An ACE Trains A3 and other makes, TCS, Narborough Road - November 2012


On 1st April 1299, king Edward I granted a charter to the new town of Kingston-upon-Hull, and more than 700 years later, that very document, bearing the king’s seal, is still a treasured possession of the people of Hull, marking as it does the birth of their city. But that was not the only charter the king issued that day. At the same time, he also granted the same rights and privileges to the nearby town of Ravensrodd (or Ravenserodd – there are various spellings), at the mouth of the Humber. Moreover, it was the people of Ravensrodd who had to pay more for their charter, as it was considered to be easily the wealthier and more important of the two towns…and yet it has since vanished, leaving no trace of its existence, aside from the ancient records of that time.

Ravensrodd seems to have become established sometime around 1235, judging by a document of c.1275 which states “…forty years ago and more, by the casting up of the sea, sand and stones accumulated, on which accumulation William de Fortibus, then Earl of Albemarl, began to build a certain town which is called Ravenserodd…”. The town flourished. From 1295 it was represented in Parliament, and in 1299, of course, it received its royal charter, the text of which is preserved in the archives:-


“Edward, by the grace of God king of England, lord of Ireland and duke of Aquitaine, to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, justices, sheriffs, provosts, ministers, and to all his bailiffs and faithful subjects, greeting.   Be it known that, for the improvement of our town of Raveneserode, and for the utility and profit of our men of that town, we will and grant for us and our heirs, that our town aforesaid from henceforth shall be a free borough…”

The charter went on to detail the new rights and privileges of the town, including the right to hold weekly markets (on Tuesdays and Sundays) and an annual fair to commence on 7th September and last for 30 days. However, nature was soon to make a mockery of those rights. Sometime around 1335 the fickle currents of the Humber estuary that had created the shingle bank Ravensrodd was built on shifted again, leaving the town increasingly exposed. The chronicler of nearby Meaux Abbey conjures up an apocalyptic scene:-

“…those floods and inundations of the sea…increasing in their accustomed way without limit fifteenfold…and sometimes exceeding beyond measure the height of the town, and surrounding it like a wall on every side, threatened the final destruction of that town.  And so, with this terrible vision of waters seen on every side, the enclosed persons, with the reliques, crosses, and other ecclesiastical ornaments, which remained secretly in their possession, and accompanied by the viaticum of the body of Christ in the hands of the priest, flocking together, mournfully imploring grace, warded off at that time their destruction.”

An inquiry in 1346 found that two thirds of the town had been washed away, and a final documentary reference from 1355 makes it clear the site was being abandoned. The final remains would have been swept away soon afterwards and to-day even its exact position is uncertain. The chronicler of Meaux Abbey wrote:-

“…that town of Ravenserre Odd, in the parish of the said church of Esyngton, was an exceedingly famous borough, devoted to merchandise, as well as many fisheries, most abundantly furnished with ships and burgesses amongst the boroughs of that sea coast. But yet, with all inferior places, and chiefly by wrong-doing on the sea, by its wicked works and piracies, it provoked the wrath of God against itself beyond measure. Wherefore, within the few following years, the said town, by those inundations of the sea and of the Humber, was destroyed to the foundations, so that nothing of value was left.”

For our purposes, though, Ravensrodd avoided its watery end, and is still a prosperous sea port, served by the LNER, whose main line passes through Ravensrodd Central, near the port, on its way to its final destination at Ravensrodd Terminus (those with some knowledge of the railways of Southampton may find this bit strangely familiar!).   We hope that those long dead burgesses of Ravensrodd, whose hard-earned privileges were so cruelly snatched from them by the perfidious waters of the Humber, would have approved.    


Ravensrodd Central was originally intended as a British Railways (North Eastern Region) layout, to provide a vehicle for the ACE Trains E/13 & E/14 A1 & A2 Peppercorn Pacifics.  In reality, I believe the B1s were far more common in the Hull area, but these were also included in the ACE programme, as their intended E/15.  In the event, however, all of these models, together with further LNER types that may have been useful, like the J11 (E/5) and G5 (E/25), have, for a variety of reasons, been postponed if not cancelled. Therefore, at least for the moment, it can only be done as an LNER layout, using locomotives and stock from a wide range of manufacturers, vintage and modern, in which form it made its first - and so far only - appearance at the TCS Autumn show in November 2012.

The station itself uses three ACE Trains canopy sets, with modern Bassett-Lowke resin buildings (based on the Hornby ‘Skaledale’ range) being used for the buildings.   In the revised format (not used at the TCS show in 2012) these are arranged to create four through tracks on what is essentially a two-track layout.  A separate circle of track is used to represent the port’s internal railway (using Corgi-era Bassett-Lowke Peckett tanks) and industrial buildings of various makes are used to complete the scene.  We even have a ‘Harbour Sounds’ CD to give the appropriate ambiance!


This layout would occupy approximately 10’ x 20’.

We don’t feel this particular layout would work well in a smaller area.