"Peake Street" is a perfect example of how my brain works coming up with these "layout imaginings". My good friend Colin Peake had decided to build a boxfile layout and was posting the pictures on the rmweb forum as usual it was very impressive. But I was unmoved and didn't want to build one. That is until Monday 13th August. Colin posted one picture and asked for opinions about a backscene. I thought it needed a hazy midlands of England city backscene. The penny dropped. I remembered trainspotting trips I took that invariably went through Birmingham New Street and many of the suburban stations around there. I remembered stations in cuttings, lineside industies and a general run down-ness. I couldn't stop myself the imagining flowed in such great detail I even wrote what I imagined and posted it on rmweb...
At the right we have a road overbridge with the very end of a platform ramp poking out from underneath (Probably an island platform) the 2 lines of the island platform head to the left before disappearing behind something, retaining walls maybe. Perhaps a signal box that straddles the line, homage to days when the line was much busier. Now its just a rundown twig of a branch. Kept open because of rush hour commuters and the factory/warehouse sited just across from the platform end that sees several wagons delivered every day.
From then on there was no turning back. I think the sketch is pretty self explanatory.

The Inspiration Box. Some sites to help you produce a box file layout

Colin Peakes' Boxfile layout - The catalyst for my imagining

Layout photos - the double o gauge society ran a competition to build a box file layout here are the winners

Melbridge Box company - superb box file layout

IKEA "Snack" boxes - If like me you live in the USA and can't get a boxfile or would like something a little bigger the IKEA snack box looks promising.

Peake Street
(click on image to see larger version)

Click on this image to see some devlopmental sketches of Peake Street
The IKEA Snack box
I did, however find the size of the boxfile a little limiting. The examples in the inspiration box are all small industrials that are operated by short 4 wheel loco's and short 4 wheel wagons. I was conjuring up images of suburban Birmingham in the 1980's. Not the same. I flirted with the idea of 2 boxfiles joined together and the associated issue of joining them together. Then I had the IKEA snack box pointed out to me.
The management at IKEA probably have no idea that many of their bookcases and shelving systems are coveted by small layout designers. If you're going to have a layout on a shelf make it a nice looking shelf and IKEA's products look nice and are very reasonably priced. They are bigger than a boxfile. A fact that would help an American outline modeller who'd need more space as the rolling stock is bigger.
"Peake Street" sketches
Just a few examples here to follow the thought process. So you can see how the idea developed from the one box file concept to the finished design
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