Didcot ‘A’ Power Station
The club has recently (Dec 2018) become custodians of the excellent modern image N-gauge layout based on the merry-go-round coal loops of Didcot ‘A’ Power Station. The builders Tony Musgrave, Roly Hamblin, and Derrick Mortimore, have dedicated the layout to the people of Didcot, and to those who tragically lost their lives in February 2016 during the demolition of Didcot A.
ADMRC will maintain and exhibit the layout for the immediate future, before it eventually retires to a permanent exhibit at Didcot Railway Centre. The plan is to have the layout set-up permanently in our club rooms for members interested in N-gauge to use. It will be disassembled for exhibition displays, hopefully a few times per year. Leicester Belgrave Road works in a similar way for the OO-gauge fraternity.
Didcot ‘A’ Power Station is available for exhibitions. We have prepared a set of information for Exhibition Managers. Please contact the club if you are interested in having the layout at your exhibition.
The layout was built by Tony Musgrave and fellow builders Roly Hamblin and Derrick Mortimore to represent the famous Oxfordshire landmark of Didcot ‘A’ coal fired power station, and it’s near-continuous supply of rail delivered coal (according to a club member who is a signaller at Didcot, this was up-to 20 trains per day at peak times!). The layout shows the merry-go-round tracks for the coal trains, and the near-by Great Western mainline. Inside the merry-go-round loops are the impressive structures of the power station itself, featuring cameos from the station’s history. To add to it all, a smoke generator gives ‘real’ steaming cooling towers and chimneys — though it doesn’t set of the fire alarms!
The layout was withdrawn from the exhibition circuit in early 2016, following the collapse of the generator hall, which tragically claimed the lives of four men working on its demolition. Tony and his team have now dedicated the layout to their memory, and to the people of Didcot. ADMRC and Didcot Railway Centre will act as joint guardians. The layout will eventually take its place as part of a permanent exhibit at the railway centre, until then it will reside at the ADMRC clubrooms from where it will be available for exhibitions as required.
The layout has always been popular at exhibitions, particularly with those famous catchphrases by Tony…..“What do you know about Didcot Power Station” and “Let me give you a 3 minute history” followed by tales of “Arthurs Pit”(the Miners Strike) or the Greenpeace invasion and their campsite on the top of the chimney. We hope that it can be enjoyed again under ADMRC’s stewardship, though probably without the catchphrases! Despite this, it is a very impressive layout and sure to be popular. Indeed, on it’s return to exhibition at Warley in November 2018, the layout won ‘Best Modern Image Layout’ – quite an accolade!