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roly’s model railways

N Gauge

PECO Setrack & Flex. DCC control.

123cm x 70cm. 9mm ply.


This layout is based extremely loosely on the ex-GNR/LNER line from Woodhall Junction (formerly known as Kirkstead) via Woodhall Spa to Horncastle in Lincolnshire.

Horncastle Station opened in 1855 and was built by the Horncastle and Kirkstead Junction Railway Company but operated by the Great Northern Railway and subsequently taken over by the LNER during Grouping.  It was closed to passenger traffic in 1954 and finally closed to goods in 1971.  It was possible to get a train to Kings Cross in the early days with the coach being tagged to the end of the mainline train at Kirkstead (subsequently renamed  Woodhall Juntion).  Passenger traffic was largely for the spa at Woodhall Spa and goods were mainly agricultural.  Achurch Agricultural merchants (still in business today) had their own siding for the delivery of tractors, combine harvesters and other machinery.  There was a granary and a maltings with their own sidings as well as a shed for general goods.

There are apocryphal tales of school children standing in the fields and flagging down a special morning train to get to classes in Horncastle.  It was supposedly a diesel loco (reportedly a Co-Co!) with a single carriage but when I was at the Grammar in the early ’60s transport was by bus.

Control is DCC using Hornby Railmaster and eLink to operate the points via MERG Kit 52 accessory decoders and Gaugemaster Prodigy Advance to control the locos.  In some cases only the Railmaster controller will be used for both points & locos.

The layout was specifically designed to fit on the table in our motorhome.


All locomotives are DCC-fitted, mostly with Digitrax DZ126 decoders. Periods covered are Era 1 (starts 1855) to Era 5 (ends 1966), mostly LNER-based steam with some early diesels.  Coaching stock is mainly GNR & LNER 4, 6 and 8-wheelers and some later BR vehicles.  Wagons are mostly private owner.  A selection from the stable of 73 locos, 66 coaches and over 100 wagons will be shown.


The layout uses PECO SetTrack 80 with some Code 80 Flex track.  Points on the main layout are operated with SEEP motors whilst those in the fiddle yard use PECO SL-11 surface motors.


The trains in use are selected by a computer program which picks the year (and therefore era), season and even day of the week.  This results in different and interesting scenarios, e.g. the horse fair, different agricultural crops, Wakes Week excursions, the apocryphal school run, etc.

Unfortunately Bournecastle was damaged by flooding from a burst pipe in January 2018 and is currently unavailable.