Borchester Market

DSCF1010 This is where it all started, a visit to the Dyer family home in Caerphilly
on Sunday 8th October 2005, the first thing that really caught the eye was the signal gantry, we’ll leave the rest of the detail for later. nevard_081015_borchester_DSC_2604_webHere are the 3 members who currently own Borchester Market, Ray Warner, Ian Forsyth and Charlie Bloomfield, they’re all 4mm modellers and between them are members of the Double O Gauge Association, EM Gauge Society, Scalefour Society and the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society.
nevard_081015_borchester_DSC_2546_webA fairly busy day, Black 5 44666 is departing on a Sheffield train whilst B1 61010 is waiting to depart on a Boston train and in the background a WD is just coming off the colliery line with a loaded coal train.nevard_081015_borchester_DSC_2549_webK1 62027 is arriving with an empty coal for the colliery line.

nevard_081015_borchester_DSC_2578_web B1 61270 rounds the curve towards the station with a goods from Peterborough.

nevard_081015_borchester_DSC_2586_web A Craven cl105 arrives at Wellow Park with a local train.

nevard_081015_borchester_DSC_2589_webWD 90067 has just been turned and will make its way back up the colliery line to pick up a loaded coal train.

nevard_081015_borchester_DSC_2597_webTwo of the local NCB locos are seen coming back from the colliery line with a brake van special.
nevard_081015_borchester_IMG_3087_web O4 63824 comes onto the viaduct with a loaded coal train for March
nevard_081015_borchester_IMG_3093_web D11 62670 has just arrived with a train from Granthamnevard_081015_borchester_IMG_3119_web This is the track plan of Borchester Market Station. The track colours represent the various sections which can be operated by any one of three controllers. In turn each section has various sub sections, each of these are split into sub-sections.
nevard_081015_borchester_DSC_2609_webHere is the BM control panel, if you look at the previous photo of the track plan you will see the coloured sections and here we have the corresponding
coloured section switches and to the side the various sub-section switches.
Each of these main section switches are three way, to the left it is operated by the arrivals controller, the centre is the departures controller and to the right is the the yard controller.

21 comments for “Borchester Market

  1. Chris Aubon
    December 2, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Whoops. I should have said that the date would have been December 1960.
    Chris Aubon

  2. Chris Aubon
    December 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    I first new of Borchester Town when featured in an edition of Model Railway news which was around Christmas time and when I was taking my mock O levels. I have a memory of reading it in class after the exams were finished. From memory the layout looks the same. I am fairly sure that I have this edition on MRN in my loft and I will seek it out when after Christmas. This was, presumably, the very first version.
    I can remember the seen being set in the Dukeries and a recent reference to this triggered my memory.
    I am sure about the name and pretty sure about the timing. We’ll see how my memory!
    Chris Aubon
    Long lapsed railway modeller.

  3. Peter Richards
    September 12, 2017 at 10:26 pm


    May I enquire if Borchester Market is the modern day incarnation of the Borchester Town Station layout that I helped to operate at the 1960 Model Railway Club’s Easter exhibition in Central Hall, Westminster?

    • admin
      September 13, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Yes, not so sure about “modern day”, Borchester Town was built by Frank Dyer in 1975, parts of it were recovered from his earlier Borchester Town layouts, you can see the track outline underneath the main station board where the timber has been re-used, the main station nameboards show Borchester Market but underneath is Borchester Town. Most of the pointwork in the fiddleyards was from the earlier layout where fibre sleepers were used with the track being soldered to steel staples. There are numerous examples.

      • Peter Richards
        September 14, 2017 at 2:03 am

        Thanks for that confirmation. I used the term “modern day” to differentiate the 1950s layout from the one here. Borchester Town was my first experience of operating a “proper” model railway, and to do so at the Easter Show as a schoolboy was quite something. The main emphasis, if I remember correctly, was on coal traffic. Long, long trains, empties as well as loaded, endlessly trundling round at a very prototypical speed. There were, of course, a number of training sessions at Frank’s home before we headed off to Central Hall though I cannot now remember how I came to be involved. Most likely through my membership of the North Middlesex Model Railway Club. I still have my Exhibition Guide (cost 1/6) with Borchester Town Station’s write-up on p22, opposite advertisements for the now defunct Dyke & Ward power supply units and Humbrol. 1960 was also the Golden Jubilee of the Model Railway Club, and this was the 35th Exhibition.

