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Zorbas Mine – The Railways of Crete

A layout by Baz Ward and Friends
Scale: 1:48
Gauge 16.5mm [On30]

Around the turn of the century, an unnamed investor with his works manager, George, opened a small lignite mine on the south coast of Crete. However, this was to end in disaster as chronicled in the novel Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis. Others were to take up the challenge.

Meanwhile between various Balkan wars and the start of the First World War, the British engineered to take over the administration of the island, and what did they do when they moved in anywhere? - they built a railway! In this case to the gauge of 2'6'', it borrowed heavily from the existing railways in Cyprus and Malta. The initial main line along the north coast was soon extended south from Iraklion to tap the rich agricultural lands of the interior and the mineral resources of Mount Ida.  An extension further south through the Kofinas Range provided a route to coastal shipping and was incidentally to connect to a local lignite mine, still known as Zorbas.  This required heavy engineering works including a zig-zag formation down to the coast itself.

All this, of course, only exists in a parallel universe, but it gives an excuse for a freelance On30 layout with both british and continental practice and later greek influence.

Locomotives both steam and diesel are an eclectic mix of kit and adapted bodies [Bachmann, A1 Models, the scrap box] on Hornby, Bachmann, Fleischmann and american chassis. Rolling stock is adapted Bachmann, Magic Train and Port Wynnstay castings. Control is still analogue but plans are afoot to convert to DCC when we have the courage! A Greek Z Class tank engine and a Mitsubishi diesel [for A1 Models] are on the way.

Thanks to A1 Models, Greenscene, Modelex,Port Wynnstay, Contikits, Monk Bar Models of York and the still loyal crew – John Lundie, Alan Robinson and Tim Hills.

We are here to answer your questions and take the flak,  so please don't hesitate to interrupt our reverie.