The Brymston RR

This will be the tale of the Brymston Railroad and its allied companies Brymston Mining, The Brymston Lumber Co and any other subsidiaries that come to light.

The Brymston RR is a 3ft gauge line built and operated for the mining and lumber concerns with extensive trackage. It also acts as a common carrier on some parts of its route.

One day the full history of the line may get written but for now any similarity with The Brimston Railroad in Tennessee is purely coincidental.

The first section of this tale is really a second telling. The first version was told on the NGRM online forum and copied to some other places too. After a while I decided to re-tell the tale in my own blog and then copy extracts to the various forums where comments and interactions would be encouraged.  So, on with the catch up.

First a bit of background

Many of you will know me as EDM Models which I have been doing for about 25 years now. EDM Models grew out of my hobby and was for years an aside to the day job. Getting on for ten years ago now the day job offered me one of those “move to London or goodbye” type opportunities. As I moved to York to escape working in London, I took the goodbye option. EDM Models and odd bits of consultancy work then expanded to be the entire job.

I’ll be honest, recently I have been getting a bit fed up with it all. Just over a year ago I branched out in a restart of an old hobby, photography. Its been a great distraction and something not railways. More recently I have felt the need to do some modelling for me and to actually build a layout and in so doing concentrate on one scale for awhile instead of flitting all over the show with things that take my fancy but never seem to get finished.

Layout – the grand idea

When some 20 years ago we extended our house, my models moved out of the box room into what Annie tells me would be the master bedroom if we were selling as it’s the biggest. I had grand plans for a layout that filled the room and I was always going to start it `soon’ . What actually happened was that the business took over the space and with so much going on there are three workstations – 1) kit building etc 2) DCC, electrics and fiddly stuff and 3) spray booths. Add to that the 3D printers and a laser cutter even the idea of the grand layout got squeezed out.

You may have seen me recently selling off a lot of stuff that I have decided I am no longer going to use [and there’s more to come] and threatening to get serious about one scale.

I thought I’d do a write up about the layout that started with no name but is now the Brymston RR. Have a read of the cunning plan and see what you think.

The Cunning Plan

Recognising that the grand plan was probably never going to happen I have been thinking smaller and am going to build a module. Its not going to be to any modular standard other than my own as it could also be described as a cameo layout.  The grand plan may actually end up being a series of connected cameos and the more I think about that the more I like the idea.

So, what’s it to be? Since the early 80’s when I came back from Denver with a K36 in my luggage I have modelled 0n3. For years I lived in digs or rented accommodation, so my modelling consisted of a collection of kits, built and still in boxes but over the years I have developed something of a geared loco fetish and amassed quite a collection.

There is also a fleet of larger engines but this first module will be for the geared and smaller locos with the track, curvature and turnouts precluding the larger engines

Oh, I’ve done it now. I mentioned On3 to which many will go “What?” whilst others will immediately confuse it with On30 so we had better have a little explanation.

Both are American Modelling Scales done to a Scale of 1:48 or 1/4″ to the foot.  They are what the Americans call O scale. (the astute will have noticed that this is smaller than our UK O scale which is 1:43.5 scale or 7mm/ft – the Americans have yet to acknowledge the millimeter despite all their Chinese manufactured models being made of them)


On3 – O scale, so 1/4″ to the foot, n for narrow gauge. So, as it’s models of 3ft gauge things and the track gauge is 3/4″

On2 1/2 – (bear with me a mo) – O scale, so 1/4″ to the foot, n for narrow gauge. So, as its models of 2ft 6inch gauge things the track gauge is 5/8″ – compromised as 16.5mm to use commercial track

On30 –  is the same as On2 1/2 just converted to inches and a construct, mainly by Bachmann, to commercialise the narrow gauge modelling using many of the HO components they already made.  They have further confused things by then releasing models of 3ft, 2ft 6in and 2ft prototypes all built to 16.5mm gauge.

I am sure we’ll come back to this as both the closeness and the confusion can be advantageous


Having decided that this first section will be a cameo of the Brymston RR Logging operations loco facilities with short, tight radius curves and turnouts along with stub switches there are any number of short line and logging operations that had rudimentary facilities offering inspiration.

The decrepit and run down shoe string operation creates an atmosphere that may be hard to capture. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.


These first two pictures are he engine sheds of the Argent Lumber Company as seen in The Last of the Swamp Rats my Mallory Hope Ferrel.

Now I am not yet wedded to it being a lumber or mining operation. Truth is I have rolling stock to justify both. The sort of busy dereliction is what appeals to me.

The next three pictures are of the real Brimstone RR in another of Mallory Hope Ferrel’s books. This one is Slow Trains Down South volume 1







I think this would be a good place to stop episode 1. We’ll pick up with layout planning in the next thrilling instalment





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