Autumn Lane

After breaking Parkside East and selling Broadgate another depot layout was needed for the  Exhibition circuit. The answer was to be Autumn Lane and this time there was some extra requirements,  I would theme the season and there would be provision for Electric Locomotives and overhead wires, I also managed a small station halt. The station would be on a through line and there would be a fiddle yard at either end. It was really hard to plan the fiddle yard and it ended up just holding two loco’s in each end. However, being a Depot Layout I felt that the Depot Yard was an ‘open viewable fiddle yard’ .

After 5 years on the circuit I sold Autumn Lane to a very nice chap called Noel Oakes in the North of England. After having the layout for at least 5 years Noel has sold the layout on. I have no idea where it is now!

Although I could run different era’s, I usually run the EWS era at Exhibitions as it was then current and that’s what the Exhibition Managers asked for.

All models on the below photographs are Lima and Hornby. Except the 08 is Bachmann.

Please Note:- The Plan of the layout  in MODEL RAIL has two sidings missing – another Plan with the sidings added is below.

In reflection I think I crammed to much track into a small space – but it was a Depot!!!!!

This Layout appeared in MODEL RAIL No.66 APRIL 2004

Autumn Lane








EWS locos

View general B

View general C

Parkside East

Parkside was my first ‘proper’ layout. It took me quite a while to make and it was always very much trial and error. I had been detailing and repainting diesel locomotives for some time, but it was not until we moved to a slightly larger home that work was started on the baseboards. I really struggled to get to grips with the electrics although the scenic and making buildings came very easily to me. At this time any thoughts of exhibiting were at least 10 years away.

We had Parkside East for 15 years but after this length of time it was showing its age and the decision was taken to scrap it and retrieve as much as possible for another layout.

This layout has appeared in RAILWAY MODELLER. (January 2000 I believe)


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Ayling Island

Ayling Island was one of my ‘now for something completely different’. I wanted to try out 3mm sprat and winkle couplings on a 4mm layout , I wanted a run round so the loco needed to have the hook at one end and the loop at the other. I tried to work out how I could do this with a diesel loco or shunter,  After a few trials and many errors, I decided that a small steam locomotive would possibly  do better. I purchased a Dapol Terrier and proceeded to cut away the back portion of the chassis at the coal bunker end. I made the paddle of the Spratt and Winkle smaller and added a tiny piece of lead to make a positive movement. It worked and a further two Terriers were purchased. The Terriers, 3 coaches and 15  wagons had the same treatment. Ayling Island was born and the year would 1959-61′ ish. Why Ayling and not Hayling – easy my wife has relations with that surname and, yes they live in Sussex!   Anyway the final track plan was nothing like Hayling.

This layout has had a remarkable life, we had it on the circuit for about four years and after it was sold it continued on the circuit and still is. After I sold it, it went through a transformation to more modern times and emerged as ‘Loch Ayling’ and is now a Scottish Layout!

This layout has appeared in MODEL RAIL No. 78 APRIL 2005  as BR(S) Ayling Island.

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Strachan was my first commission when I started my new business in 2000. I had known Les Williams for about three years at the time and we came to a deal that would see Strachan born. It was to be based in Scotland around the mid 1970’s. Les would give me a list of requirement and we set about getting all the parts we needed. Whilst Les was a good chap to work for, he knew what he wanted and we tried to fit everything in. Another long lived layout, Les still owns this layout and occasionally exhibits it.

This layout has appeared in both RAIL EXPRESS and RAILWAY MODELLER

I  can only find a few photographs in my collection – I will try and get more!

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Broadgate was the brainchild of my son John. After Dunston Green had been sold, without the stock, we had the need for a layout to run the stock. I don’t think we really  wanted to Exhibit it, it was just to play trains at home. After all, it was quite small and a  bit limited. In those days the micro layouts were few and far between, however we soon got invitations, mainly as a space filler, sometimes we took it to exhibitions as well as another layout, just for that reason.  Broadgate had a long run on the circuit and after 6 years we decided to sell it. It eventually went to Les Williams, who had become a collector of my work. I actually sold it to Les even though I had a higher offer as Les was the best home possible for it. Les purchased the layout only,  some of the stock was sold to another friend, Ian Taylor.

One thing I tried on Broadgate was to sculpt  the side scenes in the shape of trees and bushes, see photographs. I never did this again – say no more.

This is a smashing little layout for 10-12 loco’s and a fuel tank or two.

I based the layout on twilight as we had working yard lights. I do think that a bright blue sky background and working Yard/Station lights looks a bit odd. Overhead lighting is fine.

Les still owns the layout.











Melford was my first Exhibition Modern Image layout and I have fond memories of making it and  displaying it. After exhibiting this layout for over five years, it was eventually sold. I kept track of it for about two years longer, then it disappeared. I have no idea where it is now or even if it exists.

When I was designing the layout, try as I may I could not get the design to fit the proposed two even sized baseboards of 5′ 6″ X 2′. Whatever I did a point ended up on a join. I don’t know whether I made the right decision but – I made the base boards two different sizes, one was 5′ x 2′ and the other was 6′ x 2′. I never mentioned this is the MODEL RAIL article, mainly because I was a bit embarrassed. I really did not know whether you should do things like that!  Now, 15 years on, would I do it again – ‘yes’ if it still went in the car.

This layout has appeared in MODEL RAIL No.15  JANUARY 2000.



Melford 8