Author: mrg

I wanted somewhere to run my steam locos and test my semaphore signals. I wanted to run br Standard classes, some Midland types (eg Black 5, 8F) and some Southern types such as Bullied Pacifics. I did consider The Chester Holyhead line because I have a book full of station plans and photos, but Southern locos didn’t get that far, besides it’s only one line so not much variety in routes. Maybe I’ll go back to it one day.

So I thought I’d do something Kentish (after all, it’s where I grew up and now live), but couldn’t decide where: Ashford? Folkestone (nearest to home)? Maidstone (where I grew up)? Tonbridge (interesting junction)? In the end, inspired by other people making some big lines I decided to do them all and model the whole county! (Oh and Black 5′s were not uncommon on summer excursions etc)

My original plan was to do just Kent and stop at Orpington/Swanley/Gravesend - in the end I did the routes right up to Victoria and Charing Cross - but I don’t intend to do much detail in the London area.

Period Modelled

Hmm not sure. I want to run my br standard classes, so that means post-nationalisation, but I want to run steam and I’m not too interested in electric units so not too late. A lot of Kent was rebuilt and electrified in the early sixties. So late ‘50s or early ‘60s then. Someone has provided information on the ‘65 timetable which will be helpful, but I might place it a bit earlier than that. The cromptons (33s) were introduced in 1960, so I guess that if I fix it on 1960/61 I can run them as well.


  1. Prepared map of all Kent lines and as far as Victoria and Charing X
  2. Digitised mainlines: Victoria>Dover and Charing X > Dover
  3. Graded mainlines.
  4. Added some of the branches, eg Maidstone, also Ashford > Canterbury > Ramsgate and Faversham > Ramsgate, and graded above
  5. Added minimal signals (ie distant/Home/Starter) at each block post on above lines: this allows me to run trains with sensible regulation nb so far I only have plain double track all the way, no sidings or loops etc and no scenery: It is important to get the grades right before adding points and sidings.
  6. Built a terminus with runrounds and turntable at Dover Marine: now I can turn my boat trains round :-)
  7. Added and graded North Kent lines, set some emus running. Thinking about how much detail to do here.


I’ve been researching the railways of Kent circa 1960. I was going for 1960 since this was when the 33s were introduced and I’d like to use 33s (in Green). However, about the same time the lines were electrified and steam abolished. So I’ve chosen “Early ‘59″ as the period: the line to Ramsgate is being electrified and haps and ceps are test running on the Ramsgate line. A little bit of artistic licence allows me to ignore the resignalling program and use semaphores outside the London terminii area.

I know I said I wasn’t going to do much detail inside Orpington, but while researching I found some plans of Borough Market Jct, so couldn’t resist:

A few interesting things in this picture:

  • The hap (on the left) and the cep (on the right) are adaptations of the “lo-cost” mk1 models, which I threw together inspired by a need for these models on this layout, and a throw-way remark someone made about using the mk1 body shells to make emus. The front of the cep is “borrowed” from rwsbs cep and I know it should be Green.
  • The signals are 1920s pattern Southern Railway types. The plan I found in my research shows them as being in use at Borough Market Jct circa 1945, so I’m going to say that they’re there in 1959 - at least until someone can prove me wrong :-) They are interesting in that both the Vertical-in-line and Diamond head shapes existed, also that the lamp order was (from top) G-Y-R-Y which is different to today’s Y-G-Y-R. Other differences to modern practice is that two heads were provided for diverging routes at junctions (as shown).

A closer look at the signal on the left:

Difficult to see - but some folk will be interested to know that is mainly constructed from strip terms.