Drayton Market (N)

The story behind the model

Drayton Market is a medium sized town on the borders of Shropshire and Staffordshire of some 10,000 souls. It gained its borough status in 1805 when there was talk of a canal being built between the Midlands and the Wirral peninsular to enable coal and manufactured goods to reach the Mersey estuary. Unfortunately, because of the 1814 continental war, money was short and the Bill in parliament failed. It did not surface again until 1838/41 when the Shropshire Union started to very slowly build. However technology and engineering developments overtook this endeavour as it was being built.

Parliament eventually passed a Bill in 1853 to allow the Midland Railway to build single line to the town from Gnosall and Wolverhampton and the “Black Country”. A further bill was passed for an end on junction with the LNWR to run north towards Whitchurch, Wrexham and Chester. Thus there was a route from the Midlands for the coal and manufactured goods to reach the North West and docks.

The Great Western Railway, having seen all this activity, petitioned and was approved to build a line into the town which arrived from Wellington, as a single track, in 1862. They also supported the North Staffordshire in coming to the town, to give them a route to the Potteries away from the North Western. To further help improve their traffic the Great Western built a branch line towards the developing town of Wem in about 1881.

The aim was for all lines to become double track as business grew. But they could only stagger on as traffic had been diverted to more populated areas, coupled with the financial crisis of the middle 1880’s. A Government work scheme allowed the War Office, as a result of the failures in South Africa, in 1903 to construct two training camps.

The start of the First World War caused more construction in 1914/15 with workshops and repair facilities for the new wonder weapon The Tank, were built. In addition a small flying school was opened 1916. Plans were made to commence doubling all lines into the town but as the war ended the only one to be completed was the Midland line from the South East. The upheaval after the war with the formation of the Big Four caused all local investment to stop.

Things again changed with the rearmament of 1935 meaning more facilities, two more Army establishments and another airfield all being built to the south of the town. There was even a Royal Navy air station constructed in 1941. Traffic boomed and again it was planned to double all the remaining lines to the town. But the years of austerity and Nationalisation that followed the end of the war halted this; however the Cold War, Middle Eastern troubles and Korea caused the military traffic to remain firm.

Thus we have a railway with trains from all points of the compass, some still in their big four colours. The nationalised railway was still making a profit with goods and people still travelling by the railway. However, by 1950 the future started to looking bleak as the NS reduced traffic into the town and it was suggested that the Midland region would take over the area. There is talk of the West Coast line being electrified and using this line as a diversion.

The Model

The layout is N gauge using Peco Set Track points and code 80 rail. The scenic boards are 2000 mm and fiddle yards either side making a “U” approx 2400 x 1300. Stock is by all major manufacturers with freight being predominant.

British Railways Midland and Western Region run trains into Drayton Market. You will see locomotives and stock from LMS, GWR, NE as well as ex WD varieties, plus freight in pre-war liveries. Much military Traffic blocks up the town between the camps to the east and the proving grounds to the south.

Any Drayton Market exhibition bookings are shown in our Events Calendar page.

A copy of the Exhibition Manager’s details for this layout will be added when it becomes available. You can contact the owner at david.ford67@btinternet.com.

Owner: David Ford