Alexandra Palace 2017


The Thamesiders HO scale layout, the Essex Belt Lines was invited to attend the London Festival of Model Railways at Alexandra Palace on 25th and 26th march 2017.

This was the first public outing with the new signalling system operational.

We were joined by modular model railroading friends with some Freemo modules operating as a branchline from the EBL layout, and formed one of the largest layouts exhibited.Ally Pally2017

Above: Modules from Patrick Grace (pictured) connected to Essex Belt Lines figure 8 layout as seen at Alexandra Palace.

Coronavirus – Virtual Meetings


Due to the restrictions put in place as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak the Thamesiders Group has had to suspend our regular meetings until the controls are relaxed and we’re allowed to gather again.

In the place of those meetings, we’ve started a programme of virtual meetings – please contact us for more details.

Be well.

Thamesiders Essex Belt Lines attending Bishop’s Stortford Model Railway Exhibition on 17th August 2019


The Thamesiders Essex Belt Lines HO layout will be attending the Bishop’s Stortford Railway Society Exhibition on 17th August 2019.

The HO modular layout will feature the modules for Peveral, OH and Peach Meadows, amongst others – more detail about the modules can be found by following the links below.

Peveral, OH

Peach Meadows

We will be running a range of prototypical trains representing the USA transition period between steam and diesel operation.

The exhibition is being held at Birchwood High School Sports Hall, Parsonage Lane, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire CM23 5BD on Saturday 17th August 2019 between 10.30am – 4.30pm.

For more details about the full exhibition follow this link: Bishop’s Stortford Model Railway Exhibition

Thamesiders EBL attends the 2018 NMRABR Convention


The Thamesiders Essex Belt Lines modular layout was shown at the recent 2018 NMRA British Regions Convention held at the Derby Convention Centre on the weekend Friday 26th to Sunday v28th October.

The convention successfully showcased the EBL and hard work the team put into building and testing the new signalling system.

Members David Ammon and Boyd French uploaded videos of the layout to Youtube

Terminal Belt Railroad – Industrial district at Bury St Edmunds 2017 show


Thamesiders MRG member Mike Meadows will be exhibiting his Terminal Belt Railroad – Industrial District layout at the Bury St Edmunds Model Railway Club 2017 exhibition on September 9th at

Thurston Sixth, Beyton Campus, Drinkstone Road
Bury St Edmunds
IP30 9AA

Please come and say hello to Mike and the operating team.  We are always open to new members, please ask the team for more details of our current projects.

Essex Belt Lines – First operations Day

EBL Signalling Project, Meets

The EBL team held the first formal operations session at the June meet. The team used the recently commissioned CTC signalling system, a full suite of prototype style train order paperwork to authorise movements and for some trains car cards and waybills to direct the movement of individual rail vehicles.

This was a challenging but enjoyable day. it did highlight some development needs to help us achieve the best from the layout, these will be developed as we run more operations sessions.

Alexandra Palace 2017


The Thamesiders MRG attended the London Festival of Model Railways at Alexandra Palace with the Essex Belt Lines in its largest setup so far.

The EBL was setup as an 38′ x 15′ oval with a 75′ long branchline which split into two to feed two small staging yards. Thamesiders wish to thank Peter Lloyd-Jones, Dan Spalding and Pete Colton for offering their modules to add to the Thamesiders layout setup.

Signalling Project Update

EBL Signalling Project, Uncategorized

Since late 2014 the Essex Belt Lines has been upgraded to incorporate a full CTC signalling system, with dispatcher control of mainline turnouts using JMRI installed onto a Raspberry Pi 2. In addition to the signalling upgrade this also provides for wireless control of trains using the WiThrottle and Engine driver Apps for iOS and Android.

Upgrades include an accessory bus using a Sprog 3 to drive Harman DCC SC1 signal decoders, along with track occupancy and turnout position feedback using MERG DTC current based occupancy detectors and Heathcote Electronics IRDOT-1 modules connected to Littfinski Datan Technik (LDT) RS-16-O-B and Paco RS-8 feedback modules.

Some modules have been upgraded to use servos and Harman DCC SC2 decoders to control the turnouts.

The Terminal Belt Railroad module also incorporates a local control panel, in the style of a US&S panel, using the new Lenz LW150 input module

Further additions planned include local control panels, to ensure control is available when the computer is not running. To complete the upgrade to the entire layout plans are being drawn up to upgrade the staging yard to include DCC control of the turnouts, detection of track occupancy and signaled departure from all tracks.

Photographs and further details to follow.


For more information of the technology used in this project please see:

Harman DCC :


WiThrottle :

Engine Driver :

Sprog :


Paco RS8 :


Heathcote Electronics :