Welcome to the Hintock Branch

DSCN3054 Welcome to Hintock Branch I conceived and built my Hintock Branch model railway so I could operate a joint Great Western Railway and Southern Railway branch set in Dorset. And on it to run trains representing everyday workings.

This is the story; why, where, when and how. It goes a long way back, and starts with the late Peter Denny. [Continue Reading…]

The Layout Part One – The Creation of Hintock

3300 Creation of Hintock

3300 The LHS of Hintock, looking towards Port Bredy.

In the creation of Hintock, my general philosophy is theatrical performance: in this case ‘Trains at Hintock’. The baseboard is the stage, the trains the cast, the fiddle yard the wings, the operations the story line, the impresario who made it all happen the layout’s builder, and the audience the viewer. Exactitude is unimportant. All I seek to achieve is a representation. You could say the layout builder is putting on a show. This is mine. [Continue Reading…]

The Layout Part Two – The Setting for Hintock

DSCN3433 Setting for Hintock

3433 SR local passenger train from Yeovil runs into Hintock passing Hintock Dairies.

The setting for Hintock: The period is the 1930’s, the time a beautiful English summer’s day. All is tranquil at Hintock and in the Vale of Hintock, Dorset.

Hintock Redux, though more commonly known as Hintock, is a market town in the Vale that is bounded to the north by the Dorset Downs, to the south the English Channel, east is Dorchester and the west, Devon. [Continue Reading…]

The Layout Part Three – Hintock Track Plan


The Hintock track plan is simple and prototypical and developed so as to be attractively scenic and practical. [Continue Reading…]

The Layout Part Four – Hintock Up and Running

JF 116 Hintock Up and Running

JF 116 The LH end.

Hintock up and running presents a neat and pleasing, finished workmanlike appearance. It has presence. These pictures illustrate those so desirable features. Expressing my pleasure in a vision realized, Hintock occupies a length of wall in my home office. It is something I am proud of.

Below are bookshelves and there is no loss of space or in convenience. It makes an attractive feature. [Continue Reading…]

Construction Part One – Open Frames and Baseboards

65/425 open frames and baseboards, LH end of frame work and support with back scene.

65/425 Inner member of open frame screwed to wall and supported, and back scene.

Without a firm foundation nothing can be built. In his section I show how I set about constructing one for Hintock. First covered is the constructing the open frames and baseboard, then the basic superstructure.

As this is a semi-permanent layout I could use a structure secured to the walls to support the baseboard and as the house is of framed timber construction this was easy enough, More so as the layout is in my home office I wanted it to look tidy and to have access to the book shelves below. [Continue Reading…]

Construction Part Two – Baseboard Superstructure

SYd 081Base Board Superstructure Early days in building adding Sheepcroft Yard, the curve laid in (two Peco curved points), three sidings and loading bank. The back scene and retaining wall with its building was put in first.

SYd 081 Early days in adding Sheepcroft Yard.

With a firm foundation established, it is time to work on the baseboard superstructure, the broad outlines of Hintock. My techniques are best illustrated in in the building of Sheepcroft Yard in Phase 2, and its extension to enable the addition of the HFTS warehouse. At the same time I improved the Staging Yard. These works and images illustrate my methods. What they amounted to was a widening, the laying of track, altering the back scene and new scenery. [Continue Reading…]

Construction Part Three – Scratch Building Model Railways

006 (8) scratch building model railways

One of the many scratch built buildings on Hintock Branch.

Scratch building model railways, buildings, provides me both pleasure and satisfaction. Not locos, goods wagons or coaches, the current r-t-r are more than good enough for me, but buildings. For more than 50 years or so, this has been my pleasure, a long lived one. In fact there are on the current layout 34 or so of my scratch-built efforts with some dating back to the late 1960’s. They are long lived.

The materials I have always used, and seen no need to change, are good quality card and obechi stripwood secured with white glue. [Continue Reading…]

Construction Part Four – Model Railroad Kit Bashing – Improving the Ratio Signal Box Kit 503

au-2309 Model Railroad Kit Bashing

au-2309 Completed Signal Box sitting on its sub-baseboard that will be secured by a small nut and bolt.

Model railroad kit bashing is taking a standard building kit, like the Ratio Signal Box Kit 503 here, and improving it by custom modification. I use this kit bashing technique In addition to scratch building to provide buildings for my layouts, including Hintock. I improved the Ratio Signal Box by the addition of a characteristic lobby. Out of the box it is fair enough, but much enhanced by this use of the imagination and ingenuity. The following images illustrate what I did, those familiar with the kit will readily observe what alterations and additions were done, so commentary appears unnecessary. For others they will act as a guide. It is worth doing. [Continue Reading…]

