Last updated 30th November 2006
This page aims to collate information on structure kits and scratch builder parts of use for modelling (nominally in 4mm scale) LBSCR buildings and other company specific structures. However, given the paucity of structure kits that qualify as scale models of LBSCR structures, the coverage will be expanded to include "almost right" items as well. Furthermore, it is believed that this information will appeal to modellers who's approach does not qualify as "finescale" due to deficits in cash, time, skill or space, but still wish to create a model railway with a reasonable "Brighton" style appearance. Such "almost right" items will be clearly indicated and where possible the deficiencies documented.
Anyone planning to scratch build will of course need scale drawings of structures and several of works listed in the Architecture and Signals section of the Bibliography will help, notably a book on Period Railway Modelling Buildings (V. Thompson, 1971), which includes plans of some LBSCR station buildings (examples of platform buildings, railway cottages, signal boxes, and goods and loco sheds, from Chichester, Fittleworth, Littlehampton, Petworth, St. Leonards and Slinfold). Another valuable source is The Cuckoo Line (A.C. Elliott, 1988) (see LBSCR section of Bibliography), which includes plans (mostly 2mm scale) of station buildings (several styles), platform shelters and buildings (several styles), goods sheds and a warehouse, a flour shelter, a single road engine shed, signal boxes (including ground signal boxes and signalling diagrams), a footbridge (of an enclosed type), and a water tower, and many of these structures are similar to designs used on other rural lines in Sussex. Drawings of "Southern" structures are also available from Derek Bidwell through his web site of Model Drawings, and the collection includes a single road engine shed (probably Hailsham), plus the station building, signal box and goods shed at Lingfield. The Lingfield drawings are also published in his book (1998, Modelling Historic Architecture, HMRS). There is also a web site by Mike Watts that is dedicated to cataloguing published SR (including LBSCR) drawings, and a site by Clive Williams that has the ambitious aim of listing published sources of station photographs. Photographs showing examples of a seaside, town and country station are also included here (photos respectively: Bognor Regis, Purley and Sheffield Park). There is also a SR infrastructure site being developed and the SR Research Centre, which should be consulted. Gibson's 1998 printed catalogue includes a very useful set of clearance values indicating platform heights, bridge heights, loading gauge, etc.
A note about station livery is appropriate here, as the corporate livery would have been applied to most structures. Pattinson in 1896 described the corporate colours of station buildings at that time as "some light shade of colour relieved by borders of dark red brown or other tints" (from Peter Wisdom, 1996, Station name boards, The Brighton Circular, 22: 40-41; see also The Brighton Circular, 19: 41). Many Sussex country stations were originally half-timbered and highly decorated with floral pargetting (embossed patterns in plaster; photo) but in the 1890s most of the timbering was covered by hanging tiles, apparently because it allowed damp penetration (noted by K. Smith & V. Mitchell, Branch Lines to Midhurst, Middleton Press, 1981). Correspondingly, the Bluebell Railway have painted the remaining exposed timbering and pargetting at Sheffield Park Station in a shade of maroon (photo). By contrast, Gordon Biddle (Victorian Stations, David & Charles, 1973) stated, "At Horsted Keynes station black-and-white half-timbering, decorated with stylised `pot plant' pargetting, formed part of the theme". Unfortunately Gordon Biddle does not state his source, but if correct about the black, it suggests that sometime before 1890 the livery may have been different or less standardised, unless of course his source was simply confused by aged and dirty paintwork!
Authorship and How to Contribute
Key Words and Symbols
Multi Usage Bits
Station Name Boards
Gas Lamps (platform)
The page is edited by Ian White and comments, corrects and additions should be sent to him via:
Information is needed under all headings but where a comment is given in red it is expected that suitable parts should exist but have yet to be listed here. Specific requests for help in information gathering are also marked in red.
Where possible, manufacturers mentioned in the text are linked to the bottom of this page, where futher links will take you to their home pages.
Other contributions have been received from the following:
Precedes details of a kit or part that is a good or exact match for LBSCR modelling.
Precedes the name of any other kit or part that is useful in the creation of a Brighton-style model. Where possible the deficiencies of such kits or parts will be indicated.
