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.

His articles in RM about his Buckingham Branch introduced me to the concept of realistic working, and in a credible setting.

My approach was similar. I created the market town of Hintock Redux, Dorset. Then it naturally followed  what would be the nature of the branch that served it, the types of passenger and goods services, and the from and where to. Next, I considered the geography, history and period. My knowledge and imagination also played a part.

As important are the remembrances of times past, of when a boy in Dorset I spent summer days happily watching GWR Prairies and Panniers hauling trains of brown and cream coaches or busily shunting.  Equally appealing to my eye were SR O2’s and passenger trains of ex L&SWR gated stock. Its a little of that I sought to realize in creating Hintock. Perhaps, it was those very happy days as a child that lies behind it all, my desire to model railways, and create Hintock in particular. With Hintock Branch imagined and built, I consider my goals fulfilled.


My attitude is that Hintock should look ‘right’. I am not overly concerned with detail or precise scale  but I am disciplined and structured in my approach to ensure that nothing out of place is apparent. All must be of a piece and each element coalesce to form a pleasing whole. Here in my imagination Hintock is seen on a Dorset summer’s day with appropriate locos and stock to the period and in its sylvan location. One fellow modeler has described the scene(s) on Hintock as ‘…serene and leisurely…’ , others have commented on the atmosphere of place and space. And if I’ve captured those aspects then I am content.

Even so the creation of an aesthetically pleasing, realistic rendering of Hintock  is not enough for me. There is another dimension;  and that is if the layout does not run well or perform as intended it is no fun at all.  Rather than being a joy to see it come to life a poorly running model railway is a joyless thing. And only serves to remind its owner  something is wrong and that needs attention. (My rule in that event is to fix it straightaway.) As remarked elsewhere on the site, Hintock runs very well because of the care I take to get it, and thus I find, fun and pleasurable to operate.


  1. Peter Bleasdale says

    Hello john,
    I very much enjoyed reading about the Hintock Branch in Railway Modeller and could not decide what attracted me to it so much until you mentioned the late Peter Denny, then the clouds lifted and all was revealed! I was always fascinated by the ‘Buckingham Branch’ in all it’s guises and this layout more than any other inspired me to do better in my modelling. You have captured this feeling of accurate simplicity, with a very real presence of the actual railway scene of yesteryear. The ‘virtual extension’ is pure wizardry. Thank you so much. Best regards, Peter.

    • Hello Peter,

      Kind words and that are appreciated. Yes, Peter Denny is the inspiration for Hintock and I am grateful to him for it and all the hours of pleasure it has given me, and now you.

      Hintock Town Quay turned out very well-and I like to think a little original. It was fun to create then build and now operate.

      Thank you for writing.

      My regards,


  2. Allen Grice says

    Hello John,
    As one who is an NER devotee, and would not normally give “another GWR branchline” a second glance, I have to confess to being utterly smitten with Hintock Redux and indeed its virtual extension. Their believeability and the quality and consistancy of your modelling caught my attention. As Peter Bleasdale wrote, the influence of Peter Denny shines through. Congratulations and keep up the good work.
    Very best wishes,

    • Hello Allen,

      Thank you, believe it or not I am also a devotee of the NER for its way of doing things and getting on with business in some very interesting places. But it’s a far cry from Hintock and Dorset.

      And I appreciate those kind words, Hintock Town Quay did turn out very well apart from being a little different and it gave me a great deal of satisfaction in creating it as well now in its operation. I liked too the manner Railway Modeller (in December) presented the article. I also am getting further satisfaction in thinking up new scenarios for more developments. Maybe in time the virtual branch will reach Port Bredy. That’s a tempting thought.

      I’m glad you can recognize the Peter Denny influence-he has been and still is a constant source of inspiration in the creation of my Hintock Branch. To him I owe a great deal.

      Again my thanks for getting in touch.

      Kind regards,


  3. Allen Grice says

    Hello again John,
    I have just reread your latest article in the RM Annual. The history is interesting, but the philosophy echoes the sentiment of John Emmerson’s short piece in the January edition of RM and strikes a chord. I was beginning to think that it was only me at variance with the “modern” experts; however, I now feel more comfortable and in good company.

    The new photographs are good and the layout has lost none of its magic.

    Best wishes of the season,


    • Hello (again) Allen,

      It was kind of you to write and thank you for those comments,I haven’t seen those of John Emmerson (living outside the UK I don’t take the RM regularly) but from your own I would guess we are writing along not dis-similar lines. It’s a philosophy I have developed through the years, seems to be liked by others as yourself and I get fun from it. And, as is said-if it works don’t fix it.

      I was pleased with the article, the photos in particular and the presentation by Steve Flint and his talented team. It was too something of a retrospect and a background to my modelling activities.

      There not done yet as ‘the Hintock story’ is not complete and the groundwork being laid for another chapter. Cold winter and hot summer weather conditions coupled with a change of circumstances encourage such activities. It is hoped to report progress in the pages of RM.

      Yes, as you recognize Hintock is a ‘magic’ place, it’s different to the everyday world and I’m so glad you along with others because of the wonders of the www, can participate and enjoy it as much as I do.

      With every good wish and sincerely,


  4. Ken sallaway says

    Hello John
    I enjoyed reading about your model railway in Railway Modler January 2018 (received from a friend)
    It’s a great credit on your behalf of achieving such a great layout, it goes to show age is not a problem in this wonderful hobby
    We had a soft for Devon Dorset countries when we were in the UK,
    When time permits I shal read more of your blogs keep up the great work.
    Regards Ken

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