As Featured in Issue 49 (July 2011) of Hornby Magazine
JANUARY ’68 is somewhat unusual as a layout as it depicts a “point in time” rather than a particular geographical location, namely the first month of the last year of BR steam operation. This period was synonymous with the modernization which brought decline and depravation to not only the railways but also to the industrial landscape which had served Britain for almost 150 years.
Originally constructed by North East modeller Alan Lister, the award winning layout was exhibited throughout the country and also featured in the June 1997 edition of Modelling Railways Illustrated. Following a chance conversation with the owner, who revealed that the layout was going to be retired and dismantled, it was rescued by members of the Blackpool & North Fylde MRC, and given a new lease of life. The layout has now been returned to the exhibition circuit with a new fiddle yard and is slowly being detailed with additional features such as lighting and additional electronics.
It shows a fictitious location somewhere in the industrial heartland of North West England, one of the last bastions of BR steam, where dwindling numbers of rusting and work stained steam engines continue to serve the local industries alongside the newer diesels which, in just a few short months, will ultimately oust them from the rails forever.
Depravation and decay are evident with rusting loco’s awaiting their final journey to the scrapyard, as the full weight of the 1963 Beeching Report begins to bite with lines closing and derelict stations and railway infrastructure being slowly dismantled and removed.
Although fictitious in location there are a few references to actual locations and some of the buildings are based on, or inspired by, structures which can still be found to this day.
The double track mainline on the low level is being remodeled, work which should have been completed over the Christmas and New Year period, however snow has delayed the work and a continuing permanent-way possession means that only one of the running lines is available, hence the bidirectional running and presence of a number of “flag men” to control the flow of trains.
Click here to see more images of this layout
For Exhibition Managers who may be interested in booking January '68 for their exhibition please email your enquiries to the BNFMRC Secretary (see Contacts page)