The NWR donated scenery to the classic Ffarquhar Mark Ia, a 6’ by 4’ portable layout created by the Rev W Awdry in Emneth, starting in 1955:

The end -- Ffarquhar buffer stops. Photo in Railway Modeller December 1959
Ffarquhar Buffer Stops
Photo above and below used with permission © Railway Modeller 2008
The Three Beetles. Note the bowling match and stalled car.
From RM Dec ‘59. This general area was the scene for the Reverend's story "The Little People" serialised in the Church of England Newspaper in early 1960. Here is a 2 Mb "PDF of the story, culled from the British Newspaper Library in Colindale, to whom many thanks.

Ffarquar Mk Ib

Mainly a replacement of cardboard buildings with more realistic-looking plastic in leading up to 1967 when it was dismantled to form Ffarquhar II and the Mid Sodor Railway as described below. All text in italics by the Rev W Awdry. From leaves in the model railway scrapbook at the Awdry Study in the NGRM, Tywyn, Wales. With many thanks to Chris White, Winston McCanna and Ron Whitaker.

Ffarquhar I, July 1967

This photo - (FMI), though it shows no trains, gives a good general picture of Ffarquhar I Scenic development by 1967. The many items (?) were used in other layouts.



TREES & FENLAND used in Ulfstead Road & FFII Signals went also to FFII together with lever for our CONTROL SYSTEM turned into "wait man"(?) system in FFII and "Tunnel" system on Ulfstead Rd.

VEHICLES and livestock & persons likewise.

Nov. 1967. Ffarquhar I at Gloucester M.R.C. Exhibition.
Thomas, Annie & Clarabel rounding Hackenbeck Curve. Note "Sawyer's Thatch" (lower left) was added for M.R.C. /65
Hackenbeck Curve
Nov. 1967. GRMC Exhibition. The last time FqI was shown at an exhibition. Daisy at platform.
ffarquhar MarkI Nov. 1967

Ffarquhar I 1965
Photo: Michael Snape
Photo taken early in 1965. Showing much of the final scenic development of Ffarquhar I. Compare with the Winfield Chislet photo from much the same angle in 1959. Note: (1) New Station building 1960 from Airfix Church. (2) Neetly's Villa, now Airfix instead of Bilteezi (3) (Front left) Sawyer’s Thatch (Airfix) replaced clumps of trees.

By 1965 the Reverend had moved to Stroud and in 1967, he cut down his branchline to a simpler layout known as Ffarquhar Mark II.

Thanks to the publishers of Railway Modeller, the following articles written for RM by the Rev. Awdry are now online: Ffarquhar I from the December 1959 issue and an article from January 1968 in which the Rev Awdry dicusses model railway plans that were only partly realised.

In the September, 1995 issue of Model Railway Enthusiast, Chris Ellis firmly commends the Ffarquhar I track plan as allowing for prototypical branch-line operation in a conventional OO/HO trainset oval.