A layout under construction

Brentford Riverside is the club’s new EM gauge layout and is currently under construction. It is a split level layout with the passenger facilities on the upper level and the goods facilities on the lower level The baseboards are complete and the track has been laid.

It is a ‘might have been layout’ designed to allow the members various modelling interests to be catered for when being operated.


Brentford is a suburb of London bordering the River Thames and was served by both the LSWR and the GWR. The premise for the layout is that the GWR planned to cross the Thames at this point and got as far as building a station on arches preparatory to crossing the Thames on a bridge. As it was originally designed to be a through station it was double track only with the station buildings on the side. However various factors eventually made it impractical to continue over the river thus it became a terminus hence the interesting design of the station which is based upon Hounslow Town station.

More about the real Brentford branch

And more

And even more……!

And even more……!

Brentford has a football team so in the early 1900s the match day traffic and excursion traffic going to the river caused the GWR to widen the station to accommodate the extra trains required.

The lower goods yard was built by the LSWR to cater for goods traffic coming by canal and river to Brentford for onward transmission to the rest of the LSWR. Thus the main feature is the large goods shed for vans rather than the normal coal sidings. There are sidings but these are for sand and aggregate rather than coal as the GWR had a large yard in Brentford for coal traffic.


Passenger (upper level)

The operational period of the layout is mid 50s to early 60s. This allows the use of both pre and post nationalisation stock, ie carraiges and vans, steam locos and diesels. The operation is based upon a Saturday when Brentford are playing an important FA cup game at home thus having a lot of excursion traffic in addition to normal traffic. This excursion traffic will be formed of members locos and stock thus those members with Midland and Eastern stock can have their stock running on the layout if the ‘fixture’ is with a club from the East Midlands, Those with Southern and GWR stock can have their stock running if the ‘fixture’ is with a club from the South West.

Goods (lower level)

As regards the goods yard the premise is that during World War 2 the docks in the East End of London were severely damaged by bombing with the goods transhipment facilities being severely reduced. Consequently some of the traffic was sent round the East London line to Brentford for sorting and onward transmission in the undamaged goods shed. After the war this traffic continued although to a lesser extent thus allowing the use of first generation goods diesels shedded on the Eastern Region for traffic coming into the yard and for first generation diesels from the Western and Midland Regions for onward transmission. The yard has a resident shunter which will allow any of the early small diesels to be used, namely classes 03,  04,  08 and the Maunsell 08 variant depending upon which are available from the members.

Thus it can be seen that the upper station section will be mainly steam with a smattering of diesels while the goods yard will be mainly diesels with a smattering of steam.

The layout will be DCC in operation which will give the opportunity for sound fitted locos to be used. Also the high level and low level will be independent of each other so that apart from a total lack of electrical supply or an unfortunate coincidence of malfunction on both levels there will always be at least one layout operating to maintain visitor interest when being exhibited.

It will be operated from the front with only two operators at any one time thus minimising the number of operators needed for an exhibition for what is essentially two separate layouts.