For a while now I've been considering my next steps in railway modelling since Foundry Lane has now fulfilled its role as test track/shunting plank. Perhaps I could extend and improve it, but there are a few fairly big things which I would've liked to have done differently (the baseboards and the method of turnout operation to name just two) which would mean a fairly substantial rebuild. As the layout has exhibition enquiries for the next 18 months I'm a bit reluctant to start ripping up track too!
So, what next? Well, for a while I've wanted to build a model based on a real location, but finding a real location with everything I wanted in the space I have available would require a move to 2mm scale (or smaller ). With this in mind I've decided that the next project will focus on one particular aspect I've tried to include in my plans - parcels trains.
In April 1970 Wolverhampton Low Level station was converted to a parcels depot; although a peak hour DMU shuttle to Birmingham Snow Hill continued to operate until March 1972. All stations (including Low Level and Snow Hill, both of which were now a terminus - a real life end-to-end) had become unstaffed halts with a reputation for being grim and uninviting.
My plan is to model Low Level during these dark years; the area to be modelled will focus on the southern end of the station, between the bridge at Sun Street and the station footbridge approximately half way along the platforms. As with my previous layout, this will be 4mm scale, EM gauge.
At the moment I'm gathering information (fortunately there are plenty of photos on the web and the remains of the station is only a short distance from home) and planning the layout. I'm trying to keep the plan as close to the prototype as possible and I still have some work to do around the positions and sizes of some of the buildings but latest sketch looks something like this:
For comparison the aerial view here: http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stations/w/wolverhampton_low_level/index35.shtml shows Sun Street bottom right with the footbridge in the centre of the photo.
The 1972 photo on this page: http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stations/w/wolverhampton_low_level/index.shtml shows the scene I want to recreate; hopefully this will be the view from the fiddle yard looking along the platform from beneath Sun Street bridge.