Wantage Narrow Gauge Tramway

A 009 ‘what if…’

The Wantage Tramway was a standard gauge railway that linked the market town of Wantage to the GWR mainline which was two and a half miles from the town. The tramway had some very unusual locos and rolling stock for a British railway, and the train shed is also pretty unique. Unusually, the ‘small engine shed’ straddled the siding that fed the local gas works.

This little layout is Richard’s interpretation of what the ‘Upper Yard’ at Mill Street, Wantage, might have looked like, had the tramway been built as a 2ft 3in narrow gauge line. Richard does not claim that this is an accurate model of the terminus, but he hopes that it does give an impression of the area in the 1920’s.

The original tramway closed to passengers in 1925, but goods traffic continued until December 1945. The railway buildings are accurate models of the originals, apart from window sizes and styles. Here Richard has used plastic windows that he happened to have in stock. Some of the other buildings have also been scratch built using card and plastic. Use has also been made of models from the Hornby Skaledale and the Bachmann Scenecraft ranges.

The two main tram locos, the Hughes tram No. 4 and the Matthews tram No. 6, have been built using Worsley Works brass etches. The models run on Kato 9mm gauge tram chassis. The three tram-cars, numbers 3, 4 and 5, have also been built using Worsley Works brass etches. Each of these runs on a Kato N-gauge bogie chassis. Wantage Tramway Manning Wardle loco No. 7 is represented by an RT Models standard gauge kit running on an adapted Graham Farish 08 diesel N-gauge chassis, built by the late Pete Wallace. There are two back-up tram locos which can be used at exhibitions. One was built by Paul Windle, and Richard built the other using a 3D printed body from Chris Ward.

Other rolling stock has been constructed from plastic kits of various prototypes from Great Britain and Ireland. Some have been built as the kit manufacturers intended, others have been modified considerably by mixing various kit parts and altering width and length