Malden's History

Malden and District Society of Model Engineers was founded in 1936 in New Malden, Surrey. It moved to it present site in 1949, but more of that later. It is believed that between 1936 & 1942 a portable model railway track was often set up for Fetes etc in the area around Malden like Raynes Park & Merton Abbey, Kingston etc. unfortunately little is known of these years. It is also understood that there was interest shown in model boating activities around this time with the boats being operated on the various pond around the Clapham area, unfortunately details are non existence save for mention that model boating is catered for in the Society's rule book.

Details from 1942 to 1945 are clearer due to an article which is taken from hand written originals written in pencil onto London Passenger Transport Board, Time Allocation Return (time sheets to you and me) forms dated 1943 they were found in September 1991. The author is unknown. Also found in Nov 1991 is the 'Forward' to this article which would have appeared before the original text. The two items are appended in logical order. Weather this was ever published at this point (Nov 1991) is not known.

The Beverley Park Miniature Railway
By Percival Marshall C.I. Mech. E.
Editor of the Model Engineer.
Vice President of Malden and District Society of Model Engineers.

The Miniature Steam Locomotive at work is a fascinating sight. It looks and behaves exactly like its big brother on the real railway. It hauls delighted passengers without a murmur, except for the rhythm of its best as it gets away with its load. In construction it is exactly like its big brother with its firebox, and boiler, its cylinders, and valves and pistons, coupling rods, its driving wheels, whistle and safety valve. Yet for all this it looks just like a baby and like a baby, you could carry it in your arms. How is it built? where does its power come from? and why can it keep running hour after hour, day after day, ever responsive to the slightest touch on the regulator in the cab?

This book has been provided to answer these questions for you, and to give you some inside information about the wonderful miniature engines which are run here at Beverley Park for the delectation of yourself and your juvenile friends. There are some thousands of these little engines at work throughout the country on private tracks and in public parks, and no better example can be found anywhere than those built by the members of the Malden and District Society of Model Engineers. They are not shop bought models; they are built as a hobby in the home workshops of the members who enjoy both the actual work of construction and the running of the engines to give pleasure to so many of the public and their personal friends. These members follow many different walks of life but they have an inborn mechanical instinct which breaks out first in setting up a home workshop and then in the building the locomotives, or a power boat, a petrol engine or some other engineering work in miniature which takes their fancy. At Beverly Park you can see the outcome of their efforts at locomotive construction, and remarkably good they are to.

All this work is done in the spare time after duties of the day are over and it is the universal experience that a mechanical hobby furnishes heartfelt exercise and mental recreation in a most beneficial degree. Beyond the personal advantage the social benefits of Society membership are most marked. There is a camaraderie amongst the membership which not only lead to many agreeable friendships, but result in the exchange of technical knowledge and advice which is as acceptable and helpful to the expert and novice alike. Carrying this a stage further there is the willing and unselfish service to the public at Beverly Park and at benevolent functions elsewhere, which not only provide entertainment to young and old alike, but raise substantial donations for national or other deserving causes.

The public service on the part of the Malden Society has been most happily recognized and helpfully supported by the local Borough Council for whose approval and practical co-operation the Malden members are most grateful. The public too will doubtless realize that but for this official collaboration the existence of this Miniature railway on such an extensive scale and in such convenient surroundings would not be possible. The building of the track, the providing of the locomotives and rolling stock, the careful and constant supervision of the running is entirely voluntary service on the part of Society members. Most of the already giving much of their spare time to munitions making or some other form of national service, and yet they make the extra effort of providing and operating this railway service to the public. The parents and children of Malden are no doubt duly grateful; the happy faces of the youngsters do indeed form a visible vote of thanks and their excited cheers and laughter will linger for a long time in the memories of the hard worked railway staff.

This handbook, another example of the Society's enterprise, will tell you something about the work in building and running a miniature steam locomotive, it will tell you about the actual engines you see running on the track and the members who built them. Not least of all it will tell you about the Malden and District Society of Model Engineers, and what it means to its members, and to the borough of Malden & Coombe. I hope it will be an acceptable souvenir of your visit to Beverley Park and perhaps one day lead you to become the actual builder and owner of a marvelous locomotive in miniature. The Society will help you in many ways to achieve this worthy ambition.

