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L’Aubraie: Large Scale Quarry Operation in a Small Space

Dump cars on the way to be unloaded. Working in Large Scale allows for a greater amount of fin e detail, like the junk and clutter on the makeshift workbench near the sheds.

L’Aubraie: Large Scale Quarry Operation in a Small Space

January/February 2018By Bernard Junk/photos by the author

Once I built a 45 mm gauge, LGB railway in my garden.  A few years later, I became interested in 2-foot gauge railways, and wanted to run 2-foot gauge trains on my existing LGB 45 mm gauge track. So, I decided to build my new 2-foot gauge models in 1:13.7 (7/8-inch scale). In this scale, 45 mm worked out to 2 feet, and I was all set.

Since 7/8n2 was new to me, I decided to build a few cars and a small four-wheel “critter” to run on a small layout. I decided to build this for an exhibition in The Netherlands. My challenge was to build a small layout that would fit into my automobile. To see my layout, Google “L’Aubraie, Bernard Junk.”

Quarry Layout

Dump cars getting loaded at the quarry. The bucket shovel is fully functional and actually loads the cars.

After making several scale drawings for my layout, I realized that my 7/8n2 line would have to be very simple to be small enough to fit into my automobile. So, I decided to build a quarry railway that would be appropriate for running my “critter” – and my dump cars. The line would run from a bucket shovel to a dump station, where the quarried material would be dumped from the cars into a dump truck. All with small four-wheel dump cars pushed by my small “critter.”

Quarry Layout

In the quarry office, the owner has just unboxed a brand-new model locomotive.

My small “critter” represents a 4-wheel, gasoline-powered locomotive. I built it from styrene, with a chain drive to both axles that drives all four wheels. My dump cars are weathered LGB models, but I replaced their LGB wheels with metal wheels of a smaller diameter. The track and turnouts were built from Code 0.200 rail soldered to circuit board ties.

Quarry Layout

The dump cars load a waiting truck below.

My scenery was made from Styrofoam, and the few buildings were scratch built from styrene. The unloading trestle over the dump truck is wood, and the truck was made from cardboard and resin parts. The figures were sculpted from polymer modelling clay hardened in an oven. A lot of the details and accessories were either scratch built or bought from a dollhouse store. Several details, posters, and figures are humorous jokes about some of my model railroad friends.

At my first exhibition, I loaded the dump cars with a small shovel, out of view behind the layout. Then I decided to load the dump cars with a working bucket shovel. After studying, and learning about shovels, I built my model. It is powered by four motors, and loads the dump cars with granulated cork. I also decided to add an extension to my layout for the dump truck loading station. I find that my fully working bucket shovel is popular with visitors. Sometimes children, and even adults, ask to operate the shovel – and load the dump cars. They always have lots of fun doing this.

The cluttered workshop is full of tools and parts to keep the small railway running.

So now, my challenge of building a 7/8n2 quarry layout that would fit in my automobile is done – all in less than 9 feet.

January/February 2018This article appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette