Ayling Island was one of my ‘now for something completely different’. I wanted to try out 3mm sprat and winkle couplings on a 4mm layout , I wanted a run round so the loco needed to have the hook at one end and the loop at the other. I tried to work out how I could do this with a diesel loco or shunter, After a few trials and many errors, I decided that a small steam locomotive would possibly do better. I purchased a Dapol Terrier and proceeded to cut away the back portion of the chassis at the coal bunker end. I made the paddle of the Spratt and Winkle smaller and added a tiny piece of lead to make a positive movement. It worked and a further two Terriers were purchased. The Terriers, 3 coaches and 15 wagons had the same treatment. Ayling Island was born and the year would 1959-61′ ish. Why Ayling and not Hayling – easy my wife has relations with that surname and, yes they live in Sussex! Anyway the final track plan was nothing like Hayling.
This layout has had a remarkable life, we had it on the circuit for about four years and after it was sold it continued on the circuit and still is. After I sold it, it went through a transformation to more modern times and emerged as ‘Loch Ayling’ and is now a Scottish Layout!
This layout has appeared in MODEL RAIL No. 78 APRIL 2005 as BR(S) Ayling Island.