The Beverley Park Miniature Railway
"The growth of the Beverly Park Miniature Railway has been phenomenal, Starting in 1942 as part of the Malden and Coombe Corporation "Holidays at Home scheme" it has never looked back.
In 1942 there were two locomotives available for passenger traffic when the line 175ft. long was opened. These were Mr. W Closiers "MAISE" and Mr L.V. Chandlers "MARINA" later, Mr L.S Pinder brought out his large Pacific "LNER 4472". These three locomotives between them hauled about 10,000 passengers during the season which included a "Salvage Drive" - 1 pound of Salvage = 1 free ride at the close. The Railway having proved a success was enlarged for the 1943 season, the Corporation authorised vast improvements which included a fine Railway Station and double the amount of timber for laying the operating Society's line upon. The Society more than doubled the length of line to 400ft. then added a turntable and several service lines and a Water Tower (the M&CC supplied most of the materials). Signals were permanent but owing to damage by unknown people these were withdrawn.

loco beverleyThe locomotive "stud" was increase, first by the beautiful loco "Beverley" designed and built by Mr R.C Marshall then by Mr Fred Summers "Iris". Mr J. Hawkers "Midge" & Mr S.C Wainwrights "Mabel". Mr A.J Temple added a powerful little tank "AETR" and a S.R Schools Class loco. The season finished with a "Salvage Drive" and brought the passenger list to 21,000 for the year.

So far nothing has been written about "incidental locomotives" In 1942 Mr W.L Hayward ran his 2½" gauge "Schools Class" "ETON" several times whilst Mr L.V. Chandlers "Squirt" - an old timer caused much amusement. The next year also saw an old timer in Mr A.L. Headech's "Rainhill" - a locomotive with two driving wheels two trailing wheels and a tall smoke stack.

loco mustang Now we come to 1944 with an even greater locomotive stud for Mr R.C Marshall has completed his large heavy duty engine "MUSTANG" whilst Mr L.S. Pinder has added the "MDLR 1944"; Mr L.H Lower the "MDLR 242" (rebuilt from the Tank loco "AETR" of 1943) and Mr H. Brookman another "Maise" type. Mr Fred Summers is completing his enormous "ALLEY SLOPER" - based on the locos of the old Lynton and Barnstable Railway (now scrapped). Mr F. Ford is completing another heavy duty job in "MAURANDA" and several others are nearing the trial stage.

lococ The Society has now erected its main supper "all steel" track in place of the old one and another 400ft line has been added along side of it. An improved layout of sidings has been built together with a different form of "turntable" - a table which does not actually turn but connects the various sidings to the main passenger track. The Corporation for their part have built the timer supports for the additional track, a platform to serve it and improved the fencing around the system.

An increase in passenger loading is expected this year (1944) due to the Government's travel ban and the various de fence areas. So far 14144 passengers have been carried since Easter Saturday and the Railway each Saturday and Sunday from 3pm until October 1st.

Further in this booklet will be found principle details of all the locomotives of the Members of the Malden and District Society of Model Engineers. - built and building, but in the following lines are more details of the Engines which will be seen running the passenger services this year.

The little 2-4-2 locomotive "MDLR 242" has proved to be an excellent hauler and has already pulled several thousands of thrilled children. The rebuilding of this engine from an 0-4-2 tank presented many difficulties but Mr Lowes overcame these and the results are certainly encouraging.

You will find two 4-4-0 locomotives on the line this year, one is the well known Schools Class engine identified by MLR 910 on the tender and is the same engine as last year, except for the improved paintwork a new tender and several other improvements which Mr A.J. Temple has completed during the winter months.

The L&SWR "Drummond" 4-4-0 engine built and owned by Mr R.J.P. Mew (formally Hon Secretary of the Society) although new to the Beverly Park line it is actually 5 years old and is a faithful reproduction of one of the most popular locomotives of the old "South Western" (now incorporated into the Southern Railways). The outbreak of war unfortunately prevented this engine from having any real trails, and only recently has Mr Mew been able to find time to run it.

One of the most famous class of engines are Mr Ivatt's Atlantic of the Old Great Northern Railway and two examples of these are to be found on the Beverly Park track. Both models were designed by Mr Lawerence who writes under the pen name of LBSC in several publications and who is without doubt the man who has made live steam model locomotive building within the scope of any person of average mechanical intelligence. "MASIE" the first of these locomotives will be remembered sharing the heavy loads of both 1942 and 1943 and yet shows no sign of heavy wear, some maintenance work has been carried out of course but nothing of a heavy nature has been found necessary. Mr W. Closier built this loco in 1937 and it has done trojan work ever since. Many remember it in partnership with the stainless steel loco "Marina" at Raynes Park, Merton Abby etc before the present railway.

The second of these 4-4-2 Atlantic's is as yet unnamed built by Mr A. Bookman made its first appearance on the tracks this year. They are both capable of heavy work and a good turn of speed. A locomotive of the same wheel arrangement designed and built by Mr R.C. Marshall is the beautiful "Beverley" (named after the park) to commemorate the first years running. This locomotive now running for the second season is classed as one of the "Hall marks" of locomotive perfection; its graceful lines , workmanship and finish coupled with its pulling power and a reputation for non failing service has made it one of the most popular locomotives in the Society.

The loco "IRIS" (G.W.R) is representative of the vast number of 0-6-0 goods engines now working all over the country. This locomotive not being quite as heavy as most of the others leads itself for easy transport to other areas where under the this season under Mr L. Summers direction of its owner it has frequently been seen.

Another popular locomotive on the main line is that of the 2-6-0 wheel arrangement and in Beverley Park two can now be seen at work. "Marina" Mr L.V. Chandlers "stainless steel" loco has made a name for itself which few can approach. For years before the the war this locomotive could be seen running here, there, in fact few meetings or fetes etc seemed complete without this most powerful engine being in attendance. In Beverley Park it has proved to be the ideal loco for dealing with the unexpected. Records show that anything from 20-30 passengers can be hauled in comparative ease, now in its 8th year it is suffering from "old age" and overwork, but never the less can still be relied upon to help out with the big loads often experienced in the park. For the past three years it has been in the green livery, which hides its more familiar appearance.

The second locomotive of this type is Mr L.S Pinder's MDLR 1944 which is similar in most respects to "Marina" except of course that it is fairly new.

A sensation in the 'model world' was created when Mr R.C Marshall completed his big 2-8-2 "Mustang" this representative of the heavy freight engines (The model was designed by Mr R.C. Marshall) has certainly worked accordingly to the type of loads of 39 children plus 2 adults, and 23 children and 12 adults have been duly recorded, but another feature has added a real interested to this job and that is its capability for high sustained speed. Lightly loaded it can reach 16 mph within a short time of leaving the station, with a fair load of say 20 children it can deal with about 750 passengers an hour. Its acceleration has been phenomenal and quite outside the make up of any of the machines used in the park. The only features of it similar to "Beverley" (by the same member) is perfection in workmanship, graceful lines and prolific steaming boiler (although of a different construction).

There are hopes that the following engines will be in service during this season. "Marquis" a 5" 0-6-0 tank engine based on a G.N.R. type of 1868 and a larger version of the better known "Squirt" (Mr L.V Chander). Sir Agravaine a 3½" gauge 4-6-0 King Arthur class locomotive of the Southern Railway. This loco has already had preliminary trails and its appearance in Beverley Park will satisfy a long felt want for a representative of the popular "Arthurs" which go past the park all day long with heavy loads of passengers for the S.W. of England. (Mr L. Stone is the builder).

The closing down of a railway of non standard gauge usually results in the loss of certain interesting locos, one such line being the Lynton & Barnstable (1ft 11½" gauge). A representative 2-6-2 tank loco of this type being built to the scale of approx 2" to 1ft is nearing completion in the workshops of Mr L. Summers. Another loco similar to "Mustang" is being built by Mr F. Ford and may be ready later this year.

Quite a large number of interesting locos should be ready next season and brief details of them will be seen in the tables of principal dimensions, which I recommend you study carefully".

What of the future? well just have a look at the list of locomotives at the end of this book, and I think you will be surprised at the large number of them built and being built; and the list is not complete because there are several "dark horses" of which I have been told to keep quiet, either because of their unorthodox appearances, or because of their incorporation of entirely new ideas.

To save you the trouble of looking up the data on those locomotives mentioned in this article, I give below some of the main points of each.

Gauge Name Wheels Builders Owners Passengers
3½" Marina 2-6-0 L.V. Chandler L.V. Chandler 15 to 20
3½" Maisie 4-4-2 W. Closier & W. Closier 15 to 20
3½" Marquis 0-6-0T * L.V.Chandler & L.V.Chandler up to 10
3½" Beverley 4-4-2 * R.C. Marshall & L.S. Pinder 15 to 20
3½" Midge 0-4-0T ÷ J. Hawker & J. Hawker up to 12
3½" 4472 4-6-2 Rebuilt & owned by L.S Pinder 20 to 25
3½" Iris 0-6-0 L.F. Summers & L.F Summers up to 18
3½" Mabel 4-6-0T * S.C. Wainwright S.C Wainwright 15 to 20
3½" AETR 0-4-2T A. Temple & A. Temple up to 12
3½" 910 4-4-0 A. Temple & A. Temple up to 12
3½" Rainhill 0-2-2 A.L. Headech & A.L. Headech a few
3½" Mustang 2-8-2 * R.C. Marshall & R.C. Marshall over 40
3½" 1944 2-6-0 L.S. Pinder & L.S. Pinder 15 to 20
3½" Merlin 4-4-2 H. Bookman & H. Bookman 15 to 20
3½" ? 4-4-0 * R.J.P. Mew & R.J.P. Mew 15 or so
3½" Leeds 2-4-0 * R.J.P. Mew & R.J.P. Mew up to 10
3½" 242 2-4-2 Rebuilt from AETR by H.L. Lowes 12 or so
3½" Little Alfie 2-6-2T * L.F. Summers & L.F Summers over 40
2½" Eton 4-4-0 * W.L. Hayward & W.L. Hayward 7 or 8
2½" King George VI 4-6-0 F. Watson & F. Watson 8 or 9 
Notes. * signifies that the locomotive was also designed by the builder 
Notes. ÷ indicates that the locomotive was rescalled by the builder This is the end of the text; the one question I have is "If the club was so successful at Beverly Park, why the move to Thames Ditton" ? Can anybody throw any light on this please? Also if any member can add further details please will you forward then to the me. John Mottram &/or Mark Adlington. This is the end of the text of the Beverly Park years 1942-45

Thames Ditton Miniature Railway -1949/1950 onwards
After the War it became desirable to find a site upon which to erect a permanent raised track along with a clubhouse; at the end of 1949 the Society was fortunate to be offered a long term lease on the site at Thames Ditton which is now our Society's home.

Historical documents
1949 Leaflets
1949 Whitsun Fete
1953 Accounts
1954 Accounts
1955 Nomination form

Much activity then took place as the club house commenced to be constructed, In the clubhouse at about that period was simply the main rectangular room divided at the south end by a small workshop & with small openings in the wall for the projection of cine films onto a permanent screen at the other end. The ceiling, of plaster board, was erected by George Smith, with the assistance of a Junior member, and a large wood burning stove provided in the winter months, a minimum amount of heat and an incredible amount of smoke to the interior.

During the period of the building of the clubhouse at Thames Ditton meetings were held at the 'DORE CAFE' in New Malden High Street and an exhibition was held at the 'GRAHAM SPICER Hall' which was located next door to the old Fire Station in the High Street.

The next development of the buildings included a 7¼" Engine shed with 3 roads, and entry through a door into the workshop, the original length being doubled at a later period. About 1960 a considerable improvement was made by the building of the Kitchen wing, with openings for serving in place of the original windows, and a porch at the entrance avoided the draught whenever the door was opened. At about that time, the narrow piece of land West of the our building was let on lease to a building firm, and the 7¼" gauge track was extended in front of the club house.

It should be mentioned that the whole of the earlier buildings were designed and built by the members - the only professional work on the clubhouse was the Pebble-dash finish, which proved to require the most accurate judgement of the exact state of dryness or otherwise of the cement rendering, and some fine wrist work of the thrower. 

Source Pat Hamilton, Ernie Widowson

club locoFirst club locomotive. In 1950 considerable public interest was aroused when the Society's members constructed a 5" gauge locomotive in 10 days at the Model Engineering Exhibition. That was when the exhibition was at the New Horticultural Hall, Westminster. You can often see this locomotive today on the raised track, it is a 1" scale model of Southern Railways L1 class 4-4-0 tendered locomotive, which were designed by R.E Maunsell Southern Railways Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1925, for use on the London to Folkstone express trains. All 15 of the full sized engines in the group were built under contract by the North British Locomotive Company Glasgow and delivered in 1926 to the Southern Railway. In July 1984 our miniature locomotive showed it was still capable of putting up a good show, when the Society entered it in the International Model Locomotive Efficiency Competition held at Ashton Park, Bristol. The locomotive was driven by Bert Woodford, pulling a load of 8 adults for 30 mins it returned such good efficiency results that it was placed 4th out of 30 entrants, not bad for a locomotive built 30 years previously.

First Track at Malden 
During 1951 or there about's some structures commenced on the site at Thames Ditton, visible from the trains on the Southern Waterloo line. At first, concrete posts in a large oval shape, with horizontal beams appeared, and there was speculation that a Greyhound racing track was under construction. This was the 2½",3½" & 5" gauges for the miniature trains (this was a basic oval where the current raised track is situated). 
In the early days, Track days were prepared for by the erecting of a square tent for the sale of refreshments, and a kind of "Punch & Judy" Ticket office a single person seat (usually the late Joan Hamilton prevailed). That was alright in dry weather, but not so good if the rain started.

The later Booking office & Ice cream parlour was kindly presented in about 1958 by then our Chairman, the late Mr Harry Macey, as a sectional building, and this has proved invaluable, unfortunately this burnt down 1999.

