London* Hobby Shops

Once again, I had the great pleasure to visit the UK (on business this time) and found myself with some extra time.  Of course extra time without the family means I can try to find a hobby shop!  On my past visits to London, I'd been somewhat frustrated in this regard, as their doesn't appear to be much in the way of N Gauge specialist shops in the central area of the city.

I used the ever handy internet to attempt to find a shop that at least would be a short train ride away, and I'm glad to say I found success!  I originally found a link to a shop called Bahnhof-Europa, which I discovered is part of hobby shop called the Engine Shed, which is a 'railway hobby superstore' run by a firm I'd heard of before, Gaugemaster!

However, this store is not in London, but is rather a 90 minute train ride south of London in the West Sussex area near the town of Arundal.  Conveniently, the shop is right next to a quaint little station called Ford! 

So I made it over to Victoria Station (shown above & below) and boarded a Southern Railway EMU for my 90 minute train ride south....
Not only did this little diversion give me the chance to check out some of the London area's massive rail network, but I was able to enjoy some terrific English countryside..... 
About 70 minutes into the trip, I was even able to enjoy the site of the village of Arundal where a castle gave the scenery some extra drama!
Finally, arriving at the small station of Ford,  where the two white-trimmed platforms and brick buildings evoke memories of times past for most places, but still seemingly quite relevant in this area of the UK....
While the website advertises the fact that they are 'adjacent to Ford Station', one gets to be a bit jaded about these sort of statements....how many hobby shops have you had to look really hard for, or take some out of the way turn to locate?  The great news is that there was none of this on my trek to The Engine Shed/Gaugemaster/Banhof Europa as it really is right off the station platform!  In the below photo you can see the Gaugemaster building and the hobby shop with the station just to the left....
So, how is this shop?  An excellent diversion I must say! Clean, neat, well lit and very orderly - with plenty of N Scale from the UK, the continent, and even a smattering of North American and Japanese.  Whoohoo!
The friendly staff were happy to let me snap a few shots for my blog, which of course speaks volumes about the good folks who work here!  The below shot shows the display cases of UK N Gauge items.  This was a treat for me as its an area of modeling that I've avoided given my concerns over their 1:148 N scale proportions.
The below shot is looking towards the left once you enter-with the above display cases to your back-where the "Bahnhof Europa" area of the store is located.  A nice stock of Minitrix, Fleischmann, Faller, Noch items (among others) is represented. On the right side is the expected stock of Hornby products which seems quite extensive....
A closer look at the "Bahnhof Europa" section, with racks of Preiser figures, Viessmann lights and electronics and other good things! 
After several hours of shopping (and a bit lighter in the wallet-Including my first N Gauge UK item, a Central Trains Class 150 2 car DMU!)  it was time to head back to Victoria Station!  A final shot of the Southern Railway train pulling up to Ford Station below....
The train ride back to London was more full than the one coming down (mid-morning, against the commute) but the 90 minute trip was still enjoyable!  If you have some extra time in the London area and want to find a great shop with UK and Continental N Gauge, I highly recommend this trip!  I will definitely return someday! 

*I must apologize for the title of this post as the shop is a not in any sense 'in' London.  However, if I titled this "Arundal Hobby Shops" or "Ford Hobby Shops" I would expect that most occasional travelers planning a trip to the London area won't know anything about Arundal or Ford!  Plus, since its accessible by many trains each day, I think a bit of license is okay!


  1. I visitied the Gaugemaster shop some years ago on on an holiday trip to england - and I shared your experience of a friendly and compentent staff.
    Here are two links for your next visit to England: the Kernow Model RR Centre in Camborne, Cornwall (http://www.kernowmodelrailcentre.com) - small, but well-stocked, and the Romney, Hythe an Dimchurch Railway (http://www.rhdr.org.uk/) - a terrific 15'' RR featuring express trains and even armoured trains in WW II.

  2. Nice to read about your visit to London with surroundings.

    I am also curios about the British n-scale but hesitating on the scale difference. So I am eager to see your report about how it looks on your layout.

    And by the way, in Munich there is also a model railway shop very close to the station. As a matter off fact it's right on platform 11 :-). (http://www.gleis-11.de/)

    /Magnus M

  3. Always enjoy reading your blog. Seems like a great adventure all around. The train ride and the store! Looking forward to seeing your purchases on the track.

  4. Thank you folks! It really was a great trip!
    GAUEBAHN - thanks for the tip! I've seen ads for the Kernow shop in some of the magazines I picked up! If its within an easy train ride of London, I will definitely check it out!

    MAGNUS - I'm looking forward to sharing some observations on the DMU I got and how well it 'fits' in with 1:160 trains and scenery. I was really quite impressed with the color of all the modern era British stuff! I haven't made it to Germany yet, but its definitely on the top of my lists of places to visit!

  5. Wow...what a fun jaunt. I would love to visit England one day. I need to really. I'm glad you had a great time. Thanks for the pics and the info on this hobby shop. It looks huge.

    One day you'll have to do a blog post on Seattle hobby shops. :D

    Again, I'm glad you had a blast in England.. it would have been awesome I'm sure.