Begijnendijk is in Flanders, near to Diest, one of the UNESCO listed Begijnhoven. Its name derives from the fact that it was the route taken by the Begijns of Diest to bring produce back from their fields. As with Vlink, between Schipol and Den Haag, it’s become a bit of a challenge that one day I’ll catch a train that stops there. It would be nice to suggest that I would then sit in the bar opposite that station and watch the vegetable produce being unloaded from the tiny tram to travel by standard gauge train to the markets in the nearby towns.
Sadly, however, I made that last bit up. The next town down the line has a bar opposite the station wherefrom one can watch the trains, but the fifteen-inch gauge tramway is a figment of my imagination. However, I’m part-way to being able to watch the trains at Begijnendijk.A while ago we visited to the Andover MRC Modelex (2004) and my good lady, Sue was captivated by Dave Critchlowe's little 2mm Inglenook, Trecross. He and his lady were operating it the way Alan Wright first did - the punter calls the moves and the crew make them.
So, I rushed down to my local model shop (a recent find) purchased and laid out a Peco radius 2 Inglenook in 2+2+3 - 3 headshunt format. I’d already been thinking of modelling Begijnendijk based on one of the micro layout plans on Carl Arendt’s site, Apple Valley Farm Supplies (it’s under ‘industrial trams’), but after some advice from the Gnatterbox list decided at first to go for something approximating a straight line.
I wanted to make the layout as small as possible, but to speed up construction I ordered five Springfield flat wagons. The layout awaited their arrival before I cut the trackwork to its final length. I also built the shell of my cut-down speeder model. The wagons arrived and I speedily laid the track out on the ironing table, hand-shunted the wagons up and down and marked the ends of the track with masking tape. Then I cut the track to size and re-checked the clearances.
Under ‘’inglenooks’, Carl has an A3 sized 2+2+3 quarry layout, which he suggests is the shortest interesting Inglenook, Sadly, when I measured the track it was just two centimetres over the length of two A4 sheets, but it’s narrower as well, so I felt reasonably satisfied. A lot of the length is due to the clearance of the PECO points and it would be well within the linits of 2 A4 sheets were I prepared to lay six inch radius stub points, but I think I'll learn to walk before I try to run. I aim to model the bar and another shop in low relief, adding an end-loading bay in the unexpected space at the front. The scenic break in front will be the wall at the platform end, and I might add a tool-shed to further block the scene, although the essence of the layout is the shunting puzzle, so this may not be necessary.
The idea is that the scenery will simply be a sketch, a background for the rolling stock and the puzzle.