The land in the middle of the raise tracks was occupied by a lawn tennis club with a small club house etc. There seems to have been a lease the Tennis club which faded away - It appears to have been Rated by Surrey County Council, who decided to raise our Rates to cover their loss. At that time I was the Hon Secretary, and I had to impress Surrey CC that, rather than being an asset to us, the site was in fact, a liability, as we now had to keep grass cut etc. The Rating Officer called and we had a quite friendly meeting, in fact he said he was puzzled at what he could rate! "You've only got the clubhouse, a few sheds and the Tennis Club Pavilion" I said we didn't want it, and that it was useless to us. In fact, if he insisted in charging it, we would remove the roof from it, then it could not be rated. He then suggested £200 for the lot - I held out and we finally agreed to £140, I think an increase of about £10 on the original rates of the site.

One track day in the late 1950's, in the middle of an unusually dry summer, some long grass near Angel Road end of the track caught fire, presumably sparks from the locomotives? A hastily assembled train with pails of water was rushed to the scene, and the alight track was completely extinguished, but unbeknown to us a householder in Angel Road must have called the Fire Brigade. The Firemen seemed rather disappointed to find all was well, but they stayed a while and were interested to see the trains running again. 
Source Pat Hamilton & Ernie Widowson.

In 1964 the Society found that the raised track had deteriorated beyond repair, the old track with its thin section material for rail and with thin tube for spacers had after 20 years become life expired. (The rail gauges were 2½"; 3½" & 5") A plan was hatched for a new track, the plan for the new track was a figure of eight folded onto itself. 
It must be said that but for the Committee's firm belief in the project and give a free hand to purchase materials as and when required, the new track as it is today would never have been accomplished.

The moulds to manufacture the concrete track supports for both curved and straight were made by the 3 Wheeler brothers. These moulds were 6ft long by 10inches wide at the top section and "T" in section. The beams (2 pedestals & 2 horizontal beams) were all vibrated re-enforced concrete all of a fixed proportion 4 parts shingle, 2 parts sand, and 1 part cement; this gave a beam of outstanding strength and with a uniformity of construction. The same method was applied to the pedestals supporting the horizontal beams.

Drawings were made for the position of the track on the site, bases were pegged out, holes dug and filled with concrete to the correct height of the pegs. The beams were place on the pedestals which were cemented to the bases already laid. As the construction of the reinforced concrete progressed so did the cutting, as this new track was to be one of gradients and reverse curves in the opposition to the idea of an all level track. When the cutting was at its deepest point work carried on even during the rain, also on one occasion it was reported that local prison had let out some volunteers for an evenings digging as over 30 members arrived with shovels, forks and spades, thus the work progressed.

A country member drew up the plans for a bridge to carry the second circuit over the first circuit, the brick piers were built by Sid Dibble although at a later date these were demolished as that part of the second circuit was redesigned. Work continued on building the beams and pedestals whilst in a shed at the rear of the club grounds a large milling was installed & was to be seen cutting slots in metal strips for the rail spacers, each one being exactly the same as the next. As the concrete work progressed so did the rolling, cutting and welding of the track. After 2« years the first circuit was completed and opened to the public for the fist time in 1967, a success and a great improvement on those who remember the original track.

It was proposed to have a rest of a few months at least for the membership to draw its breath after such a mammoth task, but this was not to be, the whip was cracked hard and loud and the second circuit was begun. Manufacture of more beams & pedestals was started , stock piled until February 1970 when the first pedestal of the second circuit was placed in position. This is when George Chaplin took over the drawings for the building the bases and piers for the pedestals. As the bases became laid so did block piers mysteriously appeared above ground from one day to another all at varying heights up to and over the bridge. The bridge is constructed of two steel girders which is bolted together; the washers for the bolts are made of a special metal known only to a few. After the bridge the track traverses a reverse curve on a falling gradient and onto the home straight ready to join up with the first circuit. Beams were laid, skimmed with concrete for super elevation on the curves., rail was cut rolled, laid and welded in situ. Again two names spring to mind Tom Snoxell & Eric Offen for the welding operation. So the 2nd circuit was built up to its limit when the last day of the season took place in October 1971. There and then a group got together and said "Lets have a Christmas run". So for the next two months the program went something like this:-

Oct 3rd : 5.30pm Cut track & by 9.30pm 25 beams & bases removed.
Oct 10th : New bases marked out, pegged to approx heights
Oct 17th : pegs adjusted & 16 bases filled with concrete.
Oct 24th : Remaining bases dug & pegged filled with concrete
Oct 31st : Bases filed with concrete, 8 pedestals and beams fixed in position.
Nov 7th : Remaining beams and pedestals place in situ.
Nov 14th : Rail cut and rolled and welded into situ.
Nov 21st : Remaining rail of the new circuit cut and rolled and welded
Nov 28th : Outer section beams and pedestals placed in position
Dec 5th : 2 months to the day the final pieces were in place and the track was finally complete 

