Coleford is based on a real railway in the Forest of Dean, with history having been warped a little to suit a "narrow" (gauge) mind. The railway from Coleford to Monmouth had its origins as a 3' 6"gauge plateway, the Monmouth Tramway carrying coal, clay and lime to the river Wye at Monmouth. But it's been reinvented as a 2' gauge railway serving a quarry, gold processing and a chocolate factory. You'll have to ask for the history!

I wanted to design something that was portable and not large. At the same time, I wanted something that was interesting to operate. I have always been a fan of unusual trackwork. On Coleford, there are two different types of track; stone based chairs, and longitudinal sleepers. I used and abused commercially available track to construct these.


The locos and stock are a mixture of bought, kit built and scratchbuilt, including some very unusual locos. Some of the stock is quite unusual too - look out for the chocolate waggons.

The scene shows the railway is a fairly run down state in the depths of winter. So there are lots of bare trees and all the people look miserable!.

The layout featured in the May 2013 edition of the Railway Modeller and the Decembber 2018 of Model Rail.


The layout won the David Lloyd Memorial Trophy at ExpoNG in 2018 (photo by Andrew Burnham).

John has also written a book on his experiences building his layout and you find find details here.

A video of Coleford can be viewed on the 009 Society YouTube channel here

To see full size pictures click here to go to the photobucket album for Coleford.

Coleford is scheduled to appear at the following exhibitions:

Sun 15 Aug Farnham Farnham MRC

If you are interested in having Coleford at your exhibition then here is some useful information for exhibition managers. To contact me please use the contact box at the top of the screen.

Name Coleford
Gauge 9mm
Scale 4mm to 1 foot (009 Narrow Gauge)
Shape 14ft x 6ft, includes access at side and operator spaces at rear
Insurance £3,000
Power 1 x 13amp socket
Expenses Cost of petrol (plus overnight if appropriate)
Location Oxford
Operators 2

Full details for exhibition managers can be downloaded here

Exhibitions already attended

In original small format

  1. Narrow Gauge South 2010
  2. Kenavon Railway Society, Reading, 2011
  3. Beds and Bucks Open Day, 2012
  4. Oxfordshire Narrow Gauge Modellers, 2012
  5. Didcot Rail, 2013
  6. OO9 Society Convention (Sunday), 2013
  7. Expo Narrow Gauge, Swanley, 2013
  8. Oxfordshire Narrow Gauge Modellers, 2014
  9. Leighton Buzzards NG Railway, 2014
  10. The Chatham Show, 2015
  11. Beaconsfield, 2015
  12. Weston-Super-Mare, 2015
  13. Calne, 2016
  14. Leamington Spa, 2016
  15. Newbury, 2016

In new extended format

  1. Abrail, 2016
  2. Beacon-Rail, 2016
  3. Wallingford, 2016
  4. Pontypridd, 2016
  5. Faversham, 2016
  6. Cotswold Model Railway Show, 2016
  7. Whitewebbs, Enfield, 2016
  8. Wycrail, High Wycombe, 2016
  9. Letchworth, 2016
  10. Astolat MRC, Guildford, 2017
  11. Milton Keynes, 2017
  12. Narrow Gauge South West 2017
  13. Modrail, Swindon, 2017
  14. SWING, Bognor Regis, 2017
  15. Basildon, 2017
  16. Lydney, 2017
  17. Narrow Gauge Tewkesbury, 2017
  18. Oxford, 2017
  19. Royston, 2017
  20. Maidenhead, 2018
  21. Kenavon, 2018
  22. NG North, 2018
  23. Beds & Bucks Open Day, May 2018
  24. Amberley Museum, Jul 2018
  25. Walton-on-Thames, Sep 2018
  26. Wing, Oct 2018
  27. Oxford, Oct 2018
  28. Swanley, Oct 2018
  29. Bognor Regis, Jan 2019
  30. Lancing, Feb 2019
  31. Norfolk 009 Group, Mar 2019
  32. East Grinstead, Mar 2019
  33. Welwyn, Apr 2019
  34. Romford, Apr 2019
  35. Stow on the Wold, May 2019
  36. Chelmesford, Oct 2019
  37. Erith, Jan 2020
  38. Yate, Feb 2020
  39. Oxford (virtual), Oct 2020