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Padiham event 2006 (1)

Main hall

Our event at Padiham’s Unitarian Chapel Hall on 11th November wasn't the biggest model railway exhibition anyone will see, but what made it special was the variety on show - from gauge 1 main line live steamers to a breathtaking 21 foot model theme park, wonderful trams, vintage Hornby 3 rail, my Irish narrow gauge...

... and an almost limitless supply of hot bacon balmcakes, cakes, pastries, and lunchtime soup & dumplings. We asked each exhibitor to tell us about his or her railway, and these next six pages are a compilation of what they said. We also asked the Minister for a paragraph about the Unitarian Chapel in whose Hall the event took place.

The UK North West Group of the Gauge 1 Association exhibited “Withnell Junction”. Gauge 1 (44.5 mm) was very popular in the early 1900's, but rather fell out of favour as smaller scale models became available. The G1 Association was formed by a small band of enlightened enthusiasts back in 1947, and is now an international organisation with well over 2000 members worldwide.

G1 loco

Generally our models are built to a scale of 10mm to 1 foot although some modellers work to the fractionally smaller 1/32nd scale. The hobby has grown enormously in the last few years, fuelled by the availability of the Aster locos, the recently introduced Bachman range, and an ever increasing range of kits and ready-to-run equipment from other suppliers. The North West Group currently has about 60 members.

Withnall Junction

The Group's portable track was first exhibited in 2000, and since then has appeared regularly at Padiham, at the Woodvale International Rally, at the Festival of Railway Modelling Exhibition in Harrogate in February last, and at the Harrogate Model Engineering and Modelling Exhibition in 2005 & 2006. At one time there was a “Withnell” station (though not a true junction) on the line which ran from Cherry Tree Station (on the Blackburn to Preston line) to Chorley and onwards to Wigan. There was however a siding which served the Withnell Brick and Terracotta Company. The line was opened to traffic in 1869 and had gradients as steep as 1 in 60 to reach the summit at Brinscall (558 feet above sea level). The line was operated jointly by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Co. and the London and North Western Railway.

A fairly frequent service of passenger trains was operated in later years, generally hauled by Stanier 2-6-4 tanks, while freight trains could be hauled by anything up to a 9F 2-10-0. The line finally closed in January 1960. Our Gauge 1 station layout bears no resemblance to the actual Withnell station, but was so named as a tribute to our former chairman, Don Fifer, who lived nearby.

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The photographs and text on this page are copyright (c) Paul Backhouse 2006 and may not be reproduced or distributed without the owner's permission.

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