Rolling Stock
a model by Phil Parker

The hospital railway only ever had a single electric locomotive and a tramcar throughout its life. The loco is available as a kit. The bad news is that in 4mm to the foot scale, trolley poles for overhead pickup are unreliable (A change to steel overhead wire and Tramalan cast frogs helps but still doesn't make it as good as I'd like). This prompted the decision to model the building of the line as I don't have to use the electric vehicle to shunt, using a more reliable steam loco instead. Everyone seems interested in the contents of the fiddle yards so here is a full listing.

Tram locomotive in red The electric locomotive, or "tram" as it was always referred to on the prototype has been built from a Roxey Moldings whitemetal kit using a Tenshodo SPUD for motive power.

I improved the kit by putting con-rods on but apart from that it is built as planned. Not an easy kit due to the thick moldings requiring sharp beveled edges along the front curves. This is made up for by the rivet detail that would be difficult to scratch build. Trolley pole is a David Voice etching.
Tram loco in green The model on the left is finished in dark green as the prototype was in later life. When delivered though, a maroon colour was used which I tried to represent on a second kit and shown above.

Unfortunately when I weathered it the colour lightened and the result is a little garish. While it's unlikely that I'm going to meet anyone who can remember the correct colour, one day this model might be repainted in a darker hue.

The tramcar was built by Brush and used to transport visitors, workers and patients from a special platform at Hellingly station. Later in life the body was converted into a cricket pavilion while the chassis became a wagon.


It is VERY small and there was no suitable kit so scratch building was the order of the day. My first attempt was in plasticard with a home brewed chassis. This never satisfied me so I made a new one from nickel silver on a Tenshodo SPUD. While this means the wheelbase is a couple of mm too long, the running is pretty good and the modeling is a lot better. Those window frames are much easier to do in metal as they are stronger then the microstrip versions.


Of course this left me with a tram I didn't need - so I followed the prototype and turned it into a cricket pavilion in a separate little diorama. The deck chairs are scratchbuilt by the way - there are 9 pieces in each !


Since the line is under construction, we need a contractor's loco. The only kit I could find for something of the appropriate period (end of the 19th Century) was a Black Hawthorn from High Level Models. A well designed etched brass kit with 97:1 gearbox making for a slow runner - just right for this layout.


Unfortunately I should have an 0-4-0 Peckett saddle tank for this role but can't find either a kit or plan for one of the correct era yet. This hasn't stopped me building lots of alternatives !



Not fancying turning up at a show with only one loco for a weekend, I built Angus (named after my sister's dog) from a K's kit for a Taff Vale 0-4-0. The design was a standard contractor's loco and just right for the period. The chassis was scratchbuilt from nickel silver and uses a High Level models gearbox. I retained the K's rods & crossheads which are a bit on the bulky side but the result is a reasonable runner that looks the part. 


Once interesting feature is that the operating levers for the sandboxes run THROUGH the handrails.


High Level have a very tempting catalogue if you like small, unusual locomotives. This is their Neilson mineral engine. I liked that it had an open cab and an unusual shaped tank.


The model has the same 108:1 gearbox as the Black Hawthorn. It's an excellent kit and very enjoyable to put together.


You can read more about the construction of this model on my blog: Phil's Workbench


Green Arrow

My Avonside is a Centre Models whitemetal kit powered by a Mashima motor & gearbox from Branchlines.


Called "Green Arrow" because it was built over a weekend at Sutton Coldfield exhibition while I was demonstrating, it's a bit modern for the layout but looks lovely so still sees occasional use.


Centre Models had an interesting range - I'd love to build some others so if you've got anything "maturing" in a cupboard, please get in touch.



This Pug is another survivor from those "must have spare stock, any stock" days and dates from the original layout. It's the right age but definitely wouldn't have been seen in the south of England !


At least it's sort of the right shape. In fact it's probably nearer the prototype engine than anything else I have.


I had to file the bulge from the cylinders on the far side to get the loco past the trolley poles on Hellingly Mk 1. One day I'll put a new chassis under it and sort this out. In the meantime the model lives in the stockbox for that show in the future when everything else fails.


Amusing "Lady of the Night" nameplates are from the Jackson Evans range. They will be sorted out at the same time as the chassis...


Early in the life of the layout I was a bit short of spare motive power and fancied something quick and easy. I've always liked Terriers and a Hornby (ex Dapol) model fitted the bill. It's the right age and a nice livery even if one never ran on the line. More detailing was needed than I expected but the result is good.


Using this really is a last resort as it struggles on the tighter curves so it never normally leaves the stockbox but I still take it just in case.

Tower Wagon

Our most unusual item of wagonery is the tower wagon. Although there are photos of the correct wagon for the line, it looked a bit spindly for the contractors to use for the initial wiring so I made something else up.


This isn't much of a leap as I based my model on the prototype running on the Manx Electric railway. My version only differs in track gauge. The MER was built at the same time as the Hospital railway so it doesn't seem too wild to think that they would have similar equipment.


Scratchbuilt in plastic sheet with a compensated chassis, it's a surprisingly good runner although it very rarely leaves the public view as people like to see it.