Ffarquhar Mark II now at its new home in the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum in Wales
Ffarquhar Mark II in the Awdry Study of the NGRM in Talyllyn. With thanks to Chris White, Winston McCanna and Ron Whitaker
This photo and the two below © Martin Clutterbuck 2006

In 1965, the Reverend moved to Stroud. In 1967, he cut down his Ffarquhar I layout to create Ffarquhar Mark II.

In the January 1968 issue of Railway modeller, the Rev Awdry dicusses model railway plans for Ffarquhar that were only partly realised. Thanks to the publishers of Railway Modeller, it is now ONLINE.

Ffarquhar II in the Rev. Awdry's  study replica at the NGRM
Another view of Ffarquhar Mark II looking into the Awdry Study

Ffarquhar Mark II Fiddle Yard

In this form it was extensively exhibited at model railway exhibitions around the UK.

This layout has been restored by the efforts of the North-Western Area Group of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, and now resides in the Awdry Study of the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum.

It recentlly ran an Open Day on June 1, 2006 during the school half-term. By some planning (to avoid half-term rush) I arrived the week afterwards, in hindsight a mixed blessing! I was warmly welcomed to the museum by Attendent Ron Whitaker, and Trustee Winston McCanna related what I had missed. Luckily Secretary Chris White was there to capture the scenes:

NGRM Secretary Chris White's photos of Ffarquhar II

The fiddle yard.

The following pictures and text derive from the Thomas the Tank Engine Annual of 1979, with many thanks to Ryan Healy.

The Rev's other extant model railway, the Mid Sodor, can be viewed here.

The Railway Modeller of July 1961 descibes the history and construction of "Toby". The complete article is now ONLINE, thanks to the magazine's publishers.

It may be noted that the Reverend's own models do not have faces. The scale of the layout is best described as "finescale 00", the standard British 16.5mm gauge at a scale of 1:76 using finescale wheel and track profiles. Some engines are built from scratch, others are proprietary models adapted to various degrees, and various "spare" engines were built. It is a glimpse of "normal life" on the line without "mishaps"! At exhibitions Ffarquhar was run to a strict timetable, so without further ado...

Ffarquhar layour operations manual
...from the Ffarquhar branch manual...
Thomas and Daisy on the Ffarquhar Mark II layout
Thomas and Daisy at Ffarquhar.
"Sequence 1 begins when Thomas and Daisy come out of Shed at 6.30am for refuelling. Daisy goes to the oil depot, while Thomas leaves Annie & Clarabel on a siding and goes to the Locomotive depot for coal and water. The first train to arrive at Ffarquhar Station is brought by Toby who arrives up from Knapford at 7.20. He has come through the villages picking up Quarry workmen on the way. He also brings a milk van from Elsbridge Dairy to be loaded at Ffarquhar. Toby draws in to the platform, is uncoupled and shunts the van to the Milk dock. He then backs down to his coaches, pushing them back to the station throat, where he waits for permission to go along the quarry line."

"Daisy leaves the oil depot and comes to the platform. She picks up her passengers and is away to Elsbridge and Knapford at 7.40. Thomas collects his coaches, backs them down on the now loaded milk van, and is coupled. He then takes them to the platform, where his passengers are waiting. Promptly at 8.0am he is signalled away with his load of commuters."
Toby on the Ffarquhar Mark II layout
Toby emerges from the tunnel by the oil depot.

Thomas and Daisy on the Ffarquhar Mark II layout
(above) Mavis brings in the stone for Percy. Brake vans look familiar!
(below) Toby with Henrietta and Elsie, front view of Percy.
"At Elsbridge, which is the next station on the line, Thomas passes Percy, who is on his way up with a goods train. On his arrival at Ffarquhar, Percy loses no time in beginning his shunting, but he soon has to stop when Toby comes in with a train from the quarry. Once Toby has left, Percy can start again, and when he has put all his wagons in their proper places he retires to the Loco Depot for water, till at 9.30 Mavis comes out of the quarry line with wagons full of dressed stone. Mavis shunts them to the passenger platform, is uncoupled and scurries away to the quarry line again. Percy backs down on the wagons and is coupled. At 9.40 he is signalled away to Knapford harbour, where the stone is needed for the Fat Controller's Development Scheme."

Thomas and Daisy on the Ffarquhar Mark II layout
(above) Toby follows Thomas
"Thomas returns at 10.20. His next departure is not for another hour; so he leaves Annie and Clarabel at the platform and goes to the loco depot for water. Toby follows Thomas at 10.58; but since Annie and Clarabel are at the platform, Toby is signalled straight through along the quarry line -- passengers for Ffarquhar get out at the level crossing in town. At 11.30, Thomas, now refreshed, picks up one of the vans which Percy left at the Goods Depot and which is now loaded with meat. He shunts it to the platform where it is coupled on behind Clarabel. Thomas is signalled away at 11.48, and once he has disappeared into the tunnel the first part of the timetable has come to an end."

"Well, that's the sort of thing we do. It would take too long to tell you about the other sequences. Perhaps one day you will see us at an exhibition, and then you can see them for yourself. Now I must tell you something about my models.

