Santa Águeda (pronounced Agatha) is a fictitious small town to the north of Lisbon. Portuguese railways have charmed enthusiasts for many years, with rolling stock built all over Europe and North America, and a unique architecture.
Tom and I were persuaded to build a layout, in order to show the trains that I had gradually accumulated as my interest deepened, not least due to organised trips that I had joined. The glorious diesel era – which is now in decline – included Alco, Alsthom and English Electric locomotives that achieved cult status. Looking back to the steam age, again, all the big manufacturers were involved.
Very few models are available off-the-shelf, so most stock is heavily modified; some wagons have been scratch-built. All but two of the buildings are also hand-made, using foam-board. We attempt to show stock from either the 1960s or early 2000s, changing over at intervals.
The façade of the church is based on St Agatha’s in Portsmouth; other buildings are loosely based on local designs, including the distinctive station. To the front is an olive grove in which three shepherd children are tending their flock. This is an allusion to the Fatima apparitions of 1917, although there’s no railway near there!
The layout is only 4’ x 2’ and yet doesn’t appear to be cluttered with detail. One fellow modeller described this as a ‘Tardis’ effect! There is also a rather novel use of a smoke generator, placed inside the church door, as if someone had gone overboard with the incense (as if!!).
The layout will be making a tour:
Model Railway Show at Lake (Isle of Wight) Community Centre (Lions Club) on Saturday 3rd June from 10:00 am till 4:00 pm.
New Milton. The Arnewood School, Gore Road, BH25 6RS. Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July 2017.
Do you have a model railway complete with a church/chapel? Send photos of your church and details about the imagined Liturgy. Just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.