East Dunnet on the Thurne Valley Railway

By: Andrew Smith

Gauge/Scale: "O-16.5" narrow gauge - 7mm/ft scale

Layout Size: 6ft x 3ft

See Andrew's website for further details,

The Thurne Valley Railway grew out of the need of the local population of Thurne with the surrounding villages and neighbouring hamlets to open up this area of East Norfolk and the Broads to the growing population and to also get more of the local produce to the larger market towns for the producers.

It was decided that a railway would be one of the means to serve this need, however the main railway companies around this time (late 19th century) had built their railways from London to Norwich and on to Cromer via Wroxham and also Great Yarmouth to Norwich via Acle and Brundall. The Small Hamlet of Thurne felt that they were missing out on these enterprises and so formed the Thurne Valley Railway Company.

And so begins the origins (excuse) to build a model railway...

This O-16.5 layout (originally called Rosie Cider Farm) was a small working diorama of a small farm that produces cider the owner uses trains to move the cider and other goods around and it was all contained within a 30inch X 20inch baseboard. At this size it won the Chelmsford and District Narrow Gauge competition in 2004.

The first 'rebuild' in 2010 was really to add an extension to make the operation more interesting. This new 'extension' saw the small hamlet and station of 'East Dunnet' appear and this increased the size to 60 X 30inches.

I have now made a complete rebuild of the whole layout to 72 X 36inches and have manged to use all of the original buildings. The Rosie Cider Farm main building has now had its working clock added, at last. The side buildings to this main building are new as the old ones did not have the clearance that has now been adopted throughout the complete new build.

There is now a 'Wood Yard' with a couple of sidings at the opposite end to the small village of 'East Dunnet'. This new build also allows trains to run around in a complete circuit now.

The original Rosie Cider Farm was inspired by a visit to The Musée du Cidre, Vannes (Brittany, France), the layout is built to O scale (roughly 7mm to the foot) and uses 16.5mm gauge track.

The Name Rosie Cider Farm, reminds me of the book 'Cider with Rosie' by Laurie Lee. The novel is an account of Lee's childhood in a village, in the period soon after the First World War. It chronicles the traditional village life which disappeared with the advent of new developments, such as the coming of the motor car, and relates the experiences of childhood seen from many years later. I hope this layout captures that spirit.