        • Don Willsmer
          June 25, 2018 at 10:44 pm

          Borcester Town was Frank’ first Borchester Layout statred in the fifties and would have been at Central hall in 1960. I think it was a through station with a colliery line connecting.
          Borchester Market was a newer layout and featured in Your model Railway (or whatever else the old Model Railway News was called by then) in 1980 when Cyril Freezer was editor. The article took up most of the magazine.
          Frank went on to build another layout Hardwicke Grange I think it was called. Lighter and easier to take to shows.

  4. Paddy Porter
    July 25, 2017 at 7:55 am

    My wife and I were walking around in London one day in 1980 and saw there was a model railway exhibition on in Central Hall. In we went and saw C. J. Freezer wearing his Model Railways Editor’s hat and selling copies of the current MR which just happened to have the article on Borchester Market – the best article I have ever read, and the best model railway I have ever seen featured. I am currently building my own version in EM with DCC sound in a room 10m x6m, using that article as my bible. Mr. Dyer’s modelling skills and knowledge were quite incredible, and the workmanship and his eye for terrain and colour amazing. he pulled no punches in his writing (no figures in”action poses”) for one!
    I have reached the first fiddle yard now and am fitting point motors ( telephone relays).Hopefully the two fiddle yards will be ready next year and then for scenics. Hope I make it I am now 70.

  5. Chris_y
    May 19, 2017 at 8:47 am

    See RMWeb Borchester Market appreciation thread for lots of information.
    I’ve produced new drawings of the layout.
    The link starts on page 9. These and other drawings start at the bottom of the page.
    Hope they are of interest.

    • admin
      May 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Yes we have been looking at RMweb, our input has mainly been about the nuts and bolts of the layout itself, the location aspects of what you have done are interesting.

  6. David Murray
    May 1, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    ‘Another historic model railway that has been saved for future generations to both study and admire. We are very fortunate that so many layouts have been preserved and not (shiver)
    ‘broken up’ or in the words of some ebay sellers – ‘a long dismantled model railway.’
    How interesting that Borchester Market has connections with the LD&ECR. Here in Chesterfield, until 1973, we had the headquarters and terminus for the ‘east to west’ or as some called it ‘the dukeries route.’ We had a fabulous layout in Chesterfield between 1930 and 1971 when it was dismantled after a break-in. Theo Pearson, of Pearson’s Pottery, built a very early oo gauge model railway in a purpose-built room over a large garage, in the grounds of his home, Red House. The room was 37′ x 21′ and the layout was described and featured in Railway modeller. October and November 1957. RM will send photocopies for £5. Contact Christine Tyne. After Theo’s death in 1959, parties of schoolchildren had the layout demonstrated by a relative. At the time, it was far superior to anything on show, but now the topspot is Pendon. I saw Theo’s North Midland Railway in 1966, on a school visit. As Theo left his estate to Derbyshire County Council, they used his house as an old peoples home and kept the railway intact. After the disatrous break-in, the DCC dismatled the layout and carted it to Derby Museum. In 1990, as part of the celebrations of 150 years since the NMR Derby to Leeds line opening, through Chesterfield, DCC gave the stuff to Chesterfield Borough Council. CBC set up a small exhibition in a local gallery and thats where I saw some of Theo’s stuff once again. Now we have the Chesterfield Museum with a cabinet of engines, wagons, carriages (some Exley)
    and card buildings.

    Of course, Theo Pearson played a trick on us by calling his layout North Midland: it was really the LD&ECR! His terminus and headquarthers ‘Tapton City’ is Chesterfield. First station out ‘Arthurston’ is Arkwright. Next station ‘Castle William’ is Bolsover (William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, built Bolsover Castle) Finally ‘Port Dicksby is Lincoln and the river (LD&ECR ran out in a field close to Lincoln called Pyewipe Junction, where it joined Great Eastern metals).

  7. Malcolm Nevitt
    November 22, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    I went to Wakefield 2015 specifically to see Borchester and I wasn’t disappointed. Superb to see it in the flesh after all these years, including the full back scene, it all captures a bygone era when coal was still king and coal burning power stations were the way forward. Watching the layout and Frank’s skill in getting so much is such a small space without it looking overdone I wonder where we have gone wrong with modern layouts. I have been involved with MMRS Dewsbury Midland for 25 years and Wolverhamton MRC’s Charwelton, but I found this layout absolutely inspirational. Thank you so much for perservering with it so another generation can enjoy it and for bringing it up North.