During the week after the track was cut through a Bulldozer came in and scrapped the field & pushed earth under the high section of the second circuit, this the committee felt would help to blend in the track to the local landscape. So the members gave a great sigh of relief & said "Well that that done" Good weather on all those Sundays had been with the work force, so after a long struggle the idea of 1964 came to be realised on Sunday December 26th 1971. Yes the sun shone on that day to.. with 5 engines in steam carrying passengers who appeared out of the woodwork. The lap record with 10 Adults as passengers was 2mins 5sec. It was felt that in spite of a lot of controversy regarding the gradients and the 3½" gauge engines going up the long drag (parallel to British railways main line).the crowing glory of the day went to the late Robbie Robberts 3½" gauge "Tich" with wheels of just 1 ¾" dia and cylinders of 11/16" bore, its wheels were just a blure and the exhaust like an angry bumble be in flight will be the talk of the club for some years to come. 

Some Technical data.
Length of track 1,620 ft with gradients of 1 in 120 & 1 in 80
65 tons of concrete for beams and pedestals. (extra for bases etc)
6,5000 ft of steel rail 1" x 3/8"
1,350 Spacers cut on the mill
270 concrete beams
270 concrete pedestals
1,380 joints welded
6000ft reinforcing rod 3/8" dia
Source Sid Dibble 
The following year the steaming bays and a station platform were added. In 1985 the members again hatched another plan, this time to build a station roof. Dick Vince as group leader with other members built the platform canopy during the summer and it has proved useful when those summer rain showers descend upon us.

Ground Level Track.
wilowbankA straight section of 7¼" gauge track was laid close to the fence of the Scouts Hut, and Tom Snoxell's 4-4-2 Great Northern Atlantic 251 and 4-6-0 "County of Chester" of the Great Western Railway by Les Clark were the first 7¼" gauge locomotives. There was no engine shed, and these engines had to be carried on special steel "carrying plates" and parked just inside the clubhouse. The laying of the 7¼" gauge track commenced in 1955, with no station, and as already described formed a "P" shape nearly all to the eastern side of the Scouts Hut. At that time, tickets were issued for 2d on the raised track and 3d on the 7¼" the issuer being Dia Phillips, with a bus conductors leather pouch.

loco 251The 7¼" Ground level track open for it fist public train rides on Sunday 2nd June 1957, using the above named locomotives. A short article appeared in the Esher News and Advertiser on Friday June 7th 1957 page 7. On the following Sunday 9th & Monday 10th June the railway operated over the bank holiday weekend and a small exhibition was held of members new models. A further article appeared with photograph appeared in the same newspaper on June 14th page 4. Noteworthy among these models was a new Britannia Class locomotive in 7¼" gauge by Mr P Scotney of Barnes, which to date had taken 4 years to build.

loco county of chesterIt soon became clear that some form of crowd control was badly needed, and it was decided to create a permanent station where Willowbank station is today. The main part of the actual platform was constructed in one week-end, with wooden posts in slots in the ground for "fencing" The wooden railings and gate soon followed.
At one time there was a large Station name board "WILLOWBANK" backing onto the River Rythe. It was removed when the track was not open to the public.
By 1960 the track length had reached 1,300 ft with about 100 ft of sidings. willowbank stationIn those days the passenger trains ran in the opposite direction to that of today. In 1962 the ground level track was considerably increased in length and pushed right around the site (as it is today). The first signalling of the 7¼" line was controlled from a small signal box with its 4 lever frame ex British Railways controlling the points and starting signals at the station. During this time the departure platform of Willowbank station was laid in concrete and a short passing loop of track installed. As you can see we then had the basis of the ground-level tack and station as it is today, complete with a small signal cabin (since removed) opposite the current Willowbank signal box. The arrival platform where passengers alight was made during 1969 thereby avoiding considerable "coming & going" congestion on the departure side. willowbankWillowbank signal box. The present signal box was erected between 1968-69 at this time British Railways had just ceased steam train operations. Iin the process closed Nine Elms Locomotive and Goods Depots in South London, as a result of this 3 club members were able to purchase the lever frame fom 'Nine Elms B' signal box. This controlled access to the north goods shed complex of buildings. The lever frame was dismantled and transported to Thames Ditton and erected in the then newly constructed signal box. This was then connected to the simple passing loop points and associated signals. Over the years since 1968 the tracks have altered greatly both in Willowbank station and around the site to meet the current requirements of the day. Today in the immediate vicinity of Willowbank station we have a scissors crossover at the approach to the station so that the station can be accessed from both the local and main track, or can also be bypassed if desired. There is a centre siding accessed from the station line by a trailing connection. The old connection to the existing engine shed was modified and two sidings attached, one in the station and one in the loco yard. The area of the railway then controlled by Willowbank signalbox. (with its 11 lever frame) was about one quarter of the layout, using mechanical signalling with running signals at a scale of 3inches to a foot (these are electrically operated). Shunt signals are also installed for shunting purposes these signals being ex British Railways (Southern Region)

