Track Layout

The Midland Railway’s main line was four-track pretty much all the way from London to Trent Junction where it split three ways, each of which was then double track. Leicester station and each major station southwards had four platform faces but those north of Leicester had only two on the passenger lines, the other two lines being goods only.

I will be representing this with a four-track continuous run with a double-track branch line from the main line junction leading to a rural station with a goods loop and sidings, where the line reduces to single track onwards to the terminus.



Charnwood StationMy main line station will be modelled as an amalgam of Loughborough and Leicester London Road. I photographed Loughborough station many years ago before the platform canopies were cut back and Leicester is well covered in the Middleton Press’s books on the line. The road bridge over the platforms is a representation of the original brick arch and metal girder construction.
A60 bridge at Loughborough 1969
This is a view of the bridge from the south in 1969, the metal span over the goods lines has since been renewed in concrete.

The junction branches off the passenger lines outside the station as it did at Kettering and Wellingborough. This is a preliminary pencil sketch setting out my thoughts, with the junction shown at both ends to work out the implications. Given the location of the road overbridge, I decided that having the junction at the left-hand (north) end would work better, principally because the signalman needs to have a clear view of the junction he is controlling from his box.

The real Loughborough Station has the Brush Works to the east side (top of this sketch) served by an industrial siding complex.

Branch Line Stations

Postcard sketchesThis is a very early sketch, drawn on the back of a postcard, of my thoughts on my branch line stations. The middle drawing is of the intermediate station which crystallised quite quickly, the top and bottom drawings are different versions of the terminus. I have used the older LMR notation for home signals: H1, H2, H3, etc, rather than the more widespread nomenclature: Outer Home, Inner Home, Starter, Advanced Starter. I realised much later that I had drawn the station at the bottom the opposite way round compared with the other two.


The intermediate station has been in embryonic form for decades and was originally built using Graham Farish Formoway track and turnouts. It is where the double track branch from the main line reduces to single track on to the terminus, and incorporates a goods loop and sidings on one side of the line. I may add a couple of industrial sidings on the opposite side for variety. The goods facilities will provide plenty of opportunity for shunting and pick-up goods activities.


The terminus has been on the drawing board for a long time but has not been developed properly and has never even come close to seeing the light of day. It is not right as drawn and will, no doubt, change beyond recognition before it gets built. In my world, there was only a single track line from Ashby to Branston and Branston wasn’t served by the Birmingham to Derby Railway as shown on the Geographical Setting page.

The sketches above don’t show a turntable because I imagined that the branch would be served by tank engines and would therefore not warrant such a luxury. However, when I saw Peco’s wonderful model of a Ransome & Rapier turntable, I just had to have it! Maybe I’ll have a largish loco maintenance shed with a turntable at Charnwood Junction? Lancaster Green Ayre Depot comes to mind ...

The Rest of the World

Plan of storage loops “The Rest of the World” is what we think of when trains go off stage and out of sight. After developing several options, I settled on a series of storage loops for each of the main lines. This diagram shows my final solution, the physical track features four equal-length loops each way for goods trains but a choice of longer and shorter lengths for passenger trains. Click on the picture to pop up a larger, more legible version. There is more about the control of the loops on the Accessory Control page.

As discussed on the previous page on Train Operation, I’m inclined to adopt a system of defined train movements between particular places. This plan gives me the option of through running (tail chasing) if I just want to sit back and watch the trains go by.


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