Further Information and Articles

The Norfolk 009 Group - a history (chapter 2)

Norfolk Group History – 1994-2010

During the period 1994 to 1996 we continued exhibiting the modules in various configurations.  We had notched up 65 meetings, and also visited various exhibitions like ExpoNG, and railway running days as a Group.  Now and again a new member would join, but there was always a “core” of members in the group.

The tenth anniversary was marked by a new newsletter and a party complete with special cakes and proper, absolutely superb champagne.  The newsletter had another piece from P D Hancock and Ray Fothergill, an article on the Ernest Twining loco “Sian” and photo’s from the 25th Anniversary Gala at the Leighton Buzzard Railway.

My wife and I helped one of the members George Gleadhill, with the scenery and buildings on an ingenious automatic revolving layout called “Ty-Morau” which featured three scenes in different seasons.  I also helped with exhibiting this on many occasions around East Anglia.  Meanwhile, I re-built my static layout at home in the spare bedroom.

In 1995 Ray had a fall, and had be assisted with walking sticks to get around, sadly it was the start of a long decline in his health.  He still came to meetings and helped whenever he could.   

In the summer of 1997 we discussed what we could do to celebrate the forthcoming 25th Anniversary of the 009 Society, one of the suggestions was to hold a members day somewhere in the Newmarket area.  We contacted the Essex Group to see if they could help us with layouts and members to help on the day.  Ray and I went to meet the Essex Group in North Weald near Harlow, and with the thumbs-up from them, we booked the St Felix School in Newmarket on 16th May 1998.  With their help we managed to exhibit fourteen narrow gauge layouts that day, including Brain Love’s “Fallgate”, Jack Carter’s continental layouts and John Thorne’s “Long Ditton”, also with the Society second-hand stand.  About 90 members and visitors attended, including a member of the society all the way from Gateshead.  90 visitors were less than I had hoped for, but still a successful day.

During this time I was building an exhibition layout with my wife called “Carne” and later that year we had our first exhibition at Bressingham.  Dave and Midge Grassing also decided to exhibit their module and end boards called “Sandcliffe Junction”, so suddenly with “Ty-Morau”, the Group now had four exhibition layouts.

With all of this going on, but the Modules being exhibited less, the meetings became rather quiet with not much going on.  So in 1999, the fifteenth year of the Group, I proposed another set of modules for which a plan appeared in a celebratory Newsletter.  The idea for this set of modules was very different, and I extolled the benefits of the system at our next meeting.  They were smaller, only 3ft x 1ft, easier to build, transport and join together, and they could be run prototypically as an end-to-end line.  Again the Group approved and decided to build them, all the wood was cut by machine again and each member built a module of their own design self-contained with end and back scene boards. By September 2000 we had built a two or three of them and they had their first test session, that went quite well, but when we displayed them for the first time at a school fete the layouts rested on tables and we had problems.  The board joints and track joins were bad, and it involved getting underneath to correct things, but that could not be done easily as the tables were underneath.  So from that time onwards we rested the modules on the trestles from the first project.






















We were then invited to several exhibitions, also three new members joined, a couple from Dereham, and Chris from Thorpe, Norwich.  They also built modules, which added greatly to the system.  As one member left the group at the time and Ray became absent due to failing health their contribution was very welcome.

Ray died in February 2004 after a period in a nursing home, the last time I saw him in the home, I was very upset. 






















After a period of nerve trouble later that year I took more of a back seat in the group and Dave from Dereham took over as Secretary at the 166th meeting.

The names of the five initial modules were: “Castleby” a terminus station with low relief castle standing above, and village square modelled behind, “Fotherbrook” (in honour of Ray) a halt by a small hamlet with village buildings, “Castleby Mills” a terminus or passing station featuring a mill house, working windmill, steam mill and siding, “Kirk Tor” a rural scene with chapel and “Castleby Crags”, a scene inspired by the Aberglaslyn Pass with rock faces, waterfall and farm scene.





















(Above photo: A McMahon)










































More new members joined, from Oulton Broad, Hethersett, Beccles, Shipdham and East Bilney and one or two left the group, including me.  My nerve trouble had got quite bad and I just wanted a quieter life.  I was still modelling in 009, and at this time I was building the “Whitsend Tramway” with my wife.   

Stewart from Oulton Broad took over as Secretary in 2006. 

Sadly, a bit later, Dave lost his wife Pat, she was also a brilliant scenic modeller in 009, and later Gn15.

The modules continued to be exhibited occasionally and I donated the ones I had built to the Group.  The group built another module, as a combined group effort, called the “Works module”.  It was slightly larger with working turntable, engine sheds and maintenance works and went to more exhibitions.





















(Above photo A McMahon)

The group planned a new exhibition layout, based on a North Norfolk village and after many schemes, all with their own merits, nothing came to fruition.  The number of members in the Group also went down and in the end, in May 2010 after 26 years, the Group was wound-up.