Full sized signal.
Have you ever wondered how we obtained our Full sized mechanical signal that is by our level crossing? 
How not to Spend a Friday Night.

It was cold but dry night when we set out to the darkest depths of Tolworth. It was 00.15hrs on January 30th 1972, our object being to rescue a 1930 SR Latice Post Signal which had cost the princely sum of £1.......Willowbank level crossing gatesThe Motspur Park - Chessington South line was being completely resignalled by British Rail. The best signal to fit the clubs requirements was found to be Tolworth Down Home Signal this having the least rust and being in reasonable mechanical condition. Yours truly had done a bit of scouting work during the proceeding weeks.

When B.R's Signal & Telegraph Department had taken possession after the 01.15 'UP' coal train had passed, we all emerged from a rather warm waiting room grabbed our tools and marched into the cold darkness 200yds up the track Someone muttered about the wind being cold!!! The fittings were attacked with all manner of tools but to little avail, would you believe rusty bolts!!! Fittings were slowly removed, It had started to snow by this time did I say snow?, more like a blizzard!!! By this time it was 03.30 and three of the gang said they were cold and they were going home. Oh well 3 down 2 to go. Not beaten yet.

B.R cut down the signal post for us, they didn't do a bad job considering it came down in two parts. The time was now 04.00, we decided we can't do any more till we arrange transport to pick up the signal at a later date, but that's another story. I would like to thank Bill Brown, Mike Evans, Alan Foote, and last but no means least Clinton Shaw for all their help.

In fact it took use 2 years to reassemble and erect the signal, including a major paint strip & repaint.
R.M. Adlington

angel road signalboxAngel Road. In 1984 we started planning the installation of our second signal box to enable us to increase the length of the operational tracks. By the time the box had been built utilising the wooden part of the structure from original Willowbank signalbox. for the six levered frame we had acquired, a most pleasant surprise occurred because two admirers donated a larger lever frame. They even went to the trouble of dismantling it and transporting it from its original home at Toton Hampshire on the Southern Region of British Railways. After examining the frame and measuring it up we found we were not able to use all of it in Angel Road signalbox. so the remainder was used in Willowbank Signal box (more later)A target date of the 1st June had been set for the commissioning of Angel Road. Well we sort of made it, with the club President Tom Snoxell signalling trains over the Facing points at Angel Road on the first track day in June using the lever frame. Angel Road today has a 12 lever knee frame and controls 7 running signals; 2 sets of points and a couple of shunt signals. From aesthetic appearance we are adapting Angel Road signalbox. to give a period feel of about the 1950's.

Willowbank signalbox. upgrade.
Looking back to February 86 when Willowbank Signal Box looked like a tip with a roof on it, with it's eleven levers scattered over the floor, the interlocking all over the place, a pair of wire cutters had got the better of the relay gate which was now connected to fresh air and not the signals. The whole situation looked terrible and Mark Adlington was looking for a way out, a long holiday, hide in the workshop, dare I say it even decorate the house Ugh!! no not decorating. But in June 1986 things look a lot different the 11 lever frame has grown to 17 lever complete with a repaint of the levers. Willowbank signal box exterir viewThe dust has been swept out the door, the relay gate has been reconnected to the outside world. (This involved some 760 soldered joints) and the relays are beginning to settle down to something near reliable operation. This major alteration was a team effort in the real sense of the word with John Mottram, Derek Smith & Malcom Fry responsible for the mechanical side of things, with Paul Henley and Mark Adlington completing the electrical connections. Willowbank now has a 17 lever knee frame and covers the largest control area on the layout (half the track layout), controlling 17 running signals (some operate automatically), 4 shunt signals & 5 sets of points. The original 'Nine Elms' lever frame numbers are levers 3 through to 13 inclusive in the upgraded frame.Roundhouse.
In 1982 the Society decided a new home was required for its 7¼" gauge locomotives which remain on site as the existing arrangements were overcrowded & operationally inadequate. After several designs were submitted it was decided that the new locomotive shed would be built around a turntable. The Semi-circular shed is technically known as a 'Roundhouse'. All the foundations, steel door frames and all the roof structure was built by the members of the Society in their spare time, the only outside help was from the Manpower Services Commission training course students who did all the brickwork as part of their training course work. 
The whole project from start to finish took 7 years 7 months to complete. The official opening was in Easter 89 when all the locomotives moved into their new home.

