Eaton Arches

Owned & Created by Wigan FRM member 

Peter Thomas

Arches Viaduct
Arches On track Scenics
Eaton Arches


'Eaton Gomery' first appeared on the exhibition circuit in 2006 and since then has been exhibited over twenty times. It has appeared at most of exhibitions to which I wished to take it so it seemed appropriate that some consideration should be given to future developments. We could if we wished further develop 'Eaton Gomery', but as the layout was already pretty complex both in operational and scenic terms it was difficult to see how further development would substantially change the layout so that it's exhibition life could be further extended. The alternative was to consider a new project learning from the experience gained from exhibiting 'Eaton Gomery'.

I started by considering what I enjoyed during the construction and exhibiting of 'EG' and to how these elements could form the criteria for a new challenge.

I reasoned it should be:-

  1. Developed around a scenic 'set piece' that would define the layout, building scenery being the most enjoyable aspect of the hobby.

  2. It should be a vehicle to display my collection of Pre-Grouping stock and be capable of showing them as a series of specific trains passing through the landscape.

  3. It should be end to end and electrically simple, electrics being my least enjoyable aspect of the hobby.

  4. The layout should be contained within units that are on wheels making the exhibit easy to transport, erect and dismantle.


I started the project straight after our October 2015 Exhibition and to date (Feb. 2017) have constructed 3 boards of which the set-piece viaduct is the only completed feature (stanchions have yet to be fitted). It is based upon the Etherow Arches on the former Great Central line between Broadbottom and Glossop. It originally had a series of timber arches perched on top of the substantial stone pillars before the increasing weight of trains meant these had to be replaced by cast iron girders. However locally the viaduct is still referred as 'the arches' as is the Dinting Arches another monstrous structure further down the line.

Progress to Date - August 2017

What started as a supposedly simple and uncomplicated project has morphed into something altogether more complex. Originally there was to be a double track mainline with a pair of passing loops involving four points and six signals and would be based in the Cambrian Territory.

That proved to be the first of several anomalies as of course the Cambrian rarely had double tracks and as far as I am aware never needed passing loops. It was suggested that I reposition the layout in the LNWR region on the edge of the Cambrian system which would give us a licence to run almost any pre-grouping stock.


No sooner had I thought this a good idea when it was also suggested that I include a single line junction which would be the reason for holding trains in the passing loops. We now have seven points and a cross over. My naivety concerning signalling matters also came into question as my original six signals was a considerable underestimate and also wrongly positioned. At the last count we now have eighteen and as the London & North Western signals are like no other, none of Eaton Gomery's signals could be reused.  

I had already scratchbuilt a Cambrian Signal Box to go in the centre of the two passing loops and now this would need to be replaced, which was just as well as what was really needed was two signal boxes, one at either end of the loops so the signal men could check the tail lamps of the passing trains.


They also needed to be LNWR Type 4 size D boxes, one could be brick based and the other sitting on the embankment would be all timber. The signal box on the junction could be an earlier Type 3 box. You now see how things are getting more complicated but also more interesting.

So it must come as no surprise that the three boards are still unfinished but at least when they are they will be right.



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