Model Railway

On this page of the blog I am going to detail the process I am going through to get to the layout I want to build. It will provide some details of the background to my interest, and detail the thought processes, the abortive starts, the changes of mind, and the forseen derailments of the plans.

The start of my interest in railways was in the age of steam, 1958 to be exact, when on a trip to London I disappeared from my parents side on the platform of Kings Cross station. While my mother was going frantic, father was calm and knew exactly where to find me. They walked to the footplate of the loco to find me talking to the engine driver.

But the start of this adventure was really back in 1964 when I began buying and selling toys, mainly railway items, and found that I was accumulating the beginnings of a collection of rolling stock and locos. The most I paid for any item in those days was £2.00.

It was not until 1967 that my father built me a model railway layout to use the collection, it was in the largest bedroom of our two bedroom home. It was an end to end layout, 17 feet long and 3 feet wide with a 5 foot turning circle at one end.

It took him three weeks to build and contained 3 miles of electrical cable, the hardest part was a two inch section of track which created a dead short, this was eventually solved and the layout was ready for me to play with.

Being mid summer however, I also wanted to spend some time playing outside with friends, so the day after completion out I went, dad never came home early from work … until that day. By the time I returned home an hour later the railway was being ripped apart, never to return.

I sold off the ‘collection’ and walked away from train sets to focus on my main hobby of photography. In that area I was relatively successful and it also provided me with quality time with my father in a subject he also enjoyed.

My interest in photography eventually took me to the Bressingham Steam Railway and reignited the spark of interest in the railways of the steam age, in the 1970’s a friend had contacts in the rail yard at Finsbury Park where the Racehorse Deltics were on shed. There was a special running on the day we visited and I was there to do some ‘professional’ photography.

This was at the start of the period when the Deltics were being phased out, but I continued to have preferential access to the depot, and was even invited to ride the cab from Kings Cross to Finsbury Park at the end of a Nene Valley Special. This was handy as we had parked the car at the latter depot so it saved us the walk back.

Through the 70s I tried one more time to build a layout but a divorce got in the way and once again everything was sold off. After the divorce I restarted the toy ‘business’ and began accumulating more railway items which were packed away in boxes.

After moving back from Scotland I began building another layout in a small garden shed, this was great in the summer, but winter came and with it the sub zero temperatures. With no heating the project was abandoned and in 2010, with the statement of ‘never again’, I sold off all my collection of railway items which had grown considerably.

Some one once said ‘Never say Never’, perhaps I should have listened, because in January 2017 I sold my family home and moved to Norfolk. This move had three main effects in relation to the railway, a one third of an acre of garden allowed for the space to build a dedicated cabin of consider able size, the money from the sale of the house allowed funds to start restocking the layout, and the time to spend on building without the pressures of the outside world to interfere with my plans. Well two out of three are not bad.