Whether you are going "South for Sunshine" or simply planning a day off by the sea, Little Bazeley-By-The-Sea (better known simply as Little Bazeley) offers all the charm and relaxation the Sussex Coast is so well-known for.
  The terminus of a small branch line - originally built by the London Brighton & South Coast Railway - it can be reached either on a limited and dwindling number of direct trains from London Victoria or, more frequently, on connecting trains from the junction at Wilmington Green on the line to Eastbourne.

Originally a "seaside excursions" destination of the Southern Railway, Little Bazeley miraculously managed to escape the Beeching axe of the British Transport Commission's modernisation plan. Passenger services were cut back but not withdrawn completely, as the line had been electrified with the Southern Electric third rail system at a very early stage - which meant that (expensive) steam traction had long vanished from the line when this was the prime reason for closure of other branches. Furthermore, freight traffic on the line was only partially affected by road competition.



The branch line to Little Bazeley is, of course, completely fictional.

Maybe this is just as well, because if you were to board a train for Little Bazeley, you should be advised that this quaint and sleepy little place is also known as "the town of no return". Not because so many holiday-makers have decided to stay on and make Little Bazeley their home, but rather because some strange disappearances have taken place of late. That is the reason why you will find debonair John Steed and dashing Mrs. Emma Peel staying at the local pub - the "Inebriated Gremlin", although the locals call it the "Jolly Gremlin"...

Afficionados of the 1960's cult TV series "The Avengers" will no doubt recognise the name of Little Bazeley as the seaside town that John Steed and Emma Peel visited on their first assignment together, introducing Diana Rigg to the series at the start of the 1965 season in the episode "The Town of no Return". Steed and Emma travel to the place by train (steam hauled, actually), and as this is one of my favourite "Avengers" episodes, choosing the name of Little Bazeley is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek little cameo for those in the know. The only liberty I took is in moving the town from East Anglia to the Sussex coast. And one day, I just might add two appropriate figures to the layout...

These images from the opening minutes of The Avengers episode "The Town of no Return"
are (c) StudioCanal Images SA, who have released superb boxed sets of the entire series



Currently, neither the terminus at Little Bazeley nor any other part of the line exist in model form - so far, only the very last stretch of track of this entire branchline are modelled: a couple of sidings serving a storage warehouse which lies beyond the station limits of Little Bazeley.


Planned right from the beginning as an Inglenook Sidings shunting puzzle, the "background story" of the branchline provides a setting to the place together with the added possibility of running (or at least hinting at) a limited number of passenger trains once the layout evolves beyond this stage.

The layout has proven its worth - after ten years it is still running smoothly and operated frequently, with no plans of closure looming.




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Page created: 25/MAY/2004
Last revised: 21/SEP/2014