|The classic British "shunting puzzle", Inglenook Sidings, is the brainchild of Alan Wright, who kindly enough provided me with first-hand information on the origins and principal features of his layout.|
|In his Model
Railway Manual (first published in 1994, last
reprinted in 2000) Cyril J. Freezer links Inglenook
Sidings with A.R.
Walkley's 1926 suitcase layout - an origin which
is "attributed" and, in fact, wrong. Although
the track layouts share certain similarities, Alan Wright
himself has pointed out to me that he had never heard of
Walkley or his work when he built his first small
railway, the Wright Lines, in the early 1950s.
It was on this small layout (consisiting of a
"dented" oval and two sidings) that the
principle of a five wagon train on the main line and
three in the sidings was developed. The layout was
developed over a couple of years, was described and
illustrated in the Railway Modeller in 1958, and
made a couple of appearances at exhibitions in the North
The actual way Inglenook Sidings came into being is quite amusing and, in Alan Wright's own words, took place as follows:
Alan Wright won an award with the model that year and later went on to build several layout variations on the Inglenook Sidings scheme.
|The inspiration for
the basic scheme came from an actual location, Kilham
Sidings, on the Alnwick-Cornhill branch (Coldstream
branch) of the North Eastern Railway NER. In its original
form, the 5/3/3 formula was therefore worked on the main
line and two sidings (as on the Wright Lines
layout). On the minimum space Inglenook Sidings layout
this then turned into a stub line ending in three
An illustrated article on the second Inglenook Sidings layout (basically a mirrored trackplan [headshunt going off to the right, whereas the headshunt on the 'original' 1978 layout went off to the left] ) appeared in the December 1992 Railway Modeller ("Inglenook revisited", unfortunately out of print). A couple of pictures of the 1978 layout appeared in C.J. Freezer's Model Railway Manual (first published in 1994, several reprints since) and in the December 1984 issue of Scale Model Trains. Alan Wright recounts the Inglenook story "so far" in the May/June 1999 issue (#22) of Model Trains International.
|Alan Wright's Inglenook Sidings is still considered to be one possible approach to "perfect railway modelling", and quite rightly so. In this ad, a picture from the second version (left-branching) layout takes center stage.|
(click on images for more information on specific aspects of the Inglenook Sidings shunting puzzle)