ACE Trains E/17 & Hornby Island Platform E at the Abbey Pumping Station - December 2013

WEMBLEY (LMS/Met. Joint)



“When melancholy Autumn comes to Wembley
And electric trains are lighted after tea…”

It was the opening lines of Sir John Betjeman’s poem ‘Harrow-on-the-Hill’ - or rather its quotation in Allen Levy’s seminal book ‘A Century of Model Trains’ - that provided the inspiration for our first layout theme. First shown as such at a model railway exhibition in Hinckley, it reached its apogee when, in 2000, it was actually exhibited in Wembley, at the now-demolished Wembley Exhibition Centre, as part of the exhibition marking 100 years of model railways in Britain, and 90 years of the Model Railway Club. This was - and remains - the biggest layout we have ever done.

The ‘Wembley’ theme was established long before that, however.  When, in 1936, Hornby abandoned ‘Windsor’ as the sole name for its station and island platform, and offered a choice of four, Wembley was one of those chosen, along with Ripon, Bristol (quickly replaced by Reading) and Margate. However, of the four, ‘Wembley’ is the one most easily found to-day.  Why? Doubtless its association with football was a factor with many ‘Hornby Boys’, but the four names chosen rather obviously reflected the ‘Big Four’ railway companies, with Wembley, situated on the main line out of Euston, being the LMS option - and the LMS items always seem to have been the best sellers, if to-day’s collector’s market is anything to go by.  It therefore made sense, for practical reasons, to concentrate on collecting ‘Wembley’.   But Wembley is a very useful name for a station, for of course not only the LMS but also the LNER and the Metropolitan - after 1933 London Transport - also ran through Wembley. Even the GWR’s London - Birmingham line was not that far away.   The joint LMS - Metropolitan station, though, is, of course, a mere figment of our own imagination…


‘Wembley’ is the station ‘set’ we use most frequently - it is, one might say, our ‘standard offering’, and although the ‘official’ version uses LMS and Metropolitan stock, various permutations of LMS, LNER, Metropolitan, London Transport and even GWR stock have been used, alone and in combination.  BR London Midland Region/London Transport would also be possible - although we haven’t tried that one yet! It can and has been done as an ‘all vintage’ or ‘all Hornby’ layout - although in those cases, only LMS or LNER would really be practical.

The elements that make up the station itself have been carefully chosen to reflect the Hornby range as it was 1939-40 - as opposed to the ‘Reading’ collection (see the ‘Other Layouts’ page) which reflect the Hornby of 1938.  The differences are quite subtle, however, and many items were exactly the same, so to some extent they are all part of the same pool, and when we are doing a ‘joint’ station, we’ll often use the 1939 items on one side and the 1938 items on the other to give a little variety and distinguish the supposedly different railway companies.

‘Wembley’, then, can be very much what one wants it to be, but in the new ‘official’ format it is arranged to create six through tracks on a four-track layout.  



This layout would occupy approximately 11’ x 20’.  Alternatively, a smaller version with only three through platforms could be fitted into 8’ x 20’.

As with ‘Windsor’ and ‘Reading’, this can alternatively be done as a smaller double-track layout.   The minimum area required for a sensible layout would be approximately 6’ x 8’ - but more would be better, especially length-wise.