top of page

Brief Encounter is my 11 foot by 2 foot OO gauge end to end monochrome layout based on the David Lean film and designed for the exhibition circuit. It made its debut at the Woolwich model rail show in December 2023 and I was really delighted with the feedback from visitors.


The concept behind the layout was to recreate the evocative atmosphere of the black and white era of film, with a railway station and, of course, steam trains at the heart of it.

The inspiration came from watching Brief Encounter for the very first time and realising that the train station and train was as much a character of the film as the lead actors.


It also presented an exciting challenge I haven’t seen in any other layout  – to create a layout completely in monochrome.


Brief Encounter Overhead Train Shot.jpg

The layout has four lines and is laid out in four sections.



To the left of the layout is a raised area which holds the RAF base. Although the film makes no mention of the war, it was filmed during 1944 and 1945 towards the end of World War 2. This in itself presented various logistic issues for Lean, and I wanted to reflect that in this layout.


This section also holds the fiddle yard underneath. The tracks are DC shuttle controlled with SS2A BLOCKsignalling controllers with a manual Gaugemaster controller override.


The second section includes a street scene with shops, a cinema and a church. The cinema is an integral part of the layout – it’s where the main characters Laura and Alex met for their clandestine dates. All the structures along this section are modified kits, and I’ve had some fun recreating signage that nods to the 1940s era but also includes a little humour.









You’ll notice the back scene also includes shops that were popular at the time – and are still around today. Boots the chemist’s was actually a lending library during the war – and it’s where Laura went to return a library book on the day she met Alex for the first time.


The lower tier includes the platform with the famous station – and here you can see Laura and Alex’s goodbye scene.



At the far end is a raised level with a farm area and rural scene complete with sheep, chickens and a farm house.

A fun feature I've included is a fully working cinema which plays the film Brief Encounter

in its entirety at shows. It's the only part of the layout in colour.


Painting the layout, including the foliage and scenery in various shades of grey was perhaps the greatest challenge in creating Brief Encounter - but also the most enjoyable. I initially thought I might use 10 or so shades of grey – but by the end I’d used more than 30.

All of the ground cover, grass, foliage and trees are made from scratch – as I found out, modelling shops don’t stock it in shades of grey!


As it’s built for exhibitions, I made the layout ultra-light and is easily transported in the back of my car.






Upcoming Shows

Brief Encounter will be appearing at the following shows in 2024/25:
Reading, Ashford, Bluebell Railway, Shoeburyness, Woolwich, Weston Super-Mare, Longfield. For more details, please click here.

Exhibition Enquiries:

Download the Exhibition Pack here.

For booking enquiries and more information please email: 


Screenshot 2023-12-17 at 17.00.07.png
Screenshot 2023-12-17 at 17.00.19.png
Dawn Quest - Brief Encounter.png
bottom of page