I've been into photography, railways and
modelling them in miniature for almost 40
years. As well as creating the personal
projects showcased on this website, I also
write about model making and undertake
photographic commissions for the UK based
Model Rail Magazine, associated publications
and books. I'm also starting to undertake
third party modelling commissions too. Other
interests include playing in a band, fine ale,
social and industrial history.
Now, a bit of
When did you
first become interested in model railways?
Back in the late 1970's whilst I was living
in Sweden as a spotty teenager.
What drew you to the hobby?
I'm not quite sure really, though I've
always had many hobbies and I recall around
that time being rather into building and
flying model aeroplanes. Quite where the
interest in trains came from is a mystery,
though I do remember being given a ride
around Gothenburg station on the diesel
station pilot - could it have been that?
Can you remember what was your first
A Lima Deltic - the 'Fife and Forfar
Yeomanry' in BR Blue bought by mail order
from Hattons of Liverpool in 1978. I still
have this engine in first class condition
What scales have you worked in?
Nothing very ground breaking, just the
popular OO and quirky OO9 gauges. I have
thought of modelling in EM and P4, but I'm
mechanically inept so I have resisted those
- and to be honest even if I could I really
don't have the time.
Which is your favourite prototype railway
I've followed the Somerset & Dorset
Joint Railway for as long as I can remember.
Alas I never did travel on the line, and
even if I did, I was only 3 when the line
shut so it's unlikely that I'd remember
anything about it. I do vaguely remember
just after moving back to the UK from Sweden
in the late 1970's, seeing the derelict
Radstock and Glastonbury stations still
standing before they became landfill. The
rest of the obsession I simply have to blame
on Ivo Peters, the prolific railway
photographer from the post war steam era.
Ivo lived in Bath and photographed the line
and people extensively. Through his eyes and
lens he captured more than just images of
trains and stations - he captured the soul
behind the railway.
Why the former S&DJR? I'm not sure, but
it did and still does (with various
preservation projects now on the go too)
appeal to me and in my mind at least it
congers up the perfect English railway
running through my favourite part of the
Apart from OO steam era modelling, I
currently dabble in OO9 and more recently
with modern image (Cement Quay). The latter
because the new breed of diesels run so
incredible well and because I can also get
out to see the real thing for inspiration!
How often do you visit prototype railways
to gain inspiration for your modelling?
As much as possible. For me there is nothing
better than spending a nice sunny day
photographing freight diversions or steam
specials with some great mates and then
going for a good old knees-up down the pub
How many layouts have you built in your
Seven layouts in total, though the first 3
only ever got as far as a bit of track and
some Superquick cardboard buildings The
baseboards from each being cut up and
reformed for the next layout. The third
layout was sold to make way for Combwich
which was my first serious project. I still
have this layout, albeit much changed and
improved from its original form when I
started it in 1980.
Do you work in DC or DCC?
Nope, lost me there, isn't that a place in
the USA that has 'Washington' as the pre-fix
in front of the 'DC'?
What are some of the good developments
that you have seen in the hobby?
Modellers more than ever before are
realizing that there is a lot more to
realism than 'correct' flange-ways, bolts
and exact scale gauge. Influences from the
USA and mainland Europe where model makers
frequently embrace the overall scene
equally, is at last starting to have a real
effect over here too. The internet and
excellent model railway forums like RM Web
have created a highly effective platform for
people to share and exchange ideas. This
'real time' tool is really making modellers
push the boundaries, which in turn is
producing some really exciting new model
railway projects and layouts!
Are there any bad developments that you
have seen in the hobby?
The compulsive breed that simply do 'box
buying', where the whole thing is nothing
more than a marathon to see how many new
loco releases they can lay their hands on,
they then leave them in their boxes forever
untouched! There’s no skill or model making
or running involved and they're usually the
first ones that moan about how 'inaccurate'
the releases are and how expensive the hobby
is. This to me is not what it's all about-
Which have been your favourite model
Cove Models was a firm favourite, it sadly
closed its doors a few years ago though, so
bespoke stuff has to be picked up at shows
or I have to build items myself!
Are you a member of any model railway
Donkeys years ago when living in
Southampton, I was a member of the highly
regarded Southampton Model Railway Society.
There, through the teaching skills of the
likes of Ian Wilkins and Malcolm Snelgrove
plus several others, I learned the art of
track building, kit construction and how to
make proper scenery. I'm in dept to these
guys for that invaluable knowledge which is
a little like riding a bicycle, for despite
having a sabbatical away from the hobby
between 1985 to 2000, I didn't forget any of
those highly useful skills, even though some
of them were a little rusty for a short
while upon my return!
Currently, I'm not a member of any model
railway club, but I do visit clubs on
regular bases when out on commissions to
photograph layouts for publication. Through
this privilege, I have discovered some great
clubs with fantastic facilities with
wonderful people and bonhomie, with all of
them making me very welcome during my few
hours of temporary 'membership'!
What do you enjoy most about railway
When I see an inspiring picture in a book, I
then want to read about the people and the
location, trying to work out what it was
really like to live and exist in the
portrayed scene. Understanding more than
track geometry and what engines were used is
vital if I'm going to have a successful stab
at recreating something from the past in
miniature which has atmosphere and a feeling
of time and place - to achieve that I need
to know about the personalities and the
fabric that made or makes up the community.
How can we interest more people to join
Don't let the 'odd brigade' of the hobby
take centre stage; quite rightly children
and many adults find them scary. Normal
people quite like model trains too, and
somehow we need to lure these guys into the
limelight and show that the hobby isn't just
about rivets, second hand anoraks, dead
mothers in cupboards and body odour!