The Beds Area Group

We are one of the longer established 'Local Area Groups' of the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers. Our members are all interested in creating and operating models of narrow gauge railways to a scale of 16mm : 1 foot, or if you prefer 1/19th full size. Our group has an indoor layout that we operate at our monthly meetings. The track gauge used on our layout is 32 mm (the same as 0 gauge), which in our chosen scale equates to a full size railway having a track gauge of 2 foot (60 cm), such as the Leighton Buzzard NG Railway or the Ffestiniog Railway. For the most part we are not rivet counters. Members model prototypes originally operating on anything from 18 Inch to 3 Foot gauge, but having their model gauge 'adjusted' to 32 mm. Prototypes modelled vary from electric to diesel and steam, with the model being powered by either batteries or steam, the steam models being heated by either spirit, gas or coal. You do not need to be a model engineer to enjoy yourself in the Beds Area Group. Member’s models vary in construction from wood and card, through plastics to brass and steel.

Visitors and new members are always made welcome at our monthly meetings.

The 16mm Association

Rather than us type in here everything about the association, it makes more sense to link you directly to the Association web site at :- http://16mm.org.uk/


As well as being members of the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers, the Beds Area Group are affiliated to the Southern Federation of Model Engineers - http://www.southernfed.co.uk. We are also a member of the Chiltern Model Railway Association - http://www.cmra.org.uk. These contacts are used to enable us to promote both good engineering practices and fellowship among railway modellers in our group. Our affiliations also enable group members to take advantage of attractive insurance schemes written specifically for the model owner and model engineer.

Our Layouts

Our group's main layout is known as 'Ridgmont', named after our first meeting location. It is constructed from 18 sections which when assembled are 33 feet long by 13 feet deep and has two 32 mm gauge track circuits thus allowing two trains to be run simultaneously. Over the past years the layout has undergone many 'makeovers', with the addition of new scenic sections with artificial grass, bushes and small trees to give the feel of a garden railway indoors.

The group also has a demonstration track which we call 'Papplewick Green'. This small line is easy to transport and erect in a number of configurations. It is used to publicise the group, and our society, at local events where 'Ridgmont' could not go. The materials used in the construction of this line were generously donated to our group by John Kinross.

Other 16mm scale exhibition layouts owned by Beds Group members are:-

'Chalkwood' and 'St Gennys 5', both layouts built and owned by Andrew Neal.

'Prayle Grove', a non-scenic (32mm & 45mm) running line built and owned by Graham East.

'New Mexico Docks' / 'Docks, New Mexico', a small double sided layout built and owned by Nick Burton.

'Wags Wharf', owned by a group of our members, two rail electric operation featuring a steam operated beam engine. This layout is now on permanent display at Pitstone Green Museum and is no longer avaliable for exhibitions. For more information on the Pitstone Green Museum, visit their website: http://www.pitstonemuseum.co.uk.

Visiting members of the 16mm Association are welcome to bring their 32mm gauge locos and/or stock to run on our layout. Our group policy on steam boiler and gas tank certification is aligned with the Association insurance requirements. This means that most will not have to show a current test certificate unless you have a home built loco or one of exceedingly large capacity. Please read the policy restrictions in the 16mm Bulletin publication, or see the Association web site. All group members, and any visitors wishing to run steam locos, must be current 16mm Association members otherwise our public liability insurance would be invalidated. We offer a locomotive inspection and testing service, and can certificate boilers to 16mm Association or Southern Federation MES standards if required.


We are a safety conscious group, and require all drivers to take responsibility for the condition and safe operation of their locomotives. This is in the interests of the membership and the public at exhibitions and similar events.

We are able to test model steam boilers at club meetings, to either the 16mm Association or Southern Federation of MES standards if necessary. Our boiler tester can be contacted via e-mail: boilertester@bag16mm.org.uk. At present we do not have the equipment to test gas tanks, so we must use the good offices of the 16mm Assn. appointed tester, e-mail: south.gas.tester@16mm.org.uk.

Click here for our Operating Guidelines