Precedes the name of a kit or part whose value has not been assessed but which is thought of potential interest
Indicates a comment. In general, modelling methods and tips will not be part of this page. However, in a few cases it is appropriate to include a few brief notes.
Some scratch builder parts are of potential use in the construction of more than one type of structure and they are listed here.
Round-topped windows are available as scratch builder parts from Scale Link, D&S and Langley. Examples of moulded plastic windows that may be of use are Ratio (523 is a pack of 8 windows plus 8 brick arches, each window 2’9” wide and 5’ high, with the rectangular section 4 panes by 4 panes) and Wills (SS71 is a pack of 9 windows with 4 pieces of walling each taking 2 windows, and 8 brick arches, with each window 5’ wide by 8’6” high, with the rectangular section 3 panes high by 4 wide). Unfortunately the brass windows produced by D&S (WF7/WF27/150WF4)) and Scale Link (SLF064) also fail to match these prototypes.
When the LBSCR used sash windows they often had a curved top or an unusual layout of panes, so many standard scratch builder parts fail to match. Etched brass parts of potential value are available from Scale Link, D&S (WF24/WF25) and Langley). Plastic moulded windows (straight tops only) are available (e.g. Wills and Dornaplas).
Wills also produce a set of brick arch overlays (SS55) that are useful in the production of curved topped windows, tunnel portals and retaining walls.
Castings of chimney pots are available from several manufacturers (e.g. Freestone and Springside).
Several manufacturers produce other scratch builder parts, too numerous to mention. An example is Scale Link whose building parts including brackets (mostly GWR), barge boards, windows (factory, Georgian, station), clock faces, trusses, roof light frames, seats, tables, benches, stairs, and railings for stairs. Muswell Models also produce a range of window frets which may be of interest.
No kit has been identified as similar to any of the many styles used. However, several manufacturers produce kits with round topped windows (see Multi Usage Bits) similar to those used by the LBSCR and some of these are likely to be sufficient for a freelance Brighton style model railway, or for modification (e.g. Wills CK12 or Ratio 522).
Easy to assemble whitemetal models of two types of LBSCR platform mounted water crane are are available, as follows: Mikes Models (10) LBSCR Fluted Water Crane (photo) and (22) LBSCR Ball Weight Water Crane (photo). The instructions (kit 10) mention that it “is the more common, although both [types] have been photographed at the same station”. 5&9 Models also produce an earlier Stroudley type water crane (photo).
No kit has been identified as suitable. Photographs of LBSCR water towers (photo) suggest that most conformed to a single unit plan, the main difference being size. A.C. Elliott in The Cuckoo Line (see LBSCR section of Bibliography), presented a drawing of the tower at Heathfield, which, aside from being unusual in supporting a hoist, appears to be the basic plan for most. Even the huge tower at Brighton Works has the same style of metal panelled tank, and the large windows, but in multiples of the basic unit plan. A rare departure from this plan can be seen in a 1902 photograph of Arundel Station; photo 98, Southern Main Lines, Crawley to Littlehampton, Middleton Press, 1986.
Wills (SS71) Round-Top Window Set (see Multi Usage Bits for dimensions) are a little over size (the prototype size measured from the Heathfield plan was 7’6” high by 4’ wide) and wrongly divided (the prototype was 3 panes wide and the rectangular part 5 panes high). However, few observers will count panes.
Wills vari-girder (SS57) is described in the Peco PPP catalogue (1994 ed.) as "Plate girder panels that can be made up into various widths of bridges, water tanks, etc.". The prototype of the tank at Heathfield (see drawing in A.C. Elliott, 1988, The Cuckoo Line, p. 152) was made from riveted panels that were 3'6" square. The Wills panels are a scale 5'6" x 6', and so not suitable for that prototype. However, this style could perhaps be made from sheet styrene with the addition of microstrip (or perhaps wagon strapping).
Mike’s Models makes water tank panels (kit 81) but details are needed of style.
Some large goods warehouses used round-topped windows (see Multi Usage Bits).
Small wooden sheds were sometimes used. Wills kit (SS63) can be modified to make one of the LBSCR types and there is an example of it having been used as the basis of a model of the Horsted Keynes (now Kingscote) small shed (Railway Modeller, February 2004, 55: 79.). There is a preserved small goods shed at Isfield on the Lavender Line, which was built by the LBSCR in 1860, and it may be possible to identify an appropriate kit for modification (differs from the Wills kit in having a single pitched, non gabled, roof like that of many lineside or platelayer huts). The Lavender Line goods shed was draw by Peter Wisdom (1993, The Brighton Circular 19: 62-63).
