In 1964 the
small rural station of Presteigne in Powys finally closed under
the stewardship of British rail and the Beeching axe. 40 years
later and I decided that it would be a fitting tribute to build
a model of this once handsome branchline terminus in its heyday.
Formerly owned by the Great
Western Railway and known then by its (slightly more) Welsh name
of Presteign, (notice the missing 'e' at the end), Presteign
was the end of the line for goods and passengers coming from
Herefordshire across the border to this small market town.
A number of useful photographs
still exist of the station and some of the utility buildings,
such as the goods shed and platform bound signal box.
My first task
was to collect as many pictures as I could for reference and
any further information I could gather. When it came to construction,
a lack of space was the main consideration. I had to decide on
the finished size of my diorama and where it would ultimately
live. The last problem was solved first, by making the decision
to give the completed model to my father as a birthday present
in May 2004. (This deadline helped a lot with getting the model
finished in a short space of time.)
I decided to make the model
no more than 6 feet in length in order to make use of a standard
6ft X 1 ft shelf board from B&Q. (The rounded front edge
was a nice touch too.)
I visited Presteigne museum
and was a little disappointed by the lack of information regarding
the railway and particularly the station, (just one photo, if
I recall.) However, down in the depths of the museum cellar I
found a large map of Presteigne dating from around 1900, framed
and protected under glass, hanging on the entrance wall.
I opened the
exterior door at the top of the stairs and with the flash turned
off, so as not to get glare from the glass, took a couple of
shots of the station area with my digital camera. There was just
enough light and the resulting prints were very handy indeed.
Using the map,
I worked out that from the end of the track to the last set of
turnouts (crossing a small steam,) would have taken up over ten
feet of diorama.
I decided to
end the track work further down the line, near to the goods shed
and compress the distance somewhat to fit the whole thing onto
my 6 foot board.
It was a small
compromise to make, but worth the risk of being inaccurate, on
the grounds that I would have had to sacrifice the goods shed
to keep it all to scale.
the number of bricks in the platform (one old photo was particularly
good) I was able to gauge the length and width of the platform
and the overall dimensions of the station building and signal
The goods shed was something
of a guess. Photographs show the proportions and some details,
but not much else. I decided to approximate the size and shape
and concentrate on getting an impression of what it was really
like. The photos are not clear enough to show individual bricks,
so counting them was out of the question. In the end I think
I made it a little on the small side, but I'm quite pleased with
the overall result. It was completed using plastic sheeting from
'Wills': Brick in English Bond (SSMP227.) Slates (SSMP203.) Tongued
and Groove Boarding (SSMP220.)
started life as a piece of 9mm MDF, coated in 'Wills' Brick Sheeting
(SSMP212) and 'Milliput' to represent tarmac. The effect was
produced over time by spreading small areas of 'Milliput' and
dabbing the surface with an old toothbrush. Mottled enamel paints
were used and the effect was finished with some scenic scatter
The Station building was
made with 'Wills' Coarse Stone (SSMP200,) Windows and Doors from
'Wills' (SS42,) Slate sheeting (SSMP203,) 'Milliput' detailing
and lots of patience! The canopy roof was 'Wills' Sheet roofing
(SSMP229) to represent lead. The valance board was a brass etched
kit by www.Scalelink.co.uk
The lamp hut was a modified
kit from 'Wills' (SS22.)
The Signal box was made
from scraps of some of the above and the fencing was from 'Ratio'
Track work is 'Peco' Code
100 and the ballast was a mix of 'N' Gauge colours. Phew!!