This is a description of a trip around our large 'OO' layout 'Cherwell Junction', written from the perspective of a train passenger.
Starting from the bridge over the railway which carries both Cherwell Junction and Cherwell Lower station buildings, we first examine the structures. Cherwell Junction station building was built by the Great Western Railway in red brick with a slate roof in the Edwardian era. It has two large passenger entrances and three footbridges leading down to the six platform faces. One platform is sheltered under the bridge carrying Cherwell High Street and a tramway. Various Edwardian and older buildings line the High Street, mainly shops, but also including the Mason's Arms pub and a late fifteenth century half-timbered house. The remaining two platforms each have two waiting rooms and a canopy over much of their length.
Cherwell Lower station building is Victorian and was built by the Midland Railway. It is roughly square in plan and is again built from red brick with a slate roof, but is smaller than the Cherwell Junction building, although the stonework is more ornate. We descend the footbridge to the single platform. There is a run-round loop and a few goods sidings. A brick-built bridge brings the road down from the town to the goods yard. There is a small, standard Midland Railway brick and wood signalbox with a slate roof, a loading dock, coal staithes and a grounded railway van body in use as a hut. Cherwell Junction North signalbox is visible across the Cherwell Junction tracks, clinging to the wall above the railway. It is a standard GWR Victorian timber design, held on four heavy beams and has a gable-ended roof with tall finials each end and pierced ridge tiles.
On leaving Cherwell Lower we pass under the road bridge and alongside the platforms of Cherwell Junction. As we start to head towards a tunnel with two double portals for the Cherwell Junction lines and a single portal for the Cherwell Lower line, we pass Cherwell Junction South signalbox in the middle of the mainline tracks. This built to a GWR standard design in brick and timber with a hipped slate roof. On the other side of the tracks there is a timber yard with stacks of timber and crates awaiting collection or delivery. On the left of our track is Cherwell Junction Engine Shed, which manages to cram a standard GWR two-road engine shed, a standard coaling stage and a large turntable into a very tight site. There are a few sidings, a grounded coach body and a sand drying shed. The engine shed is in a deep cutting with a very tall stone retaining wall. Past the engine shed the single line curves to the right and starts to climb and we enter a short tunnel.
On leaving the tunnel we pass a red sandstone cove, alive with seabirds and bathers. The railway runs along a stone wall past the choppy sea and into a second short tunnel. The tracks then climb for some distance, passing a fan of sidings on the mainline with some men working below. Just before the line curves to the right again, we pass the run-round loop and sidings of a tramway depot on the right. On the left, at a lower level, is an ornate brewery building.
There are rows of terraced houses with small back yards to the right of the railway as we pass through a lattice girder bridge over the mainline, where the line levels and soon enter another tunnel as the train slows for the first station.
On leaving the tunnel we arrive at the halt. This is a simple passing-loop station with one wooden platform supported on stilts from the road below. There is a small Midland Railway red brick-walled and slate-roofed cruciform waiting shelter on a brick plinth, a wooden ground frame building and a wooden platelayers' hut. We soon depart and cross a small steel bridge over a tramway and go into a cutting as the line again curves to the right and enters another short tunnel.
As it emerges from the tunnel, the line passes above some sidings on a very high retaining wall with occupied arches underneath and crosses another steel lattice bridge into journey's end at Cherwell Town station. First we pass the goods yard on the left with huts, a loading dock, a cattle dock and a weighbridge with hut. Next, the small standard MR slate-roofed brick and timber signalbox is passed on the left and the train arrives at the main platform. There is also a short bay platform for push-pull passenger services. The MR platform building is wooden with a flat roof and there is a water tower and separate coaling stage. The main entrance building is the same design as Cherwell Lower station building.