The Mawddach estuary is a stunning area of Wales where Mountain, Sand and Sea meet as the old BR WR posters used to proclaim. On a wet and windy day in March the nearest you can get to the last of halcyon days on the Western Region is time spent on Geoff Taylor’s Barmouth Junction layout. I’m very fortunate in that Geoff is practically a neighbour, living a few miles away in another village. He kindly invited me to an operating session and I spent a relaxing day mostly at Penmaenpool.
The standard of modelling as you’d expect is unsurpassed. It feels as close as you can get to actually being there, the tone and texture of the landscape blends together with the railway beautifully. Operating is relaxed, interspersed with short bursts of activity, where trains might be passing in the loop at Penmaenpool, or on rare occasions multiple services arriving at Barmouth Junction whilst a light engine waits to turn on the triangle.
Getting down to eye level gives a very rewarding view, with or without a passing service in the frame. I feel like I’ve been to a gala weekend which I’m sure will sound a little over the top, but it is a real pleasure to see the layout in action with operators on the fiddle yards of Machynlleth, Barmouth and Ruabon, at the yard at Dolgelley or the branch and main platforms at Barmouth Junction.
Although there is always plenty going on, there is enough time to sit back and take it all in, get the camera out and transport yourself there. I transported myself there a little too deeply on occasions and would have a few words thrown my way to pay attention! Each time I see the layout I have a great urge to get on the train and go there, to take a walk across Barmouth bridge or to follow the old line from Morfa Mawddach to Dolgellau. As I type this however the rain is lashing so hard against the house that the windows are rattling, so I’ll turn the heater up another notch and take another look at the layout photos with a cuppa! So in the mean time, I hope you enjoy the photos of my weekend break on the Mawddach estuary.