Wadbury Vale

36 foot by 4 foot 00 layout


Pre nationalisation         Post nationalisation
Southern Railway   British Railway (Southern Region)
Great Western Railway   British Railway (Western Region)
Somerset & Dorset Railway   British Railway (Southern & Western Regions)

Video     Video


A local passenger train                     Shakemantle Station                        Industries on the layout


History    The Mellis Valley known as the Nettlebridge Vale at its western end, Wadbury Vale in its centre, and Vellis Vale at its eastern end has a long industrial and transport history.
Coal mining in the Mellis Valley started in Roman times and continued until the closure of Mendip Colliery in 1969. Limestone continues to be quarried in the Vale. Mining and quarrying lead to two serious efforts to improve transport in 1796 the Dorset and Somerset canal was authorised but incomplete it went bankrupt in 1802 and the Nettlebridge Valley Railway was authorised in 1874 but abandoned in 1878. Industry had to make do with inadequate industrial tramways linking to the Somerset & Dorset [S&D] and Great Western [GWR] Railways.
I have changed history with the canal being bought to completion and an expansionist London South Western Railway [LSWR] driving a branch east from the S&D [jointly owned by the London South Western & Midland Railways] at Binegar and the GWR buying the Bilboa Tramway and converting it to a light railway. Then sanity breaks out the ‘mainline’ along the Vale becomes jointly owned by the GWR and S&D. In 1923 the London South Western Railway is merged into the Southern Railway and Midland Railway is merged into the London Midland & Scottish Railway. In 1948 the line becomes part of British Railways.
The Circle has three layouts based in the Mellis Valley Nettlebridge Vale, Wadbury Vale, and Vellis Vale. The attraction is having the S&D (Southern and London Midland Scottish Railways) at the west end of the valley and the GWR at the east end of the Valley. As several circles members model the Great Western, Southern, and London Midland & Scottish Railways and their successors this is a convenient mix.
An off shoot of the Pines Express uses the ‘mainline’ to link Manchester and Southampton but other services on the ‘mainline’ are more pedestrian local passenger and goods trains.