Mike’s Models (54, Lancashire and Yorkshire yard crane) may be a reasonable match for a type used on the LBSCR (see at photograph of crane at Hailsham; photo 70, Branch Lines to Tunbridge Wells, Middleton Press, 1988; also crane at Slinfold, apparently with an added safety cover, photo 43; Branch Lines to Horsham, Middleton Press, 1984).
Wills (SS51) yard crane is based on an Irish prototype but is of the same genre as those used on the LBSCR and may be adequate for a Brighton style railway.
Exactoscale produce a pack of etched and cast parts for making loading gauges (LA030), with parts for both a bullhead rail and timber post type, based on LSWR prototypes but said to be “typical of those used by most companies”. Suitability for LBSCR modelling needs confirmation.
Scale Link (Smiths Components) produce several loading gauges (e.g. Midland type, WTSF11) which may have kit-bashing potential.
A whitemetal kit is available from Mike’s Models (80, Type C Buffer Stops for LSWR, LBSC and MR).
Low cost plastic buffers stops are available from various manufacturers (e.g. Peco SL40, Scale Link SLC152). These are not correct as supplied, but some (Peco at least) are suitable for modification to a superficially similar appearance to LBSCR prototypes.
Signal boxes were a mix of own design and Saxby and Farmer. The Signal Box web site gives examples of both.
The only known kit which is an exact model of an LBSCR design is a very basic card kit (Alphagraphix F527) based on the Saxby and Farmer box at Isfield.
A kit to produce a Saxby and Farmer timber built signal box is available (Wills SS48) but was based on a prototype at Wisbech (GER). The manufacturers list other railways that had similar boxes, including the LBSCR. Although no similar prototype has yet been identified (the cabin windows are not typical of S&F boxes on the LBSCR and the machine room windows are unusually large), this kit might find a place on a freelance model as a “might have been used” structure. It has also been noted that the kit has name boards moulded into its end walls and they may be difficult to remove (their presence does not fit with LBSCR practice).
Hornby produce a level crossing signal box (R8589) in their Skaledale range which is a reasonable resemblance to a S&F ground level box.
D&S produce brass signal box front (DS600-WF1) and end (DS600-WF2) etches, which are described as LBSCR type. They are of the 3 panes wide and 2 high type and match the dimensions of the side and end windows at Groombridge Junction (see drawing in A.C. Elliott, 1988, The Cuckoo Line, p. 163) but provide only 3 sets of front panes rather than 4. For an illustration of a model using these etches, see Railway Modeller, January 2001, 52: 32-35. The author of that article (John Cox) says the box he modelled was Lavant, but it was clearly not the box known from readily available photographs (see page 60, K. Smith & V. Mitchell, Branch Lines to Midhurst, Middleton Press, 1981). It has also been suggested that these etches were based on Petworth Box, but again it is not the box known from readily available photographs (see page 31, same book). The exact modelling of prototypes with this window style will normally require the purchase of 2 or more kits to provide adequate parts. A model based on the large signal box at Eastbourne would be possible as its windows were in sets of three.
Ratio (139) Pack of Windows are a perfect match for one commonly used LBSCR style, namely the ones where each window unit is 3 panes high and 2 panes wide (e.g. Hailsham on the Cuckoo Line, and Horsted Keynes on the Bluebell Line), and fitted in pairs to allow one window unit to slide over the other (so they appear to be 4 panes wide when closed). These windows are also suitable for use in a ground signal box (e.g. Hailsham).
Ratio (539) MR Signal Box Windows are superficially similar in appearance to the above when viewed as a pair of units, i.e. 4 panes wide by 3 high. However, they are over size in height by about a scale 1ft, and width by about 6 inches. Consequently, they are not suitable for a scale model of a known prototype, but they have been successfully used in a Brighton styled model of a particularly tall box.
