Cheriton Bishop

About the prototype

The village of Cheriton Bishop is situated about 9 miles west of Exeter and, although it never had a railway, with a delightful name like that it jolly well should have done!

It seemed to us that the Great Western, probably more than any other Railway, could find traffic potential in any town within its reach that had more than six inhabitants! Grasping on this unlikely premise, we imagined that it constructed a branch from Longdown, on its Exeter to Newton Abbot via Heathfield line, to Tedburn St Mary and Cheriton Bishop.

Construction & Operation

The layout was originally built as a pure Great Western branch terminus and was named Ambleddwyn. One of our members, Peter Relf, provided the rolling stock for the layout but, unfortunately, a change of job required him to move from the area. With no other access to GWR rolling stock we had to have a rethink, so the decision was made to move the period for the model forward 25 years and turn it into a BR(WR) layout. At this point it was re-named Cheriton Bishop

The buildings on the layout have been chosen to fit with its chosen location; the train shed is based on that at Moreton Hampstead, whilst all the other principal structures, whilst not being based upon any specific prototypes, are characteristically Great Western.

In order to introduce a bit of operational and visual interest we have assumed that, at some point in the past, the LSWR were granted running powers over the branch. This gives us the excuse to run BR(SR) locos and stock as well as BR(WR) and this provides greater variety than many ex-GWR branch layouts.

The model is set in the late 1950s to early 1960s and is built to finescale 00 standards. All pointwork is hand built using code 75 bullhead rail soldered to copper-clad sleepers and operated by some really old H & M motors that have been surprisingly reliable over the years.

All the signals are controlled by relays; the level crossing gates also work, train control is by the excellent Pentroller hand held units and, in order to try to run a 'hands off' railway, uncoupling is by Sprat and Winkle Line couplings and magnets.

Photos of Cheriton Bishop

To gain a better appreciation of our Cheriton Bishop layout, why not have a look at our photo gallery of Cheriton here.