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 Welcome to Motley Junction
Motley Junction. 1988ish– 2012.


I have had a model railway since I was 4 years old (Christmas Tri-ang 08 and TC diesel with a working headlight!) and over the years acquired a lot of stock.

I liked the idea of a Colonel Steven’s light railway with a “Motley” assortment of engines and stock. So I sourced some steam engine bodies of the 0-4-0 size and swapped cabs and smoke boxes and created something different all fitting on Tri-ang Nellie chassis or the newer 0-4-0 ex Dapol chassis which had an option of outside cylinders. I then looked at diesels. Using a shortened Hornby HST chassis I swapped cabs or shortened diesels to look more like a branch line loco. I put some diesel cabs on steam locos. (See photos).
The rolling stock was the older Tri-ang “Play Trains” coaches and goods items. Continental good stock was often cheap at Toy Fairs and so they joined the list.

I adopted the cheeky Stratford Sparrow logo as the Motley logo. Lima and Jouef /Playcraft also launch “Play Trains” and these could be picked up cheaply although HO scale.

The stock needed a layout and it was going to have to be small with tight curves to fit into my hatch back car and as I was a member of the local model club, it would be put up for the exhibition circuit. So in 1994 Motley Junction was created in August sunshine as I built it outside where there was more room and I could make a mess and the sun dried paint and glue off quickly so I made good progress. The layout was exhibited at Cambridge in 1995, Loughton, Tonbridge and Sudbury in 1996 and was well received. A branch line was added and the outside line was made into acontinuous circuit which meant we could have two trains doing a “roundy-roundy”at any one time. The branch line was overhead electric with a Tri-ang overhead Nellie 0-4-0 but was not “live”. In this form Motley Junction was exhibited once at Colchester in 1997. Life then got too busy and that was that until 2008 although I continued making the locos and collecting stock. By 2005 there wereover 100 locos and lots of stock with a mixture of British outline and Continental origin.

Wehad a holiday in Austria and while walking down a street in Saltsburg I discovered a model shop and bought some Kleinbahn HO stock. This opened my eyes to continental modelling and then started to acquire more and look out for saiditems at Toy Fairs.

In1993 my interest turned to our garden which is a good size. 00 in the garden . My eldest son helped me put up a circuit in the garden at a height where I could sit down and run it at about 3ft above the soil level. It was made from plywood covered in roofing felt and was a good size with a double track. I had asked for a large “S” bend but after a few years then had to come out and a straight section added as the“S” started to cause derailments.There were no points. At first I added a TT circuit going over our pond butthis was taken down quickly was the old Tri-ang TT stock was not as reliable as the 00 stock. This meant I could run 10-coach trains and they looked great moving round the garden. (See photo) I was so inspired that I built a smaller railway in our conifer garden with a double track and an “S” middle circuit again using plywood and garden felt and again about 3ft over the ground (See photo). The Motley stock looked good on this as did the continental stock I had acquired.
I like the TT scale and bought some Tri-ang stock but rail is a problem although Peco do some now but the coarse Tri-ang wheels do not like it; they bounce along! Shame because it’s a nice medium scale between 00/HO and N. TT is up for sale.

I tried N gauge modelling for a while in 1989 early 90’s. Bought a superbly detailed layout from a club member and his wife and added a bit. My youngest son was into railways at the time and he was a skilful modeller. I found N gauge very “unforgiving” when things went wrong or the gremlins moved in. For me it was just too small but when it worked it was impressive. The layout was named Ferndale. I sold it in the mid 90’s. The N gauge stock now available from Bachmann and Dapol is superb.

By this time I had had the loft converted so that I had quite a large layout up there which has a BR ER/LMS feel with steam, diesel and electric.

In the early 90’s I discovered Model Power American railways . The Shrewsbury Model Railway shop promotes this brand and they were very cheap! I bought the diesels and a couple of steam engines with some freight cars. All the diesels were painted into EWS red and gold and they looked really good. I sprayed up some coal freight cars in the EWS red and a complete long train on the garden railway looked spectacular! (See photo)..
In the 90’s the BR network was put into sections and new liveries applied and then the railway was privatised. Following on the idea of Fragonset I painted up some diesel locos and some cheap Tri-ang Mk I coaches in a Motley Junction Hire (MJH), livery of purple and Cambridge Blue with black lining. It seemed a good idea at the time. (See photo).
The many sector liveries inspired me and I bought up cheap Tri-ang 31’s, 37’s and Hornby 47’s and painted them up and added the transfers. Many of the freshly painted locos on real BR found their way through Cambridge hence I had good photographs to get the liveries correct. Railway magazines helped also.

