DRG Crest. Die Shukerbahn.

         This little layout has been around for about 18 years now. It is
         like "Adam's axe" in that almost everything has been improved and
         replaced several times over.

         The name stems from my German Great-Grandmother's surname, which
         was altered to Shuker in 1914 to sound less German, in what was at
         that time a very anti-German country. I have yet to find what the
         original name was that sounded more German! (Zucker perhaps?)

         At the time it was first built, we had a very small house with a
         spare room 9'3" x 7'4". This had to be a workshop and household
         storage room first and a model railway room second.
         My first 2 rail layout filled one side but lacked any industries
         to originate goods traffic. There was a space across the end wall
         above the work-bench which functioned as a place to "put things
         down", just the place for a removable baseboard section if things
         could be cleared away first.

         MkI.

         A baseboard 42" x 12" (1065mm x 305mm) was constructed in
         two halves, designed to create a 533mm x 305mm x305mm box when closed.
         The track layout (see plan) had the incoming track close to the
         backscene to match the connecting track to the main layout and this
         section had a slight gradient so that wagons could not be left there
         to foul the main line.
         The maximum train size was a 3 axle locomotive and 3x 100mm length
         wagons. The train would arrive from the right and travel to the left
         hand head shunt. It would then set back into the run around track.
         From there the wagons could be moved individually to their individual
         industry tracks, and another 3 wagons brought together to form an
         outbound train. This often formed an intricate puzzle taking an hour
         or more to accomplish!
         The track was laid using second-hand Lima steel rail trackwork, all
         trimmed to much reduced spacing. With our second child just born,
         there was no money for better quality materials. The limitation of
         only 3 axle locomotives was a bad decision as these models tend to be
         the cheapest and worst operating of most ranges. the only acceptably
         operating model in my collection being the Piko Class 89.262
         ex Saxony tank. The alloy tyres became dirty very quickly, requiring
         frequent cleaning.


         Mk II.

Brewery. Brewery.Mk III Oil Depot.Mk III Oil Depot and exit track.


Shuker MkIII Layout.

         Mk III.
         While the new major layout was being constructed, the Shukerbahn
         was used infrequently. After one spell, the layout could not be
         made to function properly, in spite of considerable effort at
         cleaning the trackwork. The track was ripped up and a new track
         layout was devised. All the steel rail trackwork was discarded and
         more used nickel-silver track acquired. A new track layout was
         designed to bring the entry track to a more central position and
         to give the option of entry from either end. The warehouse
         building at the left rear remained.


         Mk IV.
         In 1984 the limitation of locomotive size was becoming a problem
         as I had few suitable small models. Again, extra strips of timber
         were added to increase the head-shunt track lengths.
         The baseboard now measured 1150mm x 305mm. The main layout was
         again to be demolished, so the Shukerbahn gained a lot of
         improvements in a short period of time.

         In 1984 I was transfered to Christchurch, so the layout along with
         my railway collection was put in my campervan. I had 5 months of
         unsettled residence so the layout stayed on the back seat for that
         time. I met a fellow in a model-shop with obviously similar
         interests. The conversation went as you would expect until it
         reached the stage of: "would you like to see my layout?"
         "I haven't much time to spare, is it far away?"
         "No, it is just outside the shop door!"
         This reply produced a look of complete disbelief, especially as he
         had trailed me into the shop and was certain he would have noticed
         me depositing a model railway against the wall.
         While the position of the layout resolved these doubts, I never
         did overcome the reputation for being slightly eccentric with layouts.

         The main layout in my home was housed in a 34' x 17' garage, shared
         with two cars. The Shukerbahn quickly became the branch terminus
         which allowed operating to begin very early.
         Another move in 1992 brought this major layout to an end.

         11/1993. I had for a number of years been involved in our local
         model railway exhibitions. We had a good selection of layouts but
         they were all based on ovals of track with trains circulating.
         I thought that it was time to show some operation to the public.
         By constructing a fiddle yard and adding a friend's (Blair Nauman)
         scenic diorama to a centre module, we had an operating shunting
         layout set up in a short space of time. I must admit that two days
         of shunting operation tends to reduce the brain to a mush like state!

Mk V. Following the 1993 Exhibition, we set up standards for a "Branch Line Modular System" based on 1200mm long modules. (New Zealand having gone Metric, our sheet boards are mostly 1200 x 2400mm, making 1220mm (4 foot) modules untidy at the ends). The Schukerbahn was rebuilt on a 1200mm x 450mm base, still with the same operating restrictions, but with an extra siding. (The name became longer because the layout did :-) A further siding (T16)was added later. (This was a 66% increase in size compared to Mk I.)

Schuker MkV.

         Enough extra modules (5) were constructed to
         exhibit an oval modular layout for 1994. Some of the baseboards
         from the garage layout were utilised for these modules.

         10/1996. The Schukerbahn was pulled out from the cobwebs at the
         back of the garage and refurbished, along with a fiddle yard
         section to display my very new and underdeveloped computer/model
         railway control system at the exhibition. After 30 minutes, the
         computer died and the layout reverted to manual operation :-(
         I concluded that the 1992 configuration was better as the scenic
         module allowed a short mental break while the trains were rolling.

         7/1997. The Schukerbahn now has the beginnings of a new main
         layout to be the branchline terminus of.
         Watch for a report of the "Golden Spike" about the year 2000. In
         the meantime, it has the largest and most strangely configured
         fiddle-yard ever! ;-)
         (It joins on, half way down a double track spiral)

         The Shukerbahn has now been connected to 5 main home layouts, plus
         4 different fiddle yards and 3 different exhibition
         configurations.

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