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This thread is to record the planning, building and stocking of my prospective layout "Strand". It's a P4 layout set in 1909. Since it's probably the only P4 layout I shall live to build (I'm not that old but sadly slow at building), I've manically warped the railway history of London to include as many of my interests as possible.

 

No part of the layout currently exists, but I'm hoping to build one or more working cameos this year. Some of the stock exists and, I hope, I may now be at the tipping point where useful amounts of stock follow more quickly.

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I await further news with great interest!

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The historical and geographical context of the layout

 

EDIT: following excellent advice received in this thread, the background of the layout has been refined a little. See my post on page two for the new details.

 

Strand is the station at the southern end of a link between the SECR (originally the SER) and the LNWR. Historically, such a link was plotted several times during the 19th century, but all these projects failed due to money issues (typically not having enough, but once because the sponsor companies could not agree the division of revenues). Had the line been built according to the historical plans it would have been underground.

 

My railway is a "re-imagining" of the historical schemes and does not follow any of them closely. I assume that the line was planned in the 1860s and built at the end of that decade, so that it opened not too long after the Charing Cross railway. This allows the first major change in the history: my railway is on viaduct, except for a short stretch in tunnel at the Euston end. When planning started in the early 1860s, underground, metropolitan railways were very new and unproven, and the LNWR was having a grim time with its tunnels in Liverpool; hence a strong desire to be above ground. By starting early, most of the land to be bought was either slum scheduled for clearance (especially in Seven Dials) or open ground (North of Oxford Street, near Tottenham Court Road). Therefore, viaduct was affordable.

 

Call the railway the Charing Cross and Euston Junction (CCEJ). The name doesn't appear in the layout anywhere, but it's a useful handle.

 

The line starts from Charing Cross railway bridge, which I assumed to be widened on its north-east side, climbs a short but painfully-steep bank to viaduct level and then crosses the Strand near Bedford Street. Strand station is here, and although it is effectively Charing Cross High Level, it's far enough from Charing Cross proper to be viewed and named as a distinct station. To build the line next to Charing Cross station, would have required the promoters to buy and demolish both the West Strand development and Charing Cross hospital, and this they could not afford. Therefore the railway veers sharply away from Villiers Street to run North through Strand station and curve around the expensive buildings. It then curves round back to the north-west, slices across Seven Dials, and crosses Oxford Street at Tottenham Court Road. Thereafter it runs parallel to that road (or over it on iron arches; I am not sure) until close to the Euston Road. Here, it dives into tunnel and passes under the Metropolitan railway before rising again to reach the west side of Euston Station.

 

There is a west-to-south spur linking the CCEJ and the Metropolitan railway. The Met and GWR have running powers over the CCEJ and over some of the SER lines south of the river.

 

Where the LCDR crosses the SER, between Charing Cross and London Bridge, the LCDR petitioned for a west-to-south chord so that they could work to the CCEJ. This was built about the time that the (historical) east-to-noth chord was built.

 

The tunnel at the north end of the CCEJ is a little over half a mile long. Ordinary, non-condensing engines can work between Euston and Strand if the service is sparse. During the day, the service is not at all sparse and the tunnel has a tendency to fill with steam. Condensing engines are used on the local passenger-services and daytime goods trains may be piloted by a condensing engine. At night, ordinary goods engines are in play.

 

All trains from the GWR and Met have, of course to condense. Or to be electrically hauled....

 

.. which leads to the last complication: the CCEJ is electrified on the 3rd/4th rail system. No electric trains go South of Strand onto the SECR, but I have not yet decided on the northern limit of electrification. It goes at least to Euston, allowing me to run early LNWR electrics (stock leased from the District Railway after they stopped operating circle trains). I might decree that the LNWR started electrification earlier than true history and perhaps the electric trains go as far out as Willesden? This is all to be decided, and since Strand looks the same whatever, I can use different histories on different days.

 

Readers who know London will realise that the CCEJ passes within a few hundred feet of Covent Garden market. This has a dominant influence on the goods services through Strand.

 

The date of the layout is 1909. This is the earliest epoch that makes the electric-train story plausible and roughly the latest at which the SECR and LNWR retain their victorian heritage. In later years, those companies quickly became more modern and less attractive to me.

Edited by Guy Rixon
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Fascinating.

 

Look forward to seeing some plans, now I understand the historical context.

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The traffic and the spotters' guide to the trains

 

The CCEJ has five main classes of traffic.

