Ecclesford. OO gauge – shortly reborn as Hellifield

Ecclesford was retired recently  in order for a major rebuild to take place… enabling us to lighten & remodel it, so it is easier to store/transport… and will have a new lease of life as a modern image layout based on Hellifield in OO gauge

The layout has now been raised down to bare boards and work is ongoing to make a new OO gauge..

The following is from the old Ecclesford details ….

Half of the exhibition visitors are enthusiastic modellers, to whom the accuracy of every detail about a layout is important, especially the epoch, the correct running stock for that period and an authentic timetable of train movements. To these visitors, we apologize as Ecclesford is mostly fictitious…

For the other 50%, the children, grandparents etc, who come to be amazed at the models….well they just want to see trains…lots of them,  and lots of little details to marvel at, lights, signs, cars, buildings, shops etc etc

We therefore set out to make a layout that tries to have something for everybody….

Firstly, it ticks all the boxes by being a trainset any child would want to have….It’s got lots of tracks, trains going in all directions, easy to run….Upon which we run all bright modern liveries….together. Ok, so thats not true to life running, but it sure keeps everybody watching instead of waiting 10 minutes for the next one. It was built for rigidity, so that kids can hang off the perspex, get close to the action. It was built for reliability and ease of assembly/disassembly so that it will always work….

Second, we modelled real buildings around Pendle, Nelson, Burnley etc along with typical structures you see around our region…..bridges, canals, viaducts etc. We then add the extra interactive buttons for kids to press, to light up bus lights…animate trackside workers etc. We also run a quiz, getting people to hunt for interesting objects on the layout…. we stand outside the layout and talk to the public !  We occasionally invite them inside to actually run the trains.. Anything really to help promote our hobby to another generation of kids…..maybe a percentage of whom will go away excited and maybe eventually get involved in a new hobby

The layout has proved extremely popular at exhibitions and is frequently voted ‘Best in Show’ by the general public. It was awarded the ‘Mayors Trophy’ at Woking 2006) & at Warley (2012). Also sat Warley it was awarded the Hornby award for Best Modern Image layout in any scale’. More recently, it won best layout by both Public & judges vote at Kendal 2017.

Ecclesford is no longer available for exhibition managers to book any more..

We need a team of 5 to move and run the layout. It takes 2 hours to fully erect and an hour to dismantle…However, we won’t usually bring this to a 1 day show due to the work involved.

Above an hour away from home (around 60 miles) we require accommodation for the club members and ideally secure storage for the club trailer.

Write-up copy below…

The layout is 20′ x 9′ and has 3 sided viewing with much to see. It is a modern image OO gauge layout, depicting typical Northern UK landscapes & architectures. Although fictitious, many of the buildings are based on real ones in/around Nelson & Burnley. 4 operators are required to run it, plus we usually have extra club members standing outside the layout pointing out interesting things to see & do. We always try to involve the spectator as far as possible and like to chat, plus there are 2 areas of buttons where you can get interactive yourself…pushing buttons to make small animations come to life.
The layout has been to many shows around the UK, France & Germany, and won many awards for best in show etc.
You will always see a vast array of modern liveried stock, something that the crowds love, and we run an enthusiastic service rather than having a ‘real timetable’ approach…. which means there’s always something moving.
The layout is DC rather than DCC, with our own built control boxes (see image below) and logic cards, controlling the signals, points etc.

Ecclesford is a typical but fictional North West town in the period from 1990 to the present day. Originally built as a junction station, the station was altered when the junction disappeared and the former branch line track bed is now used by a narrow gauge tourist line. The main line meantime sees a good deal of action featuring the colourful liveries of modern trains.
The buildings are mostly based on local structures – the main station building is based on the Greyhound Hotel in Brierfield, the large office block is based on a similar building in Burnley and the block with the HiFi shop  exists in Nelson! Most are fitted with internal lighting – in addition we have street lamps, working crossing barriers, operating roller shutter doors and many animated scenes including a children’s playground, a trackside working party and some rather spooky activities in the church crypt – and if you tire of seeing the trains you could always wander along the main street and watch the working half inch televisions –


Ecclesford wins best in show @ Kendal