About: The Team


Roy Preston

Trustee and Chairman


I spent my working life as a scientist at the National Physical Laboratory and have always had an interest in model engineering. Since retirement, I have built two 5-inch gauge locomotives and am building a third, a true-scale model of a BR Standard Class 3MT 2-6-2. I completed the SECR ‘C’ Class seen above two years ago and it was awarded a gold medal at the Model Engineering Exhibition in 2016. I have always been keen to help young people build models and my realisation that we need to get more people of all ages involved in model engineering led me to develop the concept of The Branch Line Learning Centre as a means of achieving this objective.


Andrew Brock

Trustee and Treasurer


As of 2018 I have been a volunteer at Beech Hurst for 25 years, having started aged just 13. Since then I have progressed through the ranks, learning to drive electric and steam locomotives as well as building my own locomotive and helping other young members to achieve their ambitions too. Whilst the day-to-day operation of the railway is of interest, I also enjoy the challenge of progressing my own skills by building new models and maintaining existing ones, which I continue to do on an almost daily basis. Hopefully these skills will hold me in good stead for the future and allow me to pass them on to future generations via the Learning Centre project.


John Baldwin



I trained as a radio communications engineer and worked for British Telecoms in the design and implementation of satellite ground station technology. At work I was involved the training of staff in new technologies and systems. After taking early retirement I was employed by a large co-educational independent boarding school responsible for the developing and maintenance of their IT systems. Again, this involved both the teaching of pupils and staff. I have always had an interest in railways and in particular live steam locomotives. I have two 5” gauge Great Western Railways (GWR) King class locomotives one of which I am currently undertaking a major overhaul and repaint. Two long-term projects are the building of a GWR 1500 class tank engine and a LMS Jubilee class locomotive.


Ken Hope



I am a professional mechanical engineer who gained a BSc (Hons) at Birmingham University. Over the last 15 years, I have had various project roles in railway-related programmes including London Underground Jubilee and Northern line upgrades, and Thameslink Programme Traffic Management. I have also been involved in the Bluebell Heritage Railway 9F club as a volunteer and as an adult helper supervising young (under 16) volunteers.

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Registered Charity Number: 1178407


The Branch Line

Beech Hurst Gardens

Haywards Heath

West Sussex

RH16 4BB