HO Scale Modules – The Essex Belt Lines

The Essex Belt Lines is the group’s HO scale modular railroad. The railroad is formed of modules to three different modular systems. When the group started in 2000 we wanted to start a group project but the lack of a permanent base meant a traditional British style exhibition layout wasn’t possible. After considerable discussion we decided to look at modules.

With none of the existing standards meeting our aspirations of high quality modelling and presentation we developed our own system suitable for the creation of a layout showing mainline and secondary mainline railroads.

Subsequent to the development of our mainline standard some members of the group became more interested in shortline railroads and a branchline standard was developed.

In around 2009 an NMRA British Region Model Working Group was formed to look at ways to encourage the development of modular modelling in the UK. The group rapidly found a large number of HO scale systems were in use. Most were broadly compatible but the emerging interest in prototypical operations focused the group and none of the standards supported this as well as would have been liked. The result of this work is a new NMRA(BR) HO Scale Module Specification.

The group module specifications are under review (December 2017) and will be published when the new editions are complete.

The NMRA (BR) specification for HO Scale modules can be found here on the British Region website.