Andrew Gilbert ALCM (TD), DipLCM
Music Teacher, Organist and Computer Specialist

Gallery: Model Railways

For several years I helped to design and build an OO gauge model railway layout with one of my longest-standing music students, Bill Gray. What started off as a very simple project soon mushroomed into something much bigger, a very complex, three level layout with over a dozen diesel and steam locomotives, and goodness knows how many pieces of rolling stock, not to mention fully motorised points and signals throughout. We built a town and countryside layour, complete with fields, animals, streets and houses, factories, offices, shops, a bank, a garage, two churches (complete with weddings!) and even a school. There was street lighting on every road, illumination in all of the buildings, and many scale vehicles and figures. We had a lot of fun, starting as complete beginners and learning to do things along the way, ending up with a layout that was equal in standard to many that I’ve come across in model railway exhibitions. Being a master carpenter and woodworker, Bill took care of the scenery, painting and detailing while I dealt with the track design and layout, plus all the electrics. As for actually 'playing' with the railway, well that was Bill's pastime more than mine, but I honestly think the most enjoyment came from building it, and solving the many problems it threw at us along the way!

Bill was as passionate about his model trains as he was about his music (and that was very passionate as he had lessons with me for 22 years and gradually moved up from a small organ to a superb top of the line Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum). He even had a proper spiral staircase installed so that access to the loft would not require us to clamber up and down a ladder!

Sadly, Bill passed away in April 2015 after a short fight with cancer. Ironically, the last time I saw him was when we had finished painting and lighting the final building in the 'industrial park' part of the layout and I’d completed all the wiring for the very last section of track. He was excitedly looking forward to finally completing the layout the following week and installing the new digital control system that would have let us run multiple trains on all three levels simultaneously. Alas, it was not to be and in late May of that year, it was my sad task to help his son dismantle the layout prior to the sale of the house. I had bought some of the locomotives and vehicles myself and two of these, a 4500 Class 2-6-2 tank engine and a double-decker London Routemaster bus, now have pride of place in a display cabinet at home.

Here is a photo of the much treasured bus and locomotive, as well as some photos of just a few parts of the layout as it was a few years ago - before we added the extra levels!

The Bus and the Train

The Routemaster bus and the 4500 Class 2-6.2T loco.














Bill Gray

Bill Gray.