In my previous post I gave you some idea of the theme of my next layout; a 4mm to the foot model (OO9 gauge) of a narrow gauge industrial railway. I also showed you two kits I'd like to build to provide locomotives for the layout and given that one of these was for a Quarry Hunslet you could be forgiven for assuming I was going to go for the classic Welsh slate industry layout. You would, however, have been wrong.
The Quarry Hunslet classes of locomotives got their name because they were built by the Hunslet Engine Company and could usually be found working in a quarry, often a Welsh slate quarry. While there is nothing wrong with modelling a Welsh slate quarry I decided I'd go for something closer to home and look for some form of Yorkshire industrial setting given that the engines were all built in Leeds.
I'm not sure if there is a sensible prototype from the late 19th century, but there is a modern prototype I'm going to use for inspiration. The Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, which is only 2.5 miles from where the Hunslet Engine Company used to be, includes a narrow gauge railway on which a Quarry Hunslet called Jack runs. It's been a long time since I've been to the museum but fortunately Reinhold Behringer has been more recently and posted this excellent photo on Flickr.
Unfortunately the narrow gauge line was only ever built to exhibit the museums locomotives and wasn't present when the mill was a working woollen mill. As such the track plan isn't particularly interesting, as you can see from this plan I've put together from some 1990 Ordinance Survey maps and a satellite image from Google Maps.
I've had a look at other works where I know there used to be old railway tracks but so far the lines don't seem to show up on the old OS maps so I'm struggling to find a nice example track plan. Mind you given the space constraints (remember the complete layout can be no larger than 1135mm by 232mm) a single line through some mill buildings may be enough. Given the problems I had deciding on the track plan for Jerusalem I know it's worth taking my time to get it right, and that sometimes less is more, so I'll keep thinking about the track plan while I start building the rolling stock.
I mentioned in the previous post that the layout could support different time periods based on the locomotives and other detailing items; I'm currently thinking that there are at least three obvious periods I can model; two with the mill in use (one steam and one diesel) and then a modern day museum setting (just like Armley Mills) where I can run anything I want. I think this should give me lots of flexibility and allow me to build almost anything I want to.
One other thing I need though is a name for the layout, and here I'm hoping for some help. My current thoughts are around doing something related to the fact that it is being built to fit a specific box. So my ideas so far revolve around things like like "77 Box Lane" or "Box Street Mill". Any ideas are more than welcome.