My railway modelling experience ranges
from N Gauge, though American HO, 009, 00 Gauge, EM Gauge to 0
Gauge and 0-16.5 narrow gauge.
I had been keen on modelling American
outline railroads for approximately 18 years but several years ago
I returned to modelling British outline models. Encouraged by my
best friend who had moved away from Workington and now lives in
Horwich, I decided to have a go at UK modelling again. I settled
upon a Railway Company I have always been interested in but
instead of choosing proprietary flexible trackwork in N or 00
gauges I decided to try EM gauge for the first time. The layout
was Wyndham Row and can be seen by clicking on the appropriate
link in the left hand floating
For years I built layouts to be shown to the
public at model railway exhibitions but as I grew older, suffered
from the occasional illness and incurred the odd minor accident, I became weary
of building layouts to be assembled and dis-assembled as they are
shown at exhibitions and favoured to build permanent layouts.
Furthermore as I get older I find I prefer to watch other layouts
when I visit an exhibition.
Below are some of my layouts I feel I should
mention on this website. It is not a full list as one layout that
I began turned out to get an alternative layout name. while others
were jointly owned with family or were test excursions using
different scales and gauges. The layout that had its name changed
was Mardale 2 for I had intended it be a 4mm finescale layout of
Bassenthwaite Lake. It is still under construction after starting
it over two or three years ago. To disguise its originality the
level crossing that was a dominant feature of Bassenthwaite Lake
Station was replaced by a stone overbridge. Stone steps leading
down from the elevated roadway create an alternative unique
feature. The lake remains in situ but it now represents
Haweswater and in my alternative universe it is not a reservoir
for Manchester! Rain that falls in the Lake District remains in the County to flow to the Solway Firth through Cumbrian
rivers and streams, not through the taps of the next county.
With my later layouts I chose to continue to use Kaydee auto
couplers or as they are more commonly called a KD. These I
used on my American layouts and liked the remote uncoupling
characteristics. I found three link couplings too difficult
to handle as I aged and decided that the KD was the coupling for
me. For half a decade British RTR manufacturers have been using
the NEM coupler box and there are four KDs in the range that
simply plug straight into the NEM box.
This began as a private venture and was shared with members of the
Workington Model Railway Club. It went through several stages and
materialised as the station everyone knows as Workington Main. Back
in 1972 and before the layout was under construction a few friends formed
a group to research the railways of West Cumberland and we called
ourselves the Workington LNWR Group. We would take photos of local
railways as they were going through several changes in 1972. This
group still survives today albeit after several name changes and we are
known as the Workington Main Railway Group. As more and more people
joined our band of modelling friends we decided to form a club who's
interests were just railway modelling. We adopted the Workington
layout as the club layout but it remained the property of myself. It
has been exhibited at several shows and after a while it was showing signs
of old age. I removed the good trackwork to use on an American
outline layout and The Workington Main layout was no more.
Mardale 1 Layout
Mardale 1 was a might have been railway based on a plan to build
the West Coast Main Line using a different route to that which climbs Shap
Fell in the Former County of Cumberland. The layout was built using
PECO00 gauge, code 100 flexible trackwork. It lived in the
same premises as Workington main but in a cellar room next door. After several years
on the exhibition circuit it was retired and dismantled.
Bangor, North Wales
This was my first attempt in modelling in N Gauge and I had no
difficulty in downsizing like I had heard of others had when they
I had researched Llandudno Junction in North Wales as a possible 00
gauge layout but found it would need too much space. I started to
plan it in N gauge to reduce space but my mind kept going back to a survey
I had made previously when I canvassed visitors to a model railway
exhibition what they best liked to see when going to exhibitions.
Another station on the North Wales line met all their criteria and this
was Bangor. Bearing this in mind I began building the Bangor layout.
This layout was exhibited at the Barrow in Furness exhibition where it was
awarded the Platform 3 shield for the best running layout.
