A number of factors have led to me considering the possibility of producing a simple and small shunting puzzle layout to keep me entertained, be able to operate at home and possibly exhibit without the need for such a large operating crew and logistics.
Firstly, I do not have the space to have Fisherton Sarum completely set up at home, one of the disadvantages of owning a small 600 year old brick and flint cottage in the Chiltern Hills, or indeed the space to build any of the other two layouts, Hawkhurst in Kent and Lydford Junction in Devon, that I have been pondering over, researching and planing for many years (indeed in the case of Hawkhurst I have already built much of the rolling stock and some of the buildings, more on this in future posts on this blog perhaps).
Secondly, the arrival of the excellent Model Rail Magazine commissioned USA Tanks, and already having a kit built Adams B4, got me thinking about knocking up a quick dock / quayside type scene, but obviously not based directly on a specific Southampton Dock location, I did mention earlier my issue with space… Hence the name of Canute Road Quay to maintain a Southampton’ish identity.
I have often enjoyed operating (‘playing with’) shunting puzzle layouts that have been created by fellow High Wycombe and District MRS member Ron North usually based on the classic ‘Inglenook’ design these type of layouts can be fun to operate as well as not taking up much space. For Canute Road Quay I have decided that I have approximately 4ft x 1ft of space in which I can fit an adaptation of the slightly larger than the ‘Inglenook’ puzzle the ‘Timesaver’. This includes the addition of a small run around loop.
I am also allowing for the top left line to exit through to a hidden single cassette (utilising the same foot long locomotive cassettes that I use on Fisherton Sarum) to allow for more operation and stock changing. The very front edge of the layout will be modelled as a dockside wall and the siding at the top right will be a small loco shed albeit single road and in semi low relief, being a sub shed of, and a similar look to the one actually at Southampton Docks.
The other two shorter sidings / headshunts will be just about able to hold 3 off box vans and a small shunting loco such the USA Tank or Adams B4. I will on the whole be remaining in my usual 1946 to 1949 Southern Railway time period; but will allow for the occasional change in era/area (perhaps the odd industrial loco)!
I will use a Tim Horn laser cut baseframe to result in a professional looking letter box type presentation with a built in front lighting pelmet.
Buildings, for simplicity and quickness will be a mixture of modified Ready-to-Plonk resin low relief type warehouses as the backdrop at the left hand rear, some laser cut versions for the buildings acting as scenic breaks towards the front a at least one scratchbuilt such as the engine shed. Trackwork will be a mixture of open sleepered and inset track as seen around such docks / quays to give some variety to the surfaces.
As procurement of track, baseframe and some of the buildings has already commenced watch this space for more updates…