My name is Tony Willmore and I live near Porthmadog, North Wales, with my wife Ruth and our cats Scrabble, Ludo and Jenga.
I have been a railway enthusiast since I was a child and soon became a typical schoolboy trainspotter. In the early 1970s I became a member of the Brambleton Model Railway Club in Harpenden, and their extensive O-gauge layout gave me my first taste of large-scale outdoor model railways. After starting full-time employment in 1975 I became a keen railway photographer, and this interest continues but on a much reduced scale to this day.
In 1980 I started working as a volunteer at the Severn Valley Railway, where I was involved with the operation and maintenance of the Western Locomotive Association's two Class 52 "Western" diesel-hydraulic locomotives (D1013 WESTERN RANGER and D1062 WESTERN COURIER) and the painting of various steam and diesel locomotives. My interest in diesel locomotives, and diesel-hydraulics in particular, continues to this day and I travel on as many railtours worked by the Diesel Traction Group's D1015 WESTERN CHAMPION as I can.
In 1988 I was introduced to the delights of 16mm scale garden railways when I also became involved with The Paddock Railway at Hampton Loade station on the Severn Valley Railway. Soon afterwards I joined the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers as member 2197 and my membership continues to this day. I am also an active member of the The North-West Wales 16mm Model Railway Group.
I started volunteering at the Ffestiniog Railway in 1996 where I qualified as a fireman and then as a driver on both the Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland Railway. I was heavily involved with the overhauls of Linda and Prince in the 1990s, took a leading role in the repaints of LINDA (1996 and 2001), MOUNTAINEER (1998), Quarry Hunslet GWYNEDD (2000), PRINCE (2000) and MERDDIN EMRYS (2005), and I was Chairman of the Lilla Locomotive Group for 10 years from its inception until my involvement with both railways ended in 2007.
After nearly 30 years in the computer industry I decided that a change of career and scenery was needed and so I moved to North Wales in 2002. A not-to-be-refused opportunity soon caused my garden railways hobby to become my full-time job.
Earl of Merioneth departing Penrhyn on the 16mm Association 25th Anniversary train in 2002
Taliesin at Minffordd in 2004
Darjeeling B-Class 19B departing Penrhyn in 2005
Earl of Merioneth departing Minffordd in 2005 (Photo by David Barnwell)
David Lloyd George passing Penrhyn Crossing in 2006
This page was last updated on 30th July 2022