Warley Model Railway Club

Railway modelling in most scales and gauges


Warley Model Railway Club, Unit 1F Pearsall Drive, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 2RA

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Saltdean: O Gauge

By Peter Smith

Saltdean is a real place, a twentieth century resort high on the cliffs to the east of Brighton. In the 1880’s it was just fields, with the nearest village being Rottingdean with it’s famous windmill.

I have imagined a different history, with Saltdean developing in the mid 1800’s and a branch line being built by the LBSCR from Brighton in 1882 to serve the new resort. In reality it would have been well nigh impossible to get a railway up there, but happily with our layouts we don’t have to worry about things like that!  

I settled on Saltdean as a location as there are so few places in Sussex that didn’t have a station on an LBSCR line and I wanted to create my own scene. It is also ideal in another way, because being close to Brighton means that the branch would be ideally placed for running in overhauled locomotives from Brighton works which means I can run any class of engine that the LBSC owned. A short branch would in reality have been operated by one class of engine for all traffic which is a bit limiting on a layout.

So the idea of Saltdean has developed into a twenty feet long 0 gauge layout, with the station at one end and the Saltdean Brewery at the other. The brewery gives an excuse for a little 0-6-0 tank in a different colour scheme as well as a train of private owner vans which I find very appealing. Other than that, passenger trains are a mix of four and six wheeled Stroudley coaches, and the other loco’s are all LBSC designs in Stroudley’s Gamboge yellow livery or goods green.

The period is the Summer of 1889, set because one of my engines wasn’t built until 1888 and another was scrapped in late 1889 and I wanted to run them together.

The buildings are all scratchbuilt, while the loco’s are a mix of kit built with three Dapol Terrier’s. The coaches are built from kits, the wagons a mix of kits and scratch built. I use printed paper for reproducing the complex liveries, doing the artwork on the computer before printing off the panels and sticking them to the loco or rolling stock...in that way the coaches look like real mahogany, and you can see the grain. On the passenger engines the only yellow paint is on the dome and the wheels, the rest is all paper though once it’s varnished you wouldn’t think so.

Saltdean is only a small layout but it’s different because of the period, the colourful liveries and the setting.  


For more information contact Peter Smith