Halifax grandma leads LocoLadies team of modellers on Channel 5's The Great Model Railway Challenge

Alix Gaughran, Carol Flavin, Jill Barlow, Chrissy Penn and Corina Stevens
Alix Gaughran, Carol Flavin, Jill Barlow, Chrissy Penn and Corina Stevens

A team of women led by a grandmother from Halifax were pitted against model railways enthusiasts from across the country for a national television show.

The LocoLadies were five of only 13 women and 74 men to take part in Channel 5’s The Great Model Railway Challenge.

They all wore pink to raise awareness of breast cancer as they have all lost someone to the disease.

Carol Flavin, from Halifax, started railway modelling with her grandchildren and it was them who encouraged her to enter the competition.

“Next thing I know, the production company are asking me to put together an all female team,” she said.

When other female modellers were reluctant to join her, Carol turned to her friends and family and enlisted friends Jill Barlow, also from Halifax, and Chrissy Penn, and sister-in-law Alix Gaughran. Their fifth member - Corina Stevens - was introduced by the show’s producers.

“All are skilled and talented crafts women and modellers but not necessarily in railway modelling,” said Carol. “But they quickly gelled as a team and become very excited about taking on the challenge.”

Aired last Friday, the show saw the women tasked with creating a full model railway layout to a ‘Best of British’ theme.

The LocoLadies’ idea was called ‘Bucolic Britain - a 1960’s childhood remembered’ and featured a coastline, cliffs, river, estuary, village, farmland and two different scenic railways running through the countryside. There were also animations honouring the emergency services.

“We were very pleased to be well received by the audience but unfortunately for us, on the day we were up against some very experienced modellers,” said Carol.

Despite not winning their heat, the team’s layout has proved so popular tthey have been invited to take it to the biggest model railway show in the country - The Warley National Model Railway Exhibition.

“As team leader, I am justifiably proud of the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm of the team,” said Carol. “We think the layout was a work of art, as do others who have seen it.”