 

  1. Intensively-worked, local passenger-services; "inner suburban" in modellers' jargon.
  2. Working from outer London that extend over the CCEJ.
  3. Through coaches and trains between the SECR, LNWR and GWR.
  4. Through goods and minerals.
  5. Local goods, mainly perishables to the Market.

The local passenger trains are traditionally formed of 4-wheeled close-coupled sets hauled by condensing tank-engines. SECR Q, A and R1 may be expected, with an occasionally H. LNWR small-wheeled 2-4-2 are common. There will probably be a GWR large Metro in due course. Since 1905, when the volts invaded the line, some of the locals are now worked by EMUs: e.g. Met Harrow to Stand with 1906 stock; H&CR with their 1906 stock; LNWR using leased District stock, or possibly their own trains if I bring those forward in history. The GWR trains of 4-wheelers might appear behind a Met electric loco if they terminate at Strand, but anything going on to Cannon Street or beyond needs a steam engine.

 

The core of the LNWR local service is Broad-Street-Willesden-Euston-Strand-Cannon Street. This uses the stock displaced from the Outer Circle services at the end of 1908. If I decide that the volts got as far Willesden, then these trains are hauled to Strand by (leased) MDR electric-locos and terminate there. Maybe some still have steam haulage and go on to Cannon Street. I call this service the Ever-Decreasing Circle (EDC).

 

The outer-suburban trains need a little more thought.

 

The through portions of the long-distance trains are the original reason for planning Strand. They effectively replace the historical services that ran via the WLR (LNWR) or Reading (GWR) and most of them go either to Folkestone Harbour or to Deal via Folkestone Central and Dover. There may be more of these than the historical timetables. I also plan to have at least one full through train from the LNWR to (probably) Deal that changes engines at Strand; therefore, we get to see a LNWR express engine, but probably one of the older Webb types. This train will have dining cars. Through coaches off the GWR are probably hauled by an electric loco, but a Metro would do off-peak.

 

One of the interesting aspect of planning the through trains is that the stock must no wider than 8'6" if it is to go over the SER beyond London Bridge (I assume that Strand to Cannon Street and London Bridge has been built with a proper loading gauge; also the CCEJ itself is unrestricted). This rules out a lot the wider types.

 

Originally, the through portions were hauled to Cannon Street to meet up with their SECR trains. Line capacity between Cannon Street and Strand forced a re-think and many of the trains now combine and divide at Strand. Some of them may miss out Cannon Street altogether.

 

The through freight is not so much because the line is busy and too steep for easy working; the WLR is a better option. Freight trains have a limit of 15 10-ton wagons plus brake. SECR C and O class will work these trains, and whatever LNWR type is best suited (suggestions?); and they will run mainly at night. Freights are banned in the peaks.

 

Local freight is mainly perishable for the two markets: mainly Covent Garden but some also for Borough. There's a depot specially for this, effectively a posh private-siding, in Bedford Street.

 

The SECR's continental goods depot, which was in the middle of London Bridge station for years has been relocated to Strand at street level below the CCEJ (historically it went to Southwark Street, next to Ewer Street MPD). The end of this depot will be visible on the layout.

 

I think that somewhere around Strand there is a coal depot, but details are still to be decided. It may well be associated with Cory's the coal factor and their various retail businesses.

 

The GWR runs freight trains to Strand for the market traffic and little else. They have Smithfield for general goods. 633 class 0-6-0T haul these.

 

The Met does run general goods into Strand. I assume that they never built vine Street depot and instead got land near Strand, so there will be electrically-hauled freights. The Met have forwarding arrangement with the GCR and MR.

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Just a thought, but might there be a chance that, for piloting purposes, the CC&EJR maintains a small fleet of condensing tank engines, most likely Beyer Peacock locos sold by the Met and District? Could add a bit of interest and (if a good idea: it might not be!) would give a unique company identity and the chance to experiment with liveries!

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Just a thought, but might there be a chance that, for piloting purposes, the CC&EJR maintains a small fleet of condensing tank engines, most likely Beyer Peacock locos sold by the Met and District? Could add a bit of interest and (if a good idea: it might not be!) would give a unique company identity and the chance to experiment with liveries!

 

 

Originally, I had assumed that the CCEJ had leased itself to the LNWR and SER and had no operating duties. However, yes, it might be interesting to have some CCEJ pilots and BP tanks would be logical. If I do them, they'll happen after the engines of the big railways. That probably means that I'll not live long enough. :-/ If anybody carries on Strand after I'm gone they can make their own choice.

