T H E H A Y L E Y M I L L S C O L L E C T I O N
It has to be said that this
layout had the makings of
a first class modern
The Doncaster Test Train crosses Meddings Road at Hayley Mills behind 47 975 Institution of Civil Engineers while 37 511 Stockton Haulage waits in the headshunt.
Photo: GSS Archive
F U L L
S T A C K
1 9 8 6 - 1 9 9 5
The 'new' Hayley Mills - Hayley Mills Mk.V (abbreviated to HMV) - first came to the attention of an unsuspecting public in the ModelRail pages of the January 1989 issue of Rail Enthusiast magazine. In a previous issue Bob Chalmers had lamented the lack of 'good' modern image layouts appearing at model railway exhibitions so it seemed a good idea to invite him to see the embryonic layout at Cheltenham back in October 1988.
'Well it seems my comments hit home with a few people as I suddenly found myself with invitations to visit a couple of layouts at forthcoming shows. The first one to come round was at Cheltenham in October, so I duly set off with an open mind as to what I would see.'
Bob watched the layout operating for some time before introducing himself, then spent half an hour or so discussing the layout, the thinking behind its creation, the operation, stock, and including of course the story of the layout's name . . .
'It has to be said that this layout had the makings (as it still has to be finished) of a first class modern image spectacle. The name is 'Hayley Mills' (no, that is not a mis-print), and although the idea was born from an area in the north of England, it is purely fictitious with a play on words drawn from Healey Mills in Yorkshire. In view of the name the owners in fact contacted Hayley Mills (the actress) to ask her permission to use this name for the layout.'
In fact the layout had appeared at a small show in Cheltenham the previous year, but very much in the nature of a 'shake down' excercise, so 1988 was the first time a large number of people had the opportunity to see it. Although there were a few glitches, the odd derailment where track needed adjusting, and was obviously a 'work in progress', it was well received and encouraged us to carry on and finish the layout.
Smoke and mirrors
Like the previous layout, HMV was built in the spare bedroom of my great uncle's house in Naunton Crescent, Cheltenham. The Crescent was a long row of terraced houses built on a slight curve, hence the rather grand street name, and the room the layout was built in was a rather odd and irregular shaped rhomboid, which explained the layout's odd shape and the very tight curves at the station end. The buildings over the station were deliberately planned to disguise these sharp curves.
Also deliberate was the ability to insert an extra 4' 0" baseboard into the layout for exhibition use, giving an overall length of 20' 0". This version of the layout became known as the 'Full Stack' - a reference to then current space shuttle operations when the shuttle vehicle was attached to the fuel tank and rocket boosters. The first additional 'Full Stack' board featured a river with rail overbridge but was not a complete success and by 1989 had been replaced with a new board carrying the four tracks on a high brick arch viaduct. This was created by literally sawing second-hand Tri-ang viaducts up the middle with a panel saw - shrapnel rapidly scattering any spectators - and spacing the sawn up sections either side of the four road trackbed, repairing the damage (to the viaduct, not the spectators) with brick-embossed plastic sheet.
The layout plan was designed to give the impression of a lot more railway than there actually was - one of the sidings in the station apparently disappeared beneath a road bridge, in actual fact a mirror at 90° to the track.
What's in a name?
