Category Archives: Brewery Pit

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Brewery Pit at Swindon Model Rail in 2015

Reawakening Brewery Pit

For those that don’t know, Brewery Pit is my main OO gauge layout that I started constructing in 2008 while I lived in Ilfracombe.

Brewery Pit at Swindon Model Rail 2015

Brewery Pit at Swindon Model Rail 2015

It is based on the atmosphere and surrounds of Burton upon Trent’s extensive brewery operations with tall red bricked buildings towering over the main line and private brewery sidings.

The layout is set in autumn at some point in the late 1940s, but I do on occasion run various other eras too.

The fiddle yards are designed around a cassette system and the layout normally runs in DCC, but operates in analogue mode from time to time.

Brewery Pit in the sunshine

Brewery Pit in the sunshine

I’ve tried to ensure that handling of rolling stock is kept to a minimum while the layout is in operation, so most of the wagons have automatic sprat and winkle couplings fitted and are suitably weighed down for this purpose.

Brewery Pit is the first layout that I designed to be displayed at model railway exhibitions, so a fair amount of thought was given to ease of transportation, set-up and how entertaining the model is to watch.

So far I have exhibited Brewery Pit at four shows, including the Swindon Model Railway Club’s Modrail shows in 2015 and 2016, The Chasewater Railway Burton Brewery Locomotives Day in 2015 and the Loddon Vale Model Railway Exhibition in 2016.

Brewery Pit at Loddon Vale Model Railway Show 2016

Brewery Pit at Loddon Vale Model Railway Show 2016

This year I have two shows booked, which include Model Railex 2018 at the National Brewery Centre, Burton upon Trent on 4th November and the National Festival of Railway Modelling 2018, Peterborough on the 8th – 9th December.

The layout isn’t quite finished in my eyes, as there are a few more things I want to do to it, which include adding balconies to the malting warehouses and reworking the roofs. I also want to add drain pipes and an overheard water channelling system (which I may regret when I try to operate it at shows this year). I would like to explore motorising some points too, but this would be a risky job as many of the points are now buried beneath many layers of tiling grout.

Brewery Pit at Chasewater Burton Brewery Day in 2015

Brewery Pit at Chasewater Burton Brewery Day in 2015

Hopefully, all these little additions will be complete before the autumn shows begin, but I may then put Brewery Pit up for sale, as I would like to see Brewery Pit go off on its own adventures and to help fund my plans for my next model project, but we shall see how things go.

Brewery Pit under development before its show debut in 2014

Brewery Pit under development before its show debut in 2014

Watch this space for further updates.

Gotham needs the Bat-train

I’ll be updating the website soon to include some non-train projects too, so as a nice transition piece, I thought I’d show you the Bat-train (yes, Batman has a train).

This model is from a series of Batman vehicles made by Eaglemoss called the Batman Automobilia Colection and is pictured in the dark of night on Brewery Pit.

Model Rail Magazine to produce Wisbech and Upwell J70 Steam Tram

Rumours from Warley National 2016 indicate that Model Rail magazine are considering commissioning a Wisbech and Upwell J70 Steam tram,  famously associated with Toby the Steam Tram from The Railway Series ( and the Thomas and Friends TV series).

Model Rail are requesting feedback on livery options and whether to produce a version with opening doors, sounds and removal sideplates!

I know what I’d choose (all of the above).

These models will be more than welcome on Brewery Pit, so I look forward to hearing further news. Pictured below are my J70 and Y6.

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Remember me?

Hi, remember me?

This is my first blog entry in quite some time (apart from a few reposts from some other websites I manage). I’ve had a few queries about progress on some of my projects and a few questions about the lengthy silence from me.

It is safe to say that 2015-2016 was a difficult period for me and life took somewhat of an unexpected turn and put model making firmly on the backburner for a while.

What was the last thing I did on the model blog?

– Tom scans back through his own blog (a useful memory deposit, don’t ya’ know) –

Ah! Modelling At Speed (day 4). That was back in July 2015, only a few days before everything went a bit crazy.

