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Posts posted by HalfScot

  1. Hi Shaun.


    I'm in the throes of starting a layout of the railway that never was - the Garve and Ullapool - which would have left the line from Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh at Garve. After posting the initial track plan I had a reply saying that I should turn Garve into a version of Georgemas with trains from Dingwall being split for Kyle and Ullapool. This piqued my interest and I was delighted to find an N scale version on RMWeb. The plan was duly amended to include it 


    Love it so far. I'll be a happy little modeller if my own efforts meet yours 


    Best wishes.



  2. On 21/04/2021 at 18:19, AngusDe said:

    Ullapool has been one of my dream layout scenarios since I was a schoolboy.


    These thoughts have been heavily shaped from 60s/70s schoolboy  trips to Strornoway, either via Mallaig or via Kyle and finally by bus to Ullapool from Inverness. Late 70s/early 80s there were frequent trips to Thurso where my brother worked at Dounreay.


    Against this backdrop, I reckoned the Ullapool branch was built as a light railway with traffic on a par with other Highland light railways such as Wick and Lybster and the Dornoch branch.


    WW2 brought  adhoc upgrades to manline standards to service activities in support of convoys forming up in he lochs etc, which led to a naval fuel dump being built in Loch Broom rather than Loch Ewe and of course such a depot would be rail served, etc.


    When the ferry switches from Kyle to Ullapool, the 8 coach train from Inverness splits at Garve, 5 coaches going to Ullapool and 3 to Kyle etc. this is what I remember at Georgemas, 5 to Thurso and  3 double headed to Wick.


    The ferry also gives other options. when it started the road upgrade was way behind schedule, so a bit of an imagination has scotrail experimenting with motorail and sleeper services. In those days folk were slipping calmac crew backhanders to get off the ferry before the lorries just in case they got stuck behind a HGV all the way to Garve/Inverness. another option might be reinstated fish traffic to bypass the road chaos.


    Your imagination can run wild and its all plausible!






    Hi Again All

    Well, life has intervened in postings recently, but that’s not a bad thing. Having given Garve and Ullapool its first public airing it’s been good to just leave it and have a think about the design for a bit.


    Which made me realise that it still needs some work. The problem I could see was with Braemore. It was just too simple from an operational point of view. It might be when the layout is up and running that I invite a couple of like-minded friends over for operating sessions, so I’d want to make sure that there was plenty for them to do. Garve would have trains in four directions (Dingwall / Kyle of Lochalsh  and back and Dingwall / Ullapool and back) and some goods movements, and Ullapool itself would have plenty for an operator, but Braemore just had one goods siding and the timber siding. It needed a bit of extra interest for an operator.


    So I started thinking about other industries that you might find in the Highlands of Scotland. A distillery seemed like the obvious choice, but the question was, would such still be rail-served in the 1960s. It didn’t take much research to find the answer was a very definite “Yes”. I didn’t even have to stray outside the pages of RMWeb to find the information. So, a bit of redesigning included a distillery with rail access and an engine shed for an 0-4-0 tank engine, providing some shunting action for a Braemore operator. The timber siding went, but the upside was that I could include a longer (hopefully grander) viaduct for the visual impact.


    A distillery would require a variety of wagons – opens with casks both full and empty, vans with various stores, grain wagons and coal wagons. There might even be the enigmatic tank wagon. The new design made Braemore a much more satisfying design operationally. The link to the enigmatic tank wagon picture takes you to a Flickr page with some excellent pictures of Dailuaine Distillery in Speyside, which was very inspirational.


    Then the above from AngusDe was added to the thread.


    There was really some food for thought here. Splitting / assembling trains at Garve, as they do at Georgemas? (I also found a lovely N-gauge layout of Georgemas). It seemed so obvious. Why send two trains up the line from Dingwall to the different termini when I could send one and split it – five coaches for Ullapool and three for Kyle (the assumption being that the move of the ferries from Kyle to Ullapool caused a shift in passenger numbers). It would need an engine shed at Garve, so that nasty red line that represented the branch for the Garve and Ullapool railway in the original plan has been replaced by a small engine shed / turntable. (This layout’s backstory is that some time during the Grouping / Nationalisation process the rather over-designed  station at Garve was simplified to handle the level of traffic required).


