|Given the simple track layout and
the basic operating principle of simply picking up and
dropping off wagons, the thought that this layout may not
be very prototypical, i.e. far removed from what really
happens on the railways of this world, could well come
up. However, the really nice thing about Inglenook
Sidings is that, in fact, it is perfectly
prototypical and highly flexible at the same time.
Any layout based on Inglenook Sidings will be prototypical in as much as any railway needs sidings somewhere which serve the sole purpose of providing the space to temporarily store rolling stock out of the way of the rest of the railway (which can also account for a very motley accumulation of different rolling stock which normally would not be found together on the same piece of track). From time to time, some of the rolling stock will be picked up again and moved on while other wagons are dropped off again. In fact, even the chance element of which wagons are to be picked up is quite possible in real life (where, of course, the logic and logistics of making up a train will dictate which wagon is to be picked up), although this will only seldom happen in a strict order of which wagon is to come first, second etc.
|But all in all, this
last point doesn't weigh too heavy in terms of modellers'
licence. The fact that these sidings are rather short is
simply a reminder of the amount of compression almost
every model railway layout represents.
Railway modelling, after all, is the art of compromise.
The essence of the track layout of Inglenook Sidings can be found in many prototype locations, sometimes as a set of sidings used to temporarily store rolling stock, sometimes as a set of sidings serving one or more customers.
|A perfect prototype example for this classic English shunting puzzle could be found on the Epsom Downs branch in Surrey in the form of the goods yard at Belmont.|
|This 1930s view shows
some open goods wagons being shunted by what appears to
be a Southern Railway E4 0-6-2 tank engine - a scene
which could (almost) be replicated with ease using
Hornby's ready-to-run SR E2 0-6-0 tank engine (the black
liveried model would be more appropriate than the olive
example pictured here).
|Belmont Goods Yard closed in 1969,
with goods trains seemingly operated by steam right up to
the end of freight services on the branch, but with just
a little bit of modeller's licence it could be argued
that the yard survived into the modern era as storage and
stabling sidings for civil engineering purposes.
* * * * *
Anyone intending to build and operate a model railway layout along the lines of the Inglenook Sidings mould has a wide choice of location and is by no means restricted to running British motive power and rolling stock. The following examples from different countries are intended as an illustration of the flexibility and prototypical diversity offered by a shunting puzzle layout based on the Inglenook Sidings trackplan, combined with examples of motive power and rolling stock which could be used.