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The Heilan' Piper (and freight trains of that ilk)

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I am interested in Inverness and stations northwards, and my model railway is of (the non-existent) Ullapool Branch.  I have tried to make a realistic timetable and to weave extra trains in to the real timetable in as realistic a manner as possible.

 

I have a full BR(S) Passenger WTT for the whole of Scotland May 1968-69.  I couldn't afford the accompanying Freight WTT (the bloke wanted £100) but I have Freight Section C covering most of what I want for May to October 1970.  It doesn't match up but it was good enough - until now!

 

Two days ago a friend gave me a Section C for 7 Nov. 1966 to 5 March 1967.  The difference is significant and very interesting.  Amongst other things it covers part of the 1968 Section E - the Stanley/Aberdeen main line - and in doing so revealed "The Heilan' Piper" named freight train. - the others I have seen in passing are "The Fifer" and "The Kitty" and there may be more.

 

I know the Stanley to Aberdeen route was closed to passengers in the late 50's (my family banged on about it!) but that it remained open for freight - into the 80's?  

 

Can anybody indicate when the main freight traffic for Inverness changed from via Aberdeen to up through Dalwhinnie.

 

Can anybody give me some history (or references to follow up) of "The Heilan' Piper" and the other named trains - where and when they ran until.  As part of that I would be grateful for information on the return trip Inverness/Aberdeen/Perth etc. because I cannot identify it in my timetable?

 

Thank you for reading this and any hints you can give.

 

 

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The Strathmore route to Aberdeen via Forfar closed to passengers on 4/9/1967.

The line from Stanley as far as Forfar North Jn. became a freight only branch (until 5/6/1982), as did the section from Kinnaber Jn. - Bridge of Dun (to Brechin) until 1981.

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A

11 hours ago, keefer said:

The line from Stanley as far as Forfar North Jn. became a freight only branch (until 5/6/1982)

 

Effectively you are saying there was no through route Stanley/Aberdeen after end 1967?

 

Do you have any knowledge of the named freight trains and where and when they ran?

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Thats how i understand it, but it's the limit of my knowledge I'm afraid!

I know Bridge of Dun became single line through the branch platform, for Kinnaber-Brechin trains, so I'm presuming the Forfar-Bridge of Dun section was just lifted (although when that exactly happened, i don't know).

 

Cant help with the named goods trains, sorry

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6 minutes ago, keefer said:

Cant help with the named goods trains, sorry

 

Well, thanks very much for the info. you could provide.

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13 hours ago, keefer said:

The Strathmore route to Aberdeen via Forfar closed to passengers on 4/9/1967.

The line from Stanley as far as Forfar North Jn. became a freight only branch (until 5/6/1982), as did the section from Kinnaber Jn. - Bridge of Dun (to Brechin) until 1981.

The main traffic in later years were seed potatoes; there was an article in Railway Magazine about it in the 1980s. 

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On 20/03/2019 at 08:37, imt said:

A

 

Effectively you are saying there was no through route Stanley/Aberdeen after end 1967?

 

Do you have any knowledge of the named freight trains and where and when they ran?

 

Correct. The "Strathmore line" (Between Stanley JN and Kinnaber Jn) was part of the CR route from Carlisle to Aberdeen, many consider it part of the WCML. O.S. Nock referred to it as the "Caley Racetrack".It was a  significant player in the 1895 races. Beeching reported it as a duplicate route in his 63 report with all through traffic diverted via the parallel NB route via Dundee from 4/9/67. The SJ to Forfar and Kinnaber Jn to Bridge of Dun were singled and down graded to basic goods line status. The branch from Bridge of Dun to Brechin was also retained. Forfar North Jn to Bridge of Dun was to be "mothballed" for a year ( a Castle / Wilson ploy to mollify the locals and unions) in case of reopening (!) but the reality was that BR needed the high quality track for use elsewhere. Signal posts and telegraph poles remained in situ adding to the "lost main line" image..

Kinnaber to Brechin closed in 1981 after a DMU special and SJ to Forfar closed on 5/6/1982 after two specials hauled by 40143, although 26010 went up the line to collect wagons on 7/5/82.

 

The picture is dated 1986 and shows Stanley Jn with the empty trackbed of the Aberdeen line stretching away..

UK3829.jpg

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A couple of latter-day oddities which harked back to the main-line status of the route were the Highland main line to Inverness was referred to as the 'branch' and at Stonehaven there is a 'Carlisle 250' (not sure of the figure) milepost 

 

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22 hours ago, keefer said:

A couple of latter-day oddities which harked back to the main-line status of the route were the Highland main line to Inverness was referred to as the 'branch' and at Stonehaven there is a 'Carlisle 250' (not sure of the figure) milepost 

 