British Railway Modelling (BRM)

My primary aim was to represent a typical London street scene. I have previously scratch-built (nonfunctio­nal) lamp standards myself from wire and oddments.


However, I came across the range of lighting from Layouts4u some years ago. Some of the designs in the range are a bit toy-like, but there are examples that appear reasonably accurate – the fact that they worked was a bonus. The prices are very tempting too – half a dozen working lamps for less than £10. They are supplied with a resistor so can be wired into a simple 12V DC supply, or by removing the resistor to work on 3V. The layout (day) lighting on the layout is by LED strip, so that is switched off and the street lamps are switched on.

It would have been nice to light the tramcars, but alas very difficult. Rather like buses, the trams were generously lit internally – particular­ly noticeable in any photograph. I know that light panels are available but the plastic kits from which the trams are built are not the easiest to assemble. I have built many over the years, and possibly each has gone together slightly differentl­y! I would also be concerned about 'light leaks'.

Providing a working headlight would be tricky as the platforms are open to view and it would be difficult to conceal the lamp inside. The model tram market is nowhere near as advanced as that for model trains. A ready-to-run traditiona­l double deck twin bogie, English tram, with a reliable working chassis to modern standards would be great to have. Tramway modelling has always been something of a niche section of the hobby, perhaps not least because of the difficulti­es of representi­ng the overhead wire – not a problem for myself due to the widespread use of the conduit system of current collection used in London.

In the past, I have lit some buildings on permanent home-based layouts, but those on ‘Kennington Cross’ aren't lit. I think that would be my first thought of providing more lighting.

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