Perhaps a bit late in the day to describe the concept behind the rebuilding of an all but abandoned layout. However, confronted with empty baseboards we decided that there should be a theme with due consideration to the restrictions of space and finance, other considerations, that were just as important, were personal preferences for location and period but these are flexible whilst space and finance are not.
Our space is just 4,8m x 3m, barely enough for a small wayside halt on a continuous layout in 4mm but this has helped to restrict the financial outlay.
The maximum capacity of the hidden sidings is just six roads with a length of 157cm - enough clearance for four pre-BR coaches plus 4-4-0 or fifteen early BR wagons plus 0-6-0. Our preferences are locally based on the SDJR in the 50s when steam was still predominant and we have restricted the period to a Sunday during mid May, this precludes running the Pines Express.
During the 50s, most local trains on the line were no more than three-coach sets of either SR or LMS origin, this translates as:-
exLMS 2P 4-4-0 three Porthole + 50' brake exBristol
exLMS 4F 0-6-0 three Maunsell + B van
exLMS 4F 0-6-0 three Bulleid 59' + C van
exLMS 2MT 2-6-2t two non-corridor + 2 milk tanks exHighbridge
exLMS 7F 2-8-0 Engineering ballast train
exLMS 3F 0-6-0 twelve goods + brake
exLMS 3F 0-6-0T Templecombe's 47542 was a regular to Blandford Forum
Having calculated what can be accommodated and is affordable, a simple track plan was developed to fit inside the limited space.
Single track was chosen to reflect both the actual location, the Dorset Central Railway portion of the SDJR between Templecombe and Blandford Forum.
Unfortunately, no station on this line will fit in our space so there was a small adjustment to reality to provide Child Okeford with the station (there is a Station Road in Child Okeford) and a shift in the route to the other side of Stour thus reducing the number of expensive bridges on the line.
All Dorset Central stations were minimal in their nature, just one floor and a bare minimum of facilities, this perfectly suits the intended layout.