Liphook U3A -Building a Model Railway Group


BUILDING A MODEL RAILWAY       In the years 2010 to 2014 I ran 12 week long courses, as a member of the Liphook & District Model Railway Club (L&DMRC), on building a model railway, aimed at those who wanted to build one for themselves or for a grandchild. Several club members assisted me. No actual practical work was involved, but the published notes of the weekly sessions, built up into a useful resource and several attendees went on to build their own layout and one joined the L&DMRC.                                                         The first course attracted 11 members, but subsequent attempts in following years attracted few attendees and in 2014 they were abandoned.

New Format

In resurrecting the idea for 2017 I am attempting a different format. The sessions will be monthly, of 2 hours duration. Those attending will follow and if they wish to, assist in the building of a small model railway, through from planning & construction to exhibiting. In between sessions I will be carrying out the majority of the work and explain with progress photographs/video at each session what has happened and what has to happen next. How long it takes will be very much dependant on the work involved, but I think a year would be a good estimate- that’s 12 sessions. (There may have to be a break for the holiday season) Think of it more as a working group, rather than a course.

As I am no longer a member,the Liphook & District Model Railway Club is not  involved in this new exercise

“Membership” of the group is the cost of the hire of the venue used, divided by the number attending. We have 7 members including the leader.  Members need to be a member of Liphook U3A or one of several local U3A’s associated with them. (Petersfield, Haslemere or Woolmer Forest)

At the end of the build, I will endeavour to get invites for the layout to be exhibited at local & regional model railway exhibitions and hope that members of the group will be able to assist. Half of any expenses received from these appearances will be donated to Railway Children, an international charity working with homeless children found near major railway stations in India, East Africa and the UK.

The layout construction to be followed by the group has been chosen from the following list Click on the highlighted names for more detailed information including sizes.

Those marked ** are the chosen layouts.

“Walmington- on- Sea”  British outline 1:43 scale (O)-small Southern seaside terminus serving a town well known for its Home Guard unit! (This layout has been removed from the proposed list as in retrospect the arrangements of the fiddle yards may cause unnecessary time problems in the early stages of the construction)

Soltendieck, German outline 1:45 scale (O) a very minimalist track layout but with interesting shunting. Set on the inner border between East & West Germany

Bennett Mews **British outline 1:76 scale (OO). Industrial layout with a small main line content set in Blackfriars South London

Danger- Border Ahead German outline 1:87 scale (HO) Tramway operational diorama set around Friedrichstrasse station at the border of East & West Berlin in the early 1960’s

“East Hants Link”  **  will cover up to 5 scenes along the line showing how light rail systems merge easily into  residential and commercial areas. Although a scheme for light rail is not to proceed for Bordon/Whitehill, this layout will show how such a scheme might have looked.

As most modern trams are of fairly similar designs throughout the world, I have chosen Japanese outline trams in N scale, as they are easily available at relatively low cost. The scale (1:150) is slightly different to the British N standard (1:148) but is closer than to the international standard of  1:160.

As a trial I shall be using Ikea type toy boxes as the baseboard for each scene.

Details of the group have been sent to Petersfield, Midhurst, Alton, Haslemere & Woolmer Forest U3A’s. Full details are on the Liphook U3A website and  on my website. The Milland News and the Liphook Community Magazine are kept regularly informed of our activities.
I also have a Facebook page covering the activities of the group – Building a Model Railway Group 2017 and there are regular reports on RM web.

If you wish to contact me about  the “Building a Model Railway” group  (we do have up to 3 places spare) please do so via the Liphook U3A contact form or write to me at

Leaflet giving basic details is available via the Liphook U3A contacts above

Twelve sessions are booked-Fourth to be held 20th September 2017 Committee Room, Milland Valley Memorial Hall, Iping Road, Milland, Liphook, Hants GU30 7NA 2.00 to 4.00 pm

There were no sessions in July or August, but they resume on 20th September, with sessions following in October and November. There will be no session in December.


We are making donations for the tea/coffee & chocolate biscuits consumed and  already after three sessions, £18 has been donated to the Railway Children charity

Late March 2017/ April 2017- Details brought fully up to date- image added/May 2017- updated/July 2017 -updated September 2017

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