Welcome to Southwark and District Model Railway Club

We are a small club based in Southwark, South East London, who have built a number of  layouts over the years including several which are available for exhibitions. These include a large model of Crystal Palace High Level Station the prototype of which closed in 1954.

An excursion departs from Crystal Palace High Level.


Southwark and District Model Railway Club are looking for permanent club room premises. What we need is somewhere to work on our layouts and space to store them, plus our tools and equipment when they are not in use. We do not have any special requirements, only somewhere to make a cup of tea and the usual toilet facilities. We would like to work with other handicraft and arts related groups and are willing to consider all types of facilities, scout huts, school halls, church halls, community centres or anywhere that can offer us a fair amount of space at a reasonable rent. Ideally we could do with a sponsor. Is there a model railway philanthropist or dragon out there ?

CAN YOU HELP ? – If you can, please call 020 7732 9675.

Meanwhile we are in temporary accommodation in the gallery at St Peter’s Church, Walworth, Liverpool Grove, off Walworth Road, SE17 2HH. There is off road parking for cars outside the church and it is close to BR and Underground rail services at the Elephant and Castle, plus numerous bus services serving the Walworth Road.

Meetings normally take place on a Tuesday evening from 18.00, but we have to keep the church secure. So please give us a ring on the above number beforehand if you plan to visit us, so we know you are coming.



Click on ‘Training’ to see details of our previous training sessions. We hope that we may be able to do more of these later in the year if we can find a new club room.

Andy Arches has a new Home.

One of our old layouts has now moved to a new home in Bexley. Originally built as a commissioned layout for British Rail Property Board, it had been re-acquired by the club after it was no longer needed for their refurbished arches promotion. Some work had been done to extend it, but it had not been actively worked on for some time. Declared surplus to our requirements, it was offered for sale and we were pleased to deliver the baseboards and fittings to their new owner in Bexley on 9th December. It is intended that it will be incorporated into a loft layout and we look forward to seeing progress on the project.

See more about this model  in the ‘Our History’ section.

Rest in Peace Alan O’Neill.

John Alan O'Neill 1_001

Long standing club member John Alan O’Neill passed away recently and his well attended funeral took place on Monday 20th August. Alan was one of the early members of the club and took part in many of our activities including developing the layout Clearwater,  featuring a railway dockyard scene, which was most appropriate as he also had a great interest in the research and modelling of cranes of all types. He also researched model railway paints, mixed his own colours and produced his own historic colour charts. He had been a long term member of the Bluebell Railway and his other interests included buses and he was a member of the RT1702 Bus Preservation Society and the Model Bus Federation. Although he had serious health problems over the last five years, he maintained his interest through magazines and DVD’s and he will be greatly missed.

We are pleased to report that Alan’s ashes were scattered on the Bluebell Railway via the firebox of S.E.C.R. 01 class  locomotive 165 on Sunday 28th October. This took place after leaving Horsted Keynes, before  reaching Sharpthorne tunnel. Although it was a wet and overcast day, as the ashes were placed in the firebox and there was a long blast on the whistle, the sun came out and sent Alan on his way in a place that he would have loved to remain in.

Progress at the Palace.

Crystal Palace High Level our largest club layout was exhibited at the Erith Club show at Longfield in January 2018 and we are pleased to attach some new photographs to show what progress has been made.

CP at Longfeild 2018 Paul Hamley 2a

Sections of the new roof spans laser cut from MDF with laser cut clear plastic glazing can be seen from the terminus end. These are supported on new curtain walls, (the ones on the outside), and for the first time the central wall, which divides the two halves of the train shed. Also the houses on Farquhar Road are making progress.

CP at Longfield 2018 Paul Hamley 3b jpg

The extensive coal yard is also being developed with the coal bins, which are made mostly from hand cut scale timber, now in their first stage of weathering.

Also out of sight to the left, a completely new fiddle yard area has been constructed.

CP at Longfield 2018 Paul Hamley 2.ajpg

A closer look at the coal yard. Much of the cobbled approach visible on the right side of the picture has now been painted and and weathered and the remainder will be completed in the near future. The area surrounding the signal box is having the location of the point rodding plotted, and this feature will also be added in the near future.

