Tag Archives: Brewery

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.

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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.

Upcoming shows: Brewery Pit at Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire (Sunday 12th July)

Brewery Pit will be at the Burton Brewery Locomotives Day on Sunday 12th July 2015 at the Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire. Full details of the event can be found here:

http://www.chasewaterrailway.co.uk/news/burton-brewery-day-12th-july-2015/

The Chasewater Railway is in Brownhills and you can plan your visit with the details below:

http://www.chasewaterrailway.co.uk/plan-your-visit/how-to-find-us/

Burton Locomotives Day

The breweries of Burton were an important influence on the architecture of Brewery Pit so it will be nice to see the layout among some of the locos that once worked in the area.

In preparation for the Chasewater Railway event, I set up the layout for the first time since the Swindon Model Railway Exhibition to check everything was running okay. Sadly the glue that keeps the fiddle yard cassettes fixed together corroded away the plastic base and the cassettes have deconstructed themselves. I have already glued one back together, so it shouldn’t cause any issues for the show.

I also added some additional LED lights to the front of the layout. All the lights Make the layout look like it is invaded by giant alien snakes.

I hope I see some of at the Chasewater Railway on Sunday 12 July. Brewery Pit will be in the heritage centre. Please do come over for a chat.

Grain Hoists

Today I returned to the buildings of Brewery Pit and decided to do some detailing.

The old brewery buildings are made up from a Metcalfe Models cardboard kit, which is very nice, but I wanted to add some details to make it look less flat.

I started by adding some Wills plastic roofing, which has much a better finish than the cardboard print. I was going to fit drain pipes, but found myself building up the grain sack hoists out of the cardboard kit and then covering them in Slater’s corrugated sheeting. I matched the windows by stencilling the shapes onto the plastic and cutting them out with a knife.

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I then painted them in a pale blue, which is the main colour theme of my yet-to-be-branded beer.

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For some strange reason I have painted the other buildings in the wrong shade of blue, so I will have to correct this soon.

My thoughts are now drawn to how to stop barrels rolling off the raised platforms. I think some walling may be in order.