An Introduction to Norwood Road

Desiro at Norwood Road
A hired in London Midland Class 350/1 ‘Desiro’ Stands in the Turnback at Norwood Road ready to form a service to Milton Keynes. (C) Andy York 2016 Photo used with kind permission of Andy York and Warners Group Publishing.

Norwood Road is my ‘OO’ Gauge Exhibition layout, it is based on the area to the south of West Croydon in South London during the 2000s, even though the track plan is based on West Croydon, the layout isn’t a faithful replication, with the back story being thus:

Norwood Road is on the outskirts of Croydon in South London, located on the Sutton to Norwood Junction line originally built by the London & Croydon Railway in 1839, less than 5 minutes by train from West Croydon. Originally in the middle of some fields, during the expansion of London during the 1800’s, Croydon quickly engulfed the railway around Norwood Road, the increase in commuting in the first part of the 20th Century meant that West and East Croydon Stations were very busy. Due to this, the Southern Railway decided not only to rebuild West Croydon Station, but also build a new Station at ‘Norwood Road’ in the 1930’s, both in similar styles.

As Steam declined and the Southern Region constructed more and more Multiple units, it was decided that a Turn back Siding was needed at Norwood Road, thus one was constructed by slewing the Up Main over to provide room. Also the area was resignalled with colour lights controlled remotely from the Three Bridges Area Signalling Centre through a Time Divisional Multiplexed Route Relay Locking.

The next stage in the areas development was the removal of a freight loop on the up side of the line in the late BR period, the decline in freight traffic through the capital and thus the need to regulate it, sighted as the reason, although if looked at carefully, part of the line can still be seen under the ‘Norwood Road’ Viaduct.

Now, with Norwood Road in the 21st Century, it remains unchanged since the BR Days, services are now in the hands of Southern and London Overground, while also seeing some Thameslink Services as the route is used as a occasional diversionary route. There is also a once a day First Great Western Service from Reading, an extension of the service to Guildford. Despite the removal of the freight loop, the area sees some Freight in the form of the odd diverted container train and enterprise trains, as well as departmental workings

Meanwhile, the surrounding area is all but the green field that Norwood Road first existed in, it is now a sprawling urban area, with the coming of the Croydon Tram link in the 1990’s, a branch was constructed to Norwood Road Station and parallel to the railway to a terminus at Orts Road, this was not only to serve a new Retail area on the other side of the railway, but also to revitalise the surrounding area.

A General view of 'Norwood Road'
A Class 350 waits in the Turnback at Norwood Road whilst the once a day FGW Reading to Norwood Road service approaches. (C) Andy York 2016 Photo used with kind permission of Andy York and Warners Group Publishing

The Layout itself was originally constructed by Peter Sharps, a former BR Driver in the area and builder of other lovely layouts such as Croydon North Street (See BRM February 2016), Pete constructed the Baseboards, laid, wired and ballasted the track as well as fitting the walkway lights. After deciding to take on a new project, the layout was purchased by myself in

The layout is made up of 4 ‘L’ Shaped Baseboards, all are 5ft 6” long, with the scenic boards being curved, being 2ft 6” at their widest point. The track is constructed to ‘OO’ standards using C&L Concrete Sleepers and Code 83 rail, while the points are Tillig Code 83 ‘Long’ Points, currently powered by Tortoise point motors. The cosmetic third rail is constructed from PECO Components.

The Tramline is built up using PECO Code 100, with the paved area being made from 3mm Cork Tiles and 1.5mm Mounting Card. The catenary is scratch built from Plastic ‘H’ Section and Brass Tube, with the contact wire being thin Black Elastic Thread so that it can take punishments from anyone wishing to poke it! The Tramline features an engineering train headed by a Hornby Sentinel;

Tramlink Engineers Train
A Engineering Train running on the Tram Line at ‘Orts Road’ (C) Andy York 2016 Photo used with kind permission of Andy York and Warners Group Publishing

The Buildings are mostly scratch or kit built from various sources as are other scenic details with one or two ready to plant buildings.

Looking North at Norwood Road
The view from under the ‘Norwood Road’ Over bridge towards Norwood Road Station. (C) Andy York 2016 Photo used with kind permission of Andy York and Warners Group Publishing

The layout is signalled using Arduino Micro-Processors, which recreate prototypical CBI interlocking principles, this will be controlled by an enhanced I.F.S Panel, with signals from Absolute Aspects, CR Signals and Eckon. Additionally, the Panel will eventually feature working Train Describers and Alarms, to show the public how a signalling panel operates.

The layout has been featured in both the print and DVD editions of the March 2017 issue of British Railway Modelling  and has been to the National Festival of Railway Modelling at Peterborough in 2016 as well as Wycrail 2016, it is due to be next shown at the Festival of Railway Modelling at Doncaster in February 2017.

I’m currently carrying out alternations to totally re-wire and recontrol the whole layout to use an new signalling panel, the results of which will be posted here.

If you wish to have anymore information of Norwood Road, please contact me!


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