Pic of Canal Street
Pic of Canal Street


Inspired by layout designs for an industrial setting in a book by Ian Rice, CANAL STREET is a freelance ‘OO’ gauge layout.  Canal Street has no passenger station and is somewhere in industrial Britain where the landscape seems covered in factories, warehouses, railway sidings and, between it all, a canal.

Canal Street main yard
Canal Street main yard


This layout had an extremely extended gestation period.  The shape of the layout was determined by its original design to fit in a Rover 214 (yes) for transport by one of three club members who had such a vehicle.  Two changes of clubroom, one of which was enforced, delayed the completion of the layout for about two years. 

The layout was ultimately built and operated to the original plan and comprises three levels.  On the lowest level is the canal which gives its name to the adjacent street and the layout.  The remnant of a narrow gauge railway system serves the canal-side premises.  In the foreground a double track railway line emerges from tunnels at each side of the layout passing a level crossing and traversing the canal on one of five bridges on the layout.  A passing service of diesel multiple units operate on this line.

The top level forms the main part of the layout and is a complex of factories and warehouses requiring the services of freight trains for the movement of goods and raw materials.


Construction of Canal Street is straightforward.  The baseboards, although curved along the front, still uses the “L girder” principle.  In this case, each baseboard is constructed from 1.3/4” X 3/4” [45 X 19 mm] dressed pine, topped off with stiffened 1/4” [6 mm] plywood.

Peco track and point work on a cork trackbed is used throughout, but the narrow gauge track was built in situ from Code 70 rail on copper clad sleepering that was subsequently covered by the plastic sheet representing stone setts.

A particular feature of Canal Street is the variety of bridges.  As several were required it was felt that no two should be alike, reflecting the piecemeal development of the railway.  They are all models of actual bridges.

Buildings are primarily scratch built although one or two kits that fitted the bill were used.

Looking out beneath the bridges
View from below the bridges