Welton Down

Jim and Sue Allwood

Photographs by Andy York.

Welton Down is assumed to be on the London, Chatham & Dover main line near Sole Street in Kent. A non-electrified branch leads off to the nearby large country town of Welton and this has recently been taken over by the North Downs Preservation Society (NDPS), as has the former goods yard, which was previous used by the Civil Engineers. A limited passenger service to Welton is run by the NDPS during the summer months.

Although the layout's creator, Bill Rankin, created in as a Southern Railway steam-era layout, the period modelled now is June 1991, towards the end of the Network SouthEast era. This allows for most D&E era stock (plus the occasional visiting steam charter), with the NSE livery predominant. There is a healthy flow of freight to the Dover Train Ferry, in between the frequent EMU service, whilst an eclectic mix of diesels and DMUs are operated by the Preservation Society.

Track Plan

All trackwork, to 9.42mm gauge, is handbuilt, using rail and PCB sleepers and turnouts are operated by HM& solenoids. Most buildings have been scratchbuilt. The original 2 x 8 road fiddle yard has been replaced with a cassette system, to enable longer trains to be handled and to facilitate a quicker setting up and breaking down at exhibitions. At present, most of the locomotives and stock are Graham Farish and Dapol items, detailed and converted with finescale wheels, but a large programme of kit building is underway!

The following photographs were taken by Andy York for British Railway Modelling, published in an article in BRM in 2015. They have been reduced in resolution for the website.

The "Jaffa-Cake" liveried 4-CEP leaves the tunnel on a down working. The new up advance starter colour light signal is shown to good effect.

Station Master's House and Station Building

Footbridge - The original would have been a metal lattice type but, no doubt heavily corroded, has been replaced by a concrete sectional version, fabricated at the Southern Railway's Exmouth Junction works (or Ratio in this case!)

Goods shed and trader stores

Signal box and PW huts - Scratchbuilt with a detailed interior. Note the signalman's bicycle resting against the privy!

Lineside transformer - a ready-to-plant product from Graham Farish with one half removable as it covers a baseboard joint.

Class 47 No 47532 (soon to be transferred to Inverness) passes back towards London with a summer extra working, formed on NSE Mk2 stock. In the preservation society's yard is a Black 5, a Class 46 with brake tender and a line of ex-GWR locos awaiting restoration.

Class 33 No 33002 (named "Ofwat Observer" as a leaving present from an former employer) heads towards London with a ballast working whilst Dave Stratton's "Jaffa-Cake" liveried 4-CEP sits in the bay, ready to form the next stopping service to Charing Cross. The upper quadrant starter looks positively sick!

Former GWR 78xx "Foxcote Manor" leads a 38xx, a Hall, two Panniers and a 45xx in the restoration line. In reality, they are all unconverted N gauge locos so can't run on the layout yet!

The Plasser-Theurer 07/16 tamper sidles past the single slip, heading back towards the Capital. This is what finescale trackwork is all about!

The 4-CEP passes the lineside transformer, slowing for the down platform. The signalman has been very quick to return the down home to danger!

A Railfreight red stripe liveried Class 47 No 47302 "Meridian" (owned by Pete Thorpe) emerges from the station tunnel with a Speedlink service for Willesden Yard.

Pete Thorpe's Class 56 No 56077 "Thorpe Marsh Power Station" wheels a rake of loaded MGRs past the signal box, bound for the nearby cement works.

The MGR train passes Class 73 No73119 "Kentish Mercury" on a nuclear flask train, returning from Dungeness.

Pete Thorpe's Class 60031 "Ben Lui" in Trainload Metals livery passes the NSE summer extra with a steel train heading for the train ferry.