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Ehen Bridge

Derwent Railway Society

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Ehen Bridge

A 4mm finescale model railway by Mike Peascod

Set in the year 1910, Ehen Bridge represents a small branch off the main line of the Whitehaven, Cleator & Egremont Railway in a period after it became under the joint ownership of the London & North Western and Furness Railways. Whilst it supposed the branch was constructed as an extension to an already existing line serving a group of iron ore mines, a passenger service is included between workings of iron ore to the coast for either shipping to other parts of the Kingdom, or to be smelted into pig iron locally.

Ehen Bridge is built to P4 finescale standards.

Ehen Bridge is a portable exhibition layout built to P4 finescale standards. One of the main differences between this and mainstream 4mm scale using OO track is that the rails are a correct scale distance apart. The track gauge is 18.83mm instead of the 16.5mm used in OO gauge. The layout is 12 feet long and 30 inches deep.

In the distant North West of England, far away from the centres of population and manufacturing, an important raw material for the industrial revolution was to be found. Haematite ore, was the vital part of Henry Bessemer's acid steelmaking process. Cumberland haematite ore had very low phosphorus content and the combination, together with coal, limestone, and proximity to the sea (for imports and exports) gave the area a previously unknown prosperity.

Furness Railway passeneger train coasts into the station
The joint lines were a cooperation between the LNWR and FR companies.

The story of Ehen Bridge starts with the formation of the Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway, a line specifically constructed to transport ore from the Cleator ore district to the blast furnaces at Workington and Whitehaven. Retaining its independence until 1878, it was taken over as a joint line by the London & North Western and Furness Railways.

The Ehen Valley branch was built to serve a number of mines. Set in the period around 1910, Ehen Bridge is an extension of this branch and whilst it was not actually built, it possibly could have been. The major traffic on the line is ore from Lindow's No. 6 mine, but local freight and workmen's trains are, an important part of the day-to-day operation.

A Furness Railway 0-6-2 tank locomotive shunts the yard.

The village of Ehen Bridge dominates the right-hand end of the layout. Developed to serve the mining population, it will in time fade away into obscurity with the inevitable depletion of the iron ore. Each of the buildings in the group is taken from examples to be seen in the locality of West Cumberland; the railwaymen's cottages were to be found in Moor Row, the Co-op is from Workington and the miners' cottages can be found anywhere in the district.

The layout has a display panel giving details about the prototype on which the model is based

I hope I have been able to give a flavour of railways as they were in West Cumberland.
The layout owes a lot to members of the Watford and District MRC, whose assistance and encouragement have made it possible.

Mike Peascod

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