Layout ideas – Victoria

It’s great when you can combine two research trips into one. As you may or may not be aware, this isn’t my only blog – there’s also London Particulars, a blog about London in general. My last entry was on the subject of Victoria Station (it’s at While I was poking around there, I came across the carriage sidings for the station, officially known as Grosvenor Carriage Shed. I’ve pictured them below, with apologies for my terrible photography skills:

Left side of the sidings. Behind those buildings is the main line out of Victoria, elevated prior to crossing the river.

Left side of the sidings. Behind those buildings is the main line out of Victoria, elevated prior to crossing the river.

The sidings themselves.

The sidings themselves.

The right side, from the road

The right side, from the road

 What I wasn’t able to get a photo of was the fact that these sidings back on to the Thames Embankment. That is to say, you’ve got sidings, road, river – an unusual combination which would be quite visually arresting on a model railway.

I actually think this would be a good subject for a micr0-layout. On all four sides of the sidings are natural scenic breaks – to the left, the main line. To the right, blocks of Victorian flats. Behind, the entrance to the carriage sheds. In front, the river. It would be a fine showcase for EMU models – I think I’d want to model it in the BR blue era. Extra interest might be gained from having a Class 08 doing a spot of shunting, perhaps with the help of a concealed traverser.

I think that if I were to model this location, I’d set it out so the trains face the spectators. We’re used to locations being modelled side-on, but I think this would be a fine opportunity to do something different. In front of the sidings would be the road (perhaps with a traffic jam – an excellent opportunity to display some road vehicles) and then the drop down to the river. I wouldn’t bother with the main line, but model the viaduct as a sort of “wall”, the illusion of a busy main line being created by sound effects. To the right, the blocks of flats would be created in low relief.

The road would require scenic breaks, which would be easy enough – on the left you’ve got the viaduct. There are a number of large, shady trees planted along the embankment, so by making one or two of these particularly large and shady you could create an “arch” for the road to disappear through.

Anyway, I present this more as inspiration than a full-blown plan. If it’s not of interest for a layout in itself, the site would make an interesting addition to a Southern Region layout with its two-level operation as trains come off the main line above into the sidings below.

Further reading – John Law’s fascinating photo gallery of the area, including several shots of publicly inaccessible areas of Victoria and Grosvenor Carriage Shed.


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