    So here’s the  new plan –




    As you can see, Braemore now has a little distillery with an exchange siding. It’s not quite a shunting puzzle, but there’s plenty to be done to get the various wagon types to their destinations. The Dailuaine distillery provided a lot of inspiration (much reduced – a scale model of that site would be the size of a single bed in N).


    Garve has had its platforms extended to cope with eight-coach trains and the engine shed added. Eight coaches come from Dingwall / Inverness, five go on to Ullapool and the engine stabled at Garve takes the remaining three to Kyle. The same principle could be used for parcels trains, and the Garve engine could also be used for double-heading heavy freight workings or extra-long seasonal traffic on the Ullapool line. Garve has suddenly taken a big leap in operational interest as well.


    (As Garve is one of the passing stations on the Dingwall / Kyle line it occurs to me that the scenario of a down train from Dingwall being split for Kyle and Ullapool meeting ups from Kyle and Ullapool being joined at Garve could be quite a challenge for the Garve operator). 



    As this layout is set in about 1960 I couldn’t include a Motorail facility at Ullapool, but mainly because the Motorail brand wasn’t introduced until 1966. Motorail’s predecessor, from what I could find, was the Car Sleeper Limited from London to Perth.  A form of this could be run through to Ullapool. I’m not sure what would actually carry the cars. GUVs seems the most possible, even though carflats were around in 1960. So, an extra siding has been added at Ullapool with an end-loading dock for the cars, and to store the whole train between trips (I presume that a sleeper would just sit in a siding for a day until it could be used for the return overnight journey again). Hopefully the rake will be about five sleepers and four GUVs. 


    Thanks to AngusDe for such a thought-provoking post, and for all the other contributions that have improved the design. I’m beginning to think that starting this thread before I’ve even built baseboards (not that I’m in any position to do so at the moment) was a good idea.


    Once again I’ve been amazed by how many questions in Google produced results in RMWeb. This site is a national treasure.


    Best wishes



    • Like 5
  3. On 11/04/2021 at 21:56, Ben Alder said:

    Iain Ross, the guy behind all the Scottish stuff, has done a 3D HR signal cabin, firstly in 4mm, but can be supplied in 2mm as well. This side of the range is currently a bit adrift because of current circumstance  but when matters allow he is going to liaise with Pop up's son, who does this side of  things, over expanding availability of his designs- the eventual goal being an integration with the laser wooden range to offer both choices for some models. Here is a shot of the 4mm one on my bench waiting an appointment with some paint. Are you planning using the HR goods shed on your station - it is one of those iconic HR placesetters, and a few lingered on after their everyday use vanished.




    Hi, and thanks for the info. That's a lovely little signal cabin and a 2mm version would fit in perfectly. I'll be keeping an eye out for it. Popup do some excellent Scottish railway structures.


    (I think my main problem  with buildings is going to be the 9' of low-relief seafront cottages at Ullapool, but that'll be something to complete over a fairly long timescale).


    Back to the matter of the layout at Garve, I've decided to leave it as is. As Garve is one of the passing stations on the line I did consider putting in a bay platform line at the Kyle end of the Up platform (the righthand end of the lower one) to allow a DMU service from Ullapool to connect with trains crossing on the Kyle / Dingwall line, but then I thought why? The DMU could arrive from Ullapool, passengers for Kyle and Dingwall could alight, then the DMU could simply move to the goods shed passing loop while the Kyle / Dingwall trains crossed, then move back to a platform to pick up passengers who had alighted for Ullapool. The problem was solved  operationally and it does allow me to have a local DMU service connecting with the Kyle line as well as through trains from Ullapool to Dingwall and on to Inverness.


    I once saw something similar happen at Kirkham in Lancashire in the 1970s.


    Thanks again.


    Best wishes



    • Like 2
  4. Hi again All.


    I must start by saying Thank You for all the positive comments and encouragement. Apologies for taking a bit of time to reply to them all. Following all of that I have taken some things on board and made a couple of changes to the layout design –




    As you can see, Braemore has moved to the other end of its scenic section and is now on a straight section of baseboard. I kept a small curve in the platform because I like curved platforms. The MPD at Ullapool has been re-designed to a much more Kyle style, so that the facilities can still be used if the turntable is filled with snow, and I’ve re-aligned the 180 degree curve at the end of the peninsula slightly. I’ve left it in because the quarry loader at the end of the Ullapool section forms the scenic break and I need some way to get the loader’s tail track in without it projecting into the Braemore section. The area shaded grey is not part of either section and not modelled, so the tightness of the curve won’t be part of either scene and there will be some delay between trains leaving one section and appearing in another.


