How it all began

I first visited Switzerland when my wife discovered that her family history went back many generations ago to a family in Neuchatel Canton – you can read about it in my travel blog if you are interested – and then we visited the Alps on a Great Railway Journeys holiday to celebrate my sixtieth birthday and it was then that we began to think that perhaps a model railway based on our experience there might help us to relive what then seemed the holiday of a lifetime. We returned to the Alps a couple of times since then, and once more to Neuchatel, and then once I was retired and was in a position to start building we went to have a proper look at the Rhaetian Railway which I had decided would be the best railway on which to base the model.

The Bernina Line of the Rhaetian Railway

Meanwhile I had been scouring eBay for equipment: locomotives, coaches and buildings so that I would be ready to start. I acquired a length of HOm gauge track and fixed it to a small piece of board so that I had a test track on which to try out the locomotives I was acquiring from eBay, and all was ready as soon as we moved into our retirement house, in which a room has been set aside for the purpose.

My Photography

I have been publishing my photographs on Flickr for many years, although since starting the new model railway layout I have become a little behind with posting photographs … I must catch up one day, but it is still worth a look as photographs are ageless anyway! There are some digitised images from the seventies among them.

Birmingham New Street in the early 1970s

The art deco layout

At my last home I built a fantasy layout full of art deco and streamline moderne design: LMS and LNER streamlined trains, deco and moderne buildings. It was very much a quick project but although all the trains and track were ready-made, most of the the buildings were designed and built from scratch (except for some real classic Airfix buildings and a couple of card kits by Kingsway – no point in redoing what someone else has already done). See the video to watch the layout grow, then scroll down to the picture gallery of street scenes!

Kingsgate

Many years ago I helped a friend build an exhibition layout based on a plan in the Railway Modeller. I took it over when he moved on to another project and I provided all the locomotives and rolling stock and continued to exhibit it for a few years. It is no longer fit to show but I hope to restore it one day and exhibit it again.

Condensing steam locomotives at Kingsgate
Midland Region condensing 3F tank loco and imaginary LT ex-Metropolitan Railway condensing 0-6-0T at Kingsgate

The layout is now called Kingsgate and it is based on a small London terminus in the late fifties or early sixties, just as diesel traction was becoming common but while there was still much steam operation.

Exhibiting Kingsgate