Railway layouts - Denton Sidings

03 July 2023
Always on the lookout for alternative ways of using and displaying diecast, Rick Wilson found a fabulous railway layout with 1/43 scale models.
Railway layouts - Denton Sidings Images

One of my other hobbying passions is heritage railways and models thereof. There is obviously potential for substantial crossover of the two hobbies, as diecasts of all scales lend themselves perfectly to inclusion on railway layouts.

Earlier this year, I attended the Gauge O Guild Spring Show, in Kettering. My initial reason for going was to meet up with Martyn Pring of Shamrock Trains to further discuss my Dinky bus upscaling project (see Workbench in the June issue of Diecast Collector), but I also took the opportunity to look for some  diecasting inspiration. O gauge equates to 1/43 scale, so I expected to spot a fair few diecasts.

There was plenty to be enjoyed, but the layout with the most interesting selection, with a tale or two to tell, was the stunning ‘Denton Sidings’, by Jon Boot. This layout was reportedly inspired by Gordon Gravett’s ‘Ditchling Green’, which appeared in the Model Railway Journal in 1991, and also Gordon’s latest layout, called ‘Arun Quay’.

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Jon started collecting kits and models for his creation in 1996, so Denton Sidings has been a long time coming. It depicts a small country goods yard serving a factory, located in the East Midlands circa 1960, with former LMS and LNER heritage. I spotted a couple of familiar diecasts straight away, but there were another two that weren’t so obvious and I simply had to have a chat with Jon to discover their origins.

The pair of easy spots were a Vanguards VA01707 Austin A35 Van in British Railways maroon and cream livery (registration number 202 FUF, fleet number 1587 W) and an Ixo Magirus-Deutz Jupiter 6x6 Dumper (No TRUD001). Both very nice diecasts indeed, but my attention was now firmly focused on two mysterious models.

A rather lovely tractor had been heavily weathered with mud and was pulling a trailer laden with hay bales. This was a simpler answer - the tractor was by Universal Hobbies and the trailer had been made from a Duncan Hobbies kit.

But by far the most intriguing, to my mind, was the truck parked outside the rather fabulously-named “Ye Olde Jackboot” pub at one end of the layout. This had started out its life as a partwork release of a 1957 Ford Thames FTG 7, made by Ixo. Coming with issue 69 of the Camions d’Autrefois (Trucks of Another Time) Altaya series, Jon modified the originally much longer rear body and chassis, shortening these so the truck would more resemble the Dodge 100 Series ‘Parrot Nose’ trucks that starred in the 1957 film, Hell Drivers. He has done a superb job, I think.