The Name Game

Looking for a realistic British name for your model railway. Here’s 200 to get you started.

“A model railway isn’t a model railway until it has a name”.

I can’t remember who told me that but it’s a rule I’ve always stuck with.

Giving your layout makes it feel more real. It transforms it from being a collection of models to a glorious micro rendition of rural Britain.

But what to call it?

For my 1:76th scale layout, for example, this was just a case of using a mash-up of the real places where it’s set: in near Wimbledon, in South London, around the River Wandle… Hence Wandle Valley

But it’s not always so easy to come up a name.

You don’t really want to use a real place name (unless you are recreating that precise loco action in miniature) for fear of some asking why it doesn’t look like the real location.

At the same time coming up with genuine sounding but artificial place names can be surprisingly difficult. Somehow the made up names never have that unique quaintness of real British places. Just look at some of these real place names…

Briggsworth, Huton Mulgrave, Sleights…  Just perfect. (That these real locations right next to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway NYMR is just icing on the cake).

Luckily A.I. has come to the rescue.

American Dan Hon has fed a list of real British place names into an Artifical Intelligence system to come up with a list of wonderful sounding British but completely false place names.

The names all have that unusual quaintness only British places seem to have. My favourites include:

  • Brutters Common
  • Twettle Row
  • Wallow Manor
  • StittleworthNockpop.
  • Nockpop.

Delightful all.

And perfect for layouts.

I wonder how many of these will pop up at shows in the future?

If you name your layout with one of these please let me know, I’d love to hear about it!

Picture credit: anguskirk via Flickr. Reproduced under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.
  1. Hi all, I was wondering if anyone has the same problem I do with hornby insulfrog points,I seem to keep getting derailments and not sure what to do.
    Can anyone help 

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