Dapol (previously Airfix) produce a plastic kit for a MR level crossing box (C006) that can be improved using the above windows (Ratio 539; see Railway Modeller, June 2001, 52:288-292). The same kit may therefore be of value as scratch builder parts for an LBSCR signal box. London Road Models produce an etching for the timber top half of an LNWR box, which it has been suggested could be grafted onto a Dapol bottom half.
Signal box steps are available in moulded plastic, e.g. from Freestone (M4-2 SR Signal Box Stairs) and Ratio (142) make stair kits which can easily be modified to be close to correct scale and style.
Model Signal Engineering (MSE) produce a substantial range of parts (whitemetal, or brass) for the assembly of early LBSCR slotted post signals, as well as the subsequently adopted square post lower quadrant signals. The parts available are as follows:
MSE also produce numerous non-scale and non-company specific parts for making their signals operational, either manually or electrically, signalling books and spectacle glazing in appropriate colours. They also produce point/signal rodding, although it should be noted that the LBSCR used round section rods, so these kits may not be entirely appropriate (details needed). MSE also produce an etched fret (S007/1) for making two slot boxes for slotted post signals but not to an LBSCR specific pattern. The signal arms fret (S0010) includes hockey-stick arms, as commonly used for slotted post signals, but they are less than standard scale length
An alternative set of etched brass signal arms is available from Scale Link (SLF91) which includes LBSCR parts.
Etched signal posts, 26ft (A426) and 45ft (A425) are available from 5522 Models (sold for Highland Railway use but note that MSE advertise their part S6 for HR as well as LBSCR use).
EB Models (EBM) produce a set of etched brass frets for making LBSCR slotted post signals of the two-position lower quadrant types (c.1875-1900). The following frets are available:
These need to be used in conjunction with MSE parts, namely round signal lamps (SC0014), ball and spike finials (SC0028), balance weights (SC0041/1) and tapered posts (S006); the latter may be replaced by square brass rod or tube, filed or milled to shape.
For modellers who want a plastic structure kit, Ratio GWR signals kit (466) can be modified to produced four post-1900 non-bracket lower quadrant LBSCR signals; the kit is not suitable for bracket signals. The tapered post is of comparable quality to a whitemetal post and includes an integral lamp of suitable type, and a rather under-sized ball and spike finial. The LBSCR largely replaced that finial style by a pagoda finial after 1900 (a small pyramid shape which may be filed out of 2-3 layers of thick sheet styrene). It is also necessary to place the ladder at the front of the signal (not the back as described in the GWR kit instructions). The ladders tend to be badly cast (see comments below); the “boards” (signal arms) are over-scale thickness and rely on painted lenses (not coloured transparent material). The GWR brackets are very different to LBSCR types and these kits cannot easily be used for making bracket signals.
Ratio also do a kit for making four LNWR square post lower quadrant signals (Ratio 477) and similar comments to those above can be assumed to apply (details needed).
The laddering supplied by Ratio in the above GWR kit is sometimes poorly moulded and may be replaced by further moulded plastic laddering (Ratio 451), or better still with etched brass laddering (e.g. MSE above, Craftsman E19, Gibson 4MM46, Jackson Evans 81, Shire Scenes S46).
Gibson have started to produce a range of signal parts and might plan to add some LBSCR items to their list (a 25ft wooden SR signal post is now listed). Scale Link also produce some SR signal parts (SLF091).
Remember that distant arms on the LBSCR were painted red not yellow! A good account of LBSCR signalling history was given in Croydons Railways (M.G.W. Skinner, 1985) (see LBSCR section of Bibliography). There is also a signals page on the Bluebell Railway web site and an account of signalling practice on the Signal Box web site.
Model Signal Engineering produce a kit (GS004) for making two Saxby and Farmer post-1900 rotating head type ground signals. This consists of an etched brass fret from which to fold up the base and head, with a cast whitemetal signal lamp for insertion into the head. This can be made fully operational.
EB Models produce an etched brass fret containing enough parts to build 9 Saxby and Farmer pre-1900 ground signals, to three different patterns of base. A further fret is available which makes a single post-mounted ground signal base for addition to a slotted post signal. These frets have to be used in conjunction with MSE square signal lamps (SC007)
LBSCR footbridges came in a variety of forms. No suitable kits have been identified for any of the enclosed forms. Open bridges tended to have a curved profile to the fence of the central span and lattice sides, e.g. Mike Watts has produced a very fine looking S scale model of a cast iron type bridge that used to stand at Mitcham. The second flight of stairs was sometimes in line with the span, sometimes in line with the lower flight (West Grinstead had both, one type on each side), and sometimes footbridges linking roads (rather than platforms) would have both flights in line with the central span. The Midland Railway (and possibly other companies) had similar (possibly even identical) styles.
