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GMRC - The Railway Children

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"The Sunnyside & Misery Railway" layout was built by The Railway Children during the fourth heat of Channel 5's "The Great Model Railway Challenge".


We saw that other teams set up their own threads for their layouts, so here we are with our own to show what we made, how we made it and explain the method to our madness!

We won't spill any details until after tonight's episode has aired, but there will be a post shortly after.

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So... that went well!


Really happy with the way we were all portrayed - and the layout didn't look too bad on the telly either, haha.

We'll have a few videos to post in this thread over the next few days, but for now have some behind the scenes pictures of the preparation and some of the "historical documents" regarding the Sunnyside & Misery Railway!



S&MR Locomotive No.A113 - a freelance design bodged together from a Hornby J15, cutting the cab off, adding a wheel handle to the smokebox door, different safety valve cover and re-profiling the top of the tender. Along with a lovely paint job by Mayoorhan and transfers applied by Stuart (Oh Mr. Porter!).


The glorious "VITAL SPARK" constructed by Stuart (Oh Mr. Porter!) and Sunnyside Halt constructed by Richard (TheBallastMan) - two of our six items.

As discussed in the programme briefly, we had fake accurate history! This is the track map of the fictional "Sunnyside & Misery Railway"


A mock up poster of the mainline junction, modified from a GER poster.



Two advertisement posters for the Steam Packet service that "VITAL SPARK" is the vessel for.



and finally - our original track plan, with the snowy side which we sadly had to scrap due to time.

Thanks for reading and as I said, we'll have some more stuff to put in this thread soon!

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I thought you had some very good ideas and probably the best interpretation of the brief, but I'm sure it won't be too controversial to suggest that it proved a bit over ambitious. What you managed in 3 days was remarkable though.

Haha, not at all controversial - it definitely was over ambitious with the time we had, but we're still pleased with the results! Thank you very much.


We had planned to be a bit more flat at first in our original idea, a snowy village with a steel works at its heart. Flowing Molton steel and Ash piles with glowing light in the centre etc. We were egged on to be more ambitious and crazy by the production team a bit but the final idea was all ours. Matt is making a video regarding the development of the ideas and such that I'll pop in here when done.

Edited by ExplosiveCookie
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Here's a few pics of the Clyde Puffer I built for our layout.












Excellent video and very enjoyable! Who owns the UG class btw? And is it weathered? 


The U class is mine and it's weathered (I can't have spotless locos!). It was one of my first weathering jobs and isn't brilliant as a result, unfortunately. Here's a picture from May 2017:



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Hi Railway Children,


Well done on the great work you did on the TV show and the video above which I really enjoyed. I’m glad you enjoyed Fawley too - it is quite special isn’t it? I’m also glad you put across the sense of camaraderie that I think we all got from doing the show.


I think that it was really brave of you guys to do what you did having met on the Internet and having limitations of distance and so on to contend with. The pioneering spirit, determination and enthusiasm with which you conducted yourselves throughout filming was exemplary. Well done and keep up the good work. I await the next arrival at Sunnyside Station...


All the best,



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Thank you for your very kind words, Castle.


Fawley Hill really is one of those rare magical places in the world that you have to see to believe. I'm yet to find a way of describing it to folk without sounding a bit barmy! In regards to the challenge, I don't know if we were brave or just very, very naive! We certainly couldn't have got as far as we did without help and guidance from the Fliers and Dynamos.


I look forward to seeing the Fawley Fliers return in the finale and show folk how it's done! 




Just to keep the ball slowly rolling, here's another picture. They wanted each of us to bring a model for 'backstory filming' though, inevitably, this stuff didn't make it into the final cut. I brought my model of Weston, Clevedon & Portishead No. 4 and the crew from 'Oh, Mr. Porter!' due to the fact that I rarely model 4mm anymore.




The fun fact for today is about our 'mountain'. Some of you may have picked up that the mountain is named 'Mt. Misery' and there's a very long and entertaining story about that...


Well there isn't really, truth be told.


I'd been reading up on the WL&WR and was inspired when I saw pictures of Waterford station just before the turn of the century. A quick Google search or a flick through 'The Waterford, Limerick & Western Railway' by Ernie Shepherd will reveal that this station is dwarfed by a huge intimidating rockface. I'm hardly an encyclopedia of railway facts, but this was something very different to your average station scenery!


When the mountain crept into the layout plans, it seemed like a perfect name for something that we all knew would be a pain in the backside to build. It also furthered my agenda of slowly turning the layout into a mish mash of Irish railways  ;)

Edited by Oh Mr. Porter!
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We'll done to all of the Railway Children. I'm glad that you enjoyed the experience of the GMRC and the general friendliness of the railway modelling fraternity. What the program didn't show, but the pictures on here do, is that you are a team of very good modellers.



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Thank you kindly to both of you! It was a pleasure meeting you Castle, I'm glad you had as much fun as we did! Your words are very kind and mean a lot, genuinely.

Thank you Brian, it was a lot of fun! It's a shame we couldn't show some of our previous modelling on the programme a bit more - but still, thank you very much!

Also - another brilliant video from Max, some great footage from the 3 days!

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