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Sheppey pensioner Roy James's shed railway in line for national prize as part of Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces show

An Eastchurch pensioner is on track to win Cuprinol Shed of the Year.

The nationwide contest, part of Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces show, attracted 2,500 entries featuring an array of creatively stunning – and downright crazy – potting spaces.

Roy James is among shortlisted candidates for the final in which the overall winner will pocket a £1,000 prize.

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Roy James is in the running for Shed of the Year. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Roy James is in the running for Shed of the Year. Picture: Simon Hildrew
The set up is thought to be one of biggest zero-gauge miniature layouts in the country. Picture: Simon Hildrew
The set up is thought to be one of biggest zero-gauge miniature layouts in the country. Picture: Simon Hildrew

The 72-year-old is among four entrants battling it out in the “normal shed” category, although his outbuilding is rather extraordinary as it houses a 2,000 sq ft model railway.

Thought to be one of biggest zero-gauge miniature layouts in the country, it includes more than 100 locomotives as well as 400 coaches and wagons.

Dream City Railway, as it is christened, is capable of running up to 30 trains a time and has 16 stations, as well as its own town and operational fairground.

Roy said he was approached to enter the competition after C4 production staff saw his model masterpiece on a video he uploaded to YouTube.

Video: Roy's amazing shed

He said: “It’s a bit like a real railway because it’s wired up on automatically-controlled block sections.

“It’s also susceptible to points failures as well as signal, mechanical and electrical failures.”

Roy, who owns the Coppice pub in Eastchurch, began his model railway journey 20 years ago.

The metal trains, all of which are collector’s items, weigh about 10lb each and ”make a bit of a din” when chugging around.

The model railway inside Mr James's shed. Picture: Simon Hildrew
The model railway inside Mr James's shed. Picture: Simon Hildrew

“But not enough to disturb the neighbours,” according to Roy.

He said he was encouraged to enter the TV contest after family and friends said his erstwhile private pride and joy was too good to be locked away.

The final is due to be aired on C4 later in the year, with the winner decided by a public vote which ends on Friday, May 29.

A close up of the Dream Railway - it includes more than 100 locomotives as well as 400 coaches and wagons. Picture: Simon Hildrew
A close up of the Dream Railway - it includes more than 100 locomotives as well as 400 coaches and wagons. Picture: Simon Hildrew
The railway extends out of the shed and through the garden. Picture: Simon Hildrew
The railway extends out of the shed and through the garden. Picture: Simon Hildrew

Amazing Spaces presenter George Clarke is among the judges and competition is fierce.

Among sheds up for consideration are a stunning treehouse, and a distillery.

Roy, who has named 10 of the model stations after his grandchildren, believes there is more at stake than mere victory.

“This is an opportunity to bring model railways to the forefront on national television,” he said.


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