We were very particular about names, as there were at least nine quite visible roads which we didn't want associated with actual locations or to be given silly or funny names that wouldn't appear so funny or silly six months later when the joke had worn off. In no particular order, but starting at the station end we have:
Station Road - self explanatory, the original road over Hayley Mills station, later replaced
Constitution Hill - replaced Station Road after 1991 remodelling of station area. It sounds grander too and leads to
Adcock Street - new road put in after remodelling station area, named after fellow TFOHM member Steve Adcock
Meddings Road - named after film and TV special effects man Derek Meddings (Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, etc)
Dock Road East - used until 'Full Stack' river board replaced, then built over
Dyer Street - named after influential modeller Frank Dyer whose articles on operation are a must read
Briton Ferry Road - road passing under viaduct section, second road to bear this name
Holmes Street - named after the Greatest Consulting Detective of all time
Mycroft Street - Sherlock's brother Mycroft
Portobello Wharf - area near River Eden, subsequently redeveloped after replacement of first 'full stack' board
Briton Ferry - area to the south of Hayley Mills, location for Union Street and Soho Yard
Union Street - a reminder of my days at Plymouth Art College and definitely a dodgy place after dark
Castle Hill Road - a nod to the OO gauge layout I cut my teeth on at the Gloucester MRC in the '60s
Soho Yard - sounded a suitably seedy sort of sobriquet, although has been confused with a real location
Aston Lane - named after fellow TFOHM member Harvey Faulkner-Aston
A lot of thought was also given to name's of the various business concerns dotted around Hayley Mills as well as some of the localities in order to construct some kind of 'back story' to the whole affair:
Ridgefield's - another film reference, this time the aircraft manufacturer in David Lean's 1952 film 'The Sound Barrier'
Archway - area used by businesses such as Soho Motors 'under the arches', and a nod to the late Geoff Bigmore's O gauge Bigston layout
Pickering's Parts - automotive business named after my late great mate, Rod Pickering
The Unicorn - notorious pub where they keep changing the barmaids and once found beer in the water . . .
Ted's Cafe - built from plans in Airfix Magazine, in honour of Uncle Ted's tea which so corroded our pipes
Eden Vale line - surely the only time a branch line has ever been named after a popular brand of yoghurt ?
Trinity Lane - name given to storage roads - predating the film 'The Matrix' it is named after nuclear test site 'Trinity'
Whitecross Ferry 'A' - conventional coal fired power station allegedly near Hayley Mills
Whitecross Ferry 'B' - nuclear power station, allegedly next to Whitecross Ferry 'A'
1990 Swindon MRC show
A feature of our layout is the speed at which all the trains run; no special equipment is employed, just a light touch on the controller, clean track and clean wheels.'
The write up for the 1990 Swindon MRC show guide paraphrased what the late Frank Dyer used to emphasise: to get superior running there are three essentials - clean track, clean wheels and a light touch on the controller. Everything else is incidental. No mention of springing or compensation which is really only needed if your track is so badly laid that nothing will stay on it in the first place.
At least one Dinky Toys Leyland Atlantean got repainted into a colourful red/orange/yellow livery used by local Cheltenham operator Swanbrook. It may have been original or ex-Glasgow which had a similar paint scheme, however, it was decided that this would be the livery for the totally fictitious Hayley Mills Passenger Transport Executive. Plans were hatched to repaint DMUs, and possibly one of the then new Bachmann Class 158s into HMPTE livery which would work a dedicated service over the Eden Vale route.
Also contemplated was the complete electrification of the Eden Vale line with 25kV AC overhead equipment. The main stumbling blocks were lack of suitable UK style overhead equipment (it would
all have had to be scratch-built), how to join up/separate the catenary at exhibitions, and lack of clearance in the small bore tunnel.
EMUs would also have appeared in HMPTE livery. Accommodating the reversing EMUs in the station would have caused chaos with the other through services, however none of these schemes ever reached fruition, but would have been similar in scope to how some US modelers approach their layouts by inventing fictitious companies. This is something that has never really proved too popular with British modellers who, in any case, have always preferred to spell themselves differently to their lowly US cousins.
It was also suggested that one of the redundant Class 03 shunters be appropriated by HMPTE and repainted in their livery for PW work, etc. The only concrete outcome was the creation of the Hayley Mills Shunter Pool which later appeared in an article in British Railway Modelling magazine. For those who don't have the appropriate Platform 5 spotter's book, details of this little known pool are given below.
FSNM Hayley Mills Shunter Pool
08 477 x LNWR black with Lion totem
08 741 x
08 774 x BR blue
08 824 x FU
08 913 x DG
09 206 x DG refurbished ex-08 716
Whilst on the subject of shunters, great interest was always shown in the three Class 03 shunters quietly rusting away at the end of Soho Yard, so details of their fate are appended below.
CLASS 03 DISPOSAL
03 022 Scrapped
03 084 Sold to Eden Valley Preservation Group for spares
03 197 Preserved in green livery
A fully revised and updated locomotive listing is given in Table 4 - click HERE to read it.
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.
T H E H A Y L E Y M I L L S C O L L E C T I O N