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Plank Lane

Description based on material supplied by the layout owner

Plank Lane  
Eddie Whitlock OO gauge 4mm scale

The North Eastern Railway, N.E.R. opened its engine shed at Ferryhill, County Durham in 1881 to house a dozen or so goods engines, the allocation had risen to about twenty by the time of the Grouping in 1923. Two class G5 0-4-4 tank engines were added but numbers remained fairly consistent until 1935. At this point Ferryhill was given the allocation of motive power displaced by the closure of Shildon shed, however it only survived for two more years before closure. Ferryhill enjoyed a brief claim to fame during World War Two, when exhibits from the National Railway Museum at York were sent for safe keeping.

For my modelling purposes there was, of course, a second, but completely fictitious, locomotive shed at Ferryhill, called Plank Lane. This shed was built on a site originally occupied by the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway which was taken over by the N.E.R in 1854. The depot being retained and enlarged to house freight locomotives used to service the coalfields of County Durham and North Yorkshire. Unlike its counterpart, Plank Lane survived much longer, mainly due to its location in the triangle formed by the lines to Stockton and Darlington that gave better access to diverging routes.

When the locomotives allocation increased at Plank Lane, it was decided to provide a turntable. Land was acquired in 1937 and by late 1938 a 70 foot vacuum tractor turntable had been installed.

Plank Lanes reasonable proximity with Darlington works, to the south meant that it could also be used by locomotives on running in turns after attention at the works, therefore allowing a variety of motive power to be seen visiting the depot for checking and servicing before returning to the works.

The scene you see is set around 1946 when the LNER was embarking on a renumbering scheme. Some locomotives can be seen newly re-numbered while others awaited such attention. The shed roof was damaged by fire and has been removed awaiting replacement, while other parts of the depot have recovered a little from wartime austerity.


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