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If you want a quick option there's always Mr Connor's (L49 on here) 3D prints on Shapeways... They're quite cheap too, so I'm tempted to get a few at some stage for one of my own plans.

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Strand as a layout

 

After a decade (seriously!) of doodling, the plan for Strand as a layout is still not final. It is now converging, and what I know about it is this.

 

It will be a portable - exhibitable - layout in P4.

 

The modelled area will be the north end of Strand station with the associated sidings and goods facilities. This is the interesting bit where all the shunting happens, because the bank down to the bridge at the southern end (the 'Orrible 'Ill in local parlance) is awkward for shunting and any movement across Charing Cross approaches at the foot of the bank gums things up for the main line.

 

The running lines will all be above street level. Some of the goods facilities will be at street level: this is the north tip of the depot shared by the LNWR and SECR and trains from the north reach it via a wagon lift which will be modelled and working. In fact, the lift may be first cameo I build. (There's fighting talk...)

 

There are exchange sidings for goods vehicle at viaduct level, but recently (in 1909) more of the goods trains are working through to Hither Green and the exchange sidings are getting used as carriage sidings. That means that they are now electrified with 3rd/4th rail (the shunters hate this and the shunting horses are now banned from the viaduct); the Met can actually shunt its trains with the electric engines.

 

In the lower yard there are shunting capstans and I might even make some of these work.

 

The station itself has three platforms (four faces: one each side of one road), one for Up trains and two for Down trains. (Up is towards Mecca aka Euston.) This makes for an interesting dance in handling the trains. Platform 2 (Down) is the central one and is used for terminating trains and also for forming trains out of through portions. Platform 3 (Down) is mainly for trains passing on to the SECR. Platform 1 (Up) is for the trains onto the CCEJ including both the locals and the main-line trains that split in this platform: typically the SECR train engine comes off and goes to servicing sidings, a LNWR engine back on and takes forward the through portion and the remaining part of the train is towed away to the carriage sidings by the station pilot. (Which is to be an R class 0-6-0T. I'd use a P class but it fails the rice-pudding test and couldn't handle a proper train down the bank.)

 

The overall layout is to be about 16 feet long. Of that four feet at each end is fiddle yard (extensible with bigger cassettes to 6 feet at each end if need be) with sidings in front, so the scenic length is 16 feet but the runnable scenic length is possibly a little shorter. The southern fiddle-yard is the station itself, with the overall roof hiding the fiddling.

 

You never see a full-length, main-line train at Strand layout! Ten-coach trains "arrive" from the south, but only the front few coaches are visible when the trains are in platform 1. They then split into manageable portions as they go north. Frights are short because of the hill and the local trains are short because, frankly, the local traffic is nearly dead by 1909.

 

I'll post some maps and track diagrams over the next couple of days.

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I'm liking the scheme very much indeed!

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Here's a location map.

 

post-22875-0-16259400-1516734212_thumb.png

 

The CCEJ line is shown in black and the passenger station is the thickened part of that line.

 

The coloured areas are the various goods facilities: Strand depot (LNWR/SECR) in purple; Chandos Street depot (Met.) in green; Bedford Street depot (private sidings belonging to the Duchy of Bedfordshire who also own the Market) in blue; exchange/carriage sidings in red.

 

The shaded area is the approximate extent of the layout. It is to be viewed from the south-west side. (And you wouldn't believe how much I agonised about that. I wanted to view from the north-east so that Charing Cross hospital, in Agar Street was the backdrop, but the railway is a lousy fit for that angle.)

 

The bridge over the Thames starts at the extreme bottom left and the bank up to the station is from here up to roughly the start of the modelled area. The gradient will be about 1 in 40. This sounds barking mad at first reading, but there was comparable craziness on the LCDR line into Farringdon. The current Thameslink line is that steep.

 

There is another bank, at about 1 in 50, out of the station to the North, in order to keep the line sufficiently above the steets; Bedford Street slopes up. The station itself will be modelled dead flat, and the northern sidings and depots are level with the station to make then easier to shunt. I don't fancy setting back trains up 1 in 50!

 

Positions of things are a bit rough, partly because I haven't chosen the exact track-plan but also because the drawing software won't let me put the lines exactly where I need them.

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The traffic and the spotters' guide to the trains

 

This train will have dining cars. [T]he stock must no wider than 8'6" if it is to go over the SER beyond London Bridge ...

 

This I look forward to! I'm sure you've seen Jol's D10 build.

 

The Met does run general goods into Strand. I assume that they never built vine Street depot and instead got land near Strand, so there will be electrically-hauled freights. The Met have forwarding arrangement with the GCR and MR.

