P.D. Hancock

Philip David [PD] Hancock [1928 – 2011] is considered by many to be the pioneer of narrow gauge railway modelling in 4mm to 1 foot scale on 9mm gauge track better known today as 009.

He was a graduate from Edinburgh University where he was subsequently employed as a librarian. A keen hillwalker, photographer and talented artist he, in 1951, was one of the founder members of the Edinburgh and Lothians Miniature Railway Club.

The Craig and Mertonford Light Railway

Over the years three distinct versions of his layout, Craigshire and the Craig & Mertonford Light Railway, set in the fictional south east of Scotland county of Craigshire, were built in his Edinburgh tenement flat bedroom. The first, started in 1949, consisted almost entirely of the 4mm scale / 009 Craig and Mertonford Light Railway [C&MR]. The C&MR was possibly the first 009 layout ever built and probably the first significant British narrow gauge layout. The C&MR had its own Official Charter, history and characters, including Lord Craig its chairman. This first Craigshire developed into a combined standard and narrow gauge layout with a tramway, harbour, town scene and a ruined castle. Following redecoration of the bedroom in about 1960 the second version of the layout was built. There was more emphasis on the standard gauge with a reduced narrow gauge element and no harbour.

Circa 1975 the layout was rebuilt for a third time after the room was again redecorated. This layout resembled the original Craig; the harbour re-appeared and there was a narrow gauge line from a pier station at Craig to Dundreich. The standard gauge station at Craig disappeared and the standard gauge trains ran around the room via a fiddle yard with sidings and a locomotive shed at the harbour. The layout was dismantled for the last time in 1987 when PD moved house.


PD was a prolific writer and his first article appeared in the Model Railway News in April 1948, however from 1956 onwards he wrote almost exclusively for the Railway Modeller. The first article on the C&MR, ‘Why Not a Narrow Gauge Layout?’, appeared in Vol. 1 No. 7 of the Railway Modeller in October 1950 and the last, ‘A Farewell to Craigshire?’, in February 1993. In 1975 a detailed account of the C&MR, ‘Narrow Gauge Adventure’, was published by PECO and was revised and reprinted in 1980. Copies of both editions of the book are in the Collection and copies or scans of all[?] of PD’s known magazine articles have been obtained and catalogued.

P. D. Hancock Collection ⇒