Kennington Cross - London Trams in the fifties
I have recently completed a portable exhibition layout showing the last years of London Transport trams in the postwar period. At this time the remaining trams were concentrated in South London and were gradually being replaced by a huge fleet of RT type buses.
Full length view of the layout
This fictional layout shows a busy double track junction in South London. The track here is part of the remaining conduit system where tramcars draw power by means of a 'plough' that runs in a slot between the running rails.
The city streets have a cinema, shops, pubs and parish church. A Southern Region railway station stands across the road from an entrance to the London Underground. Further down the road is a tram depot.
Tramcars in City Road pass a cinema, shops and Underground station.
Video showing the intensity of service that can be achieved. On the busiest junctions on the system upto 250 cars per hour could pass.
Austin Lowloader taxicab, London tramcar and Green Line coach compete for passengers outside the Southern Region railway station.
The layout shows up to four tramcars running simultaneously. Cars of the standard E1 type (and derivatives) run alongside UCC Felthams.
UCC Feltham tramcar passes the parish church of St Jude
Brave the traffic to reach the Ladies and Gentlemen's facilities in the middle of the road.
The streets have cars, road furniture and advertising typical of the period.
A wartime utility Daimler bus waits on layover outside the church.
Video below shows how cars can circulate the layout at steady speed. For this video, camera duties precluded operation of the points at the same time.
The layout is presented 'cabinet style' with interior daylight lighting, and also with working street lamps.
A winter evening - the street lamps are on as an E1 car runs through the junction. Kennington Cross Southern Region station can be seen in the background with the adjacent Underground station entrance on the left.
Looking along City Road past the church on a foggy evening.
E1x, car number 2 was an experimental rebuild of a car that had been involved in an accident. It ran until the last day of London Tramways in July 1952.
The layout has a tram depot in similar style to the one at Wandsworth which still survives. Cars can enter and leave the depot when required.
A pointsman waits outside the depot ready to change the points
The layout is operated from the front with section switches and point controls fully visible. Ask nicely and perhaps you could take a turn.
The video below shows cars being switched at the double track junction. This was taken when the points were controlled by levers - the operation is now by electric solenoids.
This shows the service intensity that can be achieved ..... if you are concentrating!
I am now able to consider invitations to display the Kennington Cross tram layout at a small number of suitable exhibitions, not too far away from Buxton in the Derbyshire Peak District.
The layout is eight foot long by 18" deep, and is operated from the front. It is OO gauge 1/76 scale.
CLICK PLAN FOR ENLARGEMENT
Waiting for the tram, or we could watch the African Queen now showing at the Majestic!
UCC Feltham tram passing Kennington depot and war memorial.
London Trams in 1/76 scale OO gauge
Layout designed, built, and operated by John Howe
The buildings on the Kennington Cross layout are adaptations of Kingsway Models card kits.