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Description based on material supplied by the layout owner
Newcastle Market is based on a line that was planned but never actually completed. In 1910 the North Staffordshire Railway constructed a line from Trentham, on the main line south of Stoke-on Trent, to Trentham Park, to carry excursion traffic to nearby Trentham Gardens. The original intention had been to continue the line northwards to join up with the NSR Pool Dam freight only branch in Newcastle-under Lyme, thereby providing a link which would allow coal trains from the Silverdale coalfield to bypass the busy bottleneck at Stoke. Although a substantial steel bridge was built across the main A34 road west of Trentham Park station, the intervention of war in 1914 resulted in any further extension being cancelled. The branchline to Trentham Park was still used for excursions until the 1950s.
This is where fiction takes over. It is assumed that construction of the branchline was commenced earlier, in the 1890s, and that the extension to join up with the Pool Dam branch in Newcastle was completed. A passenger terminus was constructed at Newcastle on open ground next to the large livestock market, hence the name for the new station. North of the station the branch remains freight only, with coal traffic for the Silverdale coalfield and, since I remember seeing oil tanks on the Pool Dam branch, it is assumed that there is also is a small oil depot.
The station baseboards are hinged and fold up into a box-shaped structure, making the layout easily portable (it was designed to fit into the back of an MGB GT - sadly long gone). Trackwork is by Scaleway, the points being constructed on copperclad sleepers, with fiddleyards at either end utilising train cassettes. With the layout set in the late 1950s, passenger trains consist of DMUs working via the mainline to Manchester and steam hauled passenger trains, also bound for Manchester but via the Potteries Loop Line. There is also a morning and evening workers train for staff at Crewe Works (this did actually run from Stoke after the closure of Stoke Locomotive Works in 1926). Freight trains are mainly loaded coal trains heading south, with the empties heading north. There are also a couple of oil train workings each day and a pick-up freight, often conveying cattle wagons for the market. An agricultural warehouse provides another source of traffic and adds a little interest to shunting movements.
Locomotives and rolling stock consist of the usual mix of scratchbuilt, kit-built and detailed/modified proprietary models, tending more towards the latter as standards have improved. The buildings are all scratchbuilt, with the exception of the signal box which is a modified Ratio kit (after the discovery that NSR signal boxes were nearly all on brick bases) and a couple of lineside huts.
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