By Sophie Wyllie
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
A railway enthusiast who described train modelling as going back in time has featured the old Cromer Beach Station in a new book.
Nigel Digby, 54, from Salisbury Road, Cromer, researched and wrote Aspects of Modelling: Lineside Buildings.
It is a guide on how to build detailed smaller versions of buildings associated with railway stations as well as a history book and is part of a series published by Ian Allan.
Music teacher Mr Digby, who wrote a book about recreating signals for the same series, said: “I’m really pleased with the book – it looks lovely.”
His passion for all things trains started when he was young and he said making models was “quite complex”. He began making models with his father.
Mr Digby spent 10 years making a model of Cromer Beach Station – the current station – as it was in 1912 before he commissioned it to his friend Lawrie Loveless in North Yorkshire, whose late grandfather used to run a shop in North Walsham.
The display, made of wood and cardboard, is 5ft long by 2ft wide and will be taken to model railway exhibitions around the country.
He has also made the Cromer station water tower, goods shed, loco shed and signal box, which were part of the Midland and Great Northern Railway. He also made the old East Runton windmill.
Mr Digby said: “The current station looks the same from the front. Changes have happened around the back. Where there is now a supermarket car park, there used to be a train shed which sheltered passengers. It had a nice roof and screen wall which was decorative.”
The train shed was demolished in 1991 to make way for Morrisons and the area covered by the supermarket used to be covered in tracks.
In 1921 the wooden signal box was replaced with the current concrete structure which was shorter than the original.
When it was made of wood it used to flex from the strong North Sea winds
Mr Digby, who trained as an architect but currently teaches music, added: “It will be wonderful to see the Cromer Beach Station completed I have only seen little bits of it assembled.”
He hopes to recreate the old railway workers’ cottages in Cromer to complete the display.
“It doesn’t take much imagination to think you are there,” Mr Digby added. “It is like a time machine showing you how it used to be.”
During its heyday up to the second world war, Cromer Beach Station was very busy and attracted express trains from all over the country including London King’s Cross.
Mr Digby said: “You have to plan very carefully while making a model and it is by no means cheap so you need to avoid making mistakes.
“Railway modelling is the number one hobby for men but is not that visible. When there is an exhibition you see thousands of people.”
Cromer Beach Station was opened in 1887 and was built in the domestic revival style popular in the 19th century.
Aspects of Modelling: Lineside Buildings costs £14.99 and can be bought by visiting www.ianallanpublishing.com/aspects-of-modelling-lineside-buildings.htm