Billingshurst (An abandoned project)

N Gauge Modular layout under construction and built to the Horsham Model Railway Group design, Two track main line running through all boards.

View of the Front of the station before roofing and missing the bridge, signal box and goods shed at this point


I’ve lived in Billingshurst for over 20 years now and use the station almost daily most weeks so building something that still exists, and I have connection with seemed to me to be a good option for the modular scheme once we had the theme agreed at the club.

Arun Valley Line and Billingshurst

Billingshurst is around 8 miles south west of Horhsam and the following station to Christ’s hospital going south so very close to the centre of the Horsham clubs modular scheme.  The Arun valley line which runs from Horsham to Bognor joins the south coast way at Ford just south of Arundel.  Pulborough, the next station on from Billingshurst was the junction for the Midhurst line and this carried goods and passenger traffic until its closure in 1966.  The Arun valley line was electrified just before WW2 (around 1935)  so for the period we are modelling we have both 3rd rail electric multiple units and Steam trains with both passenger and goods services so a good mix of trains and with it being a main line would have seen the bigger Southern steam engines on a more regular basis.  I still have a lot of research to do on this as so far both pictures and records have not been easy to find

The Layout

The Track plan is drawn in Any Rail and will be curved at least at the platform end and the best I can do through the pointwork without handbuilding or introducing curved points.

To fit the Railway Hotel, the 4 coach length station and the yard area I really need 2 boards so the layout will be 2 modules long (2.44 M) and consists of both the siding on the Southbound side as well as the yard on the London side along with the dairy.

The plan above is lifted from an Ordanance survey map digitised by the National Library of Scotland for I think 1956 This shows the track plan and main buildings,  I’ve not yet found any pictures of the large “GoodShed” type building on the bottom right of the plan which is fed from the down line although there is a C1900 Picture of a Hoopers yard in the same location

On Location

not a great photo but Flying Scotsman (not a normal visitor) was hammeing through

Location Photos

The Main archive is located in Flickr if you want to see more

Billingshrst Station – View from the foot bridge looking towards London
Site Survey

Billingshurst is on the Arun Valley Line between Bognor Regis and Horsham and is served today by a 1/2 hourly “Clock face” service provided by 377 Elecrtostar units forming trains of 4,8 and 12 carriages.  These typically run “slow” between  Horsham and Bognor.  Fast services serving Chichester, Portsmouth and Southampton also run half hourly and the trains combine in Horsham.  The 377 units were built from XXX and replaced the Class 421 (4Cig) Slam door units that appear to have run on the line since the mid 1960’s

A mixture of my photo’s and some downloaded from the Internet,  It never crossed my mind that I would build this as a model so although I’ve lived here for 20 years I dont have any late 90’s or early 00’s  photo’s myself which is a shame includig the removal of the box and the bridge refurbishment.  I have captured some specials over the years but not as many as I can hear either which are at some point on Flickr

I took the photo’s over a number of differnt days and times so some very different skies and weather

The station platform was until around 2010 only 4 coaches long and the London side appears to have had little change since the earliest photo’s I can find with the station house/building and the goods shed still in place today.  To make the road wider the signal box was removed in 2016 and the station building shortened by a few feet. At this time the foot bridge was removed and refurbished and also had its alignment altered to give more room to the road.  If you look at the early pictures of the crossing, it’s very narrow.  The southbound side had a full canopy and shelter until the late 90’s but this was knocked down and replaced with a bus shelter type before the platform on this side was also extended.   The area around the station that I’m modelling has changed from open fields and cottages on the southbound side and the change of use from the yard which had a dairy in to a carpark at some point I assume in the 1970’s.


Having established the location and size/design of the boards I have listed the key building and design requirements from the Modular scheme opposite.

My intention is to scratchbuild all of the buildings from card using a mixture of scalescenes papers for the required bricks and other building coverings,   I may look for something with a bit more 3d look for the roofs as these will be things people look down onto

With the Station still in use with almost the same frequency of trains  I’ve been able to get lots of location pictures and do basic measurements of the station, platforms, footbridge and the Station Hotel.  Unfortunatly the Signal box was moved to Amberley Museum when the signalling was automated from Crawley and the Level crossing and footbridge were realigned.   I’ve purchased a footbridge from York Modelmaking along with valance eding for the platform canopies.

I purchased a number of photos from disused railway stations (Intsert link)  to get a better view of the station in the 1950’s and have a view of the Dairy on the Up platform site but the building on the down side is not visible by this time.

Track and Electrics

  • Track – Peco Code 55
  • Ensure Point motor fitting for the cross over before fixing track
  • Cross over – Long Points  (2 * LH)
  • Sidings Medium Length  (4)  RH
  • Points treated (frog isolated and switched) Stock rails soldered to crossing blades
  • Curve track to create S shape through the station and northbound


  • Local Point Switching + DCC Control  options – Need to check Cobalt options
  • Point Motors = Cobalt Digital IP
  • Signals Dapol Southern – Controlled by train-Tech sc3 Signal controller
  • Level Crossing gates ?    Could these be motorised ?
  • Connection between boards for DCC + DCC Local – Banana plugs

Buildings + Features required

•Station House

•Signal Box-  (Same size as Shillingstone ?)  Windows etc from Kit

•Platforms Up and Down – 4 coach length

•Up Good Shed and

•Up Platform shelter

•Down Platform Shelter

•Down Goods Shed ( Kit ?? )

•Railway Hotel Building -Public House

•Level Crossing

•Station Road Houses


•Factory Units – Scratch build -Low Relief

•Footbridge – York Modelmaking – get Extension set for other steps

The Aerial view opposite offers a great view of the country end of the station, Railway inn and the level crossing. I’m not quite sure where I sourced the photo from but its a great view from a modelling perspective as its the view that typical layout viewers will see. The model will predate the photo as on this one the Railway Inn has already been reskinned but I belive the rest of the buildings are good enough for the view im looking for.

The End

With a move to Dorset the layout has been passed along to Phil Lawrence and I hope to see this finished and part of the Horsham N Gauge Modular scheme in the future.

The Build

The buildings are all built from cardboard and covered in mainly scalescenes paper. It’s taken a few itereations to get a colour I’m happy with and as you can see more than a few attempts to get the size and colours correct.

The view on the left shows the buildings and mockup’s in place for sizing and testing. I wanted the station on the curve but this has made the work significantly harder. The curve here is very shallow but to get this into the model Ive had to reduce the radius and this has made the building of straight buildings a bit harder. The reality is the individual bulidngs will be straight and the platform canopies aligned with the track so not even that visible when done.

The Scrapbox , getting the colour right and the sizing took some trial and error – benefits of working in Cardboard
The Curve in the stationand the fit with the stock for testing
Extra long down platform shelter, that needs cutting back, just like the real thing.
Once the canopies are on Im not sure that this view will be available again
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