 

 

If there's coal involved, are you sure there aren't Midland condensing engines finding a way through from Cricklewood?

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If there's coal involved, are you sure there aren't Midland condensing engines finding a way through from Cricklewood?

 

 

Tempting, but hard to justify. Midland trains can get everywhere they need to on the SECR via the Widened Lines. If they needed to get coal to Strand itself, they could reverse at Blackfriars Goods.

 

However, one of the historical SER-LNWR links was planned to have a branch to the Midland, so it's not completely out of the question. If somebody was to volunteer MR stock to run on Strand at an exhibition then the history would change to accommodate it.

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Given the topography I'm not convinced that, had such a line ever ben built, it would have been in a cutting most of the way to minimise the gradients. But it's your railway... :-)

 

A lovely idea for all that!

 

 

 

Richard

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The gradients are interesting, and I did spend much time looking at spot heights on the maps. 10+ years in the dreaming!

 

The natural thing, in engineering terms, is for the railway to run level from where it crosses the Thames. This causes it to cross the Strand on the level, then pass into a cutting immediately north of the Strand as the ground rises. Before it gets to Garrick Street, it will be far enough below ground for the streets to bridge across. London is fairly flat from there up to the Euston road.

 

However, a level crossing in the Strand is somewhat silly. Local government would not have been amused. The railway has to either climb or dive to pass the Strand.In each case, the bank is steeper than 1 in 100. In order to fit in a near-level station north of the bank, the gradient gets much worse.

 

There are three ways to ease the gradients near Stand. One is to move the whole layout north of the Strand so that the length of the bank south of the station is roughly doubled. This makes a less-attractive layout, for me. Also, it separates Strand completely from Charing Cross and the SER directors did not want this. They really wanted the CCEJ station to be built above Villiers Street and to be almost contiguous with Charing Cross; historically, they bought the land here. In the alternate history, there is a long, raised, covered footbridge from Charing Cross to Strand.

 

Another way is to build the bridge extension with two decks. The lower deck improves the approaches to Charing Cross, and allows trains into Strand goods depot. The upper deck connects to the CCEJ and the railway is level from the bridge to the Strand. The planned layout is visually compatible with this.

 

The third way is to close Chandos Street (it was called Chandos passage in the 1860s and was narrower than today). In the plan above, the CCEJ rises at ~1 in 50 to get over Chandos Street at sufficient height for road traffic to pass and then levels off. If Chandos Street be cut off, the CCEJ can rise slowly, reaching its highest point near Garrick Street and the gradient will be better than 1 in 100. Since the latest track-plan puts the links to the exchange sidings and to the Met. depot across Chandos Street on the level, cutting off the street at the junction with Agar Street looks sensible.

 

Incidentally, in a previous plan I had the railway on the other side of Bedford Street and was looking to close Maiden Lane. This turns out to be impossible. Queen Victoria used that street to get to a private entrance in back of the Adelphi theatre (in fact Maiden lane was rebuilt into a through street so that the royal coach would not need to turn in the street). I was considering having a coach-sized door with a royal crest in one of the railway arches and seeing if anybody could work it out.

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Guy

I really appreciate your scenario.  Developing a history has always been my aim as well.  This (amongst others) helps me develop a construction and purchasing strategy and help me to avoid buying nice models that would not fit.

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Stock-building for Strand continues with the "Mansion-House" set that forms the core of the LNWR's inner-suburban service. This train will be 9 close-coupled, 4-wheeled coaches, built from London Road Models kits. They will be hauled either by a Webb 4'6" 2-4-2T (for which I have an unbuilt Perseverance kit) or by MDR electrics (which need scratchbuilding). The Outer Circle trains were finished in vanished teak rather than the normal LNWR livery and thus became know as "brown trains".

 

One coach is mainly done, but has a horrendous mistake in its underframe that may need mending with a new one; the body is salvageable. The second is under construction and going OK so far.

 

Build details are appearing on the S4 forum and should be visible to non-members of the S4 society.

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They will be hauled either by a Webb 4'6" 2-4-2T (for which I have an unbuilt Perseverance kit) ...

 

 

Guy,

 

I have a London Road Models version in my kit pile.  Will yours be built as a condensing engine?  

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Guy,

 

I have a London Road Models version in my kit pile.  Will yours be built as a condensing engine?  

 

Yes, definitely. I need to find numbers of London-area condensing engines to suit. I also hope to get a LRM kit for a "Chopper" and to build that in condensing form (pending confirmation that there were condensing 2-4-0T around in 1909).

