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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010
Historic railway development wins awards
Wolverton Railway Sheds
The historic railway sheds have been carefully transformed into luxury homes

The £65m redevelopment of Wolverton's historic railway sheds and the surrounding area has won two awards.

Wolverton was the world's first railway town and sprang up in the 1840s to service steam locomotives making their way north from London.

At that time, engines could only travel around 50 miles before needing water, fuel and servicing. Conveniently the old village of Wolverton was just over 50 miles from London and the mid-point on the London and Birmingham Railway.

Wolverton Railway Sheds
New homes have been built inside the Royal Train Shed

During both world wars the works contributed significantly to the war effort, raising funds and producing items for both the Army and Air Force.

In the Great War the works produced a number of special ambulance trains that were used to assist the transport of wounded soldiers.

Over the years, the works diminished in size and fell into a state of disrepair.

The recent £65m redevelopment of the site has seen three grade two listed buildings - the former Royal Train Shed, the Triangular Building where locomotives and carriages were built, and a Reading Room used by Queen Victoria during stopovers, being carefully transformed by developers Places for People into a new mixed-use community, but one which still retains the town's link to its industrial heritage.

The site is now home to some elegant townhouses, built inside the shell of the train shed. Some of the historical features of this building have been incorporated into the new houses, including cast iron triple-height windows and the ribbon glazing in the roof.

The regeneration of the grade two listed Royal Train Shed has now won the Modern Railway Restoration title at the National Railway Heritage Awards.

The project had already been voted the country's best mixed use development in the What House? awards.

Bill Griffiths, director of Milton Keynes Museum, told the BBC: "It's great that these old buildings have been saved. Wolverton was the first railway town in the whole world, and it's sometimes difficult to get over to people just exactly what that means.

"We have lost so much of our railway heritage, so to have some of it preserved is fantastic.

Wolverton Railway Sheds
Some of the historical features of this building have been incorporated into the new townhouses

"It's been a case of finding the right compromise. We are not able to keep all old buildings just as they originally were.

"We want things to progress and be successful and that means businesses thriving and people feeling comfortable in their housing but, at the same time, retaining something of what was here before," he added.


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