Milland Valley Railway Modellers

A Liphook u3a & Midhurst u3a

Afternoon special interest 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) and Liphook U3A, 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 U3A members, but subsequent attempts in following years attracted fewer attendees and in 2014 they were abandoned.


In resurrecting the idea in 2017, I  attempted a different format. The sessions were monthly of  2 hours duration. Those attending  followed and if they wished to, assisted in the building of a small model railway, through from planning to construction.  In between sessions I  carried out the majority of the work and explained  at each session what had happened and what has to happen next. It was the intention to complete one OO scale diorama and most of an N scale tramway layout by the end of the first year(March 2018)- which was not achieved! It was then  more of a working group, rather than a course.

So for 2018 at the request of existing members, the format was further changed to that of a model railway club. Members can work on their own projects or on group projects. An afternoon model railway club which is not exactly unique, but slightly different and therefore aimed at the retired (U3A members)

  • A  change of group name to better reflect the group aims (From Building a Model Railway Group to The Milland Valley Railway Modellers)
  • Move to Redford Village Hall from our May 2018 meeting, due to introduction of extended hours at the nursery school using Milland Valley Memorial Hall (to meet government 30 hours a week edict.) which meant we could no longer keep our Wednesday slot.
  • A change to 3 hours sessions


Building a model railway is often a solitary occupation and some like the hobby for that reason. However if you have taken up the hobby in retirement or after the death of a loved one or to build a layout for a grandchild, you would gain much by joining a club. You could get help on problems with building your layout; you could gain a pal or two in the process and best of all be part of a community that’s enjoying themselves- playing trains.

One last point- this is not just aimed at semi-retired or retired men who want to take up model railways as a hobby,  but for similarly aged ladies.. Although traditionally it has been seen as a male preserve, the hobby is more open and more welcoming  to women than at any time in its 111 year history..Its 2021 for Gods sake, so don’t be put off in trying us ( or  any of the local clubs if you’re outside our semi retired/retired group.)

Please contact any of the local clubs- there are links to virtually all of them from this site- see RH side bar. Most encourage visitors to visit a regular meeting or two for free to check each other out.  You will not regret it.

If we seem to be the group for you,we look forward to hearing from you soon  

Milland Valley Railway Modellers   (Link to our Facebook Page)


Membership of any u3a group is the cost of the hire of the venue used + cost of small consumables (not layout construction items in our group) – divided by the annual membership. Groups held in public facilities currently receive 40% of any meeting hire cost as a subsidy from Liphook u3a.)

Layout construction materials are not financed out of group funds but are provided by the group organiser and the completed layouts are his property, but will be made available for exhibition as the group members require. The layouts will be insured for exhibition when the need arises.

Group members also need to be a paid up members of Liphook u3a or Midhurst u3a or one of several local u3a’s associated with them. (Petersfield, Haslemere, or Woolmer Forest (Whitehill-Bordon area)  

There is an annual membership fee for u3a which covers public liability insurance and central services (general meetings, open day and financial management) and membership is limited to the semi-retired or retired  55 years old or over.

If you wish to use any portable electrical equipment at our sessions, that has a mains voltage function and is over 12 months old (Mains extension leads, transformers etc) they need to be tested/inspected annually in accordance with the Portable Appliance Testing regulations.  This requirement is not negotiable.

We can either arrange for the tests to be carried out on a group basis or individuals can get items tested themself, but they will need to provide the annual test certificate for any items they intend to use at the sessions.

New equipment does not need a test certifucate for its first year, but proof of purchase will be needed.

This group is one of over 40 special interest groups in the Liphook u3a. There are thought to be well over 400 model railway clubs in the UK, but there are, at the last count (2018) only 8 model railway groups  under the u3a “umbrella” in the UK. The closest u3a model railway group to us, is at Emsworth u3a and we hoped to have a meet up with them in  2020 but this is on hold due to the pandemic.


Sessions at a private address in the village of Milland 

No meetings have been held since March 2020

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic is running its course, no group meetings are being held and we will share our modelling via this site, our various Facebook pages (see list on side bar) and emails to members.

Unfortunately we can’t share our plain chocolate digestives via any of these mediums…… Keep Well-Keep on Modelling!

The situation was reviewed after the 1st lockdown was lifted and there was no enthusiasm for resuming meetings with restrctions on numbers and social distancing impossible in the venue and all meetings were therefore suspended until at least April 2021, when the situation was reviewed again.

Our membership is  in a vunerable age and health group and we  agreed a very catious approach to restarting the group meetings.

June 2021 A number of propsals have recently been sent to members for consideration and once feed back is received we hope to  be able to resume meetings from September 2021.  

