While many of us buy trains and vehicles preassembled from manufacturers like Hornby and Graham Farish some model railway builders make their own but none can rival the life’s work of one model builder extraordinaire.
In the post-war years, if you wanted a model railway you had little choice but to build not just the scenery but the trains yourself. Thankfully, it’s now a lot easier to get started and to build up a collection of different wagons, locomotives and other vehicles but one modeller who wouldn’t be happy with this is James Peel Richards.
JP Richards began making his scale models of rolling stock in 1944 and didn’t stop. His aim was to construct 33mm gauge scale models for every vehicle in the entire London and North Western Railway (LNWR) fleet.
By the time he died in 1999, he’d built an astonishing collection of 612 models, including 42 locomotives and 420 goods wagons and still holds the Guinness World Record for most model railway vehicles built by one man. What’s really impressive however is the wonderful quality of his work. His locomotives, coaches and wagons are a delight to look at.
His collection is now in National Railway Museum (York, England) and is worth a visit if you’re in York.Previous Model Railway Factoids: #1 The First Model Railway
#2 The world's longest indoor model railway track
#3 The Smallest Model Railway
#4 The World's largest model railway
#5 Whyte Notation
#6 Origins of Ballast
#7 Everything You Could Want To Know About Sleepers
#8 The Biggest Model Railway Mountain #9 The Man Who Built 600 Model Trains
#10 Model Railway Eras - A Question Of Time
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.