Shortstone is a fictional N Gauge micro layout. It is 2ft 4ins x 1ft 2ins. It is based on the ‘Inglenook Sidings’ plan. The points are all motorised, and there is a working colour light signal at the end of the scenic section, just before the tunnel entrance. So despite its small size, there is a lot of wiring involved! It has under track magnets which are used to uncouple the wagons, minimising the need to uncouple by hand. Therefore, all of the rolling stock and the 08 locomotive have Dapol magnetic couplings. It has taken 4 months to build, although it would’ve been quicker had I not been distracted by working on my other layout!

The layout was built primarily to be a shunting puzzle, with the ‘player’ choosing 5 cards out of a possible 8. The order in which the cards are drawn is the order in which the train must be made up. I am told that with 5 wagons from 8, there are in excess of 6,700 different combinations of wagons that can be possibly be chosen, so, many hours of fun is possible! The puzzle itself takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.

The depot is located at the end of a small branch line in the village of Shortstone, West Cornwall. Operated by DB Schenker, Shortstone is a small goods yard, consisting of a goods shed, 2 sidings and a fuel depot. It is primarily used for freight distribution these days, with the last passenger service running into Shortstone station in July 1965. The modern day industrial units sit on the site of the bygone station.

Opened in 1911, Shortstone Railway station connected the village with the mainline at Redborne Road, between the towns of Camborne and Redruth. It has always been used for freight transport, whether delivering Mail, or used by the many mineral trains servicing the local tin mines running over parts of the line. You can still see wagons at Shortstone yard filled with minerals from some of these mines, although these are more likely to be modern hoppers than the traditional GW plank wagons of old.

To the North, and running across the top of the embankment through which the tunnel runs, remains the track from the disused Portreath to Carn Brea line. Closed in 1942 after it fell into disrepair, the line was primarily used by trains servicing the many mines in that area. The line was used to transport ore from the mines around the Great Flat Lode at Carn Brea, to the port of Portreath. Now overgrown, the track work can still be seen, as incredibly, it was never pulled up after the line closed.