Saffron Street

by David Lane, photographs by Anthony Mead

Saffron Street is a model of a fictitious station in north west London in about 1964 where diesels have replaced most of the steam workings. The station is all but closed, only remaining open to this point to serve a small yard and industries. Most of the workings are freight, although infrequent passenger train or a multiple unit working may be seen at times, trains from most regions can be seen including London Transport. The railway is on arches with streets below, the area is smoke stained and dirty but pastel shades on cars of the period add a touch of colour and are perhaps are a taste of things to come. This is the year of the Profumo affair, The Beatles Hard Days Night and a general election, a time of change indeed.
The layout has been constructed by members of the Risborough & District Model Railway Club, to see if a small layout built to P4 standards within an urban location and diesels as the main motive power could be achieved, as this was thought to be something that was rarely modelled. The focus of the design was to be on the atmosphere and period, the opening paragraph above hopefully gives an idea of what we were trying to achieve.
The layout measures 15 feet by 2 feet wide and is free standing at 3 foot 10 inches. It is built to a scale of 4mm to the foot running on a gauge of 18.83mm (P4) and can be transported in two small cars, it requires three operators who control the layout from the rear although there is provision for a controller to be plugged into the front of the layout so one person can talk to the public whilst operating. At present there is no independent lighting although hopefully this will be amended within the coming months. Required for exhibition use is as a standard mains power point (double if possible) and a small table to place stock and boxes on (this can be at the rear or side of the layout).

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Saffron Street is not yet fully complete. All the trackwork is finished and working, also a number of structures and scenic features are in place but a large number of buildings are still required to complete the street scenes that cluster around the railway arches. Sixteen houses, two pubs, a row of shops and an art deco cinema are some of the buildings that are being made or needed, and will be scratch built, the time scale for finishing all this work will hopefully be within the next 18 months.

All stock is either kit, scratch built or heavily modified and re-wheeled R.T.R. which is either compensated or sprung using tiny leaf springs which is now the favoured method for any new stock built. Alex Jackson automatic couplings are used on each rake of two or four wagons, these are operated by electromagnets. Control is via two pentrollers and turnouts are operated by both mechanical linkages and slow acting point motors from a 12 lever frame, which will control the signals when they are installed.