The layout has been built in finescale OO gauge by members of Shipley Model Railway Society. It is a model of an actual location a few hundred yards south from Leicester Central station, as it was in British Railways days. The infrastructure has been modelled around the mid 1950s period but stock running on the layout covers a period from 1948 to 1963. This period spans control of the line by both the Eastern and London Midland regions. One of the most interesting features of the line was that it provided the most direct cross country service between the North East and South West. The resulting inter-regional traffic produced rolling stock and locomotives from the Big Four as well as later BR designs.
The trains running on the layout have been researched and represent actual trains which ran along the line in the above time span. Many through passenger trains changed locomotives at Leicester Central station and others terminated or originated there. The light engines that run up and down the goods loops are running to or from the engine shed. Leicester Central engine shed was situated between the lake, the Midland Leicester - Burton-on-Trent line and the main running lines (see the map and photos on the main display). To model the shed would have required a baseboard extension which was not practical. Therefore to retain traffic movements to and from the shed a line runs under an additional arch in the Leicester - Burton rail bridge. Engines are stored around two turntables in the fiddle yard representing the shed and station.
The 'London Extension' carried more goods than passenger traffic and the large goods yard was well used until the late 1950s. Wagons were moved around the goods warehouse area by ropes wrapped around hydraulically powered and non-powered capstans. Wagons were moved from one line to another by means of wagon turntables positioned at the front and rear of the goods warehouse. We have represented these movements using powered vans and our wagon turntables are fully working models.
Over 99% of the infrastructure including all the houses, factories, wagon repair works, goods warehouse, wagon turntables, signal boxes, signals and even the telegraph poles have been scratch-built. The track is all hand built using rail soldered to copper clad sleepers. Locos and rolling stock are a mix of scratch-built, kits and ready to run that have been modified or super detailed.
The layout is operated using a sequence drawn from Working Timetables and Carriage Working Books. This provides a representation of the services that worked on the line.
Looking at the layout from the front London and the South is to the left and Leicester Central Station and the North is to the right.
This layout is available for exhibition. Please contact John Marsh using the Contact Form on this website for exhibition enquiries, layout publicity and photographs of the layout for use in publications.