We have two alternate histories, depending on the stock to be run when the layout goes to exhibitions – either steam and heritage diesels or Modern diesels. The initial description is the same, but the later italicised section is different depending on circumstances and the stock available. The map for the modern image version is shown below – the heritage map is similar.
The Derwent Valley Railway was authorised in 1850 and opened in 1855 as a branch from the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway from Rowsley northwards. The section of the MBM&MJR from Ambergate to Rowsley was at this time completed, but the section to Buxton had not yet been started.
The DVR was supported by the Duke of Devonshire to exploit the mineral resources of the Derwent Valley, particularly the millstone grit of Froggatt Edge and Curber Edge. The line originally ended at Grindleford Bridge, but when the Dore and Chinley Railway was opened in 1893, an extension was granted to connect to this line which opened in 1896.
The line was closed in 1966, but remained essentially intact until the DVR preservation society was formed in 1973, with a base at Baslow. The first passenger trains ran in April 1981. The line was reopened to Grindleford Bridge in 1984 and the connection to the Dore and Chinley lines was reinstated in 1990. Discussions are underway with Peak Rail with a view to reconnecting at Rowsley, although this means major disruption of the busy A6 and passage through the Peak Village retail outlet centre which has been built on the site of the original station at Rowsley.
The line was closed in 1966, but remained essentially intact. Increasing traffic in the late 1990s and increasing tourism encouraged the reopening of the line in 1998, displacing Peak Rail who transferred their operations to the Wirksworth branch.
Duffield is a scale model of Duffield station in the 50s and 60s.
This is the second incarnation of Duffield as the main Club layout. After the move to the new clubrooms, it was decided to scrap the original layout (featured in Railway Modeller April 1995) and start afresh, following the same idea but the additional space available meant that it could be closer to the true size and incorporate more of the features from both the railway and the surrounding village area. As a result, the layout measures 36ft by 10ft and fills around a quarter of our clubrooms.
The layout is the result of a great deal of work by a small number of club members working a few hours each week. There are two up and two down lines as well as the branch line to Wirksworth which of course is now preserved and open for business. All of the wiring has been completed to give a running layout which is displayed to the public at each of our Mickleover Shows in October. The track has been ballasted and many buildings are now in place. Much of this work has been based on site visits and period photographs from a variety of sources.
The backscene was painted for us by David Wright who trades as Dovedale Models. His techniques using our Duffield backscene are expected to be featured in an article for Model Rail magazine and the work will also be filmed for David’s next ‘Shows you how’ DVD. Further details are on his website here.
There is still a fair amount of work to be done on the scenery and it may be several years before it will be regarded as finished.
Imagine that it’s Summer 1990, England have just lost to West Germany in the World Cup, but in the quiet Midlands town of Farkham life goes on as normal. The town is served by an occasional passenger service with freight being the main traffic on this secondary railway line. Beyond the station and town centre, the land opens out to reveal a small freight yard served by trip workings and Speedlink services, whilst the main line gently curves away with a mixture of old and new buildings following its course.
The concept behind Farkham was to capture the atmosphere of an urban scene with the railway passing through. This has been attempted, by locating buildings and trees at the front of the layout to break-up the direct lines of sight between the viewer and the trains, so when looking at the model the trains will come in and out of view creating a series of interesting cameos. This encourages the viewer to look into the layout and not just at it and the position of the twin tower blocks at the front, along with other large structures and trees, has created visual barriers to enable this. The yard on the layout is portrayed in a run down, but still functioning state, very much how a number of freight terminals were in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Finally, to create a realistic scene and make everything visually blend together, each item has been weathered to differing degrees, just like on the prototype.
Trackwork on the layout is all hand built using C&L and Peco components and is to finescale 16.5mm gauge standards. The major aspect of the model is its buildings and structures and whilst some of these are modified kits, most have been scratch built. The rolling stock on the layout is detailed, repainted and weathered with a large number of kit and scratch-built items.
Farkham is the main exhibition layout in the club and has been seen at a number of exhibitions throughout the country and even abroad at Utrecht in 2011.
The layout has also been featured in the following magazines:
Railway Modeller (April 2005)
British Railway Modelling (Oct 2011)
Model Rail Issue No: 181 Spring 2013
Rail Express Issue No: 220 September 2014
After many years of successful service, Farkham was sold in 2018 to help raise money for the funding of a new MMRG clubroom.
Hillandale is MMRG's universal layout. It is designed to be used for running stock of British, American and Continental railways in OO, HO, On30, N and 009 gauges. The layout of the tracks and of the headroom in the tunnels was designed with this in view.
Operation is possible from both inside and outside the layout, as some of our less mobile members find difficulty in crawling underneath! We can also cater for both DC and DCC operation on both upper and lower levels.
The layout is the result of approximately 21/2 years of hard work by a team of volunteers and has proved its value by its popularity on club running nights. It allows both junior and senior members to drive their trains on five tracks simultaneously.
Hillandale, and the variety of stock on show due to its nature, has proved popular at a number of exhibitions at which it has been on display.
Neverwhere was our main club running layout and is an alternative concept in modelling for a group of club modellers with diverse interests.
The design is a double track oval, 22 feet long by 4 feet wide consisting of curved track work on the front with storage loops at the rear. This allows viewers to imagine themselves in a field watching trains pass through the landscape.
The layout is fully scenic, with no structures or signals that would fix a location or date. This allowed us at exhibitions to change from 70's diesel scene to LMS in its heyday, as well as American and Continental stock so that we had a consistent theme during each session.
The layout was sold to a club member and now resides in his garage. It was replaced as the club running layout by Hillandale.
After many years' good service, it was decided in 2014 that the club should retire its Thomas layout and create a new one to replace it.
A varied team of members from MMRG took 2 years to bring the layout to its current operating state.
The new MMRG Thomas layout is designed to be a "hands-on" experience for children (of all ages!). It is set on a part of the Isle of Sodor where a river flows past a nearby station.
The layout features many interactive elements which are accessible to the public via a series of buttons available at the front. These buttons activate various features around the layout. Children can also be given control of one of the tracks to enable them to drive their favourite train from the series themselves.
The Thomas Layout has become a regular popular feature at our club exhibitions and is making regular appearances on the local exhibition circuit.
In 2018 it was decided to build an optional extension to the meaning we could occupy a larger exhibition space and allow for more people to view the layout. The team are still working on improving the new section and adding new interactive features!
Set in the 1950s and 1960s, Warner Street is a typical mainline terminus station sporting a signal box, goods yard and turntable. The station holds host to two mainline platforms and a branch line platform bringing commuters and goods from remote villages and towns. Mainline locomotives bring in holidaymakers and businessmen before roving down to the turntable to be turned for the return journey.
The efficient goods yard with its exchange siding is used to sort wagons into their respective trains after they have been loaded in the goods shed. A mainline locomotive will pick up loaded trains and empties from far away will be dropped off for sorting. This layout takes its name from the local street upon which the clubroom is sited.
Weston Hills was a small layout that was donated to the club by a member of the public. The layout featured a rural station, along with a shunting area for loading cattle.
Most of the trackwork was replaced and much of the scenery updated and after being exhibited at our exhibitions, the layout was then donated to a club member who had mobility issues and was unable to visit the clubroom.