The Model Railway Club

The Model Railway Club

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Our Layouts

The Club builds and operates layouts in a variety of scales. We have five touring layouts currently, a 2mm scale layout, Copenhagen Fields, which is based on our local railway - the lines out of Kings Cross and a 7mm scale (O gauge) layout called Happisburgh Goods representing a yard on the Norfolk coast with sugar refinery. Three more recent layouts are a 3.5mm scale (HO) layout, "Putnam Division" following American practice, an EM gauge layout "Empire Mills", and "Lacey Dale" an N gauge layout set in the peak disctrict.  

"Minories GN", whilst privately owned by members, is also regularly seen at exhibitions around the country representing the Club.

A new layout "Ingatestone" (in OO gauge, representing the current period) which is based on the station in Essex is under construction.

Work continues even on 'completed' layouts. Layout and project leaders welcome new faces, whether novices or highly skilled - one member even contributes buildings from the Far East to Copenhagen Fields! Most layouts have "working sessions" on one evening or two Sundays a month as well as the regular Thursday night meetings. Please contact us for more details.

Orchard Wharf

Orchard Wharf is the brand new EM gauge layout we are just starting to build. It is a 16' long two-level layout set in East London.

Anyone interested in joining the project should contact us via the website, or come along to Keen House on a Thursday evening and speak to Ben Weiner or John Jesson.



Bow Works

Original print 1
Bow Junction is the Model Railway Club's new 7mm scale layout to be constructed in finescale Scale 7* gauge. After much research and planning new members are welcome to join the group with the opportunity to be there at the start of this new venture. The layout will be true to scale and depict a historic important slice of London around 1900.Plan of location

Bow Junction shows the North London Railway’s junction from Bow Road following the line towards Poplar and the Docks and the diverging line to Fenchurch Street. In the midst of this unique junction is the North London Railway’s locomotive works, the erecting shop, forge and workshops, “Bow Works”.


Copenhagen Fields


2mm Finescale; 1:152; 9.42 mm gauge

Back in 1983 we started to plan and build a new layout to succeed the buccolic ‘Chiltern Green and Luton Hoo’ - we set our sights a little to the north of Keen House and based the new project on the approaches to King’s Cross, with all the complications inherent to engineering the real railway into a capital city.   The site has more complexity in the design of the railway than could ever be conceived by someone inventing a model railway plan. It was to be a railway, in an ‘area of outstanding unnatural beauty’ fully embedded within its scenic context, but the only green field would be a small park on top of the curiously named Copenhagen Tunnel. There were many reasons for choosing to model such an urban scene: one of the most pressing was that accurate models of cities are very rare, so we thought the challenge would be worth taking. What we had not quite appreciated was how much work even the beginning part of the project was going to involve!


Happisburgh Goods

Hap Goods 220x130The Great Eastern Railway had planned to build a line from North Walsham to Happisburgh (pronounced Haysboro) on the Norfolk coast, then south east towards Great Yarmouth. Unfortunately the line never got built but for the purposes of our model we have assumed that it did.


HO - Putnam Division

Puttnam 220x130

Putnam is The Model Railway Club's American based layout, originally inspired by the Putnam branch of the New York Central Railroad, which ran north from New York. This line was single track and mostly ran through a semi-rural landscape of small towns and small farms. The layout is HO scale (1:87) with control via DCC. It is a work in progress, designed to grow gradually. The yard has been exhibited several times as an end-to-end layout, but we have recently completed work to turn it into an oval and can now run much longer trains. Work is under way to add scenery to the new boards. The big curve at the right hand end is the first to be tackled and, in contrast to the semi-urban nature of the main yard, will be rural in nature featuring a considerable number of hand-made trees.

We try to operate the trains with New York Central locomotives, both steam and diesel as befits a model set loosely around 1950, although locomotives from other railroads are used at times. Rolling stock represents the huge number of different railroads that existed at the time.

Work continues on the layout, including making the fiddle yard wider to enable a wider variety of trains to be run at exhibitions.


Lacey Dale

lacey date thumb

‘Lacey Dale’ is The Model Railway Club's new N gauge layout, inspired by the viaduct and surroundings of Monsal Dale in the Peak District of Derbyshire with the Midland main line to Manchester. The period depicted is from mid 1950s to mid 1960s. Although this part of the railway was double track, to provide greater interest we have added long lie by sidings on both 'up' and 'down' lines, as provided a few miles away at Darley Dale. These enable faster trains to overtake the slower freights, and sometimes, local passenger trains.


Empire Mills


empire mills thumbEmpire Mills is the Model Railway Club's 4mm scale EM gauge layout. The basic layout depicts a small, freight-only branch line. The layout boards include lift-out modules carrying track and scenery which can be swapped to depict different industries, time periods and locations.

The layout has featured at two of the "London Festival of Railway Modelling" exhibitions at Alexandra Place configured to show the 'Empire Mills' china clay works somewhere close to St Austell in Cornwall in the late 1960s to early 1970s and British Railways Western Region diesel-hydraulics were much in evidence. Other options that have been considered include 'Empire Lane Pit', a small coal mine that might be in Somerset, or Northumberland, or the Midlands, 'Empire exchange sidings', depicting the transhipment area between a narrow gauge network and the standard gauge network, and 'Empire Lines', the exchange point between a War Department and the national rail network in the Second World War – with the lift out sections the possibilities are almost endless for industries, time periods and locations.

Empire Mills from the trackside

The layout is wired to run with either conventional DC or DCC stock. Anyone interested in joining the Empire project should contact us via the website, or come along to Keen House on a Thursday evening and ask for Ben or Tom.

We've just finished working on the wiring of a new control panel. Our next show will be:

  • Trainwest - 14th / 15th April 2018

Plus we are running at Keen House on a number of Thursday evenings - see 'Whats On' for details.




Ingatestone May 16 2Ingatestone 00 represents a welcome return to 00 scale modelling at The Model Railway Club. This new layout was conceived as a project just over a year ago and is now moving from concept to the physical reality of construction The layout will be 20ft x 10ft in its scenic run, and is a representation of the station and countryside around Ingatestone in Essex, on the former Great Eastern main line to Norwich. The time frame is contemporary, 2014/15, but we do welcome all 00 modellers to run trains on our tracks, as we will be wired for both DC and digital (DCC).



Detail7This layout is unashamedly based on one of the classic layout plans, "Minories" by the late Cyril Freezer – a long-time MRC member. The concept was to show that a busy terminus station could be modelled in a limited space using the proprietary track available at the time. Our model is an imagined extension of the Moorgate "Widened Lines" further into the City of London to a three platform terminus. The period modelled is late 1960s to early 1970s, prior to the electrification of the suburban lines from King's Cross and St Pancras, with a heavily peaked service conveying commuters between Hertford, Hatfield and Luton and the city. Whilst the tight curves and steep inclines of the tunnels around King's Cross limited the size of coaches and length of trains, there was a variety of motive power in use.