At last my new railway room is complete and in use, the existing St Enodoc layout has been set up and I am ready to start building the new Mid-Cornwall Lines, but before doing so I thought I would tell you a little bit of history to put the project in context and, I hope, explain why a little slice of Cornwall is taking shape in suburban Sydney, Australia.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
My life with model railways goes back to when I was about three or four. Not, as was often the case, with Hornby Dublo but Tri-ang 00. My Dad built a very simple but enjoyable layout consisting of a single-track oval, an up-and-over loop and couple of sidings. On one track ran a Princess Elizabeth (with smoke!) and on the other a Transcontinental electric, later joined by a BR 2-6-2 tank.
I’ve no photos of this layout but after a house move Dad bought a job lot of stuff from a local enthusiast who was giving up the hobby, which was set up in the spare bedroom.
There was double track on two levels, plus two loops giving the option of running as a dumbbell or two ovals, and although I rebuilt it later as a single level line that was probably more realistic, the first layout was a lot more fun.
I built a separate, very small, layout called Cwm-Don for a school open day at which it was connected by a long single track around the physics benches to another small terminus called Llangogin, built by my classmate Steve Berry.
At about this time, in the late 1960s, we started to go to Cornwall for our annual family holidays, and I found myself captivated by the beaches, the scenery, the weather, the china-clay industry and the railways. Dad then had a small win on the pools, which allowed me to start a new layout that pretty well filled the spare room. It was to be a double track terminus to fiddle yard, with a low level continuous single loop. In my mind’s eye the terminus was Newquay (although the track plan was derived from Cheltenham St James) and the passing station on the loop became Goonhavern Halt.
The continuous loop was all that got built before Dad changed jobs and we all relocated to Edinburgh. That was the end of Cornish holidays for a while, but one good thing was that the house had twin garages. As we only had one car I was allowed to claim one garage as a railway room, and next time I’ll describe what I did with it.