Thornbury Hill began life in 1970 as the main OO gauge layout of the Burgess Hill MRC and was described in the March 1986 edition of the Railway Modeller. The model, set in 1932, just prior to the main line electrification, was intended to represent a section of the London Victoria - Brighton mainline, and not a particular station; this explains the name which is derived from Thornton Heath, Norbury and Streatham Hill which are between Clapham Junction and East Croydon.
In 1991 the layout was sold to the present owners who added the third rail and moved the period forward to 1962 which allows steam, diesel and electric stock to be modelled.
The track plan, which gives the maximum operating potential with up to four trains moving at any one time, took three years to finalise and depicts Thornbury Hill station with the four track main line merging into two, a goods yard and a non-electrified branch line (although an 'electrified' link has now been provided off the main line.
Virtually all the original model survives. The track is to OO fine scale standards and is hand built; the signals are all operational and interlocked with the points. The station buildings are based on London, Brighton & South Coast Railway designs, with the canopies copied from East Croydon and the signal boxes based on the prototypes at Eastbourne and Seaford. The goods shed is based on that at Burgess Hill and the garage comes from Haywards Heath.
Our aim is to run an intensive service of main line and suburban electric trains supplemented by steam or diesel hauled goods, parcels and special trains: the branch allows us to run local passenger and push-pull trains with a modicum of freight, and gives us the chance to run trains to and from the main line as takes our fancy.
The majority of our stock is kit-built with some detailed RTR items; some of our stock , notably the electric units, is unusual and well worth a look. Turntables at each end of the layout hold stock for the mainline and trains can be held in the station for others to pass; the branch line is served by a conventional fiddle yard. Main line operations and movements onto the branch are controlled by the signallers and they and the turntable operators communicate through headphones to ensure all goes smoothly - we hope!
We enjoy showing off our layout (most recently featured in the September 2012 Hornby magazine) and are always pleased to receive invitations to exhibitions. The layout requires 8 operators and requires a space 41 feet by 9 feet in total, which includes barriers and operating space.
Our expenses include van hire and fuel, plus costs for car transport for operators (normally one car) whilst in some cases we may need overnight accommodation. We can and do negotiate!
Please contact the owners of the layout through the link on the Home