The Norfolk 009 Group - a history

The Norfolk Group of the 009 Society (Chapter 1: 1984 to 1994)


When considering our Norfolk & Suffolk Group and our interest in narrow gauge railway modelling, there was once an earlier Group called the “Norfolk 009 Group” principally involved in modelling in 009 scale and all members of the 009 Society.  Only very rarely were we involved with other scales, even then it would mainly be “00” – standard gauge.

It all started in October 1984, when I placed a paragraph in the society newsletter requesting anyone interested in forming a local Group to contact me.  The first person to respond was a lovely Lancashire chap, recently retired, named Ray Fothergill.  He visited me on 29th November and brought some of his rolling stock and locomotives for me to view.  He had made many models, but had so far not built a layout.  I, on the other hand had built a layout but only had a couple of continental loco’s and some “Dundas Models” and Liliput stock.  His enthusiasm for 009 was very infectious.  He had built some of his models from card, and on his coaches he replicated beadings and mouldings from cotton sewn into the coach sides, this of course was in the days prior to kits, micro-strip and suchlike.  He loved the Glyn Valley Tramway and many of his models were based on GVT prototypes.  He also showed me some Egger-Bahn models, including the steam railcar, the first time I had ever seen these.  At home he had a collection of 00 scale trams and ran a tramway layout at the Norwich Model Railway Club.




Models by Ray Fothergill.  A Peco Glyn Valley Tramway kit plus three four-wheeled GVT coaches scratch built from card.






More four-wheelers, an early Parkside-Dudas kit and two scratch built from plastic card.









The only other remnants of Rays collection are "Ian" a modified Egger-Jouef Decauville loco, a sheep wagon and an Egger Prussian coach.




Apart from Ray, three other people replied to my paragraph in the newsletter, a married couple from Fakenham, and another chap from Norwich, who I still meet occasionally.  We met monthly at each other’s houses taking it in turn and generally we viewed each other’s layouts and new models and had a short running session, we also lent out books, watched videos and sometimes slide shows.  The couple from Fakenham were prolific model makers, it seemed each time we visited their house there was a new layout to look at.  One layout was in an old radiogram cabinet, and another of their layouts was sold to the late, great P D Hancock.  Gerald from Norwich was interested in Bemo HOe continental, and had a growing collection of fine items.

During the next three years we had new members, two people coming from Cambridge on occasions.  One long standing member and lay preacher, had a section of 71/4” railway down his garden which we enjoyed riding on from time to time.  Another creative couple in Norwich had a large loft layout, while I developed my 8ft x 2ft “Tregony & Newbridge Railway” in my spare bedroom.



Graham and Ray pictured in 1994 at a "Hobbies and Crafts Day" in Norwich with two of the modules.








For our fifth Anniversary, I issued a special newsletter, a contributor was P D Hancock who I had been writing to for a year or two.  He had by then moved on to a 0-16.5 7mm scale layout in his loft due to failing eyesight and was also creating his SM32 garden railway “The Torlum Hill Light Railway”.  I also had permission to quote a page in full from James Boyd’s Wild Swan publication “The Talyllyn Railway”, when he visited in war time - a lovely piece of writing.  Also listed in this little issue is a list of thirteen layouts that we have all built, or part-built, during the first five years of the Group.  It was at this meeting that we discussed the possibility of one day building a “module” each, that would link together to form a large layout, Ray presented a mock-up of the idea based on a system he had seen which was built by the Greenwich & District Group (it would be nearly two years though before anything developed though).

Just after this we met for a nice evening at the Yaxham Light Railway, taking rides on the narrow gauge railway hauled by small wartime diesels.   A later meeting saw us all viewing Ray’s nearly complete “Fother Valley Railway”, this line ran on two levels with an upper and lower station.

At the end of 1990, following a long discussion, we planned how we might construct scenic modules each.  It was decided that the scenic section for each module would be 36” by 18”, and between each module there would be an 18” joiner section with hidden front and rear tracks where trains could be held before passing to the next module.  Each module would have a separate scene totally enclosed by back and end scene boards.  Feverish activity over the next two years resulted in at least 11 completed modules including “end” units and one “corner” unit.


The first module to be completed.

The yellow Bagnall loco and stone train is running through "The Heronry" a module inspired by a picture of the Southwold Railway's "Tinkers Covert".

Trees were hand made using florists wire and brown florists tape, then adding Woodland Scenics foliage.





Gerald from Norwich worked at a shop fitting company and was able to obtain all the ply wood and sundeala board, and get it drilled and cut by machine to exact measurements ensuring all the modules were exactly the same and therefore would all bolt together without misalignment.  I know that at least two modules didn’t get completed, but of the completed ones we had units called “Bryn Corach”, “Newlyn”, “The Heronry” (inspired by the Southwold Railway), “Peacehaven”, ”Markate Quarry Works”, “Sandcliffe Junction” and “Whitemoor”.  End run-round units were called “Bryn Melyn Halt”, “Castle Hydeaway”, “Church End” and “Scronkey” and also a corner unit named “Goldoch” (based on Dolgoch on the Tallylyn Railway).  Many of the modules gathered together for the first time in the Autumn of 1991, and when we joined them all up at a dress rehearsal for our first exhibition we ran a scale mile of track.