FROM SEPTEMBER The intention is to have the railway room available for sessions on the 1st Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday  of each month from September 2021, to spread the load on the workshop space. Members to choose which session they would prefer each month.   (If space is available members can  attend more than one session per month)  Hours at each session are 14.00hrs to 17.00hrs

On this basis the sessions will commence on Tuesday 7th September, Wednesday 8th September and Thursday 9th September




We are having a stand at the MILLAND GREEN FAIR on Sunday 26th September as part of the national BIG GREEN WEEK. Our stand will be about the green credentials of Public Transport, using the East Hants Link tram layout and/or a special diorama, together with information on public transport use in holidaying in Europe, rather than flying and the need for an improved bus service for local residents to connect with Liphook for shopping and commuting.


We are likely to be recruiting additional  group members at the Liphook u3a Open day on Wednesday 29th September


We are considering having a small club event similar  to those that I started in the Milland Valley Memorial Hall (Model Trains in the Valley) around 10 years ago for the Liphook & District MRC,  in the final weekend of October 2021 (half term holiday)



The L&DMRC  are transferring their annual event to Bordon in 2022 and didn’t hold one in 2020 and are not having one this year


Milland is easily reached from Liphook, Petersfield, Haslemere etc via country roads. Specific location information and parking arrangements for the meeting venue will be provided to registered members.

We successfully trialled  sessions at this location in September and October 2019 .   The venue  allows for layout or project work to occupy the whole time period, with little or no setting up or clearing and packing up required. This format will also be suitable for building dioramas or micro layouts. 

Parking at Milland  As the location is in a residential area, members are asked to park on a specified side of the road and not to block free movement of any residents or service vehicles. If you can car share with other members this would be appreciated.(See Government regs/ u3a guidance during corona- virus pandemic)

Facilities at Milland The venue is an insulated, lit and heated space with smoke detector, fire extinguisher and first aid kit.  Toilet facilities approx 20 metres away in main house. (Sorry-Route and  facilities not disabled compliant)

Restrictions Unfortunately the doors to the venue are not wide enough and there are changes of levels /steps making it difficult currently for wheelchair use. No smoking or vaping permitted.

Winter months There is external lighting in the immediate vicinity of the venue and between it and the house, but the village has no street lighting. A small torch is advised during this period for the short walk from the venue to your car at the end of the sessions.

Group membership fees at Milland There will be no hire charges incurred for use of these private facilities by group members. 

There will be a £1 a member, per session refreshment donation to the Railway Children charity. (once restrictions on serving refreshments are permitted)

Visitors For obvious reasons these sessions are not  open to casual visitors



Please note that all materials used in the layout constructions listed, is provided by the group organiser and the layouts remain in his ownership, but the layout  can be exhibited by the group as necessary. Members can bring along their own projects to work on, but unfortunately cannot be stored between sessions


“East Hants Link”  **   covers  5 + scenes along the line showing how light rail systems merge easily into  residential and commercial areas. Although a scheme for light rail is unfortunately 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 used Ikea type toy boxes as the baseboard for most scenes, but later abandoned it as it was difficult to model and lay track within the box and to align the boxes themselves. I resorted to using some spare conventional baseboards I had.  Work is now well underway on that basis. 



Increasingly each diorama or micro-layout will have a page on this site to give more details and progress photos where appropriate, and our various Milland Valley FB pages will also show progress updates

“If the railway had come to the Milland Valley”  **Small  diorama in OO scale showing Linch & Redford  on Midhurst to Haslemere line- proposed and although receiving parliamentary approval- never built  work well advanced-completion work into 2018/9 season  Very relevant to our former Redford location

South Downs Link  A series of  micro layouts/dioramas showing how various locations along the Petersfield to Midhurst former L&SWR branch line and along the former  Midhurst to Chichester former LB&SCR branch line  could be used in part by a light rail line .

August 1944 ++ cross roads with level crossing and a railway  halt- with a game of petanque  in progress on the  terrain near the bar. Sunflower field or vineyard nearby?  A small diorama of rural recently  liberated France, a couple of months after D-Day . .Paris will be liberated in a couple of weeks. HO Scale  The locals are returning home from celebrating liberation & have stopped off to have a drink and a game with their pals. Usually an all male pursuit, especially  in the era (late 1944) when this is set. A few British soldiers on and around  a tank, are watching .

Baseboard is constructed and early work has been started. This diorama was  envisaged to be used as an advert for the Milland Boule Group who meet at the Milland Sports Ground 

Tugaske”  ++ (Scale to be decided) A small Saskatchewan settlement  in 1914  at the railway station. The small town in which my Dad was born. A recreation of a possible scene at the railway station as Godfrey and Gertrude-( his parents),  set off with him on a long journey back to the UK by rail and ship     –No work started

A further three micro tram/bus layouts are under consideration

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 

In initial planning

Berlin- Undivided     German outline 1:150 scale (N) Tramway operational  diorama set around Friederichstrasse station in the present day with modern image models by Kato of Berlin type trams

In initial panning

Unnamed micro layout of trams and buses in a Hong Kong street. H-K uses British style double decker trams  which have not changed in style since their introduction many years ago, but have modern engineering and controls..

