In 1840, the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway opened a single track branch from Aschurch to Tewkesbury. Running for just over two miles the branch initially terminated at a very compact station close to the centre of Tewkesbury, but in 1844 the line was extended westwards to a quay on the River Avon.
Use of the line for passenger services was reasonably short lived, as in 1864 the Tewkesbury and Malvern Railway opened it's line between those two towns (which connected with the Brimingham and Gloucester's line about half a mile east of the station at what became known as Tewkesbury Junction) and provided Tewkesbury with a new through station on the outskirts of the town - the Birmingham and Gloucester's station was then closed to passenger traffic and the whole line became goods only.
On leaving Tewkesbury Junction, the Quay Branch curved around the main goods yard and then passed across Chance Street, the first of three level crossings between the junction and the quay. Having run between Dowings Maltings and some allotments, the branch then entered into a small, cramped yard, bordered on one side by Station Street and on the other by the window-less backs of a number of terraced houses.
Immediately on entering into the yard, the line passed a small single road engine shed and there was also a dead-end siding which was used for coaling locos, though when the shed was built there was also a small coaling stage immediately adjoining it.
The branch then became double track before crossing over Oldbury Road and running into the fromer terminus station which only had a single platform but had an overall roof over both tracks, the second line acting as a run-round loop.
Immediately to the west of the station, the line crossed Tewkesbury High Street and then ran along Quay Street (with a loop serving Tewkesbury Brewery) before crossing the Avon, passing through the Borough Mills compex and then terminating at the quay side.
I lived in Tewkesbury for a few years in the 1990s and became fascinated with the Quay Branch and have often thought about modelling it - various plans have been produced and ideas bounced around - but never got anywhere with it. Then the DJLC was announced and it immediately occured to me that various bits of the branch would lend themselves to the permitted dimensions without too many changes having to be made.
The thought also occurred to me that it would be possible to do two or three separate layouts but build them in modular fashion so that they could ultimately be joined together to form one larger layout. But where to start?
Out with the old plans and the maps ... a bit of head scratching regarding dimensions and compressions ... and a decision was made - the engine shed area would fit lengthwise with only minimal compression and there wouldn't be any compession required width wise with the whole yard area and Station Street fitting in the area allowed and possibly even room for part of the cattle yard on the other side of the road.
So, boards were made - kept very simple for the moment and constructed out of PVC foamboard (rigid but light) and a plan produced ... and a start has been made on the terraced houses which will form the back drop to the layout.
The very basic baseboard (I intend using cassettes for fiddle yards).
Baseboard with plan, backboard and terraced houses losely placed.
And a couple of close-ups of the smaller of the two terraces - just about ready for painting.