constructed in single track and fairly soon afterwards doubled. Examination of OS maps showed that the original side of the viaduct was the one with equal sized arches, with the widened side having different sized arches to better accommodate the skewed crossing of the road. The clincher was finding the abutments for the original crossing at the end of the blind arch and that it was the five arch side that was wider than the six arch side.
An architect member drew up the bridge as it was (only on a very slight curve at the Evercreech New end), and then a civil engineer member adapted the structure to the required curve, and drawing on experience from the Prestleigh Viaduct carcass, produced the 2D CAD drawings for a 3 mm ply carcass that was cut by Hey Create in Bournemouth. Amazingly when assembled everything fitted!
This is the 3D CAD design for the A371 arch. Note that due to the skew the handrail arrangement is not symmetrical. The walkway support at the far end that was hidden behind the abutment pier due to the skew has now been deleted. Details have been taken from a clear shot looking along the top of the bridge along with suitable details from the only surviving girder rail bridge on the Bath extension in Radstock.
This was the farm bridge that was very close to Pecking Mill Viaduct on the Evercreech Junction end. There is very little sign left on the ground of this bridge after it was almost entirely demolished. We know that it was another heavily skewed girder crossing, but in the opposite direction to Pecking Mill Viaduct. No detailed photographs exist of this bridge although it does feature in at least one video. The only photo that we have seems to show that the girder was similar but shorter than the A371 crossing, and that is the assumption that has been made for the girder design. The length of the girder crossing was estimated from a Stanier coach that was crossing in that photograph, and the length of the abutments (the base of which survives on one side) was measured from the ground at no less than 40′! Happily these dimensions seem to tie in with each other and the distance between abutments measured on the ground and the carcass was made from 9 mm ply with old-fashioned saw, plane and rasp.
Oddly there was a much greater splay on the wing walls at the farm end of the bridge compared with the road end where the wing walls were barely splayed at all. This appears to have been the case both before and after doubling.
This is a 3D CAD of the farm bridge outer girder. As before the arrangement of the handrail is not symmetrical due to the skew. Again the walkway support at this end of the girder has now been deleted.
Three Arch Bridge
To hide the fiddle yard we are going to model the three arch pedestrian bridge that was just behind the banner repeater for Evercreech Junction station. This started life with the single track running through the centre arch. When the line was doubled the western arch was utilised for the second track and a retaining wall added on the widened side.
Retaining walls were something of a feature on this stretch of the S&D with low retaining walls also being provided at the base of the embankment in the immediate surroundings of Allen’s Bridge.