Brentford Riverside (4mm scale, EM gauge)
A layout under construction
This layout has already had a long history! The idea of a layout set west of London and featuring a location where former GWR and SR lines converged was first proposed in 2010. Locations between Brentford (‘Brentford Riverside’) and west London (‘Cromwell Road’) were favoured at one time or another whilst only limited progress was made.
Work resumed in earnest in early 2022 with a final decision taken on name and location. Commissioning of track and electrics is now almost complete with attention beginning to turn towards the scenic elements. There is no date set for the layout’s first appearance.
The railways west of London
Anyone familiar with the history of the railways to the west of London will know about the wide variety of traffic and services that have used some or all these lines over the years – it is one of the few places where locomotives and trains from all four Grouping companies, and their regional successors, could be seen on the same line.
Brentford was a major interchange for goods with access to the Grand Union canal at the point where it met the Thames, The GWR constructed a large warehouse complex at Brentford Dock to serve this traffic with a branch line from the Great Western main line at Southall. Part of this branch line is still in use as is part of the viaduct that carried the elevated line.
Our layout takes this as a starting point but explores what might have happened had the LSWR arrived first with a short spur from the nearby Hounslow Loop line feeding sidings and more modest warehouse buildings built adjacent to the Grand Union canal.
‘Brentford Riverside’ is a split-level layout: the upper level represents the terminus of the later GWR branch. However, this is accessed from a triangular junction on the Great Western main line to enable services to arrive from both Paddington as well as points west. The lower level is now the location of a British Road Services depot built on the site of the former LSWR goods yard. Trains arriving at this yard can come off the Hounslow Loop from both Waterloo and lines through Clapham Junction as well as further west via the triangular junction near Feltham
The western end of the yard still has echoes of that earlier era with a semi-derelict canal basin and the surviving warehouse complex. More recently a variety of small businesses operate from the arches under the upper-level viaduct. Trolley access from the upper-level station to the BRS parcels depot has also led to the growth of parcels traffic, both received and as a point of interchange between the northern and southern lines.
About the layout
The layout is set in that period from the mid-fifties to early sixties when both pre- and post-nationalisation stock could be seen. This enables a uniquely wide variety of carriages and wagons and both steam and diesel locomotives to be seen. The local football club also gives rise to some special trains especially at weekends, and additional parcels services operate when required following sales promotions at the local nylon goods factory.
The layout is operated using DCC giving us the opportunity for sound fitted locos to be used.