As most preservation observers would know, the title of this thread is a reference to the Nene Valley Railway, the only standard gauged preserved railway in Britain to operate steam locomotives from the continent. In 1985, Arnold actually advertised in Railway Modeller, on the basis that their models could be used in Britain in a Nene Valley style set up. On my layout, this is a bit of a novelty because it is normally all British. However, I wondered if a continental loco would look good with the old under scale, unloved, Lima coaches, as long as no other Mk1s were visible at the same time. Years after I first considered this, I found the continental bargain I was looking for (an old Fleischmann DR 53 0-6-0 for £46) and decided to try it out.
I have now run this train several times, and it works beautifully. The only snag I found, rather belatedly, was that a third Lima coach I purchased had one coupler which was damaged and had been glued. Next time, I'd better check such old items more carefully. It is of course technically under scale, but I don't think that matters as much when the train moves and every vehicle is in scale with the vehicle it is coupled to. Despite the fact that the loco's prototype would not fit within normal British clearances, the smaller scale means that it fits within the layout's clearances easily.
Now, I know some disappointed readers would say that to recreate Nene Valley practice, I would need continental carriages. However, such carriages may be more expensive and difficult to set up in the Nene Valley's unique configuration, with one door per rake at platform level. In truth, this train is supposed to be native to my line, rather than the Nene Valley, and I think it gets the combination of continental technology and British heritage style just right.
By the way, does anyone know if an American diesel would fit through normal British layout clearances, or are they too large, even in the smaller scale?