Lyndon Smith's Black Rock Mountain Railway

Leeds and Bradford Shed steaming July 2021

A view of the different levels

The Black Rock Mountain Railway

The Black Rock Mountain Railway, is a fictional UK based mountain railway. Its main aim is a long climb to a peak, for a brief flat respite, proceeded with a long descent. It follows my last railway, the White Rock Mountain Railway, but is a lot more user-friendly. For a start, it does not require a ladder to access the steam up area.

The main gradient is about 1:50, for about 25 metres sustained, climbing about 0.5m. One side slackens half of the gradient to about 1:80. The loop is continuous, so you can decide if you prefer to climb the slackened side, or the steeper side, and descend the other. The ruling radius is a couple of centimetres under 1.2m, which is about my worst parameter for visiting locos. Headroom is 210mm from rail head to the underside of the lowest bridge. So there will hopefully be few 16mm locos that it can't accommodate height wise. The main trackbed is 160mm wide, but there is a little more clearance than this on the bridges and tunnels. It should be sufficient enough to clear a RH VoR with a little margin.

The total loop running length is around 68m. Four permanant sidings are planned; two shorter, which are in place, and two longer, which are not. There is also a removable steam up area at waist height, which should accommodate 7 sidings of varying lengths. Two of the longer and two of the shorter can also be combined into two very long sidings (~4m long) for those more exceptional trains. Bridges are as yet only wood, but there are plans to update these with something more in keeping.

Despite the gradient the layout is reasonably favourable to manuals, provided you have a fairly well behaved and well understood one. As the gradients are long and consistent, provided you understand your loco well, it is possible to use without having to adjust ever few yards. With judicious gas control I can get my Accucraft Decauville to plod around without needing adjustment. It's a little slow on the climb, and maybe a little quick of the descent, but it is possible to find that sweet spot that is not alarming. But if you do have one with a tendency to run away, you will need to be quick on your feet, in which case, radio or geared manual is a good option.

The line does rather like, and seems well suited to, geared locos. It is not so long that it takes 20 minutes for it to get back to you, but it is enough to get a decent workout with some variety. I hope to welcome lots of geared locos to the line in the future.



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