Kingsgate: an exhibition layout in OO gauge

Back in the seventies and eighties I used to exhibit a model railway called Kingsgate. It was a fictitious compact terminus in the City of London, with services similar to those of Moorgate in steam days and assumed to be somewhere just north of London Bridge, near the Bank of England. I did not actually build it, although I did help a little with its early construction and then adapted it when I took it over from my friend Alan, electrifying the points and building a new diagrammatic control panel, for example.

We used to operate the layout to a full timetable (which I based on what remained of Moorgate’s services in the 1978 British Rail timetable!) and used a variable-speed clock (designed and made by another friend, Chris) so that we could operate the rush hour at normal rate but speed it up for the times of day when there were fewer train movements: at exhibitions we did not want the public to come along and see nothing happening because the next train was not due out for five more minutes.

It took three people to operate the layout properly: one in the fiddle yard ensuring that all the trains were correctly formed and ready at the right time (this person also controlled the clock speed and made the station announcements), one driving trains into the station and one driving trains out. Shunting and light engine movements within the station were carried out by whichever driver was not otherwise engaged, since in such a compact station no more than two locomotives could move at the same time anyway.

I look forward to renovating Kingsgate, which has been disused now for about twenty-five years. Not only was it a reliable and interesting layout in its time, but as standards and fashions have changed it is now also interesting as an example of the way we used to model forty years ago!

Published by Mark Warrick

amateur photographer | railway modeller | rail travel blogger

2 thoughts on “Kingsgate: an exhibition layout in OO gauge

  1. Hi Mark,

    Would be great to see Kingsgate back in action.

    To be sure of reliable operation, I wonder if you are thinking of replacing the track, especially the pointwork?


    1. The track is basically sound but will need attention here and there. The rail has lifted from the sleepers in a few places but can be refixed without difficulty. I think if I tried to replace Alan’s points I would fail to improve on them! When I start (which will not be until after I have the Swiss layout ready to show) I shall probably begin by repairing the track and then carrying out a thorough rewiring. There is some damage to the semaphore signals and I need a new station building and substantial repairs to the goods shed. A new fiddle yard (with six roads rather than the original five) has been under construction for 15 years … and I have already replaced the station concourse, extending the platforms tracks slightly, and have refurbished some buildings as I mention in the video. It is the sort of work which in an emergency I could do in about a fortnight – but I am preferring other priorities and I hope it will be done by the end of next year.

      The variable-speed clock, I am afraid, is no more. It eventually lost a few segments in its seven-segment digital displays and gradually work properly and went to electronic waste disposal many years ago. Such a pity.


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