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Features: Hospital Gates, Private railway, 1930s

Published 25 September 2018, 16:38

Many ‘independent’ light railways which sprang up in the early years of the great railway boom operated around sparse traffics with pensionable and homemade rolling stock. Many of these quickly faltered and quietly passed into history during the early part of the 20th century. However, there were others which stayed the course.

One such group of these light railway lines were those built specifically to serve the nations ‘Mental Hospitals’ and ‘Asylums’. Now this is no place to debate the ethics of such establishments but the fact remains that many of these Victorian built facilities were built in rural locations and therefore used railway connections to the nearest company line. Not only in their construction, but later for the conveyance of fuel, stores and in some cases offered a passenger service for the convenience of both staff and visitors. Though some lines made good use of their own on site power plants in using electric traction and tramway style vehicles, longer and more complex routes generally favored more conventional steam power.

The Whittingham Hospital Railway, located near Longridge in Lancashire, was one such line. It lasted until 1957 and was steam worked by an array of miss matched second hand locomotives and stock throughout its entire lifetime. The distinctive station building, yard layout and several other key features from the hospital end of that line form the basis of the layout that you see here. Though in an effort to separate our model from the single prototype and create a wider ranging vista we have also taken inspiration and imported key elements from several other sites from around the country. Notably as befits our 1944/1945 period, introducing an element of military control, workings and expansion to serve a temporary military hospital facility built within the grounds. Set up, as many were for expected D-Day casualties.

This layout is presented by the East Riding Finescale Group and is our first attempt at 7mm scale modelling. Taking four years to build from the ground up, with us learning and developing the new skills required for working in this larger scale as we went along. The model uses a combination of adapted of kits for the stock, blended with a fair amount of scratch building of the structures and scenic elements.

Please feel free to ask the operators any questions about the model and its design and construction or indeed about the group and our other layout projects in both 4mm and 7mm scales.

Hospital Gates featured in HM58.

Image Gallery

Ladeside Diesel Depot, BR (ScR), 1960s
Norwood Park, BR (SR), 1960s