    (It occurs to me that, with the new site of Braemore, it would be possible for one operator to work all three stations with hardly a footstep. Lazy pig that I am).


    On 07/04/2021 at 14:15, scottystitch said:

    By the period of your model, I would have expected Garve to have reverted to something almost identical to Boat of Garten, which was really a junction station with two platform faces for passenger traffic, had it originally been built in two "halves".


    Folowed with great enthusiasm.  I'm not sure where you are based, but Covid permitting, I'm expecting to be passing through Garve en-route Plockton, in August, so would be happy to take some photos of the existing station.






    EDIT TO SAY: I wonder if it would be better to have Braemore further up, closer to where the line emerges from the storage yard board, followed by the first viaduct.  This avoids the station platform being on quite a tight curve. yet still allows the same running space in open country.  In place of that peninsula, I'd be inclined to put hidden 360 degree loop to enforce a delay between a train going off scene into the tunnel and emerging into the Ullapool section. 


    Also, the divergence of the Skye line and the Ullapool line, was ostensibly to be 200 yards north of Garve, so I would have the Northern approach with two lines, rather than one and then a turnout; again, this would be more like Boat of Garten, who's divergence was much further away from the station.


    Just some thoughts.




    Scott – thank you so much for your kind offer of photos of Garve station. I do have some already, in all its yellow glory, and plan to go up there when things ease up a bit to visit both Garve and Ullapool and get some pictures. On the matter of the divergence of the Ullapool line at Garve, I was basing my design on this document: which shows the line leaving the Dingwall – Kyle line about 200 yards east of Garve station. This is from the original proposal for the line. A 1967 map of the area shows pretty much the same track plan.  I can only infer from this that the Ullapool line would have had its own platforms, as the drawing shows its route going behind the existing station building. My worries therefore still exist – what was the planned layout of Garve if the new line was built?


    On 07/04/2021 at 18:50, Robert Shrives said:



    Link to web about a great firm that does N Highland buildings .  Given the Rule one aspect applied for Highland rural area developement ( the lack of which is the root cause of the non build)  meaning the terminus was that extensive then  the Pop up buildings give a very good place to start.  


    I might suggest the Turntable/ Engine shed arrangement while a larger version was at Inverness out of the city a more prosaic attitude about failures and winter might apply with conventional point work - at Wick while the turntable had 4 access tracks and was an important piece of kit if it failed all routes still available at entrance end of depot.   If shed double track then the pop up Engine shed fits the bill perfectly. 


    Equally the station buildings suit various stations but I suggest a trainshed like Thurso/ Wick would be built suggested by the extensive build .  In reality I think as it was going to be a light railway buildings more akin to Lybster or Dornoch branches would have been the reality.  


    Certainly now in N you can get most stock as rtr - which is a great improvement on 20 years ago.   I wonder if the fiddle yard arrangements will suit you best as there were some long trains to be seen - troop specials and freights - the black 5 and 26 were 8 bogie coach rated, albeit winter and mixed trains could be a fraction. Having a couple of really long, but with DCC sectioning not an issue, loops. I do like the return loop for turning engines / trains off scene.   



    Robert - I’m familiar with the Pop Up buildings and am hoping to incorporate a few in the layout. (I think Ullapool would look great with the Blair Atholl station building). Thanks for the tip. On the matter of trains lengths, I’ve kept things to five coaches and an engine as that still is the length of the platforms at Garve. Longer freight trains can be accommodated on some of the fiddle yard sidings, and there will certainly be times when a passenger train will have a parcels van or two added. Parcels traffic was a large part of operations at Garve, being unloaded for shipment by road to Ullapool. This can of course be replaced by direct rail service on this model.


    Speaking of shipment by road, further research has revealed that at this time just about all coal traffic in the Highlands went that way (apart from loco coal) so coal facilities have been removed from Garve and Braemore. They’ve been replaced by cattle docks, as cattle traffic was important and there were even all-cattle trains on the Highland lines. Cattle were shipped to and from the islands via stations like Kyle as deck cargo, and Kyle even has a cattle creep to allow loading and unloading of boats at any state of the tide.


    Thanks again to everyone for such positivity and helpful advice.


    Best wishes



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