Thamesiders Model Railroad Group

The Thamesiders Model Railroad Group is a sub-division of the Eastern Division of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) British Region. We are a small group of model railroaders, primarily from Essex, who met through the NMRA and decided to form a small group to further our knowledge and enjoyment of North American railroads, both full size and model. As its name suggests the Thamesiders group covers the southern part of the division, nominally Essex, but members come from across the county border in Suffolk, Kent and East London. The group meets once a month, usually at a site in Frating, north of Colchester. Group activities are expanding from our primary focus on our modular HO layout, Essex Belt Lines, to include N scale modules with an active group rapidly developing modules for an N scale layout. Members have their open interests including O scale standard gauge and On30 narrow gauge.

Essex Ethanol module

Essex Ethanol module

We welcome new members – membership of the NMRA is not essential but it is preferred and is positively encouraged. Our goal is to spread the word of US outline railroading to the East Anglia area. The group has a bi-monthly newsletter, “The Ditchlight”, distributed to all members every two months with contact details and maps for upcoming meets and up to date model railroad news. The group has wide ranging interests, from the smallest of narrow gauge lines to the large class 1 railroads of today. The main periods modelled are the 1950s steam/diesel transition era and the 1990s modern mega railroads and shortlines.

The group have been invited to exhibit the Essex Belt Lines at both major national exhibitions, including the Warley Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC in 2010 and the Festival of Model Railways at Alexandra Palace in 2012, along with local club exhibitions.

The group would be delighted to represent US outline model railroading at local model railway exhibitions. The selection of modules available allows us to offer anything from a simple switching puzzle to a large circular layout with branchlines.

We can be contacted using our contact us page on this site or via the webmaster at