We visited Kimmeridge in 2001 as part of our South Coast Path walking project, including a walk up to Clavell's Tower (below) and finding the tramway across the headland to Cuddle. The visit sparked all sorts of memories for me and started me thinking about minimalist railway layouts. One idea was to produce a layout on a shelf edge, as described here.
At Clavell's Hard, by Cuddle (Yellow Ledge) there were more tramways for the mine workings. Now I doubt that any of these actually had locomotives, but this is where the fertile imagination of a frustrated engineer comes in.
There are some "probable" double-flanged wheels around the area, which for the period would mean just a single track. It set me to thinking. When I was young I had model railways. The last suffered the ignominy of being eaten by mice whilst in store and although I've done some bits of modelling (A Springfield 18" gauge tank engine, a kit Sue gave me, is in my display cabinet) I've never since had a layout. I've started several, but my day-job gets in the way and they're just bits in the loft.
How about a single piece of track, on a shelf-bracket, that could run up and down like Ria. I'd only have to build two or three pieces of stock, and scenery. Taking the Iain Rice concept to its extreme, run the rail along an edge and have the buildings clip on. Each building is a single project, mix and match. In cross-section, thus...
Forty inches long to use a yard of track and allow a two-inch buffer-zone each end. Operationally boring? Well, no, if you do it right. I've seen a number of real railways that do real jobs with just one track. I worked looking out over a wood-treatment plant for a while: if a real railway doesn't need complex trackwork, it doesn't have it. Ria was fun, ball-sorting is fun, and any industry with two or more types of movement (like the oil-shale industry at Kimmeridge) could be represented as more complex ball-sorting. Many potential ideas sprang to mind:
...and so on - anything industrial in a confined space. Loading and unloading tricks can be built into individual buildings - they could even be mix-and-match. Best, I, I though, I had just about everything to get something running in the bits box, including a motorised tram engine based on a diecast "Toby" - Toby is my favourite from Thomas the Tank Engine. The model had sat on the room divider for years gathering dust. Now it might actually run.
Sadly, it was not to be. I finished the shelf-bracket and ran Toby on it a couple of times, but I never got any further and, following an accident, Toby is in a display cabinet where at least the poor thing doesn't need dusting. I must move the shelf-bracket to somewhere where I can make it work, but first I've found a new impetus to return to Cuddle.