Seagone, 7mm, O16.5

The railway had been built entirely at the expense of Lord Elpus, whose family had made its fortune from sugar mining in the borders of England and Wales. The sugar mines were situated some fifteen miles inland from the nearest port (Seaport), and the roads connecting them were poor, narrow and very bumpy. This led to a problem with sugar cubes, which frequently shattered on the journey. The cubes, which were expensively hand crafted from large rocks of sugar hewn underground in dreadful mining conditions, were extremely fragile and often arrived at the port totally granulated and fit only for putting in tea. Lord Elpus believed that a railway would make the journey smoother and that the costs of building the line would be more than offset by a reduction in the losses of revenue caused by crumbling cubes.

Unfortunately, after only two years of operation, a huge earthquake, extraordinarily violent for this part of the world, resulted in the land heaving and in the sea retreating by some four miles to the west of Seaport. If this had been all that had happened, Lord Elpus could have extended the railway by four miles. However, the same earthquake led to the sea rushing inland by sixteen miles just to the north, leading to the flooding and utter destruction of the sugar mines.

What was left was a line some twelve miles long, running from a mineless small market town to a port which had no longer any sea – just a muddy inlet fit only for small vessels coming inland from the real sea four miles away. The town fathers renamed Seaport as Seagone, and the railway settled into a life of being a general carrier of goods. Some expensive icing sugar was still being mined from a small sugar mine which lay higher than the incoming sea could reach, so a little of the sugar trade remained. Fortunately, the people who had worked in the sugar mines were able to travel by the railway to new jobs which came into being when a cigarette card printing factory opened in Seagone.

The Seagone layout is a freelance railway featuring a variety of UK styled narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock, incorporating features from around the United Kingdom’s narrow gauge lines past and present.


All photographs courtesy of Ian Manderson and Railway Modeller magazine

Return to main Exhibition page.