Langley (F69) produce an etched brass kit designed to make a bridge of a style at least resembling MR/LBSCR prototypes, of the type which has both flights of steps in line (at right angles to the central span) and it might be possible to modify it to other configurations.
Fence Houses Model Foundry (see Railway Modeller, October 1997, 48:485) produce an etched brass kit for a Midland Railway footbridge, at least superficially similar to LBSCR prototypes, with the upper flight in line with the span.
A low cost plastic kit produced by Hornby (R.076 or R.232) is also similar in configuration but the stairs have a simple bar fence rather than lattice. However, this model has very high quality mouldings and has been successfully kit bashed (photo). The stairs should be cut down (prototypes typically had 12-14 steps in the lower flight). The sides can be given a lattice appearance by adding diagonals of 0.5mm square microstrip (the resulting lattice angles will not be correct to prototype) but experiment first with gluing technique as the mouldings are not styrene and cannot be stuck with MEK (they can be tacked with MEK and over glued with a varnish but better methods may be available).
Scalelink produce an etch of footbridge lattice mesh (#SLF015) for scratch building.
Several manufactures produce whitemetal castings of gas lamps but none are known to be an exact match to any used by the LBSCR. The lamp housing was usually of the square type and Langley (F82) is a reasonable approximation, as are the low cost plastic models from Model Scene (5004). Scale Link (SLC149) may be of interest and some lamps are also produced by Mike's Models. Several manufacturers produce GWR Yard Lamps and these appear to be at least superficially similar to LBSCR yard lamps.
No kit has been identified as similar to any of the many styles of platform shelter (photo) or island platform buildings used. See also Station Buildings for booking hall or station master’s house type buildings.
No kit has been identified as similar to any of the many styles used. Canopy stanchions varied between square section wooden stanchions, common on country stations, to cast iron stanchions common for the larger stations (photo).
If scratch building canopies, a recent article in Model Railway Journal (2000, No.120: 179-184), which described the building of a MR canopy out of brass, may be consulted. Even those modellers who are content to produce a canopy that is strictly not for underside viewing (and roofed with lead, zinc or very dirty glass!) may find the methods of making canopy stanchions of interest.
The square cast iron stanchions used on platform 5 at Horsted Keynes have been modelled by 5&9 Models. These are complete with the canopy brackets and can equally well be used to model the the square wooden stanchions used on many other wealden style stations (in fact the cast and wooden types were mixed at some stations).
Other Whitemetal models of canopy stanchions are available but are not exact matches to LBSCR prototypes, although Scale Link SLC002 is a reasonable approximation to those used at some locations. The most common type (with an octagonal base) can be approximated by using the method given in the above MRJ article (although the author of that article produced hexagonal bases). Those wanting to model in plastic (or lacking a proper lathe) can try using square tube (e.g. Plastruct ST6 is 4.8mm square outside, 2mm round inside), filed to an octagonal section, cut to the scale length of a stanchion base, and then lathe turned using a multi-tool and small half round tapered file, to form an incurve at the top. The result is a little over scale but so were the brass ones shown in MRJ!
Canopy brackets were used with cast iron stanchions but no exact scale match has been identified. Etched brass brackets are made by Scale Link (SLF4 are assumed to be the right type of item). The very low cost plastic LMS type brackets from Freestone Model Accessories (Prototype M4-3) are of the right style but at a scale 4ft on one side and 3ft the other, they may be a bit big for most locations (they can be trimmed by about a scale 6 inches). D&S brass canopy brackets (BK4) may be nearer to correct size (need confirmation).
