Site seeing – October 19 – Small, smart and visual layouts

One of my favourite past times is to travel to shops of dubious regard and seek out old model railway magazines. Most recently I’ve been seen haunting the bookshelf at the Ballarat Tramway Museum and going through the old model rail magazines. One issue of Railway Modeller (August 2003 no less) really took my fancy. Contained inside was a very small but very pleasing layout. Onto today’s site seeing.

Site 1: Rushby’s Railways – Shell Island layout

In said magazine I found Shell Island. A very small layout, two turnouts, end of branch line UK seaside, you get the picture. My adventure could have ended right there, but it didn’t. The images were mesmerising. They displayed a visual depth that made you believe you were only seeing what the camera could show. Great composition, colours and models.

Image linked courtesy of Rushby’s Railways Blog

As you can see from the track plan, this is no last layout effort. It is an end of the branch location, on the coast, with a little traffic and a mostly disused goods shed. And by the way it’s on the ocean.

Image courtesy of Rushby's Railways Blog
Image courtesy of Rushby’s Railways Blog

And that maybe all the difference it needs. It’s idyllic, industrial and ramshackle and yet it stirs emotions and my wanderlust wants to go here and see this little out-of-the-way slice of railway. It looks better on-screen than it does in the magazine too. I want to go to this place. I want to sit at the Cafe table, eat my fish and chips and take in the train action. Even if that is simply a loco idling on the weed strewn siding. I can smell the salt, the seaweed and hear the gulls calling me.

Image courtesy of RMWeb
Image courtesy of RMWeb

And that is a powerful skill for a layout builder. To stir in others a need to relive this moment in time, even if it is false, and never was. Neil – my hat’s off to you brother. You are in a class of your own. Read more about the layout, the builder and his other projects which are as good on his blog from the link above.


More images of the layout can be found in the links below: