Gloucester Model Railway Exhibition 2014

Held at Hucclecote Methodist Church GL3 3QP (on the route of Stagecoach bus 10) between 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday 21 June 2014, this was the fourth of the current series of Gloucester Model Railway Exhibitions.  It featured ten working layouts in gauges 0 to N trade and trade support from Penduke Models & Scenics and Keith’s Bits and Pieces.  Entry prices were £3 adult, £2.50 concessions and £2 children On this occasion, profits were split between the church and a mental health charity.

The poster picture for 2014 – taken in November 1958 – featured 31781, an ex-South Eastern & Chatham Railway class L locomotive at Ashford, Kent. No. 781 was made by Borsig of Berlin and delivered on the opening day of the First World War. Its hundredth anniversary was therefore due just a few weeks after the show. When 781 was being built, Ralph Vaughan Williams was composing “The Lark Ascending” for violin and orchestra. In different ways, they marked the end of a golden era of human achievement. That fine world was about to be shattered.The poster picture for 2014 – taken in November 1958 – featured 31781, an ex-South Eastern & Chatham Railway class L locomotive at Ashford, Kent. No. 781 was made by Borsig of Berlin and delivered on the opening day of the First World War. Its hundredth anniversary was therefore due just a few weeks after the show.  When 781 was being built, Ralph Vaughan Williams was composing “The Lark Ascending” for violin and orchestra.  In different ways, they marked the end of a golden era of human achievement.  That fine world was about to be shattered.


GMRE_2014_31786The South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) was an 1899 amalgamation of two competing companies, the South Eastern Railway (SER) and the London Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR), and one of the first tasks of the new Chief Mechanical Engineer, Harry Wainwright, was to introduce a series of standardised locomotives which would operate on both railways.

However, the LCDR main line was more lightly engineered and subject to more severe weight restrictions than that of the SER. At the same time the Board of Directors was anxious to reap some of the financial benefits of amalgamation by closing the LCDR’s Longhedge Works.

During the first years of the SECR, express passenger services were well served by Wainwright’s D and E Class 4-4-0s but – as on other railways – loads continued to increase and by 1912 the designer realised that he would soon need more powerful locomotives.

Unfortunately weight restrictions of the LCDR main line prevented the use of any significantly larger or more powerful locomotive and the cost of strengthening the bridges on this line was prohibitively expensive. The Board of Directors therefore ordered Wainwright to prepare a design for only for the SER main line services, which was criticised for using such outmoded features as slide rather than piston valves and saturated rather than superheated steam.

These criticisms of Wainwright coincided with an acute motive power crisis on the railway during the summer of 1913, (due in part to the Directors’ insistence on the premature closure of Longhedge Works and the inability of Ashford to cope with the increased workload). As a result Wainwright was asked to retire on 30 November 1913, before the new locomotives could be ordered. 

What would later become the SECR L Class retained Wainwright’s choice of Belpaire firebox but after his departure his assistant Robert Surtees added a Robinson superheater and twelve examples with piston valves were ordered from Beyer Peacock of Gorton, Manchester for delivery by the end of June 1914. 

After Richard Maunsell took over as SECR Chief Mechanical Engineer in January 1914 he ordered a further 10 L Class with minor detail differences and Schmidt superheaters from Borsig of Berlin, to be supplied in kit form and assembled at Ashford by Borsig employees who finished their work just before hostilities broke out.

The delayed Beyer Peacock series were delivered between August and November 1914 and numbered 760 – 771 while the Borsig locomotives were numbered 772-781.

The L Class were used on express trains from London to Dover, Ramsgate and Hastings until the mid 1920s when they were replaced by the L1 4-4-0s (such as 31786, pictured above) that Maunsell developed from them.