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Yes, definitely. I need to find numbers of London-area condensing engines to suit. I also hope to get a LRM kit for a "Chopper" and to build that in condensing form (pending confirmation that there were condensing 2-4-0T around in 1909).

 

That's a "chicken and egg" question. If this line had existed, it may have (indeed would have) influenced the CME's choices. So 2-4-0Ts may have been kept specially or even an entirely new loco type developed.

 

On the MDR electrics, I don't think that you need to scratchbuild. I am sure that I have seen a kit somewhere.

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That's a "chicken and egg" question. If this line had existed, it may have (indeed would have) influenced the CME's choices. So 2-4-0Ts may have been kept specially or even an entirely new loco type developed.

 

On the MDR electrics, I don't think that you need to scratchbuild. I am sure that I have seen a kit somewhere.

 

Radley Models were going to do a kit for an MDR electric, but I think either it didn't come out or it did and they sold them all. I see no mention of the kit on their site at present. Given that Radley kits are both basic and pricey, and that I'd need a pair of locos, I think scratchbuilding is preferable.

Edited by Guy Rixon

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Well I never!

 

When I worked in the area, I was forever plotting such a railway, based on the earlier proposals, some of which got quite far-on in design terms.

 

In my head, it was always in a combination of deep cuttings and short tunnels for most of the way, because I didn’t even dream of that ferocious gradient, and yes, it was electrified by this date, because everyone had had enough of the fumes.

 

Not sure exactly which electric locos it might have had for the goods and through passenger, but they are all more or less the same under skin, whether from Westinghouse, BTH, or perhaps Dick-Kerr, and achievable ratings were quite limited (by traction motor technology), so the District ‘Twins’ make a good candidate, and they were rather out of work even by 1909. Full nine yards here http://www.lurs.org.uk/documents/pdf09/oct/district_electric_trains.pdf

 

Anyway, another thread to follow with great interest ......... a few years on, you should be able to do Broad Street, NLL, Willesden, Addison Road, bottom of Circle, Euston, Willesden Junction as a sort of “Outer P”.

 

By the way, plans for such a cross London link, electrified, go back to the early 1880s, and Edison even drew-up a putatitive loco design, which was meant to schlepp five Pullman cars across town. I might have an engraving of the design somewhere. It was a bit of kite-flying, in that it almost certainly couldn’t have been realised at the time, added to which (whisper it quietly in front of Americans) Eddison’s Involvement with electric traction was a bit of a blind alley, despite early experimental work, and enough patents to wallpaper the moon with.

 

Dick Kerr loco, built 1909, below.

post-26817-0-65920000-1517337074_thumb.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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The chassis for the Mansion-House coach is now almost complete.

 

post-22875-0-00635100-1517439311_thumb.jpg

 

Technical details over on the S4 forum, see my previous post for the link.

 

Time so far on this kit is about 10 hours, including planning, building some jigs and making up one of the body side while waiting for the retainer to set in the wheelsets. That's really fast for me, and later coaches will go faster now I have the jigs, so there's some hope of getting the train done pre-bus-pass.

Edited by Guy Rixon
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Yes, definitely. I need to find numbers of London-area condensing engines to suit. I also hope to get a LRM kit for a "Chopper" and to build that in condensing form (pending confirmation that there were condensing 2-4-0T around in 1909).

 

 

Hi Guy,

 

These are the allocations for Willesden in 1912:

 

‘4ft 6in Tank’ 430, 663, 681, 712, 729, 730, 756, 760, 781, 785,

786, 788, 791, 816, 820, 825, 907, 908, 975, 1176,

1178, 2501, 2509, 2516

 

According to Baxter 20 locos were condenser fitted originally in 1889/90. These include:

 

430, 663, 712, 729, 730, 756, 760, 781, 785, 786. 788, 791, 816, 820, 825, 907, 908, 975

 

So 18 of the 20 were at Willesden and probably there from there start.

 

The other 2 were 721 and 761

 

Hope this helps.

 

Edit re: Baxter

Edited by Brassey
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Hi Guy,

 

These are the allocations for Willesden in 1912:

 

‘4ft 6in Tank’ 430, 663, 681, 712, 729, 730, 756, 760, 781, 785,

786, 788, 791, 816, 820, 825, 907, 908, 975, 1176,

1178, 2501, 2509, 2516

 

Were condensing engines allocated anywhere other than London? Presumably they were all built for services over the Metropolitan and Metropolitan District Railways?

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