Apologies for the delay, but you haven’t missed anything, apart from Brewery Pit’s attendance at Modrail 2016 which was covered in this article for Swindon Model Railway Club. I have some video I will upload soon. Oh, and another show, that I will report on later.

I also have an interesting new project I am working on for Swindon Model Railway Club, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

You’ll hear from me again soon (hopefully it won’t take over 12 months this time).

P.S. If anyone is interested in some of the non-modely things I’ve been up to in the past year, you might want to check out my music site: https://grasslandsmusic.wordpress.com

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BR Class 04 Diesel Tram at Speed: Day 4

On Sunday I completed my Drewery Class 04 tram. I sanded down some of the filler applied previously and fitted some loop couplings to the buffer beams. I also made up some three-link couplings and fitted a protection plate to the front and rear cowcatchers.

The original Bachmann whistle was filed down And fitted onto the front of the cab. Later versions of these trams had double horns fitted.

I fitted hand rails to the cab using split pins, which was quite a fiddly job. The original placement of the hand rails on the brass cab sides did not appear to be correct, so I adjusted them by filling in the previous holes and drilling new ones.

The final task was to create a mounting for the chassis. To do this I used some long bolts and drilled pilot holes into the plastic supports that are glued into the body.

Finally I sent the 04 on a test run of Brewery Pit. The body is a little low, as it bottoms out in a a few places, so I’ll adjust the height and then send the loco off to the paint shop.

The final part of ‘Modelling at Speed’ will be uploaded when the paint job is completed.

Please follow the link below for video of the Class 04 conversion so far:

Brewery Pit at the Chasewater Brewery Locomotive Day

Last Sunday (12th July) I had a great time exhibiting my OO Gauge layout: Brewery Pit at the Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire. The exhibit was included as part of the railways Burton Brewery Locomotive Day.

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Brewery Pit was set up in the Chasewater engine shed where visitors could stop by to photograph the real brewery engines and stock. There is a steam sentinel in the shed, which is of the same design as the one I am building as part of the Five Shunter Challenge. This particular one once worked at the Walsall Gas Works and was apparently the last of its design to be built.

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It was raining at the start of the day, but when the sun broke out at lunch time the crowds of visitors soon followed and enjoyed cab rides and vintage truck displays and the beer tent.

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2015-07-12 13.39.13PSLRIt was great to see Brewery Pit pulling a good crowed, particularly at lunch time. Me and my wife foolishly tried to scoff a full English breakfast as the largest group of visitors arrived to watch the trains run along the layout. I attempted to multi-task, but I admit that the breakfast did go cold.

It was nice to see so many children captivated by the little trains shunting on Brewery Pit. One child insisted that the tram engines were moving too slowly. I tried to explain that they are speed-regulated to 40mph, but I don’t think the child in question was that interested in my justification. One 3-year-old visited three times and had to be dragged away by his Mom.

2015-07-12 13.39.37PSLRI also met up with Joe Stamper and his Dad who brought along their vintage Bass truck for the day. Joe also brought along his delightful model of the Neilson, Reid & Co 0-4-0ST Steam Locomotive that operated in the Bass Breweries in Burton. He tells me that he still has some work to do to it (including replacing the dome). I took some photos of it with some brewery wagons and it really looks the business. Joe has done a great job on the paint work. I’m looking forward to seeing the completed version.

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I was really pleased how many people told me that I had captured the ‘feel’ of Burton-upon-Trent. I only ever see the layout as something that needs ‘more work’, so it is great to get some positive feedback. Many people also asked whether the layout was N-gauge, which doesn’t surprise me as the large buildings at the rear of the layout dwarf the little OO-gauge locos.

My favourite comments from the event were:

  • Toby doesn’t have a face – said by a child watching the J70.
  • Where is Toby’s face? – said by another child watching the Y6.
  • That tram best not have a face! – said by an adult while watching the J70.

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The best bit of the show was watching the brewery engines fire up in the shed and move out outside while we were test running the layout (we then had to wipe the diesel fumes off the track).

See the video below:

I hope that I get to attend next year.