Lea Valley Railway Centre – Exhibition Layout

Presented by the Stevenage and District Model Railway Club (formally LVRC) 

The Lea Valley Railway Centre sits on the site of the old station, once a thriving station, however with passenger numbers dropping due to the expansion of the London Underground, the Beeching report was the final nail in the coffin for the line and it closed in the Mid 60’s. 

The site laid abandoned for many years, however the impending threat of redevelopment with the expansion of London spurred a group of local railway enthusiasts into action who were determined to save the site, and the Lea Valley Railway Centre was born. The site was purchased as it lay from British Railways, and the group set about rebuilding the site. 

A small platform was added to give visitors somewhere to embark and disembark, and the first rides were given with a small shunting loco and an old coal wagon with more rotten wood and holes in the floor than solid wood, a far cry from the health and safety of today. As the site attracted more visitors the Society was able to purchase more rolling stock and a few locos, a few of the locos are privately owned, including the Class 37, which isn’t used too often despite always drawing a crowd it, often draws complaints from the locals over the noise and fumes. A DMU and steam loco are the normal choice of traction for visitor rides. 

A second hand signal box was purchased and relocated to the site, first to be used as a store but over time some of the volunteers decided over a pint in the local pub it would be a good idea to get it working. Second hand colour light signals were acquired and added to give some operational interest and to stop accidents. This was paid for by the Old Friends and Relatives Travel Scheme who donated the money to fund this. 

The old parcels platform and building have been a good source of income for the society as they rent out the space to many local clubs including the local model railway club, the Transport Writers and Artists Trust, the local debate club, which had its most attended evening debating Anti Vaxxers. The latest addition to the site is the new engine shed that has been recently erected to protect the more valuable stock from the weather and more importantly the local youths. The new engine shed is home to the Association of Railway Steam Engineers who help to maintain the locos and stock, and now can do it in the warm and dry.

The layout was a set of boards with the track laid when it was donated to the club, who have rewired the layout and moved it across to MERG CBUS control, with servo operated points, and train on track detection to correctly control the colour light signals. The layout is DCC with most locos sound fitted, a selection of kit built and ready to run rolling stock is used on the layout. The buildings are a mixture of kit and scratch built, with some inhouse designed and 3D printed details to enhance the layout. 

Exhibition History

Stevenage Museum Railway Day – August 2023

West Essex Modelrail – April 2024

A selection of pictures (and links to videos) from the layout’s recent exhibition at West Essex Modelrail 2024 are available here.

Information for Exhibition Managers

ScaleO GaugeLayout Size10′ x 2′
ControlDCCOperating Size12′ x 6′
Insurance Value£2,000Table Required?Yes
Number of Operators3Chairs Required?2
Layout Transport2 carsPower Sockets?1
Set up time1 HourPack down time30 mins
Stevenage & District MRC’s Layout: Lea Valley Railway Centre (LVRC)

Please contact the club for more information / any requests to attend an exhibition.