Last updated December 2023
After a hugely successful 40 years as an exhibition layout, Pulborough has now finally been retired. The layout’s final model railway exhibition was at Expo EM 2023, where it won the ‘Best Layout’ trophy. Its final appearance was in September in Pulborough for the village’s heritage weekend. The central section with the station and environs has been gifted to the Pulborough Society, with the intention that it will be available for viewing (as a static model) sometime during 2024.
Pulborough is situated in rural West Sussex on the LBSCR doubletrack main line from Horsham to Ford Junction. Our model represente the station at its peak in the years around 1910. It was on the exhibition circuit from 1986 to 2023.
In the early 1900’s the station was provided with extensive facilities - up and down goods yards, cattle pens and coal staithes, loop platform for the nearby Midhurst branch, and loco turning and coaling facilities. The line saw a great variety of stock, from coal and cattle trains, to horse box specials, branch trains, mainline and Royal trains en-route to Portsmouth. The photographs on this page are all of the real thing. These, and photos of the model are on the Pulborough photo album pages.
Our model is a full-scale replica of nearly 1/2 mile of track - intended in part to demonstrate the space required for a large station, and the enormous size of some of the engineering features, the cutting for example. The track plan (shown in a separate window) is based on a 40ft to 1in plan provided by British Rail. Buildings are based either on up-to-date surveys where the structures still exist, or on historic photographs where no trace remains on the ground.
The line is now a very busy commuter line, but sadly little of the original station is left apart from the enormous station building, the canopy and waiting room, the signal box, and the bridge over the River Arun. Our model is intended to preserve rather more - the spirit of a busy main line station in its heyday.
The layout comprises a central scenic section, 30ft long by a maximum of 3ft wide. Ten-road fiddle yards 8ft long are provided at each end of the layout. Trackwork is a mixture of handbuilt turnouts using plywood and rivet sleepers, and proprietary track from SMP all to P4 standards. Fulgarex and Tortoise motor drive units are used for turnout and signal operation.
The layout features fully operational signals, including working ground signals - all are used as part of the operation of the layout. This line features some extraordinarily tall signals, particularly the up home bracket, and the up starter and advanced starter. The layout is also equipped with block instruments, miniature copies of Tyer’s Two Position instruments (as also used on Plumpton Green).
The buildings are all scratchbuilt using a variety of materials, principally card and plasticard. Scenically, much use is made of static fibres for grass, and Woodland Scenics material for scrub etc, and for simulating leaves on the wire-wound trees. The section of the River Arun features a model of the last surviving Arun barge which won the Chairman's cup at Scaleforum 1995.
The layout has been exhibited around the country since 1986. In 1991 and again in 1996 the layout won 'best layout' trophies at both Scaleforum (Ken York Trophy) and Scalefour North. The layout was featured in Terry Bendall's article in MRJ in September 1991 and more recently in September 1996, to coincide with its second appearance at Scaleforum. The layout also appeared at EXPO EM '95, winning the "Best Layout" trophy. The layout appeared again at Scaleforum in 2009, and photos can be seen here.
The layout was exhibited at Scalefour North 2017, where it again won the Walton-Evans trophy.