Little Mill Junction

A P4 layout idea that didn’t come to fruition


After a series of minor meetings amongst the membership, it has been felt that it is time to start thinking of a new layout for the club to build in P4.

One evening the Chairman came charging into the clubroom, full of vim and vigour – strange behaviour for a cricket lover – holding a copy of the Great Western Journal in his hand. Having thrust said journal into my hand and told to read the article on Little Mill Junction. This area, by the way, is just some seven miles from my home, so, I read…and the same light that had dawned on Dave suddenly turned on in me! 

From there it was merely a question of time before this fledgling came before the membership to see if it had enough merit to be turned into a reality…the rest, as they say, is history.

What are we aiming for?

The layout will:

  1. Be built in 4mm/ft scale to Protofour standards, the trackwork reflecting BR(WR) practice.
  2. Represent the track plan, elevations, and topography of Little Mill Junction and its immediate environs as they were in Autumn1954 as accurately as possible within the space constraints available.
  3. Allow the operation of prototypical length trains (within the space constraints available) at scale speeds emulating prototype operations.
  4. Operate rolling stock appropriate to the location and the period 1952 to 1958/1962.
  5. Operate as closely as practicable the working timetable of a weekday in October 1954 ( prior to the closure of the Monmouth branch to passenger traffic).
  6. Incorporate full signalling and interlocking
  7. Allow the operation of trains and other equipment using DCC techniques.
  8. Incorporate lighting facilities
  9. Be designed for exhibition.
  10. (at an exhibition) only operate rolling stock that has been checked, tested and certified as reliable by the NMRS CME (yet to be appointed)

What’s it going to be like?

Well, its the double track mainline that ran from Newport up to Hereford, Salop and beyond. So there are expresses (Manchester- Plymouth), more local stuff (Hereford – Cardiff) and branch and workmen’s’ trains for the factory at Glascoed on the branch. With freight in both directions, fitted and unfitted, and parcels trains too, there’s plenty to run through. Plus the yard was used as a sub-yard of Pontypool Road in the down (to Newport) direction, So freights would stop, reverse into the sidings, exchange traffic and depart, giving plenty of activity (or scope for cock-ups, depending on how things are going).

That’s the idea, but there’s plenty of stock required, but all the baseboards are build but we still need to lay more track

For fuller information see the original inspirational article from the Great Western Journal No. 65 Page 51

The following file is a proposed track diagram and is a good representation of what Little Mill looked like, though there has been some space saving, largely with the lengths of sidings within the yard itself. So, how big is this to be? Well, the front scenic section will be 12.6m (42′) long, with a seven foot radius curve to the holding sidings at the back of the layout. We want to run full length trains through a stretch of countryside, with the added interest of activity on the Glascoed branch and the yard itself.

What research is being carried out?

We have 1959 freight and passenger working timetables of the area and these are being combined into one spreadsheet to understand the workings, to, from and through Little Mill.
We are also planning field surveys of the area as many of the original features are still present. Photos need taking and measurements made to ensure prototypical accuracy.
We’re contacting former staff (if you used to work at LMJ or know somebody who did then please contact us).
We’ve also completed some preliminary work on identifying actual consists of trains that ran through Little Mill

In Spring 2020 the club decided that it didn’t have the resources to complete LMJ to the standard we would want to achieve and so we will concentrate our 4mm scale efforts on Abergavenny Blackbroook.

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