Celebrating our 23rd year as a club.

A WORK IN PROGRESS –

The club was founded in 1998 by NMRA members in the South-East area.  After some initial meetings in ‘licensed premises’, we had monthly meetings on a Friday evening at the Montefiore Hall in Three Bridges.  These were always preceded by ‘gossip’ and practical sessions in a side room, whilst we waited for the tap dancing class to finish, before we could set up a few modules in the hall.

We were then working in HO scale, 12v DC., on 4’ x 2’ modules, which members brought to each meeting and connected together.

After two years, we were lucky to get the lease of Hut #29 in Tilgate, from Crawley Council, and settled in to build a modular HO layout and another in N gauge.   The HO layout included a huge model viaduct, based on the Keddie Wye, in California.

Keddie Wye –as exhibited at Tolworth Showtrain – Nov 2004

ALL PREVIOUS EFFORTS – including scenery, stock and tools WERE DESTROYED IN AN ARSON ATTACK ON OUR CLUBROOM IN THE SUMMER OF 2010

Several months after the arson attack in 2010, we were fortunate to get a lease on an outbuilding at Gatwick House in 2011 – directly under the eastern approach to the airport.  We spent many hours making this ‘Space’ habitable and started again with a modular layout in HO – this time for DCC operation to the NMRA standards. Combinations of the new modules were taken out to exhibitions from time to time.  Following a change of landlords, our lease had expired and we had to pack everything away to storage by the end of December 2015.

After some fifteen months in limbo, we managed to share premises  (Tilgate Hut #1) with a Table Tennis Club, from March 2017,  on the understanding that we only set the few remaining modules up on three days a week and cleared everything back for their games to continue.

After six months sharing, we were offered a lease for new premises and moved to Tilgate Hut #13 in November 2017.  Ironically this was less than 200 metres from the site of the original burnt out clubroom.  The new hut had been extensively decorated and carpeted and needed little work before we were able to set up the remaining modules again.

The next step was to plan a more expansive permanent layout  and building started whilst use of some of the modules still enabled limited Friday running nights.

                                                  The agreed new layout plan

Text Box: Main St., Whynot

Once a plan had been agreed, work started in earnest and the clubroom began to resemble a woodshed, with no room for train running.  Various construction ideas were tried and refined, with additional details along the way. The layout is conceived on two levels with a helix requiring three and a half turns to raise tracks from lower to upper levels on a steady gradient.  Throughout, a minimum radius of 36” for the main line and 30” for yards and branches will provide easy curvature for most available rolling stock.

The lower level trackwork is almost complete and test running has started to identify any potential problems before any scenic work is applied.

The first train ran up the helix gradient on 5th April 2019

Working parties continue to complete the lower levels and wiring has allowed for DCC control including two reverse loops.

All turnouts are controlled – those on the main line as digital accessories and those in the yard area under analogue control.

The Yard – control panel area

The helix – so far – as at 16 August 2019

As well as the HO layout under construction, we also have a portable N gauge layout ‘Three Bridges’ which has been shown at many exhibitions.

Members are also interested in other scales including On30.

New Members are always welcome – Please make yourself known to one of our stewards at the show.

Alternatively, please contact our Chairman, Dan Spalding on 07876-553211 or email

secretary@seaboard-southern.org.uk