Alton Model Railway Group

Santa Agueda

Santa Águeda (pronounced Agatha) is a fictitious small town to the north of Lisbon. Portuguese railways have charmed enthusiasts for many years, with stock built all over Europe and North America, and a unique architecture.

Tom and I were persuaded to build a layout, in order to show the stock that I had gradually accumulated as my interest deepened, not least due to the PTG Tours I had joined. The glorious diesel era – which is now in decline – included Alco, Alsthom and English Electric locomotives that achieved cult status. Looking back to the steam age, again, all the big manufacturers were involved.

Very few models are available off-the-shelf, so most stock is heavily modified; some wagons have been scratch-built. All but two of the buildings are also hand-made, using foam-board. We attempt to show stock from either the 1960s or early 2000s, changing over at intervals.

The façade of the church is based on St Agatha’s in Portsmouth; other buildings are loosely based on local designs, including the distinctive station. To the front is an olive grove in which three shepherd children are tending their flock. This is an allusion to the Fatima apparitions of 1917, although there’s no railway near there!