Valancing on LBSCR stations varied greatly but the most common type on main lines was a simple series of upward curves, sometimes called “loping” valance (2 or sometimes 3 upward curves between each pair of iron stanchions). This can easily be made from embossed planking (Slater’s 2mm planking 0433), although the planks will be slightly over scale. Several frilled types were used and a selection of five types can be obtained in etched brass from Exactoscale (LA072; LA073; LA074; LA075; LA097; other patterns, although designed for other railway companies, may be similar to some other LBSCR prototypes). D&S also produce one type in brass (DS150-AF1, which appears to match Exactoscale type 3; needs confirmation). Scale Link (SLF038) produce an etched brass SR valance that may be of some use. Muswell Models also produce one LBSCR type (EV418, appears to match Exactoscale's round hole type 3). Low cost plastic valancing is available (e.g. Ratio 516 or Freestone M4-1) but they are a poor approximation of LBSCR types.
White GWR fencing (Ratio 421) is at least superficially similar to the type commonly used for LBSCR country stations. Scale Link also produce a range of brass frets for making various types of fencing.
Whitemetal castings of subway balustrade posts, based on those at Horsted Keynes (but in one of the two widespread patterns used by the LBSCR), are available from 5&9 Models.
Although several manufacturers produce kits for platform sections (e.g. Peco ST290/296, Ratio 520 or Wills SS61/62), or platform edges (e.g. Peco LK60/66), none are known to be particularly close to LBSCR prototypes. Peco use brick paper overlays and the kits could be greatly improved by replacing these with embossed plastic sheet bricks (e.g. Slater’s English bond 0399).
Platforms are amongst the easiest of structures to scratch build using thick card (or perhaps sheet styrene or very thin plywood) for the surface, with suitable support (a zig-zag pattern of card strip between the walls forms a very strong structure). The walls of many LBSCR platforms had a uniform style of brickwork, as follows: English bond, with corbelling (i.e. extra thickness to the top; an added four courses, then three courses and finally two courses with each of these courses having end-on bricks in the lowest course). Check photographs for the type of platform edges to model as they were often (usually ?) of brick rather than paving.
No kit has been identified as matching any of the many styles used. However, two kit suggestions are offered that will not look totally out of place on a freelance Brighton style model railway.
Wills (CK16) Brick Country Station is described in the Peco PPP catalogue (1994 ed.) as “a generic country station, inspired in part by the rural stations of the LB&SC, by those of the GE and by designs prevalent in the Midlands. With appropriate painting and detailing, it can be made to look at home in any of these settings, and many others. The platform supplied can be extended using kit SS61”. This two-story building has a section parallel to the platform and another at right angles; these have two square topped and one round top window respectively, on the platform face. Stations such as Slinfold on the Guildford to Christ’s Hospital line, had two floors in both sections of this type of floor plan, and had the round-topped window, but the upper story of the section parallel to the platform lacked windows on that elevation. A few other lines also had buildings with round-topped windows under the gable but were single story in the section that ran parallel to the platform. Furthermore, the canopy fails to match any identified LBSCR prototype. In conclusion, this kit does combine features that are “Brighton” but not all from one place, unless anyone knows better? For photographs of this kit see Railway Modeller, March 1997, 48: 98-103.
Freelance modellers may also care to consider the possible combination of two Peco kits (LK-14 for the two-story section and LK-12 for a single story plus canopy). Suitably weathered, these should also result in a model of suitable floor plan, except that the upper floor will have two square-topped windows under the gable, rather than one so typical of many LBSCR locations. Again, there may be a matching prototype out there somewhere?
It is perhaps stretching the definition to call the single story shops so typical of many station forecourts “railway structures” but it is worth noting that a Wills kit (SS18) is a very good match to the original appearance of the shops just outside East Croydon Station.
No kit has been identified as matching any of the styles used. However, running in boards as they are more correctly known, are simple items to scratch build, particularly if the lettering can be computer generated. Peter Wisdom (1996, “Station name boards”, The Brighton Circular, 22: 40-41; 23: 88) gave details, which can be summarised as follows:
Model Signal Engineering (MSE) produce a kit of parts for the LBSCR McKenzie & Holland type crossing (LC4/4).
Wills kit (SS59) is a single track tunnel portal of a tall oval style, similar to many LBSCR prototypes, e.g. Sharpthorn (Bluebell Railway).
Members of the Brighton Circle e-mail group may wish to consult the following archived messages: brick bonds (message 115); buffers (messages 145 onwards); building colours from 1896 to grouping (message 130); platform corbelling (messages 104-108).