Operating Part One – The Staging Yard for the Operation of the Hintock Branch

3200 Hintock's Staging Yard, a traditional ladder system for seven trains

3200 Hintock’s Staging Yard, a traditional ladder system for seven trains

Hintock’s Staging Yard is an essential components in the operation of the Branch. There are several variations in its form and  either a traverser or cassettes could have been used. I have had experience of both, but adopted for Hintock the traditional ladder format. With it and within a length of about 54” and a width of 18” I have seven roads of varying length. And, with a road allocated to each, can operate seven individual trains. [Continue Reading…]

Operating Part Two – Operating a Model Railway, Actions & Events

Syd 125. Operating a model railway. Prairie with horse box behind passes inner home signal and brings a local passenger train past Sheepcroft Yard into Hintock Redux. The horse box is destined for the Bay

Syd 125. Prairie with horse box behind passes inner home signal and brings a local passenger train past Sheepcroft Yard into Hintock Redux. The horse box is destined for the Bay

Operating a model railway is what I most enjoy. That is the actions that take place and the events leading to them. Most are straightforward and prototypical, nonetheless they still need to be done, as in the real world of railways, effectively, efficiently and in a timely manner. And there is quite an art in achieving that.  It is also most importantly fun. [Continue Reading…]

Operating Part Three – Random and Systematic Train Make Up and Shunting

JF 171 Shunting a model railway, John Hampton's coal siding

JF-171 Shunting John Hampton’s coal siding

Operating or shunting a model railway is the best part of building and owning one. My shunting is random and systematic, not as you please.

For it I use order and method applied in a random and systematic manner. No, it’s not a contradiction in terms. (My methods are featured in a comprehensive article in RM 9/2013.)

The number of wagons in a train is random and whilst the Staging Yard roads will accommodate more than Loco+8 wagons and brake van I restrict them to that. Anymore seem out of keeping with the general theme of the layout. [Continue Reading…]

Operating Part Four – Model Railway Tips and Tricks

Everyone who owns a layout has particular technique that they think work well, here are my model railway tips and tricks. To all my goods stock I have added extra weight. They run readily enough as bought, but UK r-t-r stock as excellent as it is, I find far too light. It needs more ‘heft’. For this I add ¼ oz or 7 gm weights. These I can get readily from a hobby shop in Montana. [Continue Reading…]

Traffic & Trains Part One – Hintock Traffic Flow with Diagram

3329 Model Raiway Traffic Flow on Hintock Branch

3329 Afternoon passenger train with the ‘Grimbsy fish’ van attached arrives in the platform at Hintock whilst in the loop a goods train waits to depart. In the background is the Crown Prince Brewery.

Model railway traffic flow on the Hintock Branch makes the layout interesting and provides the scope for its operation; without it there would be no sense of purpose in the running of trains. This section describes it in some detail. Again as much as anything it requires some careful thought and use of the imagination.

Situated where it is, Hintock acts as the focal point for the inward and outward passenger and goods traffic to the Vale. It is busy because the railways were a common carrier and it was the primary mover in the 1930’s. (That is before the motor lorry and private car supplanted it.) [Continue Reading…]

Traffic & Trains Part Two – Model Railway Freight Operation

3576 Model railway frieght operation

3576 To the left is Hintock Dairies creamery and to it the arriving mixed train is bringing empty milk tanks. In the background are the ‘East’ sidings.

Building trains to move from one place to another is a key part of model railway freight operation. Hintock present many opportunities with milk and dairy products from Hintock Dairies providing traffic. Milk is collected all around Hintock for processing at the Dairy and dispatch by rail in milk tanks to London (by the SR), and to the Midlands (by the GWR.) It also dispatches butter, dried and powdered milk in fitted ventilated vans. This requires one train every day with tanks and vans that run alternately to Vauxhall, London or Wolverhampton. The Up train collects further milk in churns from intervening stations. [Continue Reading…]

Hintock Town Quay – Imagination Implemented

Hintock Town Quay Thumbnail

Hintock Town Quay showing Wrights Woolen Mill

One thing leads to another is a very true saying. From the new bridge at Hintock, subject of a recent Blog post, Hintock Town Quay has come. I was well pleased with that bridge and the promise of what might lie beyond. Now I have it. My initial difficulty was that Hintock could not be extended physically. [Continue Reading…]

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The Magic of Hintock

The Magic of Hintock Setting - Easton, Portland

Easton has changed little since John walked here as a boy – 80 odd years ago.

Hintock first caught my eye when I picked up the 2016 Railway Modeller Annual. As I turned the pages, I was drawn to John’s branch line, which evokes that special spirit of joint working between the GWR and the SR in the 1930’s. Hintock proved to be the real thing – an enchanting creation, forever Dorset, yet far away in Utah in the USA, where John has lived for the last twenty five years. [Continue Reading…]

Hintock References and Articles

JF 093

JF 093

Hintock References and Articles: One of the reasons for the success of the Hintock Branch is its credibility. That is because it has a solid background of fact. That I know Dorset is a distinct advantage but I found also useful books about its railways. This section gives details of those and which I have found helpful, The Hintock Branch has also been featured in the model railway press and reference to those articles are also given. [Continue Reading…]