Little Bazeley is, first and foremost, a shunting puzzle layout. Had it ever existed in real life it is most unlikely that such a location would have seen such an amount of freight movement by rail even in the mid-1960s.

Little Bazeley not only owes its name to the 1960s Avengers television series, in some ways it works along the same lines of thought too - some basic assumptions may be outrageously far fetched, yet they serve the purpose of providing highly enjoyable entertainment very well.


Freight traffic on Little Bazeley therefore is simply an extrapolation of various aspects and characteristics of 1960s freight traffic on British Railways. It is bound to be faulty or even outright wrong in terms of true and factual functionality, but then it just serves the purpose of providing the shunting puzzle setup with a variety of freight stock.






The year is 1966 - England's football team has just won the world cup, and our trainspotter who has ventured out to Little Bazeley uses Ilford FP4 black and white film to capture the scenes he finds on his travels.


The choice of period (a very loose 1964-1969, being the very last years of the British steam/diesel transition era) just about allows for comparatively short standard wheelbase stock of 10'-0" (3m) - scaled down to 4mm scale / 00 gauge this translates into goods wagons about 3,2" (8cm) long, i.e. short enough to allow for the capacities needed for an Inglenook Sidings setup within the given space of 4' x 1' (120cm x 30cm).



The red brick warehouse sitting at the sidings beyond the station of Little Bazeley is left deliberately generic so as to allow for a variety of freight stock to be used. Not being too specific about who exactly receives and ships what here - further disguised by a very general sign reading "SUSSEX STORAGE" - can justify almost anything turning up here (again, assuming that business by rail is a lot more flourishing than it actually was by the time period the layout is set in).

Goods and a wide range of commodities are transported to and from the warehouse in one type or another of the covered goods van, of which a wide variety may show up at Little Bazeley, or 1960s style container traffic on 3-plank or conflat wagons.

Little Bazeley also has storage facilities for liquid fuels and chemicals (some of which are also required to simply run the warehouse facilities) which are mostly transported in 14t tank cars (again for reasons of length with regard to the Inglenook requirements). A fair number of these (which did in fact survive into the 1960s) show up, accounting for around half of the total freight traffic.



The motive power used to perform the shunting duties required at Little Bazeley holds no surprises: an 0-6-0 diesel electric shunter (better known as Class 08) and an 0-6-0 diesel-mechanical shunter (Class 04) take turns in appearing at the warehouse sidings.


The 0-6-0 diesel electric shunter is a 2013 model from Bachmann, expertly weathered by The Model Center. Its black livery, number without a D-prefix, and early BR emblem actually date this engine pre-1957, and to assume that this particular engine escaped renumbering and a visit to the paint shop for around ten years is stretching credibilty very far. On the other hand no other livery ever suited this class better than black, and the worn appearance of this particular model so hints at years of hard work exposed to salty seaside air that it is simply assumed that 13050 (which in real life started out in Crewe in 1954 and was withdrawn in 1980 allocated to Burton) ventured South and simply remained in the vicinity of Little Bazeley and thus far from any paint shop.

The 0-6-0 diesel-mechanical shunter D2228 (Class 04), on the other hand, did actually spend its working life on the South Coast. Also a Bachmann engine (released in 2004 as a factory weathered model) it carries the correct mid-1960's period paint scheme of BR green with wasp stripes. Used on the prototype in areas where smaller sized shunting locos were needed, this is actually a fairly prototypically correct engine to appear at a location such as Little Bazeley. Again it is assumed that this locomotive has its base not too far away from Little Bazeley which is why it is a regular for the shunting duties at the sidings serving the Sussex Storage warehouse.

Because there is no track arrangement at Little Bazeley Sidings to enable the shunter to run around its train, a rake of incoming freight stock needs to be pushed to the warehouse from Little Bazeley station.

According to specific regulations issued for the location of Little Bazeley, this arrangement requires a brake van to be at the end of the consist so that a guard can act as pilot and oversee the trip to the sidings (this also means that the brake can is a constant in the selection of the cars for the 5 car Inglenook formula).

Just like 0-6-0 diesel electric shunter 13050, the model used primarily for this was somehow lost in time, because the 25t "pill box" brake van - introduced on the Southern Railway in 1925 - still carries its SR markings and paint job. Very unlikely if not completely impossible, it is again a case of a Bachmann model exquisitely weathered by TMC simply being too appealing not to be run - and an example of just how much liberty a shunting puzzle layout can afford if the operator is so inclined.





Little Bazeley Sidings can also be made to represent 1980s freight operations, although in an admittedly limited way, as the length of the sidings obviously can't be changed. This works because the motive power remains the same - the trusted Class 08 shunter - and simply appears in a livery appropriate for the 1980s, i.e. BR blue.  

VEA at East Usk Yard in 1990
(c) and courtesy Tony Dunkley Collection

The versatile Hornby VEA

  As for the rolling stock, this is mainly represented by the ventilated VEA van, which features the same short wheelbase as 1960s freight stock but still saw use in the 1980s in colourful Railfreight livery - some VEAs even made it into the sectorisation era (and livery) of the late 1980s to early 1990s.

The Hornby model is of a certain age and dimensionally inaccurate but fits the bill for any shunting puzzle purpose outside of finescale modelling (and anyone looking for a more accurate VEA might try the Parkside Dundas VEA BR Vanwide kit).



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Page created: 07/JUN/2004
Last revised: 15/NOV/2015