I love planning. I love all the research and investigation required to make something. Best Beloved and I are currently engaged in a project to build a scale model of Wolverton railway station c.1960. We’ve been doing this on and off for the past couple of decades, but what’s given us a fresh impetus is a complete change of scale.
We’ve jumped from 7mm:1ft (O Gauge) to 2mm:1ft (N Gauge).Why? Now, there’s a good question. Most people seem to migrate up from smaller scales. We’re doing the exact opposite! One reason is we have the space to do the model justice at the smaller scale. Over the past two or three years, we’ve been trying to shoehorn a Wolverton-a-like at 7mm scale into a shed, but it would only ever be a pale shadow of the real thing – an impression at best. Sadly, health issues have meant Best Beloved hasn’t been able to continue with the model, which had already had a good deal of track laid, so we’ve been working out what sensible alternatives we might be able to do. We could have considered a 4mm (00) scale model, but we’ve both been quite taken by the level of detail and quality of running of the latest crop of N gauge British outline locos and rolling stock. While new stock is still quite expensive, it’s still a darned sight cheaper than 7mm! The 2mm Scale Association is a lively and helpful organisation, with plenty of parts and kits to help us complete our plans – and Best Beloved joined them a while ago. So, we’ve spent the past week or so having an inordinate amount of fun thumbing through our library, enlarging and scribbling on OS maps, and trying not to be too literal with our Modellers’ Licences. We’ve had some fantastic discussions about what we want to achieve, and what we can realistically leave out and still leave a recognisable model. We’ve come down to this scheme: to recreate a 2mm working layout of Wolverton Station, with the four main lines of the West Coast Main Line route running through, plus the platform and associated trackwork for the Newport Pagnell branch. The Grand Union Canal snakes its way through the scene. The carriage and wagon works paint shops, Old Lifting Shop, and Sewing and Trimming Shops, along with a selectively compressed version of the Wolverton Park sports ground, will form the backdrop. A little selective compression at each end of the layout will bring the Old Wolverton Road bridge (known as “The Oh! Tunnel”) and the Newport Pagnell branch junction into the ends of the scene, which hopefully will span about four metres in length. We’ve settled on our usual preferred period of 1959 to 1961, so we get a range of steam- and diesel-hauled trains, and it’s before the added complication of the 25kV overhead line equipment that was installed during the 1960s. We’re both getting very enthused. It’s helped pull Best Beloved out of depression about his health, which is a good thing. It’s given us an excuse to offload many of the kits and stuff we’ve acquired over the past few years in both 4 and 7mm – which works both as a clutter clearance and fund-raising exercise. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into the construction phase, too. I’m going to document progress, once we start in earnest, with a new blog. I’ll let you know when I set it up.