From 1923 until 1931 the Southern Railway maintained the locomotive numbers from its constituents with prefixes denoting the main works of the former owning company. All ex-South Eastern and Chatham Railway engines were prefixed by “A” (for Ashford), ex-London Brighton and South Coast Railway by “B” (for Brighton) and ex-London & South Western Railway engines by “E” (for Eastleigh). New locomotives were also prefixed by the letter of the works where they were built.

In 1931 the fleet was re-numbered by dropping all prefixes and adding 1xxx to all SECR engines, 2xxx to all LBSCR engines, leaving LSWR engines with their original numbers.

During the 1930s the Class Ls were further eclipsed by King Arthur 4-6-0s and Schools Class 4-4-0s and by the 1950s they were displaced by Bulleid’s Light Pacifics.

By then the railways had been Nationalised and in 1948 British Railways decided to retain GWR locomotive numbers displayed on cast plates while other constituent companies had extra digits added to their existing numbers so that 1781 – originally SECR 781 – became 31781.

Withdrawals of L Class engines – now relegated to Southern Region cross country workings – began in 1956 with the last going for scrap in December 1961.  None of them were preserved. 31781 itself was withdrawn from 73G (Ramsgate) depot in June 1959.

ASHWOOD BASIN   O Gauge by John Greathead

GMRE_2014_Ashwood Basin_shedThe real Ashwood Basin was on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal at the western end of the Earl of Dudley’s Railway system which opened in 1829. It ran to Shutt End and the collieries at Corbyns Hall.  The main traffic was coal which continued until the NCB stopped sending Baggeridge coal to Stourport Power Station via the canal in October 1953. The model, built by Mike Bragg, attempted to create the essence and atmosphere of the area rather than an exact copy. Buildings were all scratch built.

The garage was from Level Street, Brierley Hill, the “Villas” from Duke Street Stourbridge, the pub from Enville, the factory from barns from Stalling Lane, Kingswinford and the station from the Bumble Hole line at Windmill End. The layout measured 9 x 1.3 ft.


GMRE_2014_Ashwood Basin_garage









On30 Gauge 7mm Scale by Harvey Faulkner-Aston


GMRE_2014_No Name_steamOnce upon a time there was the West..what else do you call a model railroad layout inspired by Spaghetti Westerns, Clint Eastwood and Sister Sarah? The layout had no historical base and its landscape, buildings and culture nod towards Texas, Mexico and Spain.

The layout was of standard timber and plywood construction, easy enough to transport but resilient enough to withstand the rigours of exhibiting. Track was ordinary Peco Code 100 Setrack buried up to the rail heads in graded sand ballast. Additional scenic details included Anita Decor’s “cacti” and other unusual desert plants as well as two real cacti.

GMRE_2014_No Name_boxcarsThe majority of locomotives, passenger and freight cars were from the Bachman 0n30 range, most either heavily weathered or kit bashed. Some of the freight stock had been re-wheeled and also fitted with scale Kadee couplings. The electrics were the usual – simple – 12v dc and the switches ( gringos say “points” ) were all manually operated.

The most unusual features of the 10’6″ x 5′ layout – created by Harvey “Ramirez” Faulkner-Aston and Steve “Blondie” Adcock – were the figures and resin cast buildings: both being derived from the wargaming genre.


GMRE_2014_No Name_cattle wagon









00 Gauge 4mm Scale

GMRE_2014_Colford_quarryColford Whitcliff was a two module 9’6″ x 7′ 6″ dog-leg format layout with Colford being based closely on the Severn and Wye Railway station at Coleford, the Forest of Dean’s north western centre of population which unusually had two stations, both terminii, adjacent to one another and connected by a convoluted route which required five reversals to transfer trains from one to another.

While the GWR line to Monmouth closed in 1916, the S&W line stayed open for coal traffic, general goods and ballast until 1967. The model assumed that passenger services did not cease in 1929 and that the original wooden station building did not burn down in 1914.

