Scattergun Wolverton Station

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Heather Kay, 12 May 2013.

  1. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Some time ago, we went through some personal upheavals. Circumstances and health changed, meaning we - Best Beloved and I - were not able to complete a long term 7mm scale project. We decided to sell a lot of the stock and kits and bits to fund other interests.

    One of those interests was to build a scale model of Wolverton Station, on the West Coast Main Line, north of where Milton Keynes is now. The period would be the late 1950s, so before the OHL went in, but would give running opportunities for steam and diesel traction.

    The scale was to be 2mm to the foot. That's correct. We'd drop 7mm O Gauge and go directly to 2mm Finescale, without passing Go and collecting £200.

    Amazingly, we worked out we could get almost the entire layout in our large shed. We got quite a way on with planning, but sadly time and circumstances rather squashed things. I blogged about the project, and made some useful discoveries and found out a lot of useful information about the subject.


    The viewing side in this plan is the right hand side. Mentally rotate the image ninety degrees clockwise, and you’ll get a better idea.

    This is based on the 1930s OS map of which we have a copy. I have traced and redrawn, including selective compression at each end. The purple lines represent the modelled area. The Wolverton works buildings such as the Old Lifting Shop and the Paint Shops would be represented on the backscene. I still hadn't quite worked out how the Park would survive compression — until we started mocking things up on the baseboard, it was going to be a bit speculative at best.

    The off-scene areas would have track that will loop back, allowing continuous running on the main line in both directions. A train would pass left to right, then turn the loop (it wasn't decided whether this would be inside the shed or outside) to pass right to left. Potentially, we could have had four trains in each direction. The Newport Pagnell branch would give pretty much the only operational running.
    I would like to say the project is dormant but not dead, but realistically it may never see the light of day. It does, still, occupy my idle moments, so you never know. One day, Wolverton may be recreated in 2mm scale in my garden shed.
    mickoo likes this.
  2. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    I like Wolverton, spent many happy weeks there during the early 80's at the PO training center and then into town in the evening to get....well drunk LOL. I used to travel up Sunday morning, drop my kit in the centre and then go roaming up and down the WCML around Wolverton, or after class if the weather was good grab a couple of hours in the evening before going out with the lads, happy memories.

    Theres some 35mm scans on my Flickr, mostly a little north at Castlethorpe, and some south at Milton Keynes before the station was built I believe, but one or two at Wolverton, wish I'd taken more now TBH.

    My 'pie in the sky' for want of a better term has always been Camden in the early 60's, top of the bank to Primrose hill tunnel entrance including the complex dive unders and cross overs of the lines therein. Slightly less ambitious would be Norton Bridge or just a section of the WCML four track with sweeping super elevated curves and high speed running in Cheshire or Staffordshire, no stations just countryside miles from anywhere.

    Good luck with the project.
  3. Mike W

    Mike W Western Thunderer


    I know you would receive local support for this and you probaby already know the Wolverton Society for Arts and Heritage, one of whom had similar ideas at one time.

    Drawings of the station buildings exist, though I don't have them myself. It would be nice to have an excuse to run the very largest locos and express trains in an entirely authentic manner and not have to think up some excuse for them. And with the Works nearby you could include just about any LMS carriages you wanted: local sets, North London Railway 4-wheelers and LMS replacements, ancient stock going for scrap, 2pm Corridor, the Royal Train ...!


  4. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Hi Mike!

    We actually were allowed to trawl through the drawings lists at the MK Museum at Stacey Hill. We left a long list of stuff we would like copies of with the museum's director. We didn't follow up, so I wonder whether he ever got around to digging the drawings out. :oops: Equally, someone got in contact via the original blog with news his father was one of the district survey team that measured up that stretch of line for the OLE installation. He'd kept the drawings made of the original Stratford Road overbridge, station building and platform structures. Again, we've not followed up, but that would have been a goldmine of information!

    The project stalled for lack of cash, and a decision late in the day that Best Beloved didn't want to tear up the 7mm PW he'd laid in the shed for the original S7 layout. Rather than argue, I let sleeping dogs lie. I'm sure we will get around to clearing the shed properly, because it's become rather a dumping ground instead of a usable modelling space. Perhaps then it might be worth revisiting the 2mm scheme.

    In many ways, this kind of layout would be ideal for public display in the transport hall at Stacey Hill. There must be many MK residents who are not aware of what Wolverton station used to look like. It could be automated so a pushed button set some expresses running through, with the odd local stopper and maybe the Newport Nobby shuttling in and out.
  5. An even better location is the complicated point work south of West Bridge, at Northampton Castle station: no need to model the rest of the station, just use the bridge as a scenic break, with fiddle yard roads on the other side. As well as the junction itself, there is the original 1859 line to Market Harborough, fed from the Blisworh-Peterborough line, which was us by diverted mainline trains, and the Roade-Rugby "Northampton Loop" (still in use, of course) for local and goods traffic. There are also the bay platforms, for services to Blisworth and Peterborough, as well as MR services to Bedford and Kettering after the closure of St. Johns in 1937. Top this with transfer freights between the yards, on top of the local passenger, semi-fast and occasional XP (usually going via Blisworth in the latter case, to get back on the WCML more quickly) as well as majority of LNWR west coast freight (and the coal trains originating via the LNWR/GNR joint lines, and you certainly wouldn't be stuck for a variety of trains!

    Deepening on era, you can run an awful lot of different locos, from Carlisle (contractor's loco during the building of the loop, later famous on the Bishop's Castle) through D16s, B12s and Brush type 2s on the Peterborough trains in the early 60s, to Westerns in the 70s, running under the knitting. Apart from the Lickey banker and the ex MR 0-4-0s, you can run virtually any LNWR, MR or LMS loco, and on Towcester race days, you could even see GNR and GWR locos on Northampton shed! (Specials worked to Blisworth, thence over the SMJR to Towcester via SMJR or LNWR lightweight 0-6-0s.)

    Coal trains wheading south were reknowned for getting a good run on the up through line, to charge the bank up to Hunsbury Hill, 40 mph being the maximum allowed, with the brakes in the van screwed down to keep the couplings in tension, and sparks flying out from the wheels.
  6. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    Northampton Castle is another pipe dream. We've got several photo books of the railways around north Bucks and into Northants, and they are dripping with modelling potential.
  7. Mike W

    Mike W Western Thunderer

    Talking of WCML layout plans for modelling, the late Jim Richards had agreed with David Jenkinson that when they took ownership of his 7mm models they would build a 33mm gauge layout based on Clifton Road Junction. This is a flying junction with double tracks in all directions and his idea was that for casual public viewing in the museum there would always be something moving, and the figure of eight format would even out wear. All his engines were designed with that in mind, but in the end the NRM toned down the plans to a more simple layout, and then still further into the glass case where they now reside as static models, under lights which are rather too hot for the good of the models.

  8. Mike W

    Mike W Western Thunderer

    Heather - you are dead right about being suitable for the museum. Of course, what you propose is the third Wolverton station and even rudimantary models of the first two would show an interesting progression. The curator Bill Griffiths is keen on that sort of thing, but far too stretched to do everything he'd like.