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Dear Community, As some of you might know, I abandoned my first layout attempt, an urban western region terminus (Bristol - Bath Road or BBR) over a year ago as a result of an impending house renovation. Once our house renovations were complete - including a dedicated railway room - it was time to start again. As BBR was my first attempt at a serious project I learnt there were a few things that with hindsight i would do differently. Two things I especially wanted to do different second time round was experiment with C&L track work and making my own points (I wasn’t happy with the appearance of Peco points), and get the baseboards professionally made (my homemade attempt with BBR was a disaster). With that all in mind below are a couple of snaps of my new project, WOLVERHAMPTON WEST PARK. Wolverhampton West Park is a fictional city terminus set in the 1960s. Built by the Great Western Railway as the original terminus in Wolverhampton, West Park quickly became a secondary station after Low Level opened in 1854. By the 1960s, West Park primarily served local services to keep pressure away from Low Level (LL). A junction east of LL at Priestfield passing under the LNWR line to High Level near Walsall St Goods runs into the terminus near Molineux football stadium east of West Park. There was one intermediate station at Queen Square. Running out from West Park there is also a connection with the GWR line to Shrewsbury at Dunstall Park (not via Queen Square). There is a further connection north to Stafford on the old LNWR line, which back in the day also had running rights into West Park. There was no link into Low Level without reversing trains at Priestfield, a major factor in the decision to close the station. The convoluted history enables Midland Region rolling stock to pop up at West Park from time to time. The main services are local semi fast and stopping services to nearby towns / cities including Shrewsbury, Birmingham Snow Hill, Stafford, Swansea Victoria, Kidderminster, Hereford, Leamington and Worcester. There are also through coaches to Penzance and Paddington every now and again. Unfortunately by 1960 West Park is very run down. Unloved and earmarked by Dr Beeching for closure the station is seen better days. Steam is still the mainstay of motive power, but on the way out and some local services are beginning to switch to DMUs. Although the station doesn’t have any goods facilities, other than an extensive parcel service, there are a couple of warehouse sidings that see a light daily freight service. On occasion, engineering trains reverse here near their storage sidings just north of of the station (off scene). On my previous layout attempt i was intent on modelling all station throat track work, but for West Park I’ve ignored this. From the fiddle yard we pass straight into platforms 2 & 3. Less is more in this case, something inspired from one of my favourite layouts, Earls Court. A few photos of progress so far..Platforms are almost down and i’ve started mocking up the grand station buildings.
I introduced this project some time ago in blog format (here), but as I make a bit more progress, I think it's time to switch to a layout topic. A history of the station along with several photos can be found on the Disused Stations site, so I won't repeat it here, other than to say that in 1970 the station began to be used as a parcels depot, with a DMU shuttle between there and Birmingham Snow Hill running at peak times. The station closed to passengers in 1972 and my model is set the last year of the passenger service. Planning for the layout started way back in 2009, but it's only in the past 12 months that I've really started to make any real progress. Until recently I had intended to build the layout in EM gauge, but I've now decided to give P4 a try. An early sketch of the area I'm modelling is shown below: Fortunately I have been given a copy of a 1:500 plan for the station, which I scanned and imported into Templot, the result is as follows (seen here in the dining room table - components for the baseboards are awaiting assembly): Main focus at the moment is on construction of the station buildings, although I've recently been distracted by the first turnout for the layout and a few experiments with rolling stock suspension. This is my third attempt at the small building on the right; I hope it's just the angle of the photo because I'm still not convinced I've the slope of the roof right?
After some local sight seeing, i have been amassing information and items. Over the last few weeks i have managed to get out and visit particular features i am planning to build, and my Photo albums can be seen here: Wolverhampton LL http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/album/2334-wolverhampton-low-level-visit-110812/ Tettenhall Station + surrounding buildings http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/album/2374-tettenhall-station-01092012/ Wombourn Bratch http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/album/2375-wombourn-bratch-station/ aside from buying a number of books from Waterstones etc, and some historical maps, I have also ordered some copies of Archive track layouts for the above three locations when i was at York NRM a few weeks back. they cost £5 per record and £5 for the CD format. i should expect these in the next few weeks, hopefully. there are four records that ive ordered, and i think they should be a big help to building the layout of each station. I wonder if it is possible to still obtain a book/database with all the old GWR standard building type details anywhere nowadays, surely such a book would have existed [some 100 years ago] back in the day. Wombourn Bratch is now a cafe which has a load of old pictures hung on the wall from 1915 when the station was being built, i may get hold of the Wolverhampton Archives and see if i can get hold of any similar for all of these. There is a fourth album too, but i havent uploaded the pics yet. the metal lattice bridge at Tettenhall. this will be an interesting build! although how to do it i'm not sure. it is possible to buy plastic model representations of steel sections, so i might go and have a look at those and see if the scale will be right for building this up. Lots of rivets though how do i do rivets!? I havent been active on here long, but a thanks already goes out to Mark Forrest for his help early on!
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. Cheers