The White Flower Valley Railway

16mm Narrow gauge fun in the garden.

Project HUDSON

Like many I have been impressed by the products of R Hudson Leeds Ltd. Project HUDSON is my attempt to build all the ‘Rugga’ variants offered by Hudson in there catalogue. I have mainly used the drawings provided in Mr R.C.Link’s hand book. I have used the 16mm Skip available from BInnie Engineering as the basis for all these conversions. 

First a quick history lesson. Robert Hudson Ltd was founded in 1865. The company was based at Gildersome near Leeds, the Head office was based in Meadow Lane in the very centre of Leeds, which was convenient for those arriving by rail, this was also the principal sales and design office. The Guildersome works occupied an area of some 38 acres and included iron and steel foundries, machine shops, erecting shops, pattern makers and a drawing office. To allow the movement of stores a 2’ Gauge hand worked line was installed. The company’s primary products were vehicles and track work for all types of narrow gauge railways. They had an extensive range of products including Jubilee pattern track and Rugga pattern skips. In 1875 Hudson patented the ‘Triple centre’ side tipping truck. This truck, triangular in section, is pivoted at each end, the body being stable in any of three positions. The centre being the normal resting position, the other two facilitate unlading to the left or right. The tri sable nature allows the contents to be easily emptied by one man without the risk of overturning.  Hudson also made extensive use of hydraulic machinery to from steel components, this enabled thinner and lighter gauges of steel to be used, which gave Hudson the competitive edge.


First off the bat were a couple of basic skips, these were assembled following the time honoured method of ignoring the instructions. A small gas torch was used to deform the skip rims as these rarely appear straight in real life. They were then painted with red oxide primer and modern optix two part rust effect applied. A small amount of dry brushing was also applied.

After building standard skips I then built the first conversion a break end. This was fabricated from plastic card and simply glued to the end of the existing chassis parts. A simple jig was made to enable rapid fabrication of the break standard.

Next a very simple ‘man rider’ was built, a simple top of scribed bass wood was fitted between the skip support members and a floor of the same was fitted.

The two types of end tip skip were built by the simple expedient of mounting two chassis on top of each other, as they did in the prototype, one had one end removed, again following prototype practice. This had the ends of the moulding dressed with files to better represent the channel section the real skips are made from. Weathering was again the modern optix two part method.

Next in line was a nice obscure job. The brick top box. This was a real fun project. These conversions were to enable a load of bricks to be delivered straight to site in the box; much like pallets of bricks are delivered today. There are no records that Hudson actually built any of this type for the Rugga chassis but they did for the earlier Victory pattern and they were advertised for many years in there catalogue. Construction was from brass strip and angle. The most fun was fitting the eyes to the ends of the boxes. The planks are Bass wood and can be removed individually.

Weathering way by the Martin Welch talc and paint method. Once this was on and dry areas were masked with latex compound the model painted black and the latex peeled off.

I next set about a bolster set, these had one braked and one unbaked end, nice and simple. This is a set I built for Mr J Busby of Kalgoorlie WA. He asked for them to be in Yellow and I applied the Modern optix treatment.

Finally, some five years after starting this particular model I have a bolster set for myself! Here they are in black, with lots of rust!

I next decided to tackle the Hudson mine tippler. Following a sudden rush of blood to the head I decided to build nine of them. Construction is plasticard and the painting in Alcad II (what happend to Alcad I???) and weathering al la Martin Welch.

One had a crude top fitted to make an explosives wagon.

 I am actualy further along than I thought, I have also completed the platform wagon.

This is my version of Mr R C Link’s fuel pump wagon. Strictly speaking neither this nor the drum wagon below were Hudson products but are in fact based on home built examples from the Leighton Buzzard railway, but here they are!

Here is the oil drum transporter, the oil drums are P&J white metal castings, so it’s quite heavy!

The breakend version and the mine tippler are available from Gramodels, see our links page for details.

We also have a rake of four Hudson passenger cars, these were built from the drawings supplied in Roy C Link’s Narrow gauge and industrial railway modelling review.


I also built two double ended versions, here is one of them.


Here are the latest addition to the project HUDSON, peat wagons, the bodies are home produced etches. The mesh is K&S, not the cheapest so that’s why I’ll only be doing two! Weathering is the Martin Welch method.



This project will soon be appearing in the pages of Narrow gauge and industrial railway modelling review, to arrange a subscription please see our links page.