Illustrated train gardens

Bespoke Illustrated train gardens made to order.


Hand illustrated train sets made to order, I can work to any gauge or layout. I can work to your brief or can create something special for your own requirements. They function fully as a working train set but hang on a wall as an artwork when not used. Only one exists at the moment but I would be very happy to take on any new commissions. Prices negotiable upon request depending on size and complexity of the proposed design.


train tone


Illustrated Train Garden No. 1 was created in the early part of 2016. It was built as a response to my concerns over the destruction of a great many pubs, venues, shops and institutions which have meant a good deal to me over the 30 years that I have called London my home.

This is a very personal map, and although many of the buildings depicted here are still very much in place and functioning, many are not, and others are under threat, they all however have a significant meaning to me. It feels like every time I take a walk through a neighbourhood that I have not visited for a while I am struck by the absence of another much loved building ,or these days more often than not an entire block.

I sense that I am loosing my own personal history of London, indeed we are loosing our collective history of London as it is rapidly replaced by a profoundly dull version of itself, as quaffed and polished and un-interesting as the inhabitants that are now displacing many of us who can no longer afford to live in our own home.

Part memorial, part educational and part toy it was made with my own son in mind in order carry the joy that I and his mother found in our city into the conscience of new generations.

This is very much my own London, unique to me in its totality, but all of its parts were shared with millions of others, perhaps even you. I am happy to create other versions of this or any other city to your own specifications. Should you be interested in commissioning such an object for yourself then please do not hesitate to contact me via this website.

Neil Packer



Watch a short film showing the Anti-Gentrification Illustrated Train Garden in its full working glory.

finished track

To read the full text of “The parable of the independent retailer” click here.



Illustrated Train Garden Update 13th March 2018


I am sorry to report that the Illustrated Train Garden has failed. It has failed to sell as a work of art and more importantly it has failed to halt the progress of gentrification in the Central London area. It has failed to such a degree that the infection has now spread to our own block of flats, until recently the last un fucked up bit of Marylebone. As a consequence of the  anti gentrification train gardens failure our landlord has decided to exploit our buildings newly found gentrification and sell my home from under me. I only hope the Train Garden performs better as a rudimentary shelter than it did as a work of propaganda.

One interesting moment did however emerge from the heartache of dealing with my own soon to be homelessness.

Their is a famous anecdote that you may know know. During WW2 a German officer visited Picasso in occupied Paris, at his studio and saw a photograph of Guernica hanging on his wall. He asked Picasso “Did you do this?” Picasso replied “No you did”possibly the coolest riposte in all of art history. I am happy to report that last week an estate agent visited me in my flat to evaluate it for the landlord. He saw the anti gentrification train set hanging on my wall and asked me “Did you do this?” I was overjoyed to be able to deliver the exact same “No you did!”. I think it was a bit lost on him and he just looked confused and wandered off to evaluate another part of the room. I have to say though it is almost worth loosing the flat just to be able to reference the great mans reply, although I quite understand that as tragedies and artworks go it does not even begin to compare with Guernica.


Illustrated train garden No.0  built with the help of my son (then aged 8) in 2012.

The Illustrated Train Set