Archive for the ‘model railway’ Category


Friday, 15 May 2009


‘Austerity’  2-8-0 works a freight over the Portsmouth Direct in 1944

The village of Rowland’s Castle, Hampshire lies 8 miles to the north of Portsmouth on the ‘Portsmouth Direct’ railway line which runs from London Waterloo down to Portsmouth. The railway line was built in 1859 and was electrified in 1937.

In 1944, at the height of the second world war, the station was chosen as one of the de-training stations for allied troops who camped in nearby forests in preparation for the D-Day landings in Normandy.  Troops would arrive from all parts of the country, de-train and travel in convoys of lorries into camp.   A 10 mile deep restricted civilian movement zone was enforced all along the south coast of England and the troop camps were sealed off.  Blackout restrictions applied and petrol and food rationing was at its height.

Amazingly the picture at the head of this post is not a photograph of the Southern Railway in wartime, but a photograph of the Rowlands Castle Model Railway. The model buildings are based on real buildings that existed in 1944 in the village and include the station, a chapel, 3 pubs and several cottages. The colouring of buildings and landscape is based on colour photos taken from a book of USA servicemens’ photo’s taken in 1944 which are probably the first colour pictures of Britain ever taken.

Thanks to the inspiration of Roye England’s Pendon the quality of railway modelling in England has improved by light years from the standards that were the norm in the 1950s and 60s. In those days a model railway was judged by the quality of the model locomotives wagons and coaches. The landscape and buildings very much took second place. Nowadays you can take it for granted that the quality of the rolling stock will be superb, the aim is to make the scenery that the railway runs through as realistic as possible.

Peter Goss’s Rowland’s Castle is very, very good. If you can get to the Trainswest model railway exhibition this weekend (16 and 17 May) in Melksham you can see Peter’s work yourself and also see 31 other model railway layouts. Highly recommended.


Model railways

Friday, 16 May 2008

High speed ICE in Stuttgart

(photo korchstall)

First a model railway journey from Stuttgart to Northallerton, by fellow wordpress blogger korchstall. Korchstall normally blogs about his tiny model railway based on industrial narrow gauge practice, but this time, it was the journey itself that was a ‘model’ of fast, comfortable and stress free travel.

Well, it turns out that travelling across Europe by train was easier than we dared hope. The bus, tram and trains generally behaved themselves and worked reasonably to schedule, the station staff were friendly, we could carry food and water, go for walks along the train and see the view (except in the tunnel). it was far, far better than flying.

The only slightly stressful part of the journey was the change from the Cologne-Brussels train to the Eurostar. Normally the procedure for changing train was pretty simple: get off train, follow signs to platform, find the approximate place for our coach and wait until the train pulled in. Eurostar insists on shoving its passengers through all manner of checks, and on top of this the British Immigration service checks our passport here, it seems a bit odd to be checking passports for the UK when we have to cross the border to France first, but there we go.

To be fair to National Express, the train left on time, and two hours and twenty minutes later we were in Northallerton. We’d travelled half way across Europe and arrived within two minutes of the planned time- earlier, as it happens.

Try that in a car.

Townscape – Manchester Model Railway Society’s ‘Dewsbury Midland’

Secondly, at this year’s RAILEX 2008 Model Railway Exhibition, you’ll have the chance to see 25 model railway layouts, including the Manchester Model Railway Society’s award winning ‘Dewsbury Midland’. The exhibition is being held on Saturday 24 May (10:30am – 5:30pm) and Sunday 25 May (10am – 5pm) at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Harvey Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 9PP, England.

Derelict canal – Pendon Museum (photo Robert Silverwood)

Thirdly, a model derelict canal (based on the Wilts and Berks) on arguably the most amazing model railway in the world at Pendon Museum.

Oh you want to see pictures of model trains? Just keep on clicking through the links!