Inspiring NG layouts

Here are some of my favourite narrow gauge layouts.  Great inspiration…!

Tan y Bwlch

For a long time we narrow gauge modellers have been waiting for this idyllic location to be modelled. The stock is really nicely done – englands, double fairlies, even a gravity slate train and the scenics are excellent.

FR 1926 

This one is difficult to illustrate unless you have back copies of Issues 50-54 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review or the book regarding this layout entitled Ffestiniog Odyessy – see here. The layout is a lifetime’s work by Nick Welch.

The image shown here is a sample page freely available at the NG&IRMR site.  The layout is a real monster – taking in Porthmadog, Boston Lodge, Tan-y-Bwlch, Blaenau and more along the way. It is truly a fabulous layout! But it’s not an exhibition layout.  😦


Corris by Peter Kazer is modelled in an unusual scale – 1/4″ (6.35mm) scale at 9/16″ (14.29mm) gauge. It is a meticiously accurate model of the Corris Railway in the late 1800s and is a significant part (including the cover) of the book by the same modeller ‘Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling’ by Wild Swan.

The layout is also featured in the Model Railway Journal No.66, 1993 and in the Railway Modeller – May 1999.Everything (with the exception of the figures) is scratch built. Very nice indeed.

For a few more (low quality) images see:


This is another lovely model of the Corris Railway which now resides in the Corris Railway’s museum/tearoom.  See for some other photos…

What makes this layout great is the believability. You can really believe you’re in the scene when you get down to eye level. The buildings are superbly modelled, scenics are really impressive (including the interesting idea of using the hairy fibre bits from coconuts as dead bracken) and there are the ‘right’ amount of people, sheep and details like phone boxes etc. A super little layout.It’s a shame that it’s only a static exhibit in the museum, rather than out and about promoting the railway and top class scenic modelling!

Dinas (FR)

DCC sound in 7mm finescale, a cracking layout from the man who brought us Borth y Gest. The stock is still being added to and the scratch built ‘Little Wonder’ with sound and smoke (even at the drain cocks) is truly special. The layout is being improved all the time and I can’t wait to see it again.

Borth y Gest

By the same modeller as the above, Borth y Gest is Paul Holmes’s finescale 4mm offering and is superb.

Tan y Grisiau 

Another odd scale –  3/16″ (4.76mm) scale at 9mm gauge.  This is known as S scale and is 19% larger than 4mm scale, allowing the incorporation of more detail.

The layout is a labour of love: trackwork is laid with individual cast white metal chairs. Whilst the locomotives are scratchbuilt, with split frame chassis and Portescap motors.  The scenics are fabulous – rock faces very believable, slate walls laboriously built up piece by piece and buildings scratch built to model exactly the prototype.

There is a photo section in the Railway Modeller Dec 1997 or see


This is a model of the Lynton and Barnstaple railway’s Chelfham station and iconic viaduct.

The viaduct is just fantastic! It’s a simple layout though with just one loop, one siding and a circular run with hidden sidings behind. The stock (Southern) is very nicely lined and built.

The sheer scale of the layout means the railway is part of the landscape and not the other way around!

You can see more in the March and April 2000 Railway Modeller

Dinas Ddu 

A fabulous model in 8mm scale (16mm gauge) giving as near to 2ft as possible. It’s based on the approach to Dinas in North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways (NWNGR) days – early 1900s. The NWNGR of course was later incorporated into the original Welsh Highland Railway.

Almost everything has been built from scratch. The track is even spiked to wooden sleepers (!)


This is the layout that gave me the inspiration to start building Rhyd Ddu….

The prototype lends itself to a fairly compact layout, but a decent run too.  It’s also very interesting as trains appear and disappear from view depending on where you view them from.  The gradients and curves also provide their own challenges for operation too.

The stock is extraordinary by the sheer amount modelled – everything from the core Ffestiniog fleet to Adrain Shooter’s Darjeeling stock, the modern and heritage WHR stuff and beyond..

The creators of Dduallt are hard at work on their next project too… a model of the new WHR at Beddgelert, including the reverse curves at Cwm Cloch and the goat tunnel. Called ‘Bron Hebog’, rather than ‘Beddgelert’, to reflect that the station is a relatively small element of the layout, more details are on their blog here.

County Gate

A large and complex layout rarely seen outside of club layouts. It’s DCC, can be automated, the running and stock is exceptional, scenics have depth, believability and have been very well researched indeed. Goodness knows how much £ this cost to build, but it’s worth every penny. All the info you could need on this magnificent layout is available here

Little Crumley and Wickhill

This layout by the Hull Miniature Railway Society is a fictitious but entirely believable model of a 2’6″ gauge railway serving a valley high in the Pennines around the Lancs/Yorks borders.

A good set of images are available here:



One Response to Inspiring NG layouts

  1. Diesellok says:

    Great inspiration – especially the Dinas Ddu and the “Chelfham” viadukt!

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