BR Totem: Streatham Mainline

Streatham Mainline is a 00 gauge layout with a junction station, loco depot, terminating Underground trains, goods sidings, and a two-level fiddle yard which has storage for a great many trains. . It represents a fictitious late 1980s–early 1990s ex-Southern Railway Southern Region/Network SouthEast location in south London. The Streatham Motive Power Depot part of the layout appeared at various local shows in the East Midlands over a couple of years prior to the unveiling of the full layout.

Streatham Mainline began life as the ‘junior’ layout of the Nottingham Model Railway Society. It was originally intended to be a large terminus station based loosely on London St Pancras. It went through several iterations and changes of location until the discovery of some Peco 3rd rail insulators and code 60 rail and a look at a map of the Network SouthEast system led to Streatham Mainline being born. Work progressed steadily and it turned into an ever-expanding layout, with the addition of the MPD and scrapyard areas of the layout, with a river scene; these can be exhibited independently. The fiddle yard was expanded to make the layout a ‘tail chaser’.

We chose Streatham for its south central location and proximity to central London. We can potentially include the ‘Mule’ Exeter to Waterloo and Wessex express workings from the south-west, as well as Gatwick Express services from south central region, and the boat trains to Ramsgate and Dover of the south-east. Thameslink services could also appear, together with Intercity services such as the Birmingham to Ramsgate and Liverpool to Brighton services, including through portions of sleeper trains, and also the Penzance sleepers which were known to operate out of Waterloo when engineering work required them to. As far as freight is concerned, Streatham is handily placed for freight services coming from the Midlands via Kensington Olympia and heading to Dover Western Docks, Hoo Junction, Tonbridge, Eastleigh, and Southampton.

The idea behind the scrapyard trackplan is that once upon a time it was an old station. There is a disused signal box and disused wagons are stood next to a bit of disused platform. What is modelled is basically the loading area, and there is more of the scrapyard ‘offscene’.

Baseboard construction is mainly from 20mm x 70mm softwood frames topped with 15mm chipboard, giving three 4ft x 2ft main scenic boards flanked by two 3ft x 4ft end boards to turn the track back into the seventeen-road lower fiddle yard. Each end of the layout has access via a ramp to further elevated six-road fiddle yard with an additional three short stabling roads. Track work is a mix of Peco code 100 flexitrack with Peco Streamline points, ballasted with fine granite chippings and weathered according to the degree of use. Peco point motors are used.

Scenery is mainly from Woodland Scenics and Greenscene, with the majority of the hills being constructed using polystyrene sheets layered and glued with PVA and cut to shape, then covered with ModRoc. Buildings are a mix of Pikestuff, Knightwing, Peco and Ratio kits, and Hornby’s Skaledale range, Ten Commandments low relief warehouses, and some scratchbuilding from plasticard. The keen-eyed may also spot some Hornby Dublo signal boxes. Lighting uses Express Models LED strip lighting and Layouts4u’s individual bulbs. Signals are mainly from Ekon’s colour light range, which in some cases have been modified to give three aspects rather than the original two aspects; there are also a few scratchbuilt items.

The river was first painted brown, darker in the middle. Then bits of rock and a couple of herons were glued into the river, then week after week a thin layer of varnish was used to achieve the desired effect.

With stock we have tried to keep, where possible, everything time (late ’80s – early ’90s) and region specific. Our rolling stock comprises of a variety of ready-to-run, kit-built, scratch built, vinyl overlaid, brass overlaid, detailed, weathered, and heavily modified models. Classes 03, 07, 08, 09, 20, 31, 33, 37, 43, 45, 46, 47, 50, 56, 60, 71, 73, and 74 are all represented, in liveries from British Rail blue, Large Logo blue, DCE grey, Dutch, Railfreight, and InterCity, right through to celebrity repaints and one-offs in Laira Blue, Great Western 150 green, Hunslet Barclay, and, of course, Network SouthEast. Diesel Multiple-Units consist of classes 101, 108, 117, 121, 122, 159, 201, 205 and 207, and third-rail Electric Multiple Units are represented by an array of VEPs, CEPs, HAPs, EPBs, WESs, and MLVs. InterCity services, charter trains, mail trains, and sleeper trains all run through from other regions, sometimes requiring a loco swap, which all adds to the operational interest.

There is also a fictitious extension to the Northern and District lines of the London Underground, which share a single line terminus platform. This is operated by a MERG automatic train shuttle system.

Streatham is currently awaiting refurbishment.

Freight services include cement, sand, and van trains to supply ‘Streatham Concrete’, a rail-served pre-fab concrete and industrial unit behind the station. Scrap trains serve the small scrapyard situated up the branch, along with fuel trains to Streatham Motive Power Depot’s fuel point, as well as the Network SouthEast fuel point. Streatham MPD also has a wagon repair shop which means flows of wagons for repair can often be seen getting tripped up and down the branch. Many of these freight services are fitted with either Kadee couplers or Model Signal Engineering’s sprat and winkle couplers for authentic hands-free operation. Overall, an intensive service is operated on the layout.