Modellers on right track with Midhurst exhibit

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A fascinating insight into ‘what could have been’ will be on show at the 30th annual modellers exhibition which takes place at the Grange Leisure Centre in Midhurst on Sunday (February 19).

Some 150 years ago the London to Brighton and South Coast Railway planned to extend their Chichester to Midhurst line which would have connected with the London and South West Railway network at Haslemere.

The plans eventually came to nothing and the line was never built but modeller Paul Hopkins has brought them to life in a model which will be seen for the first time at the annual exhibition.

It centres around the planned intermediate station at Redford assuming an ‘end on’ junction between the London and South West (LSW) and London to Brighton and South Coast LBSC) railway systems – the LSW connection being electrified and served by served from Haslemere and Guildford and the LBSC connection retaining a rural atmosphere with services from Midhurst and Chichester.

Included are a motive power depot, a sub shed of Horsham and electric multiple unit stabling.

The model is built to a scale of 3mm to one foot and can be operated in the Southern railway or post nationalisation eras, with locomotives and rolling stock typical of those periods.

“Apart from old Tri-ang models which were manufactured in the 1950s and 1960s, there is very little available in this scale from the proprietary manufacturers,” said Mr Hopkins.

“Consequently all the trackwork is hand-built. The locomotives and rolling stock are built from scratch or kits with a few modified Tri-ang items. The buildings are made from scratch or have been modified from kits or proprietary items.”

His model is one of some 75 models of trains and boats and planes which will be on show from 10am to 5pm on Sunday at the exhibition – one of the biggest displays to be seen in the south.

It will take over the Liberty Hall, Sports and Activity Hall and boats and trade stands will be on show in the Viewing Gallery.

There will also be military models and war games on show in the Strong Suite, and for Meccano fans a treat in store in Squash Court 2 and the Garden Room.

Selsey Model Boat Club will be taking over Squash Court 1.

And for those looking for new ways to carry out their hobbies, Tools 2000 will be showing a huge range of specialist equipment.