Model railway collection with Derbyshire connections could raise £70,000 at auction

Derbyshire is a county brimming with rail engineers and people with a passion for trains and, for some, that interest expands into collecting and building model railways.

By Charles Hanson
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 3:19 pm
Mark Holder valuer of trains and railwayana at Hansons.
Mark Holder valuer of trains and railwayana at Hansons.

Many a home, attic or garden shed boasts major collections built with love, and occasionally these enter the regular toy and railwayana auctions held at Hansons salerooms. But nothing prepared the auction house staff for the sheer enormity of a model railway collection set to go under the hammer on September 11. It’s the life’s work of an enthusiast who was given his first train set when he was one. Such is its quality and size – 350 lots - it could fetch more than £70,000 at auction.

The Nigel Thornley Collection includes an enormous and eclectic mix of models featuring many Lancashire and Yorkshire prototypes in 7mm scale, general railwayana, train books and more. His passion for trains enriched his life for more than 70 years. As well as collecting and building models, he devoted countless hours to ensuring Britain’s railway heritage was preserved forever.

Inevitably, there are Derbyshire connections. For example, lot 54 is a Sunset Models O Gauge Brass ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ Class A4 Pacific BR Green 60007. Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley CBE (1876-1941), one of Britain’s most famous steam locomotive engineers, was raised in the Derbyshire village of Netherseal.

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Sunset Models O Gauge Brass 'Sir Nigel Gresley' Class A4 Pacific BR Green 60007. Factory built and painted - fitted with digital sound and smoke. Supplied with original box.

The man who has been carefully cataloguing Nigel Thornley’s collection is Mark Holder, Hansons’ trains and railwayana valuer and manager of Nostalgia and Toy Bygones sales at Bishton Hall in Staffordshire.

Mark says Nigel’s lots deserves an auction all of their own. That’s because his love of trains was all- encompassing and his passion comes through on every level. There’s something for everyone, from fine scale O gauge and gauge 1 examples, with OO gauge and die-cast Dublo trains to postcards and a large cache of books.

And if you like building your own models, there are unbuilt kits from manufacturers like DJH. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime collection, unmissable sale for rail enthusiasts, offering items that are rarely available for sale. As you would imagine, interest is already strong.

The Nigel Thornley Collection is in Hansons’ September 11 Nostalgia & Toy Bygones Auction at Bishton Hall. To find out more,email Mark Holder: [email protected] Catalogue due live September 4: www.hansonslive.co.uk.

This O gauge LNWR 0-8-0 compound 2545 locomotive was built from scratch by Bill Davis, painted by Ian Rathbone and fittedwith ABC gearbox. Estimate £300