Norwood-City Railway 1


Overview of the first layout

This site shows a British OO gauge model railway which has now had to be dismanteled.

The railway was set in the west of London centering on the fictitious area of 'Norwood-City' which has both suburban and rural areas. The suburban area is serviced by the outer part of the London Underground while the rural section is served by an old GWR branch line. The London Underground section is supposed to represent a single track branch similar to the old Epping - Ongar branch on the Central Line.

In addition to these lines an electrified overhead freight line runs through the area. As a consequence the layout encompassed two rail, overhead and London Underground 4 rail allowing a wide variety of trains to be run on the layout.

The picture on the right shows a corner of the layout between Norwood-City and Crompton Road.


Although the railway was set in the present day the fictitious area of Norwood-City is a unique heritage area, as a consequence:

  • steam trains still run on the ex GWR branch line to Elmfield Halt;
  • special steam excursions occasionally run using old coach stock on the main line;
  • modern electric locomotives pull freight trains on the main freight track;
  • old style road signage has been retained; and
  • trolleybuses still operate while buses are painted in their original London central and country colours.

There were five stations on the layout, Norwood-City, Crompton Road, Arnos, Junction, Elmfield Halt and Upton Park. A sixth town Crompton North in a corner of the layout is not served by a station.



The layout which is shown in the above diagram (click here or on the diagram to view a larger version) was approximately 11 feet by 9 feet and was commenced October 2004. It is the first time that a model layout had been attempted by myself which is quite a challenge since I have no previous experience at it.

Electric Signals

The electric signals on the layout comprised colour light signals (combination of old Hornby Dublo and new) and semaphore (old Hornby Dublo).

Testing of the old Hornby Dublo colour light signals went well although a small number required new bulbs, luckily I had purchased a pack of spare bulbs on eBay.

Implementation of the new colour signals proceeded easily.

Things did not go so well implementing the old Hornby Dublo semaphore signals. Half the signals purchased did not operate and had to be either replaced. Although given that some of these signals are about 50 years old this is probably to be expected.

Track Electrification

Two rail circuits were straight forward, however the additional centre third rail circuit on the inner circle and overhead on the outer circle did cause a few problems.

In the case of the third rail circuit, the main problem appeared to be at curves and points. The problem at points was partly expected however it was not expected at curves.

From experience with the locomotives used the problems varied depending upon the type of third rail pick up used. The three rail locomotive with a shoe a type collector appeared to have more problems on curves particularly if the centre rail was slightly too high. The locomotive with the drop down collector appeared to have more of a problem on points.

Electrification of the overhead was not quite a bad as the third rail. The main issue appeared to be ensuring that each overhead section maintained electrical contact with the adjacent one. The was partly solved by improving connection at each mast and adding a number of points where current is fed to the overhead.

Rolling Stock

This was fairly straight forward. Where old locomotives did not immediately work a small amount of lubricant soon remedied the problem.

Layout Modifications

Operating the layout in practice had necessitated a couple of modifications to the layout. The first change involved adding a point at Crompton Road to provide an additional connection to the siding.


Current Pictures

 Layout Pictures