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Family photograph & unidentified newspaper, 7 October 1938
transcribed by Greville Watson (son)
The model railways of Tom Watson

From "Euston Park" to "Leeds"
Tom Watson's garden railway1938
Do you know the tunnel? We thought not - but it's in Rushden

A keen model railway enthusiast since boyhood, Mr Tom Watson, the acting manager of the Rushden and Higham Ferrers Gas Company, has in the garden of his home in Park-avenue, Rushden, a model track which is distinctive in its accurate and true-to-type miniature signalling system.

On Mr Watson's layout, which runs, under the name of Great British Joint Railways, from a main station in his garden shed along a raised platform for the length of the garden, all trains, both goods and passenger, run strictly to signals, which, with the points and crossovers, are operated from two boxes, one with 30 levers and the other with 16.

The main track runs from "Euston Park" to "Leeds" before it disappears into a large tunnel which the owner has constructed himself from concrete and bricks, overlaid with rockery and plants. Mr Watson also constructed from raw materials all track, some of which is steel, and some brass, with wooden sleepers and metal "chairs" in the approved railway fashion. His working points and crossovers are marvels of intricacy, as are the signal boxes from which they are controlled, and the complicated wiring system. In addition Mr Watson operates a "block system" of electric signalling on the lines of that now in practice on British railways.

Mr Watson began model railway work as a boy in 1912, and keeps his first train as an interesting relic in a siding of his main station [see photo below]. His stock now includes a "4-4-0" steam loco and three clockwork engines, with scale rolling stock for both goods and passenger traffic. Under construction now is a powerful six-coupled clockwork loco., and another ingenious "gadget" which Mr Watson has built but not yet put into service is a "point-detector," after British Railway practice, which registers on a dial the position of points on the line when a train is passing.

The builder claims his line absolutely foolproof, and accidents are unknown on this remarkable model system, which follows as faithfully as possible the methods used in the "real thing."

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Tom Watson's first train of c.1912
My father's first clockwork train - it was second-hand in 1912
[from the collection of Greville Watson]

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