By Dave Milnes
The layout is fictional in location but loosely based in the old intersection of county borders Lancashire/Westmorland/Cumberland around what is now generally known as The Lake District.
No specific date is inferred though is typically around the early 1970’s but in a timeline where Dr Richard Beeching didn't close quite so many local lines, and steam continued in use as long as locomotives could be kept serviceable until they were gradually replaced by diesels.
Firkin Vale is a branch terminus serving several local villages with postal services and livestock transport with some commuter passenger services mainly by DMU and the occasional steam service to Carnforth.
There is a thriving local farm produce transport to the market towns of Keswick and Ulverston where beer is also brought back from the Hartley’s Brewery in oak casks to be distributed by road. These light goods services are operated mostly by aging steam locos but occasionally a modern diesel puts in an appearance.
On rare occasions elderly LMS liveried loco may still be seen as a few were based in the dockyards at Workington and were never re-painted as they got overlooked, but since the introduction of road container shipping, have been brought back onto the branch lines temporarily until more diesels can be brought into service.
The setting is an autumn evening just as the sun is setting and the last commuters are arriving home and day trippers are heading back. The lines start to fill with local freight and the overnight parcel service is due and the farmers are loading their livestock ready for market early next day or to go to the slaughterhouse.
There is a lot of activity as the day has been so warm and people are taking advantage of the cooler evening air to finish jobs they needed to do such as repairing the water tower.