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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 23:44 GMT 00:44 UK
Train set derails house sale
Gordon Archer with his beloved railway
Much of the railway is embedded in concrete
A train buff emigrating to Australia is bequeathing a 50,000 model railway set in his garden of his home to whoever buys the house.

Gordon Archer has spent more than eight years building his dream railway, which has 600ft of track, tunnels, stations and bridges.

But the pensioner cannot take the pinnacle of his railway-building career with him as much of the track is embedded in concrete or too big to transport.

The 67-year-old's home in Poulton-le-Fylde, near Blackpool, Lancashire, is on the market for 140,000 - although he says the unusual garden fixture is putting off potential buyers.

Viewers know nothing of his rail opus until they arrive at the house.

I have had the pleasure of building it. That cannot be taken away from me
Gordon Archer
Mr Archer, who worked for Blackpool Transport before he retired, and his wife Robina, 65, are going to Australia to join their son, Colin, in Melbourne.

He said: "I have had the pleasure of building it. That cannot be taken away from me."

The collector said he would prefer to meet any new owner of the house but acknowledged his project could go the way of British Rail and be broken up, or even become derelict.

May do it again in Australia

But Mr Archer is not ruling out doing it all again once he gets down to Australia.

"Sadly it's not an ideal world. It's highly unlikely, but never say never."

His model railway habit started in the 1940s and mushroomed when he moved to Poulton-le-Fylde.

His amazing set-up was based on the Altenfurt kit, made by Lehmann Gross Bahn (LGB) in Nuremberg, Germany.

The firm is so pleased by its Lancashire devotee that he has acted informally as an ambassador for it.

Alan Simpson, manager of Bradford & Bingley's Entwistle Green branch, which is overseeing the sale of the house, said: "In all my years as an agent I have never come across such an amazing garden."

The BBC's Judith Moritz
"Not everyone buying a semi wants 600 feet of track"

60,000 price tag for model village
03 Mar 03  |  England


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