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Scalefour North 2012

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© All photos are copyright and may not be reproduced without permission.  Photos by David Brandreth unless otherwise attributed.

Eccleston is a village in West Lancashire which never had a railway. It did, however, have two cotton mills and was surrounded by rich arable land, so there would have been sufficient traffic to justify one. I have therefore imagined that the local mill owners, supported by Lord Eccleston of nearby Eccleston Hall, prevailed upon the Directors of The East Lancashire Railway (which later became part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway) to build a branch line from Croston on the Preston – Liverpool line. Following the opening of the line, the village would have expanded to become a small town and the railway been busy with frequent passenger services to Preston, through goods workings to Lostock Hall and Pilot Goods workings to Croston for Liverpool traffic.

The layout has been under construction for nearly 30 years now and many techniques date from the 1980s. The baseboards are softwood frames and chipboard surfaces which have warped over the years. The track is hand built using the Brook Smith technique soldering rail to rivets inserted into plywood sleepers. Some of the best years of my life have been spent sticking plastic cosmetic chairs on. The electrics are as simple as possible, with two controllers and eight electrical sections. All points and signals are mechanically operated using a fully interlocked lever frame which makes operating the layout not only more realistic, but also more pleasurable.

Locos and stock are built from kits and are sufficient to work the services outlined above. Current effort is going into making buildings and scenery. All the railway buildings are now complete and based on photographs and drawings of L&YR prototypes. Work is continuing on the non-railway buildings and the cotton mill is at present a mock-up of the final building.

Presented by Martin Neild and friends in the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Society                More images can be seen here