East Texas Terminal
This was my second American outline layout I started. The
first one began life in a cellar under a solicitors office on Oxford
Street Workington. It was going to use the baseboards rescued from
the abandoned 0 gauge of the Workington Model Railway Club when the club
broke up in the mid 1980s. A forced location move saw the baseboards
move to my cellar workshop on Station Road, Workington but the lease ended
very shortly and the layout became abandoned. Instead of finding a
new workshop I decided to build a much smaller layout in a bedroom in my
home. I decided to keep to the theme of the first American outline
layout and stay with the Santa Fe railway.
Hudson & Madison Railroad
This was my third attempt at building an American style layout but
it too would never get finished. This layout was going to live in
the loft of our new home at Northside, Workington. The track that
was laid is what I recovered from
Wyndham Row is a might have been layout using
the name of an actual location in West Cumbria. I researched and finally
planned an imaginary branchline that diverts off the Cleator & Workington Junction Railway's Northern Extension.
I decided to use the old name of Broughton Moor for the name of my
station - Wyndham Row. The scale is 4mm/foot but the gauge is not 00.
I had chosen to model the gauge to 18.2mm - EM gauge. I based the
design upon the prototype C&WJR station of Seaton, near Workington.
The layout has been exhibited twice but has suffered extensive damage
while in storage. The layout has been withdrawn from the exhibition
circuit and has now been dismantled. The locomotives
for Wyndham Row were mostly scratch built from sheet brass, or built
up from white metal kits, or are heavily modified RTR models, altered
to run on EM 18.2mm gauge track.
First things first - I never started this layout for I bought it
off a model railway club that wished to dispose of it. I bought it
and have had it stored on my loft ever since. It was first called
Scalegill after an actual location in West Cumbria. It was an iron ore
mine served by a former WC&ER branch. Scale was 4mm/foot and
trackwork was PECO 00 gauge, code 75 finescale.
It had been completed to the stage where it was ready
to go to a Model Railway Exhibition but when Workington was flooded in
2009 the exhibition was cancelled. I rebooked Scalegill to appear at
the same venue in the following February but the members of the club were
against operating it because I never consulted them when rebooking it.
I had planned to exhibit the layout single handed, but when one or more
members deliberately lost part of the layout there was no way it could be
shown without legs, control panels and a fiddle yard. Consequently
the layout had to be withdrawn. I made the excuse it couldn't go
because of an accident to my leg in the previous December made travelling
so impossible and others would not exhibit without me leading them.
After the exhibition had been and gone it was apparent the club had split
into two different factions so to solve the animosity the model section of
the club closed down
When Andy Wright was going to retire his EM Gauge Mossop Road
layout he gave me the first chance to buy the layout but although I agreed
to buy it, the deal never went through. He had his reasons why he
didn't want to part with the layout and I had bought a few engines to run
on the layout. All the engines save for one were to 00 gauge and
would have needed converting to EM gauge. The last showing of Mossop
Road layout was at the Workington Model Railway Exhibition and while Andy
was dismantling the layout he removed the cottages from the layout and
presented me with them. You the reader may be curious why he did
this but it is because I had been contracted to build the cottages for
him. I saw this gesture as a reason to build a layout that was
similar to his and that is what Lime Road is. Well almost it is almost a
mirror image of Mossop Road but the other buildings differ somewhat. Click
on the menu link to see this alternative Mossop Road style layout.
Mardale 2 is my latest venture is in 4mm using PECO code 75 finescale 00
gauge trackwork. The layout began life as
Bassenthwaite Lake Railway Station but after discovering that Don
Annison's N Gauge layout of Bassenthwaite Lake station was still very
popular on the exhibition circuit I reverted back to an old dream that
never materialised. This was to be my Mardale 2 layout instead. The
station building is a scaled down copy of the real Bass Lake Station,
right down to the drinking fountain and the letter box built into the
walls of the building.