Heaton Lodge Junction: Britain’s Biggest Model Railway

Iskra

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If anyone is interested; this model railway which has been well documented on Youtube is to go on display in Wakefield Market Hall in December.

I think I will visit since it’s local. I also like that at £250k it makes my modelling spend look very reasonable in comparison :D

I’m not endorsing the Daily Mail, but they just happen to be covering it:

A nostalgia project that has taken six years to complete has become Britain's biggest model railway - and it could soon go on tour.

Businessman Simon George, 53, yearned to recreate his favourite childhood spot from 1983 - a railway junction near Mirfield in West Yorkshire.

Now, the model is set to be exhibited in Wakefield Market Hall from December 4 to 19, with the chances of a UK city tour after that, The Observer reports.
 
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Cowley

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It’s an amazing railway. I love the way he’s caught the bleak nature of the season and place.
 

Iskra

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Yes, it's excellent and the effort that has gone into it is phenomenal! It also has a lot of local interest for me as the Transpennine Mainline was my local railway when I grew up :)

 

30907

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If anyone is interested; this model railway which has been well documented on Youtube is to go on display in Wakefield Cathedral in December.

I think I will visit since it’s local. I also like that at £250k it makes my modelling spend look very reasonable in comparison :D

I’m not endorsing the Daily Mail, but they just happen to be covering it:

The report says the Market Hall not the Cathedral.
 

43055

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If anyone is interested; this model railway which has been well documented on Youtube is to go on display in Wakefield Market Hall in December.

I think I will visit since it’s local. I also like that at £250k it makes my modelling spend look very reasonable in comparison :D

I’m not endorsing the Daily Mail, but they just happen to be covering it:

Very impressive layout. Even featured on the Hornby show on the Yesterday channel last night.
 

fourtytwo

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Fantastic, unfortunately too far from Wakefield but I will keep an eye out for his itinerary next year, maybe it will come to Norfolk! Thanks for posting Iskra :smile:
 

61653 HTAFC

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I’m not endorsing the Daily Mail, but they just happen to be covering it:
Multiple outlets have covered this in recent weeks (mostly with the same or very similar text and images), including the Guardian if that's more up peoples' street!
 

Peter C

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The layout does look amazing. It all seems to just work together to make on coherent scene.

-Peter
 

Darandio

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One for our model railway buffs here, seems like it was quite a large undertaking!


A train fanatic has unveiled a huge model railway that he originally hid from his girlfriend after eight years of work.
Simon George made a scale-model of 1.5 miles (2.4km) of the Calder Valley line at Heaton Lodge junction in Kirklees.
At 200ft (61m) long, the creation has to be transported in three lorries.
Mr George said the ultra-realistic model depicts the railway near where he grew up, with him spending hours watching trains pass by his house.
"It depicts the 1980s as it used to be with lots of coal trains before the miners' strikes," he said.
"When we're children we have our own special places, but for me I used to come here as a child and spend so much time watching the freight trains go past."

The model was partly created from Mr George's memory and photos, with trees being placed in the exact positions they would have been in in 1983.
"It was done purely so I could put myself back into 1983, and even now if I look up for a split second and see the trains coming in the distance, it does make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up because it's like deja vu," he said.
The trains run on 3,280ft (1,000m) of track, passing near bridges and line-side furniture like electricity boxes and even litter.

Mr George created the model over eight years, with the coronavirus lockdowns providing him with more time to perfect the set.
The trains run on a timetable, loosely based on what they would have done in the 1980s.
Speaking at an event at Wakefield Market as the model was unveiled, he said he was pleased with how it turned out.

He said he had been told it was Britain's biggest model railway by filmmakers and rail magazines, but he never intended to create a model this size - and even tried to hide the creation from his girlfriend.
"When I first met her she didn't know I was building this," he said.
"She knew I leased a mill with a huge basement, but I kind of led her to believe I was a wine merchant because that sounded cooler than building a model railway."
There are plans to take the model on tour so more people can see the creation.

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BrianW

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Feeling for his (now former?) girlfriend, playing second fiddle to that - o_O
 

Cowley

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One for our model railway buffs here, seems like it was quite a large undertaking!




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It’s an amazing thing and I think part of the realism is in the fact that he’s not tried to pack too much into each scene. Obviously he’s modelled a real location so that’s part of it but the way he’s captured the cold weather and the puddles in the track near the line is just a thing of beauty to me.
Right in my favourite era too…
 

Cowley

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Feeling for his (now former?) girlfriend, playing second fiddle to that - o_O

Reminded me of when I ‘Came out’ to Mrs C that I had something in the loft to show her… :lol:
 

Peter C

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I think we mentioned this some time ago and came up with all sorts of fanciful ideas for how we'd use the same amount of space - you could probably model the whole Great Western Mainline in N gauge... :lol:

In all seriousness though, it is a lovely layout. There's a YouTube channel for it somewhere; I might try and find it at some point.

-Peter
 

yorksrob

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Impressive also that he managed to convince the missus that he was a wine merchant !
 

43055

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Is it due to appear at any Model Shows in the next year?
The quote in post one says it's on display now in Wakefield Market Hall until the 19th and there is a possibility of a tour next year.
 

Why

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Visited Monday on the train from London.

Totally lost for words ...... how something can be this good I almost can't believe it.

The layout is stunning and the locomotives with sound and weathering condition just have to be seen to be believed.

Intended to stay an hour, with a break for a sandwich and coffee I stayed for 3.5 hours. Thank you Simon for letting the general public see this marvel.

Trip to Wakefield by train ... out on Mk4 stock, excellent, return Azuma.... shocking, awful seat and rather a rough ride.
 

Iskra

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I made a (first) trip to see it today, very nice it is too, it really captures the feel of the area very well. The rolling stock is fantastic too. Well worth a trip!

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^This one is for @Peter C and the one below is for @Cowley
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Cowley

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30907

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I was there earlier this afternoon - really impressive. Especially the winter feel IMG_20211216_135911491.jpg
 

Spartacus

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What really made the layout for me was standing down the 'Mirfield' end and looking towards Heaton Lodge really gave me the impression I was looking at something real, that same feeling when you're looking at a train in the far distance, trying to work out if it's just a mirage if it's hot, how fast it's moving, if at all, then trying to work out what it is by the headlights, or if you can hear it, the sound. It'll be amazing once the stock's right for the area; I can't ever remember seeing that many 37s there, but I guess that's just a result of trying to get as much stock as possible to run an exhibition style timetable.
 

Iskra

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What really made the layout for me was standing down the 'Mirfield' end and looking towards Heaton Lodge really gave me the impression I was looking at something real, that same feeling when you're looking at a train in the far distance, trying to work out if it's just a mirage if it's hot, how fast it's moving, if at all, then trying to work out what it is by the headlights, or if you can hear it, the sound. It'll be amazing once the stock's right for the area; I can't ever remember seeing that many 37s there, but I guess that's just a result of trying to get as much stock as possible to run an exhibition style timetable.
I totally agree about standing at one end and observing distant trains approaching. In terms of rolling stock, it's a case of what is available in O gauge off the shelf I think.

I visited this again yesterday, and they seemed to be having technical difficulties on this occasion, meaning a spell without any trains while they re-booted the computer system and a limited operation running using only around 1/3 of the layout and rolling stock which made this visit slightly underwhelming. The layout is of course very complex and like the real network a problem on one part of it seemed to snowball and affect the whole thing. …Unless of course they were just simulating Sunday Engineering works :D
 
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