See what I mean about a back story. I guess all the names have double meanings which I will need a translation for. I have see Gernise End mentioned in previous posts but never worked out 'Journey's End' Well done.If you like 'back stories', I think it is not unreasonable to re-post the history of the Claptowte Railway, for newer Forum Members who may not be aware. It may give you an insight into my weird world.
The Claptowte Railway – The History
The Claptowte Railway is a British narrow gauge line, set somewhere in the English - Welsh border country, sometime around the last half of the 20th century. The line meanders through the Vale of Claptowte from an exchange with a main line standard gauge railway, at Ellceware, up to the head of the valley and the rural terminus at Welwawn. The line is often incorrectly referred to as the Welwawn and Claptowte Railway, or, The Old W.C.
Gernise End is an intermediate station, with a run around loop that enables passenger and goods trains to pass each other, near to the head of the valley. It is a busy stopping off place for the grouse moors and long distance footpaths of the upper reaches of the vale. It has basic goods handling facilities comprising a loading dock, a cattle dock and a yard crane. There are also coal staithes operated by the local coal merchant, I.P.Black.
The Motive Power Depot, workshop facilities and carriage sidings are located along the line at Phidell Yard
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, a number of small independent engineering machine shops, dotted about the vale, have specialised in, and become renowned for, the manufacture of watnaims, in fact, Claptowte watnaims are known to Mechanical Engineers all over the world. There cannot be many engineering installations around the former British Empire not fitted with a Claptowte watnaim. Goudes Sidings, located just outside Gernise End, was once the bustling hub of this trade, handling incoming raw materials and the export of the finished products. With the introduction of modern technology, this local industry is now very much in decline, except of course for the demand for spare parts. Engineering students come from far and wide to study the few remaining machine shops that are now regarded as living museums.
The subsequent decline in production means that Goudes Sidings is now used only as a stabling point for the line’s Engineering Department and their travelling crane can usually be seen parked there.
In order to avoid the considerable Civil Engineering costs, and difficulties, that would have been required to push a standard gauge railway through the undulating and twisting topography of the vale, the founding fathers of the line elected to construct a narrow gauge railway that would follow the contours of the vale, rather than combat them. They sought out and engaged an acknowledged narrow gauge expert of the day, Ivor Biggedd, to be the company’s first Chief Mechanical Engineer.
Prior to taking up this appointment, Biggedd had undertaken an extensive tour of Europe in order to study Continental railway practices. He was deeply impressed by the ride quality and generous loading gauge of European metre gauge (3’ 3’’) railways when compared to the almost universal two foot gauge (60cm) and restricted clearances of most British narrow gauge lines. He attributed this to the fact that most British narrow gauge lines had evolved from industrial horse-drawn tramways. Given a blank piece of paper Biggedd proposed, from the outset, to construct a metre gauge railway. His many close links with various European railway companies and manufacturers meant that he was able to purchase continental locomotives and stock at very advantageous prices, a factor that greatly endeared him to the Board of Directors, under the Chairmanship of Sir Nial DeMencha.
The European links have been maintained with the more recent introductions of diesel power. Over the years, a succession of rebuilds and modifications, in the company’s own workshop, has greatly altered the appearance of much of the stock from its European origins. This, together with its metre gauge, has given the Claptowte Railway its unique character.
The first arrival of the day, at Gernise End, brings newspapers, parcels and mail up from Elceware. At Welwawn, a pair of milk vans are coupled to the train, for the return trip, as milk, in churns, is still collected from various stops along the line, for delivery to the dairy at Ellceware. Livestock, poultry, vegetables and other local produce are transported to and from the weekly market at Welwawn. Coal and coke are delivered to the fires and cooking ranges of Gernise End where the tentacles of the gas main have yet to reach. The few narrow, winding roads of the vale, hemmed in by high dry stone walls, or hedges, have kept motor transport to a minimum and the railway is still the prime mover of freight and passengers, in the area.
The principle shareholder of the line is also the largest landowner in the area, Lord Ellpasse. The Ellpasse Estates cover large swathes of the vale, including the extensive grouse moors above Gernies End. Lord Ellpasse welcomed the building of the railway as a means of conveniently and comfortably bringing paying guests to his shooting parties on the moors. Estate workers are sent, in the shooting brake, to meet and greet the guests at the station. They can frequently be heard roaming the platform calling out their employer’s name, Lord Ellpasse. These cries often bring the local vicar, Rev W.Awdry, who has himself more than a passing interest in railways, running to see what is amiss.
Unfortunately, these days, Lord Elpasse is more famous following the notorious scandal surrounding him and his Children’s Nanny, Honour Bakke. Among the passengers arriving at Gernise End there are a new breed of animal, the Investigative Journalist. These have been known to trawl the inns and hostelries of the Vale attempting to illicit any sordid details from the locals by plying them with drink. Given that Lord Ellpasse is the largest employer and landlord in the area, the locals are understandably tight lipped.
The end of post World War II austerity has seen a gradual return to the area of Homo Touristus. They are returning in ever increasing numbers, armed with a Thermos flask and an illustrated copy of A.Wainwright’s ‘Walking the Claptowte Way’’, to explore the beautiful countryside around the Vale. Another attraction, for many, is the locally brewed ale, which is savoured by many who end up spending time on The Old W.C.
The rapid demise of steam locomotion on national standard gauge services is leading to a growing interest, by enthusiasts, in preserving independent steam operated narrow gauge railways. All of the above factors means that passenger schedules are well patronised, whatever the time of year, and the line’s future seems assured.
And yes . . . if you have not already worked it out, Gernise End is pronounced Journey’s End. What better name for the culmination of a lifetime of modelling?
Chief Mechanical Engineer
The Claptowte Railway