"I bought THOMAS in 1948 when I was writing "Tank Engine Thomas Again", and wanted to start modelling once more after a lapse of some twenty years. Thomas was one of Stewart Reidpath's standard models with a heavy, cast whitemetal body, and was fitted with his "Essar" chassis and motor. Stewart Reidpath is now dead, and his motors, let alone spare parts for them, have been unobtainable for years; but Thomas still keeps going! He is, as you might expect from his age, a temperamental old gentleman, and has to be driven very carefully indeed.

"I built PERCY in 1949 (the year I wrote "Troublesome Engines" - the book in which Percy first appears), and I soldered him together out of brass and other parts cut and filed to shape. I wanted another engine - Thomas was then the only one I had - and I also wanted a model of Percy to help our then artist draw his pictures; but the artist didn't pay much attention, so my Percy -- the proper one -- looks different from the Percy in the books. Stewart Reidpath made a chassis for me and fitted it with one of his motors, so Percy is sometimes as temperamental as Thomas, and for the same reason. He will run and shunt beautifully for weeks on end and the suddenly, and for no apparent reason, decide to be 'Awkward'. This can be exasperating, especially at exhibitions. He did this at Nottingham Exhibition 1978, and the only thing to do then was to use my 'Spare Percy' which I had made for just such an emergency.

"To make 'Spare Percy' I cut out the boiler and side tanks from a Triang 'Nellie' and filled the resulting space between cap and smokebox with a section of saddletank cut from an Airfix kit. The outside cylinders came from another Airfix kit, and were cemented to 'Nellie's' metal frames with with Evostick. I fitted scale wheels in place of 'Nellie's' rather clumsy ones, and filled up the body with plasticine. The good wheels and extra weight has made 'Spare Percy' into a smooth running engine almost as good as the real Percy in his best moments."

Ffarquhar II Layout plan
"DUCK was bought as a spare engine in 1949. I had promised to show the railway at a Fete, and I wanted to be ready for emergencies. He is a Great Western pannier tank engine made by Gaiety Models, a firm long since extinct. When we first tried him out, his wheels were not quite round. This gave him a waddling gait. My children promptly christened him 'Duck', and Duck he has remained ever since, even though he now has scale wheels and runs steadily. My children kept asking for stories about him, but it was not till I wrote "Percy the Small Engine" (1956) that he made his first appearance in a book.

"I built TOBY from thin plywood and card in 1953 after the book about him had come out. His frame is of brass pieces measured out, cut to shape and soldered together. His cowcatchers are made from household pins. He is mounted on a Romford motor bogie and in the general way he works well too. But he also is getting old, so I always take along a 'Spare Toby' made from a K's kit in case of emergency."

"DAISY was built while I was writing "Branch Line Engines". She was very easy to make. I bought a Triang twin-car diesel set, and all I had to do then was to cut off the driver's end from the trailer car and cement it to the square end of the power car. I fitted scale wheels to the power and trailing bogies and that was that. Daisy is a good reliable performer, and has given little trouble in her 14/15 years."

"MAVIS came a year later than Daisy, though she didn't get into a book till 1976 [sic - actually 1972]! She was easy to make too. Her body is built up from the Airfix kit, and to make her 'go' I fitted her with a K's motor bogie. Her body is stuffed with lead and plasticine, and the extra weight makes her powerful and smooth running."

"Of my coaches ANNIE is the real 'antique'. She is 50 plus years old. I built her in 1927, when I was still at school, for a model line which my brother and I then had. I left school in 1929, and could do no more modelling till 1948. I then needed two coaches for my model Thomas. I built another coach to match, called them Annie and Clarabel, and Thomas had his train."

"Toby's coaches are HENRIETTA and ELSIE. Henrietta is a model of one of the four wheeled tram coaches which used to run between Wisbech and Upwell. I got drawings of her at the same time as I got them for Toby, but she looked too difficult for me to tackle, so I had her professionally made. She was ready and in service before I had finished building Toby. Once I had finished Toby I started on Elsie. She was a small four-wheeled luggage van also from the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway. She was quite straightforward to build from wood and card once I had made a scale drawing of her. She entered service in 1953."

"The goods stock had nothing very special about it. We have four covered vans. These are a six-wheeled milk van, a cattle van, one refrigerated van, and one ordinary box van. There are five open wagons. Two of these for coal and coke were made and painted for me by friends, and the other three are low sided wagons for stone traffic, built from Peco kits. The oil tank wagon I made myself using Triang, Hornby and Airfix parts. The two brake vans - one for ordinary goods, and one for stone traffic - are Graham Farish and Triang respectively, but altered to suit myself. I doubt if their makers would recognise either of them now!"

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Who is this Main Line interloper? Does his name begin with "J"?
James on the Ffarquhar Mark II layout?
Oliver on the Ffarquhar layout Saved from Scrap: Oliver and his coaches find themselves on the wrong branchline!
Stepney the Bluebell Engine returns to familiar surroundings.
Stepney the Bluebell Engine visits the Ffarquhar Layout.