Highbridge Road is a remote location somewhere in the West of England. Its principal claim to fame is the nearby Bentley Folly built during the last century by the Sixth Earl of Bentley. The Sixth Earl was a somewhat eccentric character who decided that a ruined castle would be cheaper to maintain that a complete one. Sadly, he died of pneumonia soon after moving in.
Facilities at Highbridge Road station have been reduced to the bare minimum. A simple waiting room is provided on each platform and passengers must buy their tickets on the train.
The passenger servce from Highbridge Road is rather limited. Few trains stop. Most of the main line trains hurry through heading for Bristol and Paddington in the east, or west to Plymouth and Penzance. The trains which call at Highbridge Road are mostly diesel multiple units serving the branch line to Combe Bay. Locomotive-hauled trains make the occasional foray along the branch and these also stop at Highbridge Road.
Time passes quickly at Highbridge Road. The first trains to be seen are those which ran during the summer of 1970. These are followed by the blue-liveried locomotives of 1980 and, finally, by the multicoloured trains of 1990.
Highbridge road was the group's second layout which was retired several years ago (i.e. it spent a long time languishing in a garage). Personally I greatly missed the layout, it may not have been scenically as brilliant as it could be it had a certain character to it and watching the trains run through at speed was a very satisfying experience. What goes around come around however, having decided to give the Somerford an intermediate stage christened Beresford it was then further decided to go for an even quicker fix by resucitating Highbridge road. This isn't a real revival though as we're only using the three main scenic boards from the layouts front. This frontage is to be extended using two extra boards, actually the two straight boards recycled from Sutton Valley to create Beresford, and the layout will employ the small corners and fiddle yard intended for Somerford allowing a variety of configurations.
For me this exercise is illustrating how your memory plays tricks on you, I always recall Highbridge Road being a reasonably large layout. Having set the old boards back up, even with the extension, the frontage seems small compared to the full run of the extended Somerford station before we dismantled it to free up the workshop again. One more change of plan, instead of using all the small corners we're putting in the Somerford embankment corner and tunnel that comprise the up (country) end of the layout .
The extended and improved Highbridge Road features working 4 aspect MAS signalling.