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Early morning at Ardgay a few months back. The 0626 gets ready to head back to Inverness after being split from the 4 car 5H58 ECS. 158718 951D28DB-7C50-4183-9D5B-8AFEEFCF225C.jpeg.6ce53130010f1a0ec6cf0a3a4393d8d0.jpeg

2D0744BA-F5FA-4A9E-9D5C-3BE3A1C39C53.jpeg

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The station looks the same.  I have not been there since the mid/late 70s.  Maroon coaches and green diesels then of course.  Probably OT but there was a Model Railway manufacturer in the area at the time. I did some pattern making work for them and they did some castings for me. The former Cotswold Models white metal casters were worked on by some Highlands development agency and persuaded to re locate becoming Sutherland Casters.  They had some Highland Locos in their 4mm kit range and between us we did some highland wagons. The workshops the development agency got them were temporary buildings (the same sort of things they used as school classrooms) in I think Bonar Bridge. The owners got a former Hydro Board house out beside a dam somewhere and I stayed with them when visiting.  The owner was Ron Charlton but as he had been a tail gunner in a Lancaster I doubt if he is still with us. The kits went to Nu Cast and are now I believe with SE Finecast.

 

best wishes,

 

Ian 

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Has to be said that the Far North is the Cinderella line when it comes to attention. I love driving the line, it provides a challenge but the scenery is stunning and ever changing. I would urge anyone to make the trip if they can. You won’t be disappointed...

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15 minutes ago, Ian Kirk said:

 I have not been there since the mid/late 70s.  Maroon coaches and green diesels then of course. 

Have you lost a decade there?

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11 minutes ago, Regularity said:

Have you lost a decade there?

Quite possibly. By the time of my  trips to see Sutherland  we must have been in blue but, possibly because I associate the area with the "most miles on a runabout ticket" trips of my mis spent youth my memories see things in red/green. Besides, old age doesn't come itself  you know......

best wishes,

 

Ian

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Thought some folk on here might be interested in a little bit of history about the stations at Ardgay and Invershin, during the war years when North American forestry corps loggers came over to the Highlands to assist with the war effort.

 

I noted down some details from a talk given this year:

 

'Lumberjack Visitors: Forestry Corps in Wartime Scotland' by Alasdair Cameron:

 

“The fundamental requirement, during wartime, was timber. There was plenty of timber in the British Isles, but no workforce available to harvest it. Essential timber items for the war effort included pit props for the coal mines (coal was needed for steel foundries and the steel for guns, vehicles and equipment). Agriculture also depended on steel for tools and equipment. Timber was used for boxes and crates essential for packaging. At the frontline timber provided planking for trenches, duckboards and, sadly, coffins.

North Americans were invited to fell the timber in this country and Newfoundland men were very keen to come, because of close Highland family connections.
There is limited information about the Canadian lumberjacks who came during WW1. Some details are known about Dornoch 1 and Dornoch 2 sawmill camps, from personal diaries. There are notes about horses, steam and narrow gauge railways. While getting a camp ready there is reference to the Finns (Scandinavians) and a mention that "the Finns are not coming!".
There was a unique setup at Ardgay where ten mills were installed. Six mills were funded by Newfoundland and four were private. Seven mills at Balnagown and three mills at Skibo are recorded.
The setting up and maintenance of mills at Ardgay placed a great pressure on Ardgay Station. A new road access for the stations was constructed to cope with the heavy transport associated with movement of equipment, vehicles and timber, which all had to be transported by rail. Each lumberjack was also supplied with 7.75 lbs of meat per week. The military works at Invergordon depended on timber from Ardgay. One group also brought their own pet bear!

The heavy traffic from the sawmill at Invershin Station, caused a back up on the roads, which required more gravel for repair work. There was also a dislike of sheep sale traffic, which was seen as interfering with the work of the sawmills. Accidents were not unknown, but the nearest hospital, at the time, was at Tulloch in Dingwall.

The lumberjacks built their own timber huts and portable sawmills, with tarred paper covering on the roofs. Newfoundlanders were not used to bicycles, much to the amusement of locals, however they  managed to buy spares and built their own bikes. On difficult sites timber was cut using simple hand saws - this timber was used for pit props.”

 

Short excerpt from this British Pathe film about the Canadian Forestry Corps in Britain.

 

 

 

 

  

Edited by Marly51
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On 27/07/2018 at 17:00, Marly51 said:

A week ago I undertook a small measured survey of the signal box at Rogart Station. We are using Rogart Signal Box as the prototype for two models on the Lairg Station Layout.

The station is privately owned and also the location of Sleeperzzz - hostel accommodation in old carriages, showmans wagon or B&B in the ‘Waiting Room’. http://www.sleeperzzz.com

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-33019-0-01877400-1532707177.jpeg

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-33019-0-07913100-1532707190.jpeg

 

Currently modelling two HR signal boxes in 2mm scale, but couldn’t resist buying the 00/H0 Peco kit, which I may use for a diorama or shelf layout!

 

B32D2B4C-3202-45B9-BE5B-422B63D84894.jpeg.e357cf32540b9cb9b40f94fecda4beb2.jpeg

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Thanks for posting this info on the Far North line. My wife and I love the whole area from Inverness northwards with Brora being our favourite spot. If in Helmsdale in the evening a visit to "La Mirage" is worth it, some of the decor just makes me smile! The food is excellent and also, in Helmsdale is a very well restored late 1950's Albion lorry that is worth photographing.

  The community museum on the old colliery site is well worth visiting if your in Brora.

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On 15/06/2019 at 18:28, Ian Kirk said:

The station looks the same.  I have not been there since the mid/late 70s.  Maroon coaches and green diesels then of course.  Probably OT but there was a Model Railway manufacturer in the area at the time. I did some pattern making work for them and they did some castings for me. The former Cotswold Models white metal casters were worked on by some Highlands development agency and persuaded to re locate becoming Sutherland Casters.  They had some Highland Locos in their 4mm kit range and between us we did some highland wagons. The workshops the development agency got them were temporary buildings (the same sort of things they used as school classrooms) in I think Bonar Bridge. The owners got a former Hydro Board house out beside a dam somewhere and I stayed with them when visiting.  The owner was Ron Charlton but as he had been a tail gunner in a Lancaster I doubt if he is still with us. The kits went to Nu Cast and are now I believe with SE Finecast.

 

best wishes,

 

Ian 

 

I've still got a Sutherland Model Casters' Highland Railway Small Ben tucked away, half complete. Must get around to finishing it. The engine body is very nicely done, although the chassis is simply a block of machined brass. From memory the tender castings weren't quite as good.

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