GMRE_2014_Colford_cottageThe Colford Goods Shed was also very reminiscent of the one at Parkend on the Dean Forest Railway, just to the left of which is a model of a corrugated GWR oil lamp hut similar to a 12″ to the foot example from the DFR’s Parkend station after being recovered from a farm at Awre. It is presumed to be the same hut that was originally located a few hundred yards from Awre Junction station and although looking a little rusty will hopefully be restored with minor repairs and a new coat of paint.

Whitcliff meanwhile was inspired by Whitecliffe Quarry although the Fred Watkins stone crushing and storage plant is a much reduced version of the real thing.

GMRE_2014_Colford_Bicslade wagonElsewhere on the layout, the engineering works / scrapyard was from the Sling branch and the crossing keeper’s cottage (left) was based on Soudley No. 2 crossing.  Their geographic relationships are not true to life but the pannier tanks and Class 14 diesels are authentic for the 1960s.

The abandoned horse-drawn stone tramway was based on Bicslade Wharf near Cannop Ponds and featured a wagon with plain wheels taken from a 1/76 scale German half-track fighting vehicle.


LLANTHONY ROAD by Richard Grosvenor

00 Gauge 4mm Scale

 GMRE_2014_Llanthony Road_08 825Measuring 16′ x 2′, Llanthony Road was loosely based on Gloucester Docks and its environs with a fine collection of scratch built buildings instantly recognisable to those familiar with the area.

Until the mid 1980s the western side of Gloucester Docks had been served by the Docks Branch of the former Great Western Railway while the Midland built High Orchard Branch had served the eastern side until closure in 1972.

The former GWR Docks Branch left the Gloucester-Cardiff main line at Over and crossed the Eastern Parting of the River Severn on a bridge before crossing Llanthony Road itself and arriving at Llanthony Yard opposite Bakers Quay. Today Llanthony Yard – once well known as a cement terminal as well as handling seed and flour – is the site of the new Gloscat campus and the earlier 125 Business Park. 2009 meanwhile saw Bakers Quay re-opened as the Gloucester Quays designer outlet.

Richard Grosvenor imagines that the former GWR Docks Branch had survived at least into the 1990s using a‘one engine in steam’ policy – hence there is no signalling.

GMRE_2014_Llanthony Road_Tall Ships pubAs trains arrived on the layout from the right hand end they passed under the former seed and flour mill conveyor and across Baker Street between the Tall Ships public house (pictured) and the 1849 vintage Mariner’s Chapel next to the Lock Warehouse of 1834 which until recently housed Gloucester Antique Centre. Further to the left were representations of Foster Brothers Oilseed and Cake Mill (built 1862), Llanthony Road bridge and the shops nearby.


GMRE_2014_Llanthony Road_Cement terminalA new feature for this exhibition was this splendid scratchbuilt twin hopper cement terminal structure.





Richard would be pleased to hear from anyone who worked in Gloucester Docks.

MING ING by Alan Drewett

00 Gauge 4mm Scale

GMRE_2014_Ming Ing_LT DDWhile “Minging” was an adjective championed by Katie Price, “Ming” was a Chinese dynasty and “Ing” an old English word for low lying grassland prone to seasonal flooding : making the perfect title for a rail, coach and lorry diorama on the banks of the River Foss in York’s – fictional – Chinatown district.











In addition, much railway infrastructure was damaged by enemy bombardment and without the Marshall Aid from the USA given to rebuild French and German railways British Railways - Nationalised in 1948 -would have to wait for the 1950s and 60s for re-organisation and Modernisation. By this time road freight had blossomed with the availability of war surplus lorries and with an end to petrol rationing the demands of private car owners led to huge investment in a network of motorways - even more extensive than the autobahn system pioneered in Germany from 1933.For only its second public appearance, 6’x2′  Ming Ing hosted a London Transport themed running day at the coach maintenance depot while on the other side of the – still thriving – Derwent Valley Light Railway there were some new Volvo cars for Viking Vehicles to repair (between helping the Royal Automobile Club out with some spare parts) as well as some familiar lorries parked at Sam and Ella’s cafe.

GMRE_2014_Ming Ing_Stagecoach 94While Mike Walker was kind enough to loan his London Transport buses, thanks also go to Roger Webb for some Gloucestershire buses as surprise guests, including this  Stagecoach Gold liveried Dennis Enviro 400 which operates the 94 service from Gloucester to Cheltenham via Churchdown and Staverton, home of Jet Age Museum.


OXFORD ROAD by Rich Papper

00 Gauge 4mm Scale

GMRE_2014_Oxford Road_47_33Oxford Road was a fictitious setting somewhere in West London in the mid 1980s to early 1990s. The 12 x 1 ft. layout – DCC equipped using an NCE Powercab system and built with Peco Code 100 track – containsed a small depot, fuelling point, engineers siding and small platform which saw a sporadic service of garishly painted first generation Network South East dmus.

GMRE_2014_Oxford Road_UndergroundThe Bakerloo Line ran on a lower level beneath it and has its own separate station.






CLIC 2013_Oxford Road_depotStructures were a mixture of card and plastic kits and scratchbuilt and rolling stock detailed ready to run vehicles from Bachmann, Hornby, Lima and Heljan.





RAINBOW EXPRESS by Alan Postlethwaite

00 Gauge 4mm Scale

GMRE_2014_Rainbow_10000This was a 12′ x 4′ layout for children to operate. There were five independent tracks with five different types of train – LNER push-pull – Great Western push-pull – Breakdown train – Mixed goods – and the Rainbow Express passenger train of many colours.

GMRE_2014_Rainbow_garageThe buffer stop ends had diodes for automatic stopping and the ovals had speed limiters made of Lego bricks. The Setrack was laid on baseboards of green baize while the buildings, accessories and controllers are from Alan’s big Brockley Acres layout. In particular Green Lane station and town square buildings were scratch built from card while others were from Metcalfe or Superquick kits.


00 Gauge 4mm Scale

GMRE_2014_Stonebridge_2203 blowdownBased on Williton – on today’s West Somerset Railway – Stonebridge was the Cheltenham GWR Modellers Group’s first venture into layout construction using SMP trackwork and was first displayed in October 1987. A quantity of ready made points and flexible track were purchased second hand, glued on to cork and then ballasted with N gauge granite ballast.

GMRE_2014_Stonebridge_Class 22Buildings on previous layouts had been scratch built but in order to save time modified kits were used – the goods shed and footbridge being Heljan and the locomotive shed by Airfix. Both the station building and platform mounted signal box were Ratio models built from the kits without modification, although the latter – based on Highley box from the Severn Valley Railway but with a more decorative chimney – did boast a fully fitted interior in keeping with the layout’s working Ratio semaphore signals.

GMRE_2014_Stonebridge_purple flowersMost of the road vehicles on the 12′ x 2′ layout are customised in some way and a mixture of steam and diesel trains evoke the British Railways scene of the 1960s.  Another recent addition has been purple scenic material to recreate the rosebay willowherb found close to so many railways.

Although now 26 years old, Stonebridge is still being updated with new equipment such as the smoke generators in the locomotive inspection pit, giving the impression that locomotives are in fact blowing down their cylinder drain cocks before moving off!

POLPENDRA by Simon Addelsee

N Gauge 2mm Scale

GMRE_2014_Polpendra_Land RoverPolpendra is a small terminus station at the end of a Y shaped track formation somewhere west of Dartmoor in Devon. One arm of the Y leads to the main line – over which both Southern and Western Region trains operate – and the other to a small china clay works, hence the china clay trains running in and out of Polpendra with the locomotives uncoupling and changing ends.

GMRE_2014_Polpendra_push pullSome of the four wheel open china clay wagons are hauled by North British Class 22 diesel hydraulics while one animal pen in the goods yard of the 6’6″ x 1’6″ layout hosted an elephant.


GMRE_2014_Polpendra_Large PrairieAs late as the 1960s circus animals were often transported by rail and one of my lasting childhood experiences is of my father taking me as a toddler to see the elephants arriving at the bay platform at the western end of Gloucester Central. Having walked down the ramp at the end of their covered van, the elephants then proceeded through the City to the big top at The Oxlease, each one holding the tail of the pachyderm in front with its trunk


Nm Gauge 2mm Scale

GMRE_2014_St Frazalet_dieselFrance once had over 12 500 km of metre gauge lines and Simon Newitt is exploring them with his series of St Frazal layouts using 6.5mm Z gauge track to represent the metre gauge in French N (1:160) scale.  St. Frazal le Chateau is a village somewhere in rural France served by a one metre gauge railway of the SNCF.

As well as being famous for producing some of France’s best wines the village is also well known for the ruins of L’Abbaye de Jean Martinus (The Abbey of John Martinus). St. Frazal le Chateau attempts to capture French metre gauge secondary railways as they were in the 1956-1967 time period. Sadly almost all these lines have long since disappeared The layout measures 9 ft x 2 ft. 


4mm scale static display

 GMRE_2014_GMRC_1197The club meets at Elmscroft Community Centre on Monday evenings from 1930.  Its clubroom is a legacy of the late Reverend Awdry, author of the Thomas The Tank Engine books.  The club owns layouts in gauges N to O, often exhibited at the Cotswold Model Railway Show which the club helps to run.  Its website can be found at

and Club Secretary Nigel Bray can be contacted on 01452 501986.


The 2-4-0T given the random Great Western number 1197 was one of three built by Sharp Stewart and Company in Glasgow for the Cambrian Railway in May 1866.

Originally numbered and named 57 “Magnola”, 58 “Gladys” and 59 “Seaham”, these were the last locomotives ordered for the Cambrian by Thomas Levin and were originally supplied with single sheet cab covers.  Box-like cabs with side windows were later replaced these, and the trio variously worked the Elan and Tanat Valley lines as well as the Cambrian’s Ellesmere branch.

They were rebuilt to Diagram P at Swindon in 1922 after the Cambrian Railway was absorbed by the GWR, emerging with the new respective numbers 1192, 1196 and 1197 as well as larger cabs and bunkers, new inner fireboxes and fire tubes and typically Great Western smokeboxes, chimneys, side tanks and safety valve covers.

GMRE_2014_GMRC_1192After returning to Cambrian metals in 1923-4, 1192 was sent to work the Hemyock branch in Devon in 1927 and was scrapped there in 1929.  1196 also spent some time with the Great Western’s Exeter Division before returning to 1197 at Oswestry where they both remained until withdrawn by British Railways in April 1948, having clocked up a million miles each.

Prior to this, in 1905, the Cambrian Railway had bought six Beyer-Peacock outside-cylindered 4-4-0Ts made redundant on the Metropolitan Railway by full electrification.  Two of these, 34 and 36, were converted to tender engines but despite the increased range given by extra coal and water supplies they retained the 5’10” diameter driving wheels which had made them successful urban passenger engines but which in turn made them far less suitable for a rural freight-focused line like the Cambrian.  All of these were scrapped by the Great Western in 1923.

Meanwhile, the twelve “Small Passenger” 2-4-0 built for the Cambrian in 1863-65 by Sharp Stewart continued to serve, having worked on the Cambrian main line for over 30 years.  Although these locomotives had a more appropriate 5’6″ driving wheel diameter, they struggled to maintain 120 psi boiler pressure and were only fitted with a four wheeled tender carrying just 1 200 gallons of water.

Six “Small Passenger” 2-4-0s would eventually survive into GWR ownership, including numbers 44 and 56 which had been converted to 2-4-0Ts at Oswestry in 1907.  However, like the Beyer Peacock 4-4-0Ts, they only had limited amounts of  coal bunkerage and water capacity and were withdrawn in 1922.


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