I have spoken of the cheap Play Trains stock that Hornby and some of the Continental firms issued. The wagons are usually offered very cheaply at Toy Fairs and once painted into EWS red, Freightliner green or NR yellow, look the part. (See photo)..
I found a book where a railway artist had painted up pictures of locos that got on the drawing board but never built – locos that might have been. So I tried the BR 2-8-2 tender loco that was thought of before the 2-10-0 9F was decided upon. I used an Airfix 9F body, Tri-ang 9F chassisand a Tri-ang Britannia training bogie. The wheels should be a bit larger but it gives a feel of what might have been. See Fictitious locos section.

I was curious what a double ended HST would look like and so completed this and then used the ends to make a loco. I did the same with a Class 91 electric making it into a diesel with the cabs and a multipurpose loco with the flat ends, all Bo-Bo. The blunt ended TC diesel I have made into a double-ended cab version and then using the slab ends of it made a slab-faced diesel with porthole windows. A battered Lima Deltic body was shortened, Cl 37 windscreens fitted and the body put on an old Tri-ang Class 31 chassis using a Bo motor bogie and the Co trailing bogie in BR black looking filthy!.

In August 2008 I retired and once I got use to the idea I had a lot of time I wanted to build the Motley Junction layout again. I had dismantled it as I had nowhere to store it. There was a space at the bottom of the garden for a shed and so Motley Junction materialised again fitting snugly in the shed and the stock for the garden railway stored underneath.

It is amazing how tight you can lay PECO code 100 track and the 0-4-0’s manage to get round. (See photos in Layouts section).

Once Motley was built I had other thoughts. We have a house in Cyprus and spend weeks out there in the sunshine but no railway. So there is now a Motley Cyprus based on a tourist railway. Stock is a mixture of British and Continental stock plus some Motley creations, all with Continental couplings. (See photos in Layouts section).

In 2011 the large garden railway had rotted away in places. I had patched it up over the years but now it was looking sorry for itself so I decided to take it down. But like a Phoenix a new garden railway was built using tantalised wood and the supports was metal bars driven into the soil and the support posts fitting onto them so that no wood touched the soil so we should not have so much rot. The top surface would be wide enough for 6 continuous tracks. The top surface was covered with coats of a very expensive (£100 a tin) roofing sealant that should keep the water out. In 2012 the track was laid and wired. As before it is PECO code 100 wooden sleeper track – no points. The Conifer Railway still soldiers on in its original wood/felt and staples fashion.

Since retiring I starting to build layouts and  I have been building at least one a year. They can be viewed in the Layout section.

Motley shed is a single circuit with a track layout in the centre based on a steam shed to show off the 100+ Motleystock (not all at once!). Exhibited at Cambridge (2012) and Bressingham (2013)

Motley Terminal is 4’ x 2’ with similarsize fiddle yard. Tourist railway similar to Motley Cyprus with four platform tracks, one with overhead supplyalthough not live wired. This layout has the Hornby gas works as a feature as Ilived next to one for 13 years (and lived). Exhibited at Cambridge 2014.

Motley Traction will be five circuits toshow off the unique Motley locos and stock and re-liveried locos. Will beexhibited at Cambridge 2015 Exhibition 18th  April. This layout could also be used and become:

Motley Tri-ang

Motley Tri-ang Hornby

Motley Hornby (Margate)

Motley Hornby-Dublo 2-rail. Duchess(2), Deltic (2) Co-Bo, R1, EMU 3 -car

Motley Wrenn. 08, 20, A4, N2, 8F, 4MTtank

Motley Mainline/Airfix N2, CL 4-6-0 RS,Jubilee J72, Cl45

Motley Dapol – not a lot!

Motley Bachmann

Motley Kleinbahn HO

Motley Modelpower HO

Motley Lima – J50, Crab 2-6-0 + diesels

Motley Jaycraft – resin bodies onTri-ang chassis. J19. Claude D16, K1

Motley HO – Lima/Jouef/Playcraft/Trixetc.

Motley Silver Fox – resin bodies onLima/Hornby chassis e.g. Lion, Kestrel etc

Motley Haljan
January 2015 – Motley Traction to finish. Have a look in the Workshop section for on-going Motley projects. Christmas always brings some toy train sets to turn into Motley stock.

A model railway gives you a lot to do, a lot to think about, to be creative, to acquire skills, it gives a “feel good” factor and it’s something to share. It’s not expensive if you use ebay or Toy Fairs. 00 gauge railways = lots of second stock and equipment. Keep Calm and Build a Model Railway!
A view on Motley Shed. A Tri-ang Hornby A3 awaits its next turn.
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