The first exhibition was at St Andrews Hall in March 1992 and they were exhibited a total of fifteen times, plus another five test sessions.  Sometimes just two or three modules were exhibited at a time, it depended on the space available at various venues.




My first module called "Newlyn" featured a long cliff face, a viaduct over a canal and an upper passenger station.  Entering the station from the joiner board, is a Liliput 0-6-2 loco and goods train.








Ray's module called "Bryn Corach" was based on the Glyn Valley Tramway terminus at Glyn Ceiriog in Wales.  A George England saddle tank enters from the left.









This is a picture of "Peacehaven".  It featured passenger station, siding to a works, some of the very first "Townstreet" buildings and canal and river boat frontage.









Practice session at Buxton School 1992.  "The Heronry" and "Peacehaven" can be seen in this shot, and it shows the joiner boards with hoods.  Each scenic board was a separate self- contained scene.












This is a picture of "Bryn Melyn Halt", an "end loop" board.  It featured a beautifully made Mill.  Seen entering the halt is a Kerr Stuart 0-4-2 Corris loco.










A second module that I built was "Whitemoor".  A Liliput 0-6-0 loco named "Luke" and goods train leaves the station over the gorge.










Another module was "Scronkey", this was an end unit.

The scene was a simple run-through station halt with a raised village along the rear.  A quarry Hunslet passes by with goods train.









Another picture of "Whitemoor" showing the village scene.












This module is "Sandcliffe Junction", and a Darjeeling loco runs in with passenger train.  The scene featured a lower station and an upper tramway which ran automatically using a electronic "shuttle" module.










A picture from the balcony at Kings Lynn Corn Exchange in 1994 when we ran the modules at an exhibition there.

That day we ran "Castle Hydeaway" (extreme bottom left) "Bryn Corach" (with Ray operating) a corner module named "Goldoch", "The Heronry" and  "Whitemoor".  This gave us a sort of end-to-end configuration for the day.






Inevitably there were problems using this system. The sundeala board warped, and as there were many (too many) baseboard joins, this caused running problems sometimes, and also, as each scene had different track plans, there could be long delays at some modules passing the trains through, where as others just had a single run-through track and the train would pass by in a few seconds. This was not good for onlookers, as they could stand looking at a module with no trains running or just glimpsing it as it ran by.

(History 1995 onwards - to follow)


List of Layouts by our members

Shown below is a list of the main layouts built by our members, photographs can be viewed on our Galleries page.  Some temporary or competition layouts are not shown.

Layout Name Builder Description

Reeds Beck Waterworks

009 scale

C Seago

Model of a busy Victorian Waterworks scene with narrow gauge yards.

Exhibition layout (Norfolk and Suffolk area).

Nibley Knoll

009 scale

G & CWatling

A table top layout with two levels inspired by the Derbyshire scenery.

Exhibition layout (East Anglia area)

Chapel Mills

009 scale

C Seago

Animated pizza layout, 2ft dia. of a wind and steam Mill

Exhibition layout (Norfolk and Suffolk area)

Watts Mine

Gn15 scale

B Weston

An adit to an ore mine modelled below high cliffs.

Exhibition layout (Norfolk & Suffolk area)

Hawkins Tower

009 scale

P Moore Automated mini layout of an old Victorian park with castle tower folly


009 scale

R Doe

Work in progress layout which will feature the "Beccles & Bungay Railway" station scene.

La Garita Hills Railroad

On30 scale

A Harper Bourne Work in progress American railroad which will feature upper freight yard and lower passenger station and loco service sidings.

Hofbau Engineering Works

O16.5 scale

J Corsi

A fictitious German engineering works and loco workshops scene.

Exhibition layout (Norfolk and Suffolk area)

Hubbards Halt

009 scale

J Bamber A "table-top" work in progress scene with passenger station and goods/quarry siding.


009 scale

P Porter

Model of a small railway terminus with timber yard and canal wharf.

Exhibitable layout. 8ft long.

Ashfield Green

009 scale

C Seago

A rural Suffolk station scene, accessed by a hidden fiddle yard.

Exhibition layout (East Anglia area)

Bird's Folly

009 scale

S Green

Southwold Railway 009 layout of Halesworth shed

Exhibition layout (East Anglia area)

Southwold (1922)

009 scale

S Green

Superb model of Southwold station and environs

Exhibition layout (East Anglia area)



N Doe Large Mid Western American scene with station area, oil depot and high trestle bridge/ravine

Bridge over the Blyth

Nn3 scale

S Green

The Southwold Railway in a smaller scale.  This, the railways main civil engineering structure and the river area.

Exhibition layout (East Anglia area)

Abbotts Yard

009 scale

C Seago

A small shunting puzzle layout to sort wagons into complete trains.