CP at Longfield 2018 Paul Hamley 4.ajpg

Finally a view of the approaches from the London end of the station.

It is hoped to have much of the outstanding works completed making the layout available for regular exhibition appearances towards the end of 2019.

All pictures by Paul Hamley.

Southwark becomes ‘Southwark and District.’

At our Annual General Meeting on 22nd February 2018 we gave further consideration to the name of the club. As we are the only club representing the inner south east London boroughs of Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, apart from our friends at the Greenwich and District Narrow Gauge Railway Society who specialise in the study, research and modelling of narrow gauge railways, we thought that it would be more appropriate to adopt the name ‘Southwark and District Model Railway Club’ to cover our full catchment area. This change was agreed by a majority vote.

Southwark M.R.C. reaches 30.

We are pleased to advise that the club reached its 30th anniversary at the end of February 2016. Members and guests celebrated the event on Wednesday 20th April with a special birthday curry night at our favourite restaurant Karri Twist in New Cross.

30th Anniversary Cake 230th Anniversary Cake 3

Club Chairman Steve Rogers, Gary Cross and Secretary Ray Blanchard can be seen with the special birthday cake and a good night was had by all.


2 Responses to Welcome to Southwark and District Model Railway Club

  1. Brian Barrett says:

    Very impressed with your efforts, especially the Crystal Palace High Level – a stunning achievement. Being originally from Kent (although I spent my formative years in Catford) my particular interest is in the Southern Region but living in West Wales now has its disadvantages: almost everyone around here wants locos to have copper topped funnels.

    My “Retirement Plan” is to build a model of the Hawkhurst Branch, from Hawkhurst to Paddock Wood (I have a very long attic!); hence my attraction to your Club’s model. I have Brian Hart’s book, which should be of great help with regard to gradients and bridges etc. However, If any of your members would like to contact me with advice about this project then it would be much appreciated.
    Kind regards,

    • 8southwark9 says:

      Hi Brian. Thanks for your interest and favourable comments on Crystal Palace and Hawkhurst.
      My Hawkhurst layout is now over thirty years old and gradually being refurbished as I think that it still has a few years left in it.
      I think that your plan to build the whole branch is a bit ambitious, even in a long attic. Perhaps Hawkhurst and Goudhurst would be more practical, bearing in mind that Hawkhurst was a terminus and Goudhurst an attractive passing station, plus a fiddle yard at the other end would make a more viable proposition with some space to let the trains go by. Could I refer you to some other books which would provide you with more useful information: Branch Line to Hawkhurst from Middleton Press – lots of photographs and copies of Ordinance Survey Maps. Selected Southern Stations – G.A Pryer and G.J. Bowring, Oxford Press. Out of print, but readily available second hand. Hawkhurst is one of the featured stations and has a track plan with a scale you can work from. There is also Peter Harding’s excellent self published small softback book on the branch now in its third edition and still available. Each issue has a slightly different selection of pictures which are very useful.
      Using the plan in Selected Southern Stations, I calculated what a 4mm scale foot would be on the plan and made up a square foot grid on tracing paper. This was then offered up to the plan rotating it to get the best possible angle for the track plan to fit onto baseboards. This was then copied on a photocopier, or these days could be done on a flat-bed scanner. Once you have made the the copy, you can blow it up to a larger size to get more detail for plotting your track plan onto the baseboards. I am not aware of plans with a scale for the other stations, although looking at those in Brian Hart’s book they look like they may all be to the same scale, so using the one already made from the first book as a guide and matching it in size to that to the Hawkhurst one in Brian’s book, you may be able to produce those as well.
      Building the layout in a loft rather than as an exhibition layout, you should be able to juggle the position of your baseboard framing to avoid having any points over joints. I had to move two or three points slightly to avoid this happening.
      I used PECO code 100 track on the layout employing almost entirely large radius points and the three catch points as this was the only type readily available at the time. You could do it all now with code 75 or possibly EM or P4 if you were into fine-scale. The new PECO bullhead track might look good as well, but there is only a limited range of this available at present.

      I am currently progressing details on the new Badgers Oak Tunnel board and gradually working through the features on the layout, replacing some buildings and refurbishing scenery etc and will add some more blogs on our website as I go

      Hope that this is of interest and assistance.


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