Mersey Division

Mersey Division is the Society’s O Gauge layout, built to finescale standards of 32mm gauge 29mm back to back as specified in the standards published by the Gauge O Guild. The ruling minimum radius on curves is 6 feet.

The layout has a long history with sections dating back over 40 years and consists of a continuous run with testing gradients, built around the perimeter of the upper floor of Dean Hall. The layout is portable in that it is built in sections, however apart from dismantling for work in progress, making way for Dewsbury to exit the hall for an exhibition and maybe building work etc, it is permanently erected.

Whilst some parts of the layout are now quite old, a new terminus, to be called Ashton, is being built to extend operational possibilities. Progress has been slow and as with much else was further delayed due to Covid shutdown. However work has resumed and platforms are being built and ballasting is in progress at the time of writing. Most signals have been built and subject to some adjustment and tweaking are operational.

At present control is a version of “cab control” supplying 12v DC to the track with point control using a variety of methods over the years, mainly based on solenoids. However the new terminus is venturing into newer technology with points and signals being driven by Servos all driven from a MERG (Model Electronic Railway Group) CBUS control system. Facilities are also being included for DCC, however for historical reasons this is limited initially to the new terminus.

The intention was to have the scenery suitable for trains with a North Western flavour in the 1950/60s. In the outcome the scenery is limited largely to trackside and unfortunately some now requires some TLC and maybe replacement. Any new members interested in this side of railway modelling will be most welcome.

Visitors with suitable stock are always welcome and with the track normally erected are invited to have a run. The Group Leader is Les Fram and we usually meet on a Wednesday during the day from 11.00am to mid-afternoon.

The owner of the Furness 4-4-0 is not recorded when visiting, but it and the coaches are beautiful models


The Western diesel, cunningly painted different colours on different sides, belongs to Peter Radford


Cornbrook station approach


The fiddle yard has the branch line climbing above it to the new branch terminus


The Mersey Division control panels give a good impression of the storage space available, with the left hand panel controlling the fiddle yard and the right-hand one taking care of the loops off the main running lines

There is definitely only one person who knows how to fix this if it goes wrong


At the running session on 8th December 2007, Cock o’ the North was visiting (photo by David Moore)


Baseboard construction for the new branch terminus is progressing well on 19th May 2008


The running session on 13th December 2008 saw some interesting visitors


August 2010 running session. the late Tony Stoker’s award-winning Great Western 0-6-0 showed off its Wolverhampton livery. This blue/green was last used in 1902 so Tony reckoned that no-one would be able to dispute his version of the colour
(Photo by Wally Pugh)


December 2010 running session Joe Brown brought along four LMS/BR Ivatt Class 4 2-6-0 locos with consecutive numbers…
…and some very fine coaches to go with them


The late Robert Fysh brought this fine looking Turbomotive

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March 2011

Two views of the progress on tracklaying for the new branch terminus. Here, looking towards the end of the line…
…and here, looking in the opposite direction, away from the station.

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August 2011

At the running session on 12th August, A1 number 60134 Foxhunter speeds through Cornbrook with an express train while the crew of the station pilot look on in admiration.

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April 2014

The new Ashton station makes slow but steady progress and wiring is almost complete. The photo shows the underside of one of the six baseboards which are being wired for both DC and DCC using the MERG CBUS system with MERG DCC.

Unfortunately the DCC component will be limited to Ashton station while incompatibility issues are tackled.

Oh and one last point – there are at least two people who will know how it works.

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June 2022

Before Covid stopped proceedings the new station Ashton was wired and commissioned including most of the signals although some tweaking is necessary such as the home signal to returning fully to danger as seen in this view. Since Covid Ballasting is the order of the day along with colouring the track and ballast.


A picture of concentration as paint is applied to the track following application of ballast


A recent view of the double junction now complete with signals which fully interlocked electronically with the points

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