The Watlington Pages

Compiled by Mikkel Kjartan

Modelling the Watlington Branch


A 4mm card kit for the diminutive Signal Box at Watlington, from the Prototype Models range.

If you're looking for an easily recognizable setting for your branchline layout, the Watlington branch offers good potential: The characteristic station buildings on the line at, e.g. Watlington and Chinnor, are rather nice subjects for modelling, and should in themselves be enought to pinpoint your layout's location.

You wouldn't be the first to model this branch, for sure, but if that doesn't matter to you then surely Watlington is about as close as we can get to the popular image of the balmy Great Western branch.

It is perhaps for this reason that Watlington is so well-catered for by card kit manufacturers. As can be seen below, all of the main buildings at Watlington station are available as 4mm card kits – something rather unique in the world of British railway modelling. Note that the range from Prototype Models is being gradually expanded into 7mm, and so may feature the Watlington buidlings in due course also.

The use of Pannier tanks and standard rolling stock such as autocoaches in the line's later years makes the Watlington branch a particularly attractive choice for the RTR modeller. This is one prototype location that offers good scope for out-of-the-box operation, especially if you go for the latter years – and there's a wealth of choice for the kit-builder, too. Note that the RTR stock listed here may not represent exactly the diagrams used on the real Watlington branch – but for most RTR modellers it will probably be close enough.

Selected kits for modellers
Model Scale Material Manufacturers
Watlington Station Building 4mm Card Alphagraphix (*)
Watlington Goods shed 4mm (and 7mm?) Card Prototype Models (*)
Watlington Goods shed N Laser-cut wood P&D Marsh
Watlington Signal Box 4mm (and 7mm?)
Card Prototype Models (*)
Watlington Carriage shed 4mm Card Roger Smith (**)
Watlington Platelayer and Lamp huts 4mm Card Roger Smith (**)
2021 Class
4 & 7mm Whitemetal/
4mm: Nu-Cast
7mm: Scorpio, ABS
57xx/8750 Class
N, 4 & 7mm RTR/
N: Farish-Bachmann, Thameshead
3mm: Brynkits
4mm: Bachmann, Falcon, Nu-Cast
7mm: JB, ABS
Autocoach (various diagrams) N, 3mm, 4mm, 7mm RTR/
N: Dapol, Langley
3mm: 3SMR
4mm: Hornby, Blacksmith & others
7mm: Scorpio, Blacksmith & others

*  Alphagraphix and Prototype Models kits are marketed through Freestone Model Accessories.

**  Roger Smith kits are available from C&L Finescale

More information

Selected references

"Country Branch Line: An Intimate Portrait of the Watlington Branch, Vols 1 & 2"

Paul Karau and Chris Turner, Wild Swan 1998

The Mother of All Line Histories. Several hundred pages on the branch, with Vol. 1 focussed on the history from 1872-1961, and vol 2 dealing with the individual stations.

"The Watlington Branch"

J.S.Holden, OPC 1974

120 pages including photos, drawings & maps. Haven't seen this one I'm afraid.

"Branch Lines to Princes Risborough – from Alyesbury, Oxford and Watlington"

Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith, Middleton Press 2003

A mainly photographic account of the 3 branches around Princes Risborough, including the line to Watlington.

"Great Western Branch Line Termini (Vol. 1, or combined edition)

Paul Karau, OPC 1977

Extensive coverage of five former GWR branch termini, including Watlington (the others are Fairford, Lambourn, Tetbury and Wallingford). Photographs, timetables and 4mm building plans.

Chinnor & Princes Risbororough Railway This site has a good history and excellent shots of the line in the 1950s. It also tells the story of this enterprising preservation railway.