March 17, 2013

"West Riding Musings"

Recently I visited Halifax in Yorkshire, for various reasons. Aside from the subject of my business meeting, it was an opportunity to take a few photographs of Halifax's railway station, and its track work.  I did so in the snow of January, and it presents a very pretty picture in my view.

The station building is magnificent, and has been recently externally restored. This is a shame, as in some respects it rather stands out amongst the buildings of Halifax, which are stone and normally covered in thick layers of soot and grime from the industrial age. If I were to model a station alone these lines, I'd definitely go for the weathering jugular, so to speak.

The signal box is rather quaint, and is still in use I believe? Certainly I saw someone come out of the box, and another enter within a few minutes.

The station itself has been modernised, with one of the tracks partially removed (as far as I could see beneath the snow) and the older buildings supplemented by modern "enhancements", which did much for the warmth inside the buildings, but nothing for their looks in my view. The corrugated metal additions, in particular, destroying the beauty of the older railway architecture.

The whole station and the railway running through it is raised above ground level, on a series of viaducts and embankments. Towards the hills and the mill beyond, there are other outlying warehouses, and in the distance can be seen a tall industrial chimney, beside a part of the canal.

I noticed what must have been the original footbridge, had been closed off and then the planking removed. This is due to the original station building now being a children's day care centre, with the platform on this side also being out of bounds.

It is rather surprising how much of Halifax's older railway structures are still extant in many respects, given the level of additions made to the outlying buildings around.

The glass front you can see on the opposite platform is now part of the children's day care centre, with the canopy and most of the original station building thankfully left alone. It is a great shame that the glass panels had to be added all the way along, but I suspect it's for the best in many ways. At least they have been added rather more sympathetically than the corrugated sheeting elsewhere on the station.

I visited part of Halifax's canal system, spotting some lovely canal boats in the process.

I've always wanted to do a canal diorama of some form on a model railway layout, so it occurs to me that now may be the time to do it.

So here's a really basic, rather crudely drawn idea of what I have in mind for a West Riding layout. I have for some time thought about a "Thompson Mill" set in the West Riding, where the excellent model railway layout of years gone by, Tetley's Mills has appealed and been a great source of inspiration to me.

However, whilst looking on Google maps to get an idea of the area more, I found the remnants of an actual mill which was on a real Thompson Road in the Halifax area, so the new name is likely to stick.

I suspect the next stage is to find some railway planning software (Templot most likely) to ascertain its potential further. It has to fit onto two boards of 5ft by 1.7ft-2ft wide, and the curved sections have to be designed to fit an existing and rather useful fiddle yard (which is one of two I previously created for the now shelved Ganwick Curve layout).

Until next time.


Unknown said...

I am actually from Halifax and I suggest looking at the railway system at Hebden Bridge which is just down the road is like Halifax (railway, cannel and mills) but on a smaller scale

Copley Hill said...

Thanks, I will take a look at that. :)