Stoomgroep West Zuiderpart.
In 1986 the Malden Society officially twined with the Stoomgroep West Zuiderpart in The Hague, Holland. This is a Model engineering club very similar to ours. This we believe is a first for a Model Engineering Society. 

Locomotive List 1980-1990 
Most of the locomotive you have seen here are built by members in their spare time in their own workshops with some models taking between 5 to 7 years to complete (2000 Hrs+), using only raw steel, brass, iron castings & a lot of patience. 

Here are details of a few of the regular performers in no particular order:-

The Lancer 6155 Name : The Lancer
Wheel : 4-6-0
Gauge : 7¼" Gauge
Scale : 1½" to 1ft
Class : Royal Scot
Origin : L. M. S
Number : 6155
Built : 1945
Owner : Ian Proctor

Douglas Name : Douglas
Wheel : 4-4-0
Gauge : 7¼"
Scale : 5¼" to 1 Meter
Class : NG16
Origin : South African
Number :
Built : 1983
Owner : Tom Snoxell

loco romulus's Name(s) : Tom Snoxell, and River Rythe
Wheel : 0-4-0
Gauge : 7¼"
Scale : Approx 3" to 1ft Scale
Class : Romulus
Origin : Based on North Wales quarry loco
Built : 1986 P.Flood
Owner : Malden DSME

loc electric No.2 Name : Western Warrior
Wheel :BO - BO (2 x 0-4-0)
Gauge : 7¼
Scale : As big as practical
Class : Electric - 24vDC
Origin : Freelance works locomotive
Built : 1982
Owner : Mark Adlington

loc susie-m Name : Susie M
Wheel 0-4-0
Gauge : 7¼"
Scale : 3¼" to 1ft
Class : Quarry Class
Origin : Hunslet Locomotive Company
Built : 1990
Owner : Mark Adlington

2007 07 Minx with Willam driving Name : Minx
Wheel : 0-6-0
Gauge : 5"
Scale : 1.0625" to 1ft
Class : Freelance
Origin : Southern
Builder: Ted Marks
Owner : MDSME

looc GWR Name : (unnamed)
Wheel : 2-6-2
Gauge : 5"
Scale : 1.0625" to 1ft
Class : 45xx
Origin : G.W.R.
Built : 1972
Owner : Ken Parker

club loco Name : SR L1
Wheel : 4-4-0
Gauge : 5"
Scale : 1.0625" to 1ft
Class : L1
Origin : G.W.R.
Built : 19xx
Owner : Malden DSME

This is the first club locomotive constructed in 10 days at the Model Engineering Exhibition.

Club Meetings.
The society has its club night on a Friday evening from 8 - 10pm, films & talks are arranged during the winter season, along with maintenance work at the weekend. Membership is open to anybody over the age of 12 years, details are available from the ticket office on track days, or at the Friday night meetings. 
Location of Club.
If you are travelling by train towards Waterloo, between Esher and Surbiton there is a flyover junction called Hampton Court Junction where the Hampton Court lines and the Guildford 'New Line' merge into the mainline. If you look out of the left hand side of the train facing Waterloo you can see about 50% of the Society's ground, with the 3½ & 5" gauge elevated track being the most prominent feature along with Angel Road Signal box. 
Nearest BR Station Thames Ditton - about 15 minutes walk. 
Nearest mainline BR station is Surbiton about 2 miles, a Taxi ride away.

The nearest main road is the A307 Esher to Kingston road, Claygate Lane is situated 2½ miles south of Kingston town centre on the left travelling towards Esher. The nearest landmark is 'Giggs Hill Green' which is green open space / cricket field on the right had side just before Claygate Lane joins the A307.

We hope you have enjoyed your visit to our miniature railway and look forward to seeing you again soon. 

DECEMBER 1977 - 2006 Copyright ©
DECEMBER 2006 Photos & Photo Links added - Copyright ©
October 2011 Minor admenments & Photos - Copyright ©
October 2013 Minor admenments & Photos - Copyright ©
Mark Adlington Malden and District Society of Model Engineers Ltd.
Copyright © , Mark Adlington. 
Malden and District Society of Model Engineers Ltd. Committee member.