    • admin
      January 9, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Well exhibiting Borchester is to show it off to people who appreciate what it is all about. It is now 40 years old and we have had it 10. Generally we can keep on top of any problems with the track and electrics, but you mention the back scenes, sooner or later we are going to have to bite the bullet and either replace them or over paint them. We run to a modified version of Frank Dyers timetable but of course have to use our own stock. At Wakefield we got caught out by a couple of steam locos deciding to play up so we had to replace them with early diesels. For York we are going to add 3 possibly 4 new steam locos into the roster, Tony Wright who you must know is going to lend us a J6 and K2, the others will be a J50 and hopefully a C12. In the meantime a few of the boards are on their sides down the clubroom having some TLC and a few mods carried out for our next venture up north which will be York at the end of March.
      Charlie Bloomfield
      Newhaven & District MRC Secretary

    April 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I was wondering where BM was set. From the train destinations in the photos it looks like the East Midlands? I recollect an old magazine had a map showing how it fitted in and a vague memory it was a branch off the GCR main line. I’d be interested in the “geography” as it could be a destination for trains on my layout.


    • Richard Lawrence
      November 17, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      The fictional Borchester Market approximate location is near the village of Kneesall in Nottinghamshire.
      The Lancashire Derbyshire & East Coast Railway, later absorbed by the Great Central, planned a branch from its mainline at Ollerton to the Great Northern at Newark, so BM could have been an actual railway town.
      As well as the excellence of the BM layout, my interest was enhanced by my enthusiasm for the LD&ECR, my childhood home being next to the line at Ollerton and coincidentally I now live at Kneesall!

    • Lawson Little
      November 18, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      The Borchester line ran southeastwards from a connection in the Ollerton area, on the old Lancashire Derbyshire and East Coast Railway (later Great Central) to the East Coast Main Line north of Grantham. The actual “site” of Borchester is the village of Kneesall.

  9. Tim Dyer
    December 3, 2013 at 2:47 am

    Lovely to see that my Uncle Frank’s railway is in such good hands! These photos brought back fond childhood memories of family visits to my uncle’s house in north London, where Borchester Market once lived before their move to Caerphilly in the 1980s.

    My brother and I had many hours of, thankfully supervised, fun with this! I especially remember the control panel and the exquisite art/craft work (courtesy of Auntie Margo!) of the layout – pushing the buttons to the right was my favourite job, I seem to remember – I don’t think we were allowed on the main control – being a father of young children myself now, I can see why!

    I do remember the magazine in 1980 and we did have a copy, though I don’t think it came out to Australia with me, so I can’t really help.

    Wonderful memories, anyway…

  10. Charlie Bloomfield
    November 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm


    Borchester was featured in the Model Railways magazine for september 1980, I have a copy and will scan it for you. It’s next exhibition is in just over a weeks time at the NEC Birmingham, the Warley Show, as for 2014 it will be appearing at the Spalding show on 15/16th November.

    Charlie Bloomfield
    N&DMRC Secretary

  11. Dave Maddocks
    November 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I live in Canada but am planning 2 trips to the UK in 2014. Do you know which exhibitions you may be attending. Borchester Market was the layout that got me started back in 1980.

  12. Paul Skehan
    November 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

    A fabulous layout. Great to see that it has been saved. I suppose that the hidden areas are also included. Its trackplan appeared in one of the English Magazines a few years ago. I thought that both it and Borchester (Model Railway News or one of its successors) were great layouts that I would like to draw on for my layout of a life time. I am now in a position that I can start that layout but unfortunately I lost my entire collection of English Model Railway magazines in 2012 in a major house fire. If someone can email me details of the magazine issues that the trackplans were in I may be able to track down copies of them here in Australia.

    • chris rogers
      February 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Paul
      I am also trying to reconstruct borchester market,though it may be in slightly simpler form,I would be eternally grateful if you were able to copy me the track plans.if you have them now.I have tried to get the 1980 sept model rail mag in the UK,but no one will reply to my requests.I will of course cover any expenses.the mag details were Model railways 1980 sept issue vol9 page527 mag No 668
      best regards chris

      • admin
        February 19, 2014 at 11:43 pm

        For those interested we have posted a copy of the Borchester Market track plan on RMweb under a tribute to Borchester Market topic.

        Charlie Bloomfield
        Newhaven & District MRC Secretary

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