H-K also have bought and continue to do so, British manufactured double decker buses which are either adaptions of British designs or are designs specially manufactured to meet Hong Kong requirements(larger passenger accommodation/more doors; air conditioning and 6-wheeled). Luckily H-K modellers of both modes of transport, model in 1:76 scale (00) -a scale usually only associated with the UK. There is a wide range of models available for this market and they are readily available from local suppliers via the internet. Coupled with the fact that they are RH drive vehicles and  with road signs and markings, traffic lights, street lights etc also British type, makes it a good choice for British modellers

Planning in early stages

Milland Brickworks micro OO-9 layout subject  for an OO-9 Society layout competition held in March 2020. The laser cut baseboard kit of two sections- one with a traverser, has been obtained from Norfolk Heath Works. Total footprint 760mm x 280mm

Subject and track layout to be decided

Holidays  Cake box challenge” subject from an earler British Railway Modelling magazine competition  Total footprint- 200 mm x 200 mm x 150 mm high ( 8″x 8″ x 6″ high)  Scene in N scale-  Sea Views Guest House ,  23 Railway  Viaduct, East Bognor– a near reference to Tony Hancock’s address in East Cheam, on the BBC Radio Hancock’s Half Hour- some may be old enough to remember it!


Full details are on the group pages of the  Liphook u3a website*  and  of the Midhurst u3a website* .

During the coronavirus situation, details of the group on the u3a websites may not be current. If in doubt contact the organiser and check!

The local area Milland News , Liphook Community Magazine and Liphook Herald in more normal times are kept regularly informed of our activities. Meeting dates are regularly provided to Vantage Point and Round & About, which are free magazines distributed in our catchment area. Facebook local community  boards for Fernhurst, Midhurst and Haslemere etc are used from time to time to publicise the club, sometimes in conjunction with the L&DMRC.

You can follow progress on the groups projects on our Facebook page or on this website


If you wish to contact the organiser (Tony Bettger) about  the Milland Valley Railway Modellers” -please do so via the Liphook u3a contact form or  via a similar facility on the Midhurst u3a website site or e-mail to




Ten percent of any expenses received from any future  exhibiting of group layouts (where expenses are paid) 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. 

All remaing expenses will divided equally between each member participating in the exhibiting of the layout!


We are also requesting donations (£1 per member per session) for unlimited tea/coffee & chocolate biscuits consumed at each session. The donations will be forwarded on a regular basis  to the Railway Children charity . (Serving of refreshments may not be permitted after indoor meetings are resumed)

We donated £51 to the Railway Children charity during the year February 2018 to January 2019. Further donations were made in 2019  and 2020.

Whilst the group is mothballed members fees already paid  has , with the agreement of members, not been carried forward to  next year,but is being donated to the same charity- (£50 was donated to the Railway Children charity in January 2021)


You can follow progress on the groups projects on our Facebook page or on this website  


The organiser has been keeping occassional contact with members by e-mail, but there may  be a trial of a group newsletter- called provisionally “Working Arrangements” which will be issued approximately monthly. These will appear on this site approx 4 weeks later.


Late March 2017/ April 2017- Details brought fully up to date- image added/May 2017- updated/July 2017 -updated September 2017/ Updated late October 2017/Updated December 2017 to include 2018 layout/diorama  choices/ updated 22nd January / February 2018 updated to latest proposals/ March 2018 General Update -new venue. April 2018 Full revision to cover move to Redford Village Hall; April 9th minor tidying; September 2018- exhibition details and proposed change to 3 hour sessions;October 2018- Improvements in directions. Update on arrangements/Fees for 2019/20.  November 2018- Removal of duplication of meeting times and fees, Addition of workshops in Milland./ January 2019 Update on layouts and diorama details-update on donations to the Railway Children charity in the 2018/19 year/ February 2019 General update and tidying presentation- removing duplication , adding events/ March 2019 Adjustments to events/ May 2019- Non attendance at Rural Fair added- Changes to MVRM First Open Afternoon/June 2019 General update- removal of past events. Initial details of layout building sessions/July 2019 Extensive rewording of group details, membership etc Re-wordings of layout building sessions etc.Addition of two additional dioramas/ micro layouts ;late September 2019- Deletion of Open afternoon at Redford in 2020 Reference to sessions at private address at Milland. PAT regulation requirement indicated.Late October 2019 -full revision to cope with Milland private premises. Early Nov. Events updated +minor other revisions Late December 2019- Update to meetings and events/Early Jan 2020. Clarification/re-wording of move to Milland details/ Mid Jan 2020 route description to Redford venue removed/ Redford meeting details-deleted- Details of Liphook U3a Open Day added- Late Feb 2020/ Updates to special events- March 2020/May 2020/ Coronavirus alterations- April & June 2020 Addition of second meeting per month and minor rewordings/simplifications of text/August 2020/Change to lower case u3a form for new style logo/Sept2020 Deletion of projects etc for 2020/21Update on donations to charity./October 2020

General update /Nov 2020/ December 2020/ Jan 2021/  February 2021/March 2021/May 2021/ July 2021- two updates on possible resumption of meetings and involvement in forthcoming local events