Every model railway needs a back story, whether it is a real location or a fictitious one. My micro layout has simply been known as the 300 inch challenge up to now. It really needs a name by which it can become known and a location with some historical story it can become part of.

I’ve come up with the name Stephenson Road, no coincidence linking a very North East England layout with the great engineer of the early railway age.

Stephenson Road in the Heaton area of Newcastle was a real street that disappeared in 1960s. It had a parade of shops and a masonic temple, all of which were upgraded to a pile of rubble when the Coast Road from Newcastle to North Shields was turned into a dual carriageway. The location sits between two ancient collieries; Heaton Main Pit, and Heaton High Pit, both of which closed in the early 1800’s and were never served by a railway. The colliery sites are unrecognisable today, one is in the middle of a housing estate, the other is a cricket field. There is of course an interesting “what if” around these collieries if they had stayed open longer and were served by an early wagonway that was upgraded to a reasonable standard as the railway infrastructure was developed in the 19th century.

So, the model Stephenson Road sits on a fictitious line between these two old pits, both long since closed, but the line still serves some industrial sidings and a commuter line into Newcastle. This might give the excuse to put a tyneside electric on the top level at some point in the future.