This layout was built with the intention of extending the skills within the club and to move away from reliance on mainly proprietary items. To this end a scale of 7mm to the foot (1:43 scale) was chosen together with a track gauge of 14mm. 

The world-famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) was chosen as a suitably challenging project. There was no intention of trying to model an exact location; instead, a design featuring some typical DHR features was adopted. These include a spiral loop, followed by a switchback. These features were fairly common on the actual railway and were necessary to avoid overly severe gradients as the line climbed into the mountains. Another feature was the station being reached by a short spur off the main line, again a fairly typical feature of the real thing.  

Kalimpong is a real place, a bustling centre on what was the main trading route from Northeast India into Tibet and China. It was intended to be the terminus of the Teesta Valley Extension of the DHR. However, the railway never actually reached Kalimpong, making it only as far as the optimistically named Kalimpong Road station, six miles distant and 3,000 feet lower than the town itself. 

There is no ready to run stock available for this railway. However, there is a limited amount of rolling stock available in kit form. EDM models provided a kit for the B class 0-4-0ST. Worsley Works provided ‘scratch aid’ kits for the DHR carriages. One of the DHR diesel locos was from Worsley Works, the other from a Mannin Models kit. In addition to these MRD have provided kits for some of the freight stock items. In the short term these will be supplemented by some proprietary models and Peco narrow gauge coach kits. All the trackwork is scratch built.

Apart from essential railway features such as the station building (based on Gayabari) and goods shed, the layout features a teahouse, a garage, a temple and other structures seen on the DHR. One interesting feature is the market that is almost encroaching onto the railway itself. This is a feature that still occurs as the track goes through towns.  

The layout is still under development, but we do hope that you enjoy this little slice of a railway set in the Himalayas later this year (2024).