T H E H A Y L E Y M I L L S C O L L E C T I O N
Hayley Mills is an imaginary
location on the Eastern Region
of British Rail, somewhere
between Sheffield and York.
Heavy metal at London Road Junction - the original name for the layout until my brother Steve came up with the name Hayley Mills, a play on Healy Mills in Yorkshire.
Photo: GSS Archive
T O N UP
S H E D
1 9 8 3 - 1 9 8 6
Hayley Mills TMD (HMTMD) was built around mid-1983 and was the fourth incarnation of the diesel depot theme developed from the layout on a plank. It appeared at several shows around the West Country including Swindon MRC (December 1984), Westinghouse MRC (1985), and the Gloucester MRC Silver Jubilee anniversary show (October 1985).
The original 'layout on a plank' stabling point had developed through several intermediate stages into a fully fledged diesel depot, complete with fuel oil storage tanks, refuelling bays and stabling sidings for DMUs. There was also a junction with a main line, assumed to be part of the old Woodhead 1,500v DC route, although we never actually got round to installing catenary. It may be a surprise to learn that it was originally planned to call the layout 'London Road', and it was supposedly based somewhere in the Manchester conurbation. It was my brother Steve who later came up with the idea of calling it Hayley Mills - a play on Healey Mills in Yorkshire. The name stuck and he instantly became a legend in his own lunchtime.
The layout was built on four softwood framed baseboards, measuring 16' 0" x 1' 6" overall. The description in the Swindon MRC show guide mentions some frantic rebuilding over a six-week period, presumably the time taken to rebuild the original 'plank' layout, although the reasons are lost in the mists of time. When set up at the Gloucester club show, to our dismay part of the headshunt had been wired back to front causing endless mirth as the 08 diesel shunters couldn't make their minds up which way to go across the baseboard joint. It was to be the beginning of a tradition with wiring our layouts . . .
This was a period when model diesel locos could be picked up for as little as £8.00 each from outlets such as Guy Norris, although compared to what is available today the quality of detail and running left a lot to be desired. There were regularly upwards of 80 locos and DMUs available 'on shed' and at one show we topped the magic 'ton' with over 100 locos.
The loco fleet was divided into two distinct groups - present day (1980s) types, and pre-TOPS obsolete and withdrawn locos. DMUs from Trans-Pennine and local passenger services also worked into the yard. Examples of Classes 31, 37, 40, 47 and 56 were all to be seen in action together with a stud of 08 shunters for general duties in the yard. There was even a Class 13 bashed together from a Lima 08 as the 'master' unit and a hacked up Kitmaster kit (surplus stock taken over by Airfix and given away free with Shredded Wheat in 1962 but still surplus and ending up at Hobbytime in the 1980s) as the 'slave'. Perhaps 1960s railway modellers didn't like Shredded Wheat . . .
Track and pointwork was SMP, with all points worked by the wire in tube method, some later being motorised. Colour light signalling was installed using Eckon components, whilst buildings were mostly modified proprietary items.
Several articles were written about HMTMD at the time but never submitted to the model press, so consequently were never published - or for that matter subjected to the humiliation of rejection ! The first article has been re-assembled from several rough drafts, but apart from a little tidying up, is presented very much 'as written', although some of my slightly tongue in cheek opinions may have altered somewhat over the intervening years and of course the current crop of models beat what was then available into that proverbial, but by now very battered and well-used, cocked hat.
To read the article click HERE .
The original loco shed was 'kit-bashed' from a couple of Tri-ang Hornby northlight loco sheds (R????) with added interior detail, but later replaced with a much larger structure including a maintenance shed. The original shed board was scrapped, and a slightly larger replacement built to give an overall length of 16' 0". The new shed eventually included a Class 37 raised up on jacks for bogie maintenance. The refuelling point on the original 'plank' was illuminated, presumably with pea or grain of wheat bulbs strung underneath the canopy, although I don't think this was repeated on the new layout. The only piece of the layout now remaining is the printed description fixed to part of the side of the fiddle yard - a sort of Hayley Mills 'flame cut cabside' - perhaps we ought to stick it on eBay. Any offers..?
A revised and longer updated version of the original article was written later, but again has never been published. Again there is a link to the full article - just click HERE .
The Friends of Hayley Mills
'Our layout portrays a modern-day diesel depot situated in the Eastern Region of British Rail. No particular prototype has been followed, but if you look closely you may see shades of Finsbury Park and other ER depots which have inspired this model. A wide variety of heavy freight locomotives are serviced and refuelled here after working MGR and block trains into the Hayley Mills marshalling yards, situated beyond the motorway. Express passenger locomotives and DMUs visit the depot for refuelling, and part of the large shunter allocation is also on view. The layout features some 70 or so locomotives, mostly detailed or converted proprietary, covering a wide period of BR history. Although we aim for authentic operation of our railway, we make no apologies for the occasional 'old timer' or 'foreigner' that may drop by! A lot of work still remains to be done at Hayley Mills before the layout is finished. The operating crew is provided by The Friends of Hayley Mills who will gladly answer any questions you may have . . .'
'The Friends of Hayley Mills', a loose band of similar minded friends, provided the operating crews. Amongst them was a young fresh faced Yorkshire lad and fellow Gloucester MRC member by the name of Kier Hardy who contrived various acts of sabotage at running sessions and exhibitions - all the section switches suddenly being turned upside down for example - whilst managing to keep a straight face amongst the ensuing chaos . . .
1985 Gloucester MRC show guide
Hayley Mills Mk.IV portrays a modern diesel depot situated in the Eastern Region of BR. Heavy freight locomotives from Merry-Go-Round and block trains are serviced and refuelled here after working into the Hayley Mills yards situated beyond the M69 motorway bridge. The main line running through Hayley Mills station was once linked to the Woodhead line and Trans-Penine DMU service now operate this route.
Many developments have taken place at Hayley Mills during its two-year existence, the most recent being the new running shed, complete with Class 37 on hydraulic jacks. Over 80 diesel locomotives and multiple units will be visiting Hayley Mills - see if you can spot them all! The operating crew is provided by The Friends of Hayley Mills, who will gladly answer any questions you may have.'
The layout name 'Hayley Mills' is used by kind permission of Hayley Mills
The Hayley Mills Collection, The Friends of Hayley Mills, and words and images
© 1981-2017 J E Emerson/GSS Archive and not to be reproduced in any physical or electronic form without express written permission of the author.
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