Pendle Pearlie Mine - Railwaygardener

Pendle Pearlie Mine

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Nestling under the witch-infested Pendle Hill deep in Lancashire’s heartland, lies the little-known Pendle Pearlie Mine, where valuable edible artifacts have been hewn out of seams of sedimentary chocolate for nigh-on a century. And occasionally a golden nugget is found, the rare Yellow Smartie of perfect circular form and great beauty, which commands a high price in the courts of Continental Europe.

Naturally the mine has a narrow-gauge railway to take workers and materials into the mine, and to bring out the valuable ore. It also runs through the separation works, where the product is extracted from the cocoa mass by a secret process involving steam, sugar, and somewhat surprisingly, broken digestive biscuits . Small quantities of waste dolly-mixtures are removed and sold as pet treats. Another useful by-product is a modest amount of high-quality hot chocolate.

In the packing shed the different shapes and colours are carefully sorted before being packed into a variety of bags and boxes. Finally the railway takes the finished goods to a loading platform where a larger (but still narrow-gauge) train is loaded for export to England, Yorkshire and the World, via interchange sidings at Wigan Pier.

The model is inspired by a design from the late Carl Arendt, undisputed king of the micro layout. He conceived the idea of adapting theatre ‘flies’ (which lift scenery up and down during a set change) to a compact model railway. His version, named ‘The Midnight Flyer’, envisaged a set of scenic backboards which would be raised and lowered from a concealed storage area above the layout.

I am not sure if Carl ever built his design, in which case my effort may be a world first. For ease of construction my backboards are stored behind the layout rather than above it, and I have used hidden side tracks to operate the trains rather than provide access from the rear. The scale is mainly Gn15 (1:24 G scale on 16.5mm track), representing a 15” gauge railway. The rearmost track is SM32 scale (1:19).


Operating sequence

Mine, separation and loading scenery boards in place, no trains visible.

1) Loco A traverses mine gallery from left with miners in coaches.

2) Loco B traverses gallery from right with full tubs, including a Yellow Smartie.

Mine scenery lifts, to reveal separation works.

3) Loco C traverses separation works from left with wagons of sweets and tanker of hot chocolate.

4) Loco D traverses from right with tubs of waste cocoa and dolly mixtures.

5) Loco A traverses from left with works train.

Separation scenery lifts, packing scenery lowers.

6) Loco B traverses packing shed from right with packaging materials.

7) Loco C traverses from left with packaged sweets.

Packing scenery lifts, revealing loading bay.

8) Loco E (larger scale) waits in loading bay with wagons of packaged sweets.

9) Loco D traverses loading bay from right with wagons of packaged sweets.

10) Loco E leaves loading bay to right.

11) Loco E and empty train return from right.

12) Works train with crane traverses from left.

All scenery boards lower, to return layout to starting position.

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