Monthly Archives: December 2009

Interview: James Thomas, East Croydon Light Railway

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to have a chat with James Thomas, owner of the East Croydon Light Railway.

The ECLR is a small “OO” gauge line in James’ garden, set in Croydon itself during the 1940s.

What inspired you to model this area?

I grew up in Croydon myself, so the railway has always been a big part of my life. My father worked on the railways during the war, so my early years were filled with stories about trains.

How long have you been modelling railways?

I’ve had an indoor layout for a number of years, but I’ve always wanted to do something more useful with the garden. It’s rather small, so there’s not much else that it could be useful for.

How have you coped with the recent bad weather?

It’s not been very nice, but I’ve wrapped up warm and gone out to have a quick play on a number of occasions lately. It’s such a waste to have it sat out there not being enjoyed.

What did you find most challenging in building your line?

The most challenging part was actually at the planning stage. I had to do a lot of research to make sure I got the look of everything right. I think it really paid off in the end though.

The modelling itself was more fun for me – and I had plenty of family and friends willing to give me some assistance.

Look out for the next part of this interview, coming soon.

Top 10 Reasons To Have a Garden Railway

  • 10. Let’s start with the obvious – it’s fun!
  • 9. They help you learn new skills, and rediscover old ones
  • 8. A great conversation piece – how many people have a working railway in their garden?
  • 7. Social aspects are great. Everyone wants to lend a hand and have a go
  • 6. There’s always something new to add, or something that you might want to change
  • 5. The satisfaction of running your first train
  • 4. It makes your garden a whole lot more interesting
  • 3. On a related note, it encourages you to take care of your garden to keep your line looking nice!
  • 2. They’re great fun for the kids
  • 1. Be honest, it’s what you’ve always wanted and dreamed of since you were a child – treat yourself!