Hedges Hill Cutting is just that, a cutting located in the suburbs of south London at some time in the early 1990s.
Hedges Hills Cutting is a popular and well known layout and so when its originator Grahame Hedges decided to sell the layout in 2008 Bentley MRG leapt at the opportunity to add this little gem to their collection.
The layout is extremely compact, the original narrow width of the layout was the maximum that would fit through the loft hatch where the layout was stored. Also being the first exhibition layout that Grahame built it was a test bed for his various modelling ideas and he opted to avoid the hassle of joining baseboards. Thus the whole layout was designed to fit on a single board that could be handled by one person plus had a strong chance of reaching completion before interest waned and desire to start something new took over.
All the buildings and structures on the layout, with the exception of one SR platelayers hut (in the single line refuelling yard), are scratch built from cardboard. Some commercial modelling products have been used, such as the Ratio water tank and factory chimney, Plastruct girders, PECO wagon tanks, and occasionally plastic embossed roofing sheets, but the vast majority are made from card either covered with brick paper or simply painted with acrylics.
Many of the buildings on the layout are of actual prototypes, either modified to suit the location on the layout, or built as they really stand. For such a small layout there are quite a few buildings and all of them are modelled, along with the railway, in space a maximum of 15 inches wide and less than six feet long.
There are three pubs (the Ship and Royal Standard from Croydon and the Beehive from Peckham), a wealth of shops (Halfords, British Gas showroom, Hedges Healthfoods, Ace Cabs, Newsagents, and Ladbrokes) plus one closing down and one up for let (which is typical for the era), a bank (Lloyds), a building society (Lambeth), an Indian restaurant (Natraj), over twenty domestic houses, various industrial buildings, a London Transport underground station (based on New Cross Gate station without its pitched roof), a gas holder site and a brewery (very loosely based on Robinsons Unicorn brewery in Stockport). Please note that the LT station is assumed to be the ground level entrance with the tube lines and platforms deep underground and out of sight below Hedges Hill.
The North end tunnel entrance is based on Denmark Hill tunnel (with three lines instead of four) and the middle road bridge is loosely modelled on Goat House bridge at West Norwood complete with its outside sewerage pipe.
The location was chosen as Grahame lived in various locations in South London for quite a few years and his railway experience and interest is in the electric third rail, which is not very often modelled in N gauge. Selecting the Network South East area of London meant an urban setting with buildings and industrial developments as opposed to the more usually modelled and unjustifiably popular green rural scene with fields and farms. Urban settings often offered what Grahame considered more interesting architecture and civil engineering.