The Inspiration for Sandley

I was born in the north of England and spent the first 16 years of life there. My interest in railways started when I was very very young
(About  4) but my earliest  memories consist of a short ride from Cleethorpes to Grimsby Town on a first generation DMU, sat at the front to the right of the driver thus being able to see the road ahead - I thought that was fantastic obviously! I also remember a journey from Cleethorpes to Wakefield to see an aunt, which I remember as being a very "atmospheric" journey. It was probably about 1980 and it was raining!

As I got older my interest in the "big" railway grew rapidly and I was soon spending more time at the station than I was at home / school.
(I was never one to be found hanging around on street corners 'socialising'!)

The aquirement of a paper round 7 days a week both mornings and evenings gave me funds to indulge in regular train travel, mainly on my own but also with a like minded friend, Sean Graham. East Midlands / North East Rovers & Lincolnshire Poacher Day Ranger tickets were the order of the day (or week if it was the holidays) Many thousands of miles were travelled, mainly behind loco hauled trains which is where our interest had developed, but also along secondary routes glued firmly to the front seats of DMU's.  (sometimes staring at the back of a loco if the DMU had failed!)

The BR of the mid 80's was still a place where lots could be seen no matter where one strayed, close observation of all things great and small enhanced my knowledge and interest greatly. I became a frequent visitor to Doncaster because it encompassed everything that I liked to see when I was out and about - Freight of all shapes and sizes, high speed passenger movements and local services intertwined, along with what has to be one of *the* best track layouts possible for observation purposes!

I was also becoming a fan of terminus stations. Having a terminus as my own local station probably helped this, but I started to make a point of visiting as many as possible. They often had quite a lot of operational interest as there was usually shunting involved in one form or another, as well as some interesting signalling. I sat and watched the Cleethorpes re-signalling for days on end when the double track approach from Grimsby was reduced to single, the semaphores removed, and the track layout simplified greatly. Although the old had gone, the new was interesting and needed to be discovered / investigated. This was the point at which I became very interested in railway signalling and operations instead of just "trains".

I had also seemingly become one of only two members of the "Clee Railway Circle", which in essence was the schools model railway, located in a portable classroom. This layout was roughly, but not exactly, based on Cleethorpes station and its approaches. It was end to end and about 40 foot long by 3 feet wide, and whilst not scenically complete, was very impressive and a credit to those that had built it. The layout was taken over by us with a view to making it into a school club layout, but nobody was really that interested so we just carried on with two members until we left ourselves!

My own model railway was taking shape at home, but was never completed as we moved to the other end of the country in 1989 and the layout got dismantled and thrown away. What started then was many years of planning and thoughts about what my next layout would look like.

My interest in the following years, however, ranged on a variable "very" to "not at all" as I entered an age where many other interests appeared more important, namely cars, girls, houses, computers, music and all manner of other subjects! I had also joined BR as a member of staff at 16 and found that being in daily contact with railways for long periods of time every day slightly dampened the enthusiasm I had prior to leaving school, and I required a "change of scenery" as far as my interests were concerned.

I found my interest in model railways return with a vengence a few years ago when it became clear that the subject was enjoying a massive surge in popularity, and as such the quality of railway modelling products were improving dramatically. At the time I was also living with a friend who had boundless enthusiasm for model railways, Alex Seal. I felt it was a suitable time to return to railway modelling and I am now more into it than I ever was before.

So, after a 4000 word essay, the inspiration of yesteryear which I wanted to recreate on my own railway, was as follows....

What I wanted -

Mid 1980's running era.
A Terminus.
A continuous running circuit.
A loco depot.
Various sidings for freight.
Plenty of shunting possibilites.
DCC control.
Multi Aspect Signalling / Route Setting.

With the exception of 2 things, all of these have been achieved in 2008.

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