Bow Junction – ready for another busy year


Peter Mann


11th January 2020

Reading Time

4 minutes

Bow Junction is our 7mm scale layout, which is being built to Scale 7 specification. The main difference from standard finescale 0 gauge is that the track gauge is 1 mm wider and the back to back dimension is 2mm greater. Also the thickness of the wheels is less than finescale 0 gauge. It is no more difficult to model than finescale.

Bow Junction represents a small part of the North London Railway in 1910, though we will be using a bit of latitude on the exact date. In the present day the Docklands Light Railway still runs on this line, though the junction disappeared about 50 years ago.

During the last year we have made a lot of progress. Mike Randall, who built all the baseboards for Copenhagen Fields, completed all the boards for the main running lines. As soon as this was done all the boards were erected and the trackwork completed . During this work the opportunity was taken to train newer members of the group how to build track from scratch and lay it. A small bit of ballasting was done, and again this was used as a training exercise . In fact spreading and interchanging knowledge is an important part of the ethos of our Group. The ballast used is crushed granite obtained from a company who make surfacing for roads . The granite is then sieved to separate the correct size for ballast.


Prior to the track laying we had held sessions in which we built the common crossings for the points, commonly called the frog. Most of the group had the opportunity to build one. Susie Frith , a long time member of the MRC, machined up the point blades.

Ron Walker, Malcolm Hunt, Alastair Swaine (pictured below), and Lucia Naidu are all building a Slaters wagon fitted with springing. This is being done under guidance so that they learn how to build rolling stock. Sprung wagons run more smoothly than those without it.

The two 6ft boards that go parallel to the main trackwork, on the side away from the viewing side, have now been built, and George Morris has completed all the inlaid trackwork leading into the main Workshop Building.

The structure for the Workshop has been built, including all 60 window openings. It will be built into the structure of the base boards to give it strength. We are planning the cosmetic finish to the building using laser cut material.

The layout will be wired so that either DC or DCC can be used , though not at the same time. When we eventually go to Exhibitions we will probably use only 100% DCC. Chris Webber is designing the control panel and Philip Harding, who worked on Happisburgh (or previous 7mm scale layout) in the early days, will be supervising the wiring on the boards, which is about to start. We’ve also built storage boxes to ensure the boards don’t get damaged.

The NLR in the early part of the 20th Century used 4 wheel coaches. We now have some etches for these coaches. These etches have been prepared by one of the Group and he is doing a test build.

There will be a lot of coal traffic on the layout bringing coal from the Docks into London. Tony Watts an MRC member, and author of the book Ince Wagons, is arranging for some resin casting to be made from some masters he has of suitable wagons for our period. Since full wagons will be coming from the Docks and empty ones going in the opposite directions we are going to build a return line which will be out of sight , for the transfer of wagons.

The North London Railway locomotives are quite distinctive, so we have decided to scratch build some of their 4-4-0 outside cylinder locos. So far the smoke box has been partly built and the frames have been cut out. We are planning on having resin castings of the smoke box made so that building subsequent locos will be easier. One of our group is preparing etches for the cab and tanks. George Morris has built a Manning Wardle for shunting between the Foundry building and the Workshop. Following this he is going to build a NLR 0-6-0 Park Tank from a kit.

If you are interested in joining this group please let me know through the contact us section of the website.

Peter Mann

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