Leicester (Belgrave Road)

A large (25′ x 7′) OO-gauge layout based on the Great Northern terminus at Leicester in the late 50s/early 60s. Leicester (Belgrave Road) is featured in Hornby magazine, July 2017. Available for exhibition bookings.

Location history

The Great Northern entered Leicester from the east in 1883 with grand ideas, and built a six track station with twin overall roof like the one at Kings Cross. They could only manage four trains a day to Peterborough (until 1916 when it ceased) and six trains a day to Grantham (it was faster Leicester to York than via L.M.S. or Great Central because the express – J6 0-6-0 with non-corridor coach – connected with the ‘Flying Scotsman’ at Grantham.

The main passenger traffic was the excursions to Skegness and Mablethorpe and in 1953 when the local services were lost; this alone remained until closure to passengers in 1962.

Freight was more successful with the goods warehouse well used until closure of the line in 1964. Even after this fatal blow the link at Forest Road (truncated since 1900) was reinstated to provide access to the goods depot until 1969.

Nothing remains of the station, goods warehouse or any associated railway buildings, even the Catherine Street Bridge is no more.

 Modeller Altered History

Leicester (Belgrave Road) was a great success with express trains via Peterborough to Kings Cross and via Newark to the north as well as excursions to the east coast and local services to Grantham, Nottingham and Market Harbourough.

Freight services flourished (as in real history) with large movements of coal, oil, scrap metal and a vast amount of merchandise traffic in vans and open vehicles.

The station entered the diesel age with a refuelling and service depot and this is the period we choose to model (1950’s and 1960’s) when steam locos in their twilight rubbed shoulders with the new diesels in resplendent green

Track plan

The track plan was one devised by Eric Young which had evolved over a three year period. The initial idea was for a terminus to fiddle yard large enough to accommodate 8 coach or 25 wagon trains. The main line was in the shape of a U with a connection across the centre forming a reverse loop for loco turning. Each train arriving from the fiddle yard would require several movements in view of the public before returning out of sight. The three operators should keep three trains moving at all times.

At this stage a prototype was required and after researching many Termini, Leicester (Belgrave Road) was discovered and the basic track plan was altered to suit the prototype as closely as possible without losing the operating potential of the layout.

The view from Catherine Street Bridge towards the station and goods warehouse is fairly authentic while the engine shed, although prototypical in content is on the wrong side of the main line, and forest road crossing as a diorama is correct it faces the wrong way.

The high level LMS line is a convenient way to hide the approach to the fiddle yard, the bulk of which is hidden by the goods warehouse.

Exhibition Status

The layout is available for exhibition bookings. Please contact the club for further information. Leicester (Belgrave Road) has been to several exhibitions already, including Abingdon 2016 and Leamington Spa 2017.