Wednesday, 22 July 2009


The first time I remember seeing Southwell was in a copy of RailModel Digest; my dad had been looking through it in the bookshop on Embsay station and he bought it specifically for the John Sutton’s article on Southwell. The layout is built to 3mm:1ft scale and a gauge of 12mm.

The layout looks superb; the scale becomes irrelevant when you see just how convincing it looks in photos – its builder cheerfully admits that the gauge is too narrow and the rail too heavy but somehow you don’t notice this! Even though locos have no brakegear it just doesn’t seem to matter – the layout as a whole is very convincing indeed.

Perhaps one of the best things with Southwell is that it is all very ordinary. Now, this is certainly not a criticism because the modelling is to a very high standard but the result is a very normal day to day scene of the railway in the nineteen fifties. There is nothing twee about the railway in Southwell; it looks like a hard working part of the system. It’s the sort of place which probably wouldn’t have captivated many enthusiasts in reality yet this in model form becomes very appealing. Even after more than tens years since I first saw the layout in print it remains one of my favourites; up there with such legendary layouts as North Shields, Borchester and Bramblewick.

Clicking on each photo will take you to a different gallery of the layout.


  1. I agree totally with your comments. To my mind, it's more important to get the atmosphere fixed than to obsess over how many rivets there are or whether such and such a van ran with those brake hangers. When I first saw this layout I was mesmerised...such careful observation, like a 3D painting that takes you somewhere. Your 37 is another case in point. The weathering is so delicate and subtle...I don't care what level the detail is at because I believe in what I am seeing. Thanks for posting,

  2. what more can i say ?

    fantastic "atmosphère" and pictures !!especially the second