On the right lines to hobby heaven

Simon Drahony, pictured with part of the model railway layout he built himself.'Staff photograph
Simon Drahony, pictured with part of the model railway layout he built himself.'Staff photograph

A MONTROSE model train enthusiast has realised a boyhood dream by building his own railway layout from scratch.

Hundreds of hours of work over the last 12 years has turned Simon Drahony’s spare bedroom into a miniaturised world of fields and streets, cars and people of incredible detail which also features an airfield and its own castle.

Built around two ‘OO’ gauge tracks, the layout depicts scenes focusing on the period from the 1950s through to the 1970s and Simon has taken great care to make sure details are correct, especially among the vehicles and the tiny figures, all of which are painstakingly hand-painted.

He has always had an interest in drawing and painting and said he felt that it was the perfect project for his love of trains and his artistic leanings.

He said: “I’ve been working on it since about 2000 and have built it from the floor up. It’s a boyhood ambition. I’d always wanted to do this but my parents never had the money to let me indulge myself. It’s something I’ve always kept with me and just decided to start. I spend about three or four hours a day at it, mainly on my days off and when I’m not up to anything else.

“I chose that period because I’ve steam and diesel engines and there was a crossover then where you still got both.

“Some of it is made out of kits and some is ‘scratch built’, like a few of the buildings. I buy paper patterned with brickwork or whatever, make the feature myself and then cover it.”

Although painting the tiny figures is time-consuming, with Simon saying he can perhaps paint three in an evening, the feature which took the longest to complete was the castle which is perched on a hill behind the model town.

He said: “The castle probably took the most time, because I just starting building it out of my own head and it just took off.

“I’ve no idea how much time I’ve put into it over the years and I’ve no real idea how much I’ve spent, but it’ll be up in four figures.”

With most of the model now complete Simon is concentrating on adding more fine detail and he thinks there will be another three months’ work before he gets it the way he wants it.

He added: “I still have trees, fences and lamp posts to add and I still have hundreds of figures to put in. It just suddenly all came together this year but I’ll probably always be increasing the population and adding more vehicles to make it look busy.

“I’m also currently on the lookout for a proper period bus, which I’m having trouble finding. But once I finish it I’ll probably start another one although it’ll be a bit smaller.

“I was thinking of doing one around a bigger N gauge track, maybe about a foot wide by six feet long, so it would be ‘end to end’ rather than a circuit.”

He added: “It’s at its most satisfying when it’s all running smoothly and working properly. To me that’s the ultimate and what it’s all about.”