Past and Present: The importance of level crossings

From a modelling perspective, a level crossing is almost a mandatory structure at the end of a station platform. Probably the most famous one associated with railway modelling is that at Oakham, mainly because of the original Airfix signal box kit, writes Ian Lamb.

On my layouts LEVEN and OAKHAM I used PECO kits, but I have been very impressed with the latest Bachmann Scenecraft structure and the four-lever open ground frame. These models are timeless and very eye-catching.

An appropriate village scene linking back- and baseboards.

Such structures have been part of everyday life since railways began, and can be seen in all parts of Britain; some still operating today, especially on many heritage routes, although increasingly they are being done away with.

It is certainly worth looking at the extensive level of accuracy and detail within the Scenecraft range, and carefully determining how these items will fit into your layout plans.

At first glance you may be satisfied to simply add these items to the layout and quickly run trains, but the level crossing alone is such an attractive model that it is well worth personalising.

I decided to loosely base the diorama on that at the end of Oakworth Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. Shades of the film The Railway Children.

Oakham station, Rutland, and level crossing in the 1950s. What a wealth of useful detail is in this photograph. Not only have the period vehicles probably all gone to the scrap yard, but the former agricultural auction site to the right is now occupied with modern housing.

Starting with the level crossing (and bearing in mind that Oakworth is a double-gated structure) it was noticed from the film that only one side gate existed – linked to Perks’ House – so the one on the model was removed and replaced with a fixed fence to match the others while the footpath was covered in green scatter to represent overall grass.

A piece of fencing was curved and located behind the gate, leading to the main road. As my station was some distance from the level crossing, Oakworth Station was replaced by a length of white fencing as an extension to that adjoining the gatepost.

For the full article, September’s edition of Modelling – available now!

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