- Ffarquhar Station -
By Richard Grigg
Ffarquhar (pronounced FARK-WAAR) is a fictional village on the equally fictitious Island of Sodor and is part of the internal railway network known as the NWR (North Western Railway). The name is an abbreviation meaning "far away quarry", which is fitting as beyond the station lies a stone quarry operated by the FQC Ltd. (Ffarquhar Quarry Company Limited).
The railway series creator, the reverend Wilbert Awdry along with his brother, George Awdry set about compiling the landscape of sodor, as well as inventing the many towns and villages. The Awdry brothers even went to the lengths of providing each location on the island with its own unique historical background. In the case of Ffarquhar the village had no railway connections until the board of directors of the NWR took the decision around 1925 to extend the former T,K&ER (Tidmouth, Knapford & Elsbridge Railway). The linking of Ffarquhar to the NWR was primarily due to the discovery of fine quality building stone on Anopha Fell and that the newly founded FQC's owner Mr Jabez Croari was in need of a rail link to transport the stone down to the nearest harbour as well as assisting the NWR with the construction of the infrastructure along the line leading up to the quarry.
Today Ffarquhar station serves as the terminus of the small branch line that shares it's name although the line is more commonly known as "Thomas' branch line" as Thomas is the primary engine to work the line's passenger service helped by Toby and Daisy while the majority of the goods work is looked after by Percy.
The FQC still thrives and is worked by the company's privately owned diesel shunter Mavis and during the busier periods she's assisted by Toby. Due to the bylaws of the tramway's act, the line beyond Ffarquhar station can only be used by Toby and Mavis as they are the only two engines equipped with cow catchers and side plates.
This layout built by Richard Grigg is based on how Ffarquhar station was depicted in the classic opening titles of the "Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends" tv series from series 1 (1984) to series 7 (2003). It comprises of 3 sundela topped baseboards with the main board flanked by a 3-track fiddle yard.
The rolling stock used reflects the characters that would be typically scene on the line, bar Daisy, as she is at the time of writing this, unavailable as a ready to run model. To temporarily replace Daisy, Emily undertakes passenger duty alongside Thomas and Toby. In addition Duck also helps out now and again for both freight and passenger services.
I am by no means the first person the construct a layout based on Ffarquhar as the rev Awdry himself built two renditions of this location, one of which is currently on display at the Tal-y-llyn Railway.
The plan now is to exhibit this layout at model shows as 'Thomas' themed layouts are a very rare site. I also intend to construct a 009 gauge layout based on one of the stations on Sodor's narrow gauge line known as the Skarloey Railway but in the words of the rev Awdry.
"But thats another Story."