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A Visit to Gaugemaster

DAVID CAIRNS of the North Star Chronicles model railway blog recently visited us from South Africa, this is what he found...

Gaugemaster House

The imposing entrance.

Located in Ford (near Arundel) in the south east of England, this is one of the largest, if not the largest suppliers of model railway items to the hobby in the UK. The company has been in business for over forty years and is the result of the merger of two operations – the Engine Shed and Gaugemaster Controls. The former was established in 1974 as a model railway shop in Bognor Regis, and the latter in 1975 as an electronic controller manufacturer/supplier in Worthing.

N Scale Shop Layout

N gauge display layout with two hidden helixes in entrance to shop.

In 1982 the companies were merged. Growth in volume and the range of activities required bigger premises and this resulted in the purchase of the goods yard at Ford Station. A custom built building, nearly 1000 square metres in extent, was opened in 1989 and comprises a retail shop, a warehouse, workshops, offices and a packing area whose main function is to supply hobby retailers.

The Engine Shed store

Bulging shelves.

Having acquired numerous agencies for model railway items over the years the company’s range of products (some 44000 items are stocked!) is formidable and include many well known Continental brands such as LGB, Marklin, Fleischmann, Roco, Trix, Preiser, Pola, Faller, and Noch.

Model Railways Sussex

More bulging shelves!

British brands such as Peco, Hornby, Dapol, Graham Farish, Ratio, Wills, Kestrel Designs, Parkside Dundas and Springside are also stocked. Gauges/scales range from Z to G.

Bahnhof Europa

The continental area.

Atlas and Kato items feature in the product range as do some well known slot car manufacturers.

Hornby Model Railways

Another views of the range of items.

The electronic components side of the business has shown big growth too with Gaugemaster controllers (cased, panel mounted and walkaround) dominating the market. Gaugemaster market their Prodigy Advance Digital System.

Bachmann OO Scale

Bachmann OO.

With the increasing electronification (new word!) of our hobby a wide range of other electronic items are stocked including decoders and capacitor discharge units. For those seeking hard to find accessories and hard to find items e.g. Roco track cleaners, this is the place to shop.

Dapol N Scale

Something for the N gaugers.

Gaugemaster Controllers

Gaugemaster electronic items on display.

Being located in an area away from high population density, footfall in the shop is far exceeded by product distribution to the hobby shop trade. A few years ago I visited a large scale model railway retailer in the south west of England and described the shop as an Aladdin’s Cave. I can only say that it had nothing on Gaugemaster! Friendly, helpful staff added to an enjoyable experience. A visit to Ford should be on your itinerary when visiting the UK but raid the piggy bank before you do. The shop has temptation at every turn!

Those who are financially challenged can always take a virtual reality wander around the store by visiting the company’s website (or on Google Maps here! - Ed).

David's website is www.northstarrailway.com, which contains the North Star Chronicles blog.

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Gaugemaster House, Ford Road
Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0BN, United Kingdom

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