at Railwells 2014, picture by Danny Cockling   (larger image)

Bodmin is one of the first North London Group layouts, and is still on the exhibition circuit. For details regarding exhibition availability, please contact Tony Sheffield in the first instance. (Ted Coughlan is the layout 'gaffer' and will liaise with exhibition managers over any layout booking.)

The layout is 21' long, plus there is normally a display table at the end making around 24' including access. Depth required at an exhibition is about 5' plus a table behind is preferable. For exhibition managers considering inviting the layout to their show the layout requires 6 operators (including relief staff) and takes about 3 hours to set up, so sadly it is impractical to attend one day shows.

The following video was taken by David Mylchreest at East London Finescale 2010

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An overview of the prototype

The model of this Cornish branch line terminus was built to exact scale length by members of the NLG, and portrays the prototype as running in 1926 when GWR Prarie tanks and new 'B Set' coaches were introduced on the service. The branch was built in 1887 from the main line at Bodmin Road to Bodmin (later Bodmin General) station. In 1888 a further branch was completed from the terminus to Boscarne Junction where there was a junction with the LSWR line allowing lucrative traffic from the Cornish china clay mines to be carried. The GWR also negotiated running powers to Wadebridge, used primarily for passenger services. The line was extraordinarily busy for a branch line keeping three engines and two sets of coaches hard at work all day. Over 40 trains appear in the daily timetable which is based on the GWR service (working) time table for 1926. A feature is the carriage of loaded china clay wagons en-route from Boscarne Junction to Par or Fowey for onward shipment by sea, with the balancing of empties in the other direction.

The ruling gradient on the line was 1 in 40 up from Bodmin Road and a similar gradient from Boscarne Junction, which restricted train weights due to small engines and brakes only on the locomotive and brake van.

Some of the pictures below are from a considerable time ago, from the constructional phase of the layout c 1977/8, taken by Phil Godfrey and Tony Wilkins.

The construction of the layout was detailed in a series of articles in the Model Railway Constructor between 1981 and 1984.

(larger track plan image)


from left to right, John Hayes, (the late) Derek Smith, Andrew Pearce, Mike Peascod, Brian Pearce, (the late) Mike Sargent, David Pearce, Tony Wilkins

The venue is thought to be St Albans Arena, but we're not too sure.



Bodmin articles in the Model Railway Constructor
Issue Part Title Author
January 1981 1 Research for the Layout - 1 Martin Goodall
February 1981 2 Research for the Layout - 2 Martin Goodall
March 1981 3 Research for the Layout - 3 Martin Goodall
April 1981 4 Research for the Layout - 4 Martin Goodall
May 1981 5 Research for the Layout - 5 Martin Goodall
June 1981 6 Research for the Layout - 6 Martin Goodall
August 1981 7 The Civil Side - 1 Les Howard
September 1981 8 The Civil Side - 2 Les Howard
October 1981 9 The Trackwork - 1 Tony Wilkins
November 1981 10 The Trackwork - 2 Tony Wilkins
December 1981 11 The Trackwork - 3 Tony Wilkins
January 1982 12 The Trackwork - 4 Tony Wilkins
February 1982 13 Point Rodding - 1 Mike Sargent
March 1982 14 Point Rodding - 2 Mike Sargent
June 1982 15 Signalling - 1 Martin Goodall
July 1982 16 Signalling - 2 Martin Goodall
August 1982 17 Signalling - 3 Martin Goodall
September 1982 18 Signalling - 4 Martin Goodall
October 1982 19 Signalling - 5 Martin Goodall
November 1982 20 Signalling - 6 Martin Goodall
January 1983 21 Signalling - 7,  Block  Instruments Martin Goodall
March 1983 22 Making the Signals - 1 R Hammond
April 1983 23 Making the Signals - 2 R Hammond
May 1983 24 Controls - 1,  Lever frame theory Mike Sargent
June 1983 25 Controls - 2,  Lever frame practice Mike Sargent
August 1983 26 Controls - 3, Conditional link control Mike Sargent
September 1983 27 Controls - 4, Further useful circuits Mike Sargent
October 1983 28 Controls - 5, More useful circuits Mike Sargent
November 1983 29 Controls - 6, Wiring the boards Mike Sargent
January 1984 30 Structures for Bodmin - 1 John Hayes
February 1984 31 Structures for Bodmin - 2 John Hayes
April 1984 32 Structures for Bodmin - 3 John Hayes
June 1984  - Bodmin Goods Shed, Scale drawing  
October 1984 33 Operation Mike Sargent