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Hornsey Broadway

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Having been inspired by many of the layout and work bench threads on this forum, I'm now past the planning stage of my own project to be able to post something, hopefully of interest to others.



This sketch is by no means to scale, but after many hours of deliberation and trying to fit a suitable track plan into the space available, construction has started. With an available space of 24 ft long by 3 ft wide, it has been possible to accommodate a fly-over and cut-under without exceeding the maximum gradient of 1:80. The date is 1970, blue is the new colour, and all the locomotives have proper numbers!




A bit about the background history to Hornsey Broadway. It is based on The Northern Heights Railway which ran from Finsbury Park to Edgeware, and became part of the GNR suburban network. There were plans to extend the line nearly as far as Watford, but the scheme was abandoned just after the 2nd world war, partly due to the implementation of the London 'green belt' act. Some sections of the line were built but never used, and now some of the route is part of London Transport's Northern Line.




The layout is based on what could have been, had the line been completed. It would have seen a wide variety of inter-regional freight and passenger workings from the midland region to Stratford and the east end, as well as an intense suburban network. The final scenario is that the GN branch to High Barnet would have been worthy of a short extension northwards. This would have joined up with the main line at Potters bar, and allowed diverted traffic to ease the already congested double track line north of Finsbury Park.




The format of the layout follows a previous configuration, using a 16 road storage yard which can accommodate up to 64 individual trains, and is served by 4 tracks with 180 degree curves at each end. All the 'off-scene' baseboards are already in use with 'Wibdenshaw', so again, only the 24 ft scenic section needs to be constructed. All baseboards are 4 ft X 3ft with alignment dowels, and constructed from 9mm interior grade plywood.




With Hornsey Broadway station situated at the west end of the layout, it will consist of 4 platforms with an adjacent tube station. Heading east away from the station, 2 tracks head towards Tottenham and Stratford, whilst the other 2 tracks disappear into tunnels en-route to Finsbury Park and Kings Cross. In addition to the splitting of the routes, there is a fly-over and cut-under to avoid conflicting movements, in typical with GN practice.




So...... the scene is set, and during the next few years or so, I hope to portray a slice of north London as it might well have been. The buildings and tunnels mocked up in situ' showing the relationship between the loco shed headshunt, and the main line areas. A few vehicles have been added to liven the scene around the scrapyard, and some retaining walls require final weathering.

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Another winner in the making, Kier.:icon_thumbsup2:


I was wondering how on earth you were going to fit everything in. I shall look forward to watching it develop.

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Looks like a fascinating and very impressive project


Just two comments on the historical scenario - the isolated Ally Pally branch looks a bit odd. Would LT not have found some way to bring the Northern Line at Highgate to the surface to link with the branch - making Ally Pally/Highgate/FP/Moorgate an offshoot of the Northern Line network ?


Also - just being a bit mischeivous, though we may have covered this before - the LNER had serious plans in 1930 (to the extent of parliamentary powers before a Committee) to electrify them at 1500V . Off-loading them onto the Tube was suggested as an alternative approach , and was no doubt gratefully seized upon by the LNER Board in the middle of the Depression as a way of dealing with the issue without having to come up with a substantial amount of investment capital in very hard times. Thus they ended up as part of LT, and bits of the GE inner suburban network were then off-loaded onto the Central Line thus simplifying the Liverpool/Shenfield electrification


If these lines had stayed with the LNER/BR , presumably they would have done so as electric routes , and presumably the evolution would have followed the GE pattern with 25kV conversion . 306s into the Northern Heights?

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Some interesting points there as to what might have been, especially regarding electrification. The layout will feature 3rd rail DC for class 501 units to work the direct Watford to Broad Street service.


The reason for the Piccadilly line to swing around to A.P. is so that I have an excuse to display '59 tube stock at Hornsey Bdy. You're not the first person to mention that the Northern line could well have continued past Highgate to A.P. instead. Nothing is set in stone (on the plan) with regard to the surrounding LT lines, but I'm happy to change my mind if it makes the whole idea a bit more plausible.

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Some interesting points there as to what might have been, especially regarding electrification. The layout will feature 3rd rail DC for class 501 units to work the direct Watford to Broad Street service.


The reason for the Piccadilly line to swing around to A.P. is so that I have an excuse to display '59 tube stock at Hornsey Bdy. You're not the first person to mention that the Northern line could well have continued past Highgate to A.P. instead. Nothing is set in stone (on the plan) with regard to the surrounding LT lines, but I'm happy to change my mind if it makes the whole idea a bit more plausible.


IIRC, the reason the Northern line extension didn't take in the Ally Pally branch was down to a difference in elevation of about 120 feet between the new tube line and the existing Edgeware line! The tube climbed from Highgate to Finchley and was mostly on a falling grade from Highgate (surface stn) towards Finchley to the point where the two met so it would have been a bit of a stiff climb to carry on to AP instead of taking the route towards Edgeware, particularly as that line was all uphill from Highgate towards AP.

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The whole Northern Heights scheme would have been part of the Northern Line. The Northern City Line came up from Moorgate to Finsbury Park - the bit now served by FCC. At Finsbury Park the Great Northern's High Barnet branch diverged, throwing off the Ally Pally branch at Highgate and continuing to East Finchley and Finchley Central. Here the Edgware branch carried on almost straight ahead. It now terminates at Mill Hill East. The Northern Line proper terminated at Archway when first built. It was extended to East Finchley and connected to the High Barnet line. The Northern Line station at Highgate is beneath the old GN station which was rebuilt to accommodate tube trains. Although very derelict it has to be maintained to stop the tube station deteriorating!


The Ally Pally line was regarded latterly by the LNER and BR as a nuisance. In times of coal shortage it was among the first to be suspended and it must have been no surprise that it was closed in 1954. London Transport found it worthwhile to run an express bus service on route 212 which largely parallelled the line.


I do like the whole Hornsey Central idea - scope for a lot of plausible might-have-been!





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I agree, Northern line stock makes much more sense at AP although it would have come from Moorgate via Finsbury park. 1938 or 1959 stock would both probably be appropriate.


I look forward to seeing how this develops. :)

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Hi Kier,

I am a regular visiter to your website and have followed your progress on Wibdenshaw for some time, which I think is superb. I look forwards to following the progress of Hornsey Broadway. Inspirational stuff thanks for sharing.biggrin.gif


Cheers Peter,

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Thanks for the links and all your comments, they're greatly appreciated. I think feedback is always important, even if only a few suggestions are helpful. In response to the thread, here are a few pics of the loco shed which I built nearly 20 years ago!


A class 03 and class 31 pose in the shed.



The majority of the shell is made from perspex, overlaid with sticky tape to represent the glazing bars.



Each track can hold 2 long locos, and they have low level pits, intermediate level for bogie maintenance, and high level platforms.



A view showing the roof removed. It locates on small dowels, and allows good access inside if needed.



Although almost impossible to see the interior of the offices when the roof is on, I must have had a few hours to kill back in those days!


Here are a few links to certain websites that have helped me research this project.





















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It was never my original intention to build a loco shed, until I was fortunate enough to acquire the contents of the model making department at the former CEGB. During the 1980s, the Tory government were hell bent on selling everything that was nationalised, and as a result of the sell off of the power generation industry (and the subsequent legal vandalism and lack of forethought), several thousands of pounds worth of completed models and materials were assigned to the skip. My means of acquiring this booty was legitimate, and it was distributed amongst the members of my local model railway club, and other likeminded individuals.


What to do with some of this stuff was how I arrived at the depot building. Perspex sheet was cut into smaller pieces, with sticky lining tape applied to represent the glazing bars. The rest of the sheet was clad in corrugated plastic card. For the base of the shed, layers of plastruct and large box section were glued in place on a wooden framework, to represent the ramps on which the rails are fixed. Vertical plastruct 'H' sections were fitted to some Plastruct plug-in bases, to support the working platforms. With so many materials at my disposal, no thought was given to the cost of the project. If everything eventually warped or went Pete Tong, then no worries - it could all be put down to experience.


It was finished in 1990, and has been kicking around ever since. There were brief plans to try and fit it onto Wibdenshaw, but there wasn't enough room to do it justice. Now it's finally found a home on Hornsey Broadway, I'll be able to accomodate it into a larger space which can become a 3 boards stand-alone loco shed layout, and / or part of the larger layout scheme.


I'd have loved to have taken pictures way back then, but the quality and price of model photography wasn't all that clever. However I did find a couple of pics with it in the background, as shown below.





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  • 2 months later...

Things have been a bit quiet lately on Hornsey. The recent show at Ally Pally took up a lot of time behind the scenes on Wibdenshaw, but the Easter weekend produced some activity again!



Having found a surplus of milk floats, I decided to use them in a scene. This north London depot has another branch in the country with a dairy and bottling plant, so here Fordham & Son only distribute out on milk floats. The main building has yet to be started, as I'm unsure of the exact dimensions available (until placed on-scene).



An aging fleet of battery powered milk floats are brought back from their daily rounds, and all crates are moved into the store room awaiting further deliveries. It's not until the early hours of the morning, that the crates will be loaded onto the floats, and much easier to model them empty and uniform!



The battery charging bay is situated next to the older building, and is full of the usual clutter. The battery chargers are just off-cuts of plastic section, with strands of wire to represent the cables.



The newer building with its concrete canopy, towers above the older wooden lean-to... a sign of the times with expansion taking into account the larger size of vehicle in the 70s.



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Great Layout Pictures, another excellent Layout in the making of with excellent attention to detail


Keep the Photos coming they are FAB!!!!!



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  • 5 months later...

Hi Kier,

Saw your pic in the realistic models thread and went and had my monthly check on your website, the layout is looking great you have certainly been getting a bit done. I love the variety of loco's you have, it was great to see a class 33 on shed. Always liked Kestrel too though to young to ever see it .:D


Cheers Peter.

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