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My modelling interests
I was given a Hornby Gauge 0 clockwork trainset when I was about 8 yrs old. More items were added, and I began to develop it into a coarse-scale and then fine-scale line, aiming at a BR Southern and Western Region line. But my efforts came to very little.
In 1964 I decided to begin again and chose the little known and (as I thought) never modelled Stratford-on-Avon and Midland Junction Railway (SMJR). I was born and grew up looking over the fields to Salcey Station on the Towcester to Olney line of the SMJR, freight only and closed in 1957.
Map of the SMJR
I decided to model Byfield, c.1910-4, a small country station that served as the passenger junction for the connection to the GCR at Woodford & Hinton, with dreams of a garden layout that would also include Woodford West Junc, the physical link and goods exchange, and even Towcester
So I began to collect information and joined the Historical Model Railway Society. I went to a meeting in London and the first thing I saw was a Gauge 0 model of an SMJ locomotive. A very lucky chance! It belonged to Gordon Haywood, who had prepared drawings of the loco and of SMJ coaches and wagons, copies of which he kindly gave me. Over the next few years I amassed information, made my own drawings of the other locomotives and rolling-stock and then constructed coaches, wagons and the buildings for Byfield station. I had 3 SMJ locos and 1 GC loco built, and began to build a locomotive myself--interrupted by 4 yrs in Trinidad, where I constructed a rough indoor layout based on a fictitious line from Byfield via Woodford to Daventry with a GC branch from Willoughby and Braunston.
That line I reconstructed in the loft of our house on our return to Loughborough, and subsequently rebuilt. I also completed my fleet of 1 of each type of SMJ locomotive except for the ex-LNWR DX 0-6-0 and the Manning Wardle 0-6-0T which spent all its time at Stratford. But running trains straight from the fiddle yard into the station, and being able realistically to use only 2 SMJ locos per session, became boring. I therefore looked again at our small back garden and worked out that I could fit in a scale model of Byfield provided I had a sharp curve (down to 5ft radius) back towards the garage.
It has taken me 6 yrs, and much rebuilding and repairing to get the line right!
I shall add pictures when running recommences in the Spring.
I still belong to the HMRS (www.hmrs.org.uk ) and am a Founder Member of the Gauge '0' Guild (www.gauge0guild.com): I was only 14 (about 2 weeks before my 15th birthday) when I went to the inaugural meeting at Euston, in July 1956, which established the Guild.