A brief description of New Hey

Contrary to the scribings of Iain Rice in his book on building small layouts, New Hey does exist – indeed I think the inhabitants of the small village at the foot of the Pennines may be a little dismayed to find that they have been erased from history!!

The railway through New Hey is on what was known as the “Oldham Loop”, the line that ran from Manchester Victoria, up Werneth Bank to Oldham, then on to Rochdale and back to Victoria. The line through New Hey (from Shaw to Rochdale East junction) was singled in the late 70’s but one part of the infrastructure still exists, the large cotton warehouse that is now part of the New Hey Carpets factory. The route closed to heavy rail traffic on 3rd October 2009, and is now part of the Metrolink tram network. All remaining traces left of the old station have been demolished.

The model is of New Hey as it was roughly in the period from 1960 – 1968, and it is always the last two weeks of June on the layout. Why then? Because that’s when the local “Wakes” were. (The annual 2 week shutdown of the cotton mills in Oldham and Rochdale). As a result there were daily excursion trains, usually double headed if they were coming from the Oldham direction, and with coaches cobbled together from anything available. In addition there were regular local passenger, freight and parcels workings. The station was serviced by a twice daily pick up goods train working (Target 36) from Moston to Royton Junction and back. All the locos and stock are modeled on photographs of prototypes actually running on the line, and span the period modeled – therefore odd spots of blue in the DMU fleet may start to appear!

The layout is “conventionally” controlled by DC. I originally built the layout for DCC operation but found that it compromised the operation for exhibition purposes. Construction has taken approximately 6 years from start to completion (this does not include the research time!) and a variety of techniques have been employed in the building of it. Just ask if you wish to know anything about the layout.

Whilst the project ownership is basically mine I owe a lot of thanks for help and support from other club colleagues from both the Rochdale and Manchester Societies, and in particular Ian Worthington, Martin Edmondson and Phil Taylor. Kevin Tong, Pete Rigby, Tony and Graham Bucknell.  Any questions, please ask.


8 thoughts on “A brief description of New Hey”

  1. Larry Goddard said:

    The heading title “in the mid 1960s” is not historically accurate Andy. The L&Y locos had gone from the area by 1961 and Lees shed closed in 1964 by wich time most of its jobs had evaporated anyway. Looking at operation on ‘Newhey’ reminds me of 1960 more than anything else although the last remaining dregs of a steam hauled passenger service went in 1960.


    • Hi Larry

      the time scale of the layout has always been 1960 – 67 so that I can have the excuse of using a wider variety of stock. To stick with one or two years woulkd actually severely limit variety. The main thing is all the locos run have actually been photogrpahed on the branch within that time period. With of course the exception of the BP 😉

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  3. Hi, sad for me that most of the images here are dead.
    I live in Australia but grew up in Werneth so New Hey was just up the line 🙂

    Speaking of Werneth I’ve been trying to research the station and surrounds online.
    I can’t for the life of me remember what the Platts factory buildings looked like (now demolished) and can only find images of Booth House online, not what lay to the West of it.
    The plan is possibly to build Werneth as it was around WW2 with all the sidings and goods yard still in place.
    If you could point me to any good resources that would be terrific.
    It’s hard to check local archives etc when your on ‘tother side o’t world.

    Now to browse your site a bit more and hopefully view some nice images of New Hey.

    Gerry C

    • Hi Gerry

      There is one “bible” when it comes to the Oldham loop line, Jeff Wells two volumes on the line published by Foxline (now out of print I suspect but sometimes on E Bay. For Werneth you need Volume 1 which covers the line fro Manchester – Oldham. Vol 2 covers Oldham – Rochdale but still worth having as you get lots of pictures of the train formations using the line. Thee are odd pictures in other books covering the general area but nothing is as specific as the Wells books.

      Other use full sources – https://www.old-maps.co.uk/#/ have a look at this site and just put Oldham in it – the 1 -1,250 map of the area will give you the basic tracks plan with reasonable detail – I think theres one for about 1930 and certainly 1957/8 in that scale. The other source is the Greater Manchester County Records Office http://www.gmcro.co.uk/ which has a massive archive of railway drawings for the county, and (not sure if they still do) you may be able to get them to copy and post drawings to you – the list of their drawings used to be online, but Ive not used it for a few years now. The National Records Office at Kew https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ certainly do a copying service and have railway archive but it costs – I got the New Hey plans from the NRO.

      The other and useful source of help is the L and Y Society http://www.lyrs.org.uk/

      Hope that helps and good luck with the project.


      • cotrfrankston said:

        Thanks Andy, I tried old-maps but the map seemed kind of sketchy – I have an ordnance survey printout (bad quality) that shows the track well enough. I laugh to myself sometimes with the 3% rule everyone sees as the golden rule for “model rail” and not train set when I know the Middleton line had a 1 in 27 incline which is nearly 4%. Hopefully I can get myself a copy of the Wells book and that might fill some of the many gaps I have. I’ll certainly check out the other links you provided too. I’m also looking into train simulator programs as I’ve seen a few folks working on the Oldham loop (but years ago) – might be some 3d repros of what used to be around Werneth. If only I had a photographic memory ….. I remember the station building before it got demolished and the long footbridge, but can’t for the life of me remember what the Western factory area of Platts looked like. Of course that’s one of the dominant buildings in close proximity to the station The goods yards I’ll wing based on the OS map. any photos I find and general yards of the era.

        New Hey looks pretty awesome, I wish I could come see it in the flesh, but it’s a long and expensive trip for me now 🙂

        Thanks for the info and best wishes.

        Gerry C

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