16mm Project

Graham Pearce builds the Leek and Manifold coaches

The Leek and Manifold Light Railway was 2'6" gauge, opened in 1904 and closed in 1934. It mainly carried churns and bulk tankers, acting as a feeder to the North Staffordshire Leek branch. It was 8.25 miles long and the passenger services connected small villages and beauty spots along the scenic route, from Waterhouses to Hulme End.

The two locomotives E.R. Calthrop [ Engineer ] and J.B.Earle [ Resident Engineer ] were built by Kitson and Co. of Leeds in 1904. The locomotives were painted brown with gold and black lining. After grouping they ran in crimson lake with gold and black lining and in their final few years black.

The carriages designed by Calthrop were the largest and most luxurious ever used on a British narrow gauge railway. All were open saloon vehicles with bogies and centre gangways. They were constructed by the Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Ltd of Preston. There were two third class opens and two first/third brake composites. They featured a pitched roof, decorative leaded opening toplights, ornate wrought iron panels to the end balconies and "L&MVR LtRy" scrolled on the sides. They were originally painted primrose yellow.

The kits are from Peter Yatton.


They came with instructions which I read thought from start to finish before I started. There were areas which I had to improvise but basically they were adequate.


and primer

The paint was 2 pack by Auto Paint in Canary Yellow. I used a professional gravity feed gun to spray it on.

The wood was dark mahogany stained and varnished in Yacht varnish which was brushed on.

The seats were covered in foam and old maroon bedsheets. I drilled and put rivets in to make the buttons.

Jig for seats

The wallpaper was bought from a dolls house on line shop.

The interior lights were individual LED bulbs out of my old stock. I wired them in series.

The stained glass windows were painted in oil paints.

I thought about proper stained glass stain but decided to try the oil paints before paying out for new stains. The oil paints worked well so decided to stick with that.

Roofs: Old shirts...then painted grey

The decals were not part of the kit. They came from Tom at Endon Valley.

balconies and vaccuum pipes

The bogies were part of the kit but the couplings were DJB Lynton and Barnstable.

I experimented a couple of times on linking the couplings directly to the centre of the bogies because they are so long and have a tendency to pull the coaches off on the corners which was a big concern of mine. After a couple of test runs and modifications I managed to get them going round the corners nicely.


Making the kit was very challenging and some areas had to be modified to make them fit. There were some parts that were just wrong, but Peter Yatton was really helpful and replaced them quickly. He also realised that the supplier of his plywood hadn't been consistent with the thickness, which he says is rectified now. I used PVA and superglue to put the kit together.

I have been making these on and off for 12 Months. I felt I needed to take a break from them a few times as the build was quite frustrating at times, but I am quite happy with the results now.

I wasn't very well at the time so worked on them in the house as a bit of something to do. My wife was very patient but did ask at one point, "When can I have my kitchen table back?"

February 2021

The carriages will now be populated by the new line in Graham Pearce period figures!!

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