I wanted to include quite a few factors that appealed - some passenger as well as goods traffic, with scope for shunting and in particular the (to me) magic combination of rail/water. It is set nowhere in particular.
I built it as a truncated twig with the line beyond the bridge being presently out of use. The board is an experimental construction of thin ply on a 34mm x 8mm stripwood frame all topped with a double layer of closed-cell foam (camping mat), 3mm cork tile and card, mostly held together with double-sided carpet tape and PVA.
For fiddling I built a simple two road (ply/balsa/cork sandwich) traverser running on plastic-card bearers. This slid inside the shells of the waterside warehouses with one road holding a passenger train (push-pull/railcar, etc) and the other for goods fiddling. I then complicated matters by deciding there was just enough room to cram in a hidden storage siding across the rear and then had to work out the scenario for concealing it. I felt that to have an all-warehouse scenario would be too 'inner-city' and I was trying to achieve a more open or semi-rural feel, so eventually settled on the setting you see. With the advent of the rear siding, one storage road on the traverser became superfluous and, after some thought, the traverser metamorphosed into the infamous Trav-ector (a combination traverser and sector plate - see Model Trains International No.74) to give me some sort of run-round.
I made a Metcalfe saw tooth factory into the centre-rear dairy-cum-brewery. After that I couldn't make anything else fit as I really wanted, so I ended up scratchbuilding most of the rest. The end waterside warehouse nearest the station I call the 'Carlsson warehouse', being adapted from the late Malcolm's MicrO brick-built design in Scale Model Trains. These waterside warehouses are just facades and roofs which fit onto a thick card shell over the front of the fiddle space. Likewise the dairy and embankment modules are shells to cover the hidden siding. Virtually every building/scenery piece on the layout is removable for detailing, repair or replacement, each being secured in place by a couple of bolts fixed in the base. Even the 'water' itself is a removable module, being a card and foamboard sandwich which slots into place.
Track is Peco code 75 with 'Electrofrog' points hand-operated by underboard push-pull rods which also have attached switches to change the frog polarity. There are isolated sections in the platform road, quay line and hidden sidings. The Trav-ector is also fully switched on each section.