A Horncastle-based model railway
Market Witham is the 7mm scale O gauge layout of the Nottingham Model Railway Society. It has had a long and unusual life, with three different identities over sixty years. It started life as part of a much larger model of Grantham, built by two brothers who were former London and North Eastern Railway railwaymen. Some of the dismantled baseboards came to the Nottingham MRS in the 1980s, and one end of the layout was remodelled into a small terminus, representing a Great Western Railway branch in the south-west. Members involved with the project moved on before it got very far, and a new team took it over.
A fresh identity was sought to better fit available stock and the team’s interests. One member was (and still is) building in his attic a layout based on Horncastle Station, and commented on the similarity of the track plan (albeit in mirror image). A former Great Northern Railway identity in Lincolnshire was decided upon, but in the days of British Railways’ Eastern Region. The already made Horncastle buildings were provided on extended loan; the signal box on Market Witham is Woodhall Junction at the start of the Horncastle branch. The layout couldn’t be called Horncastle because it is the wrong way round, so a fictional name was chosen with a Lincolnshire flavour. Market Witham was born. Other features are copied from several GNR stations in the area. It is run with a variety of trains that would have been seen on a line like this in the 1950s and 1960s.
The layout makes occasional outings to exhibitions around the East Midlands. These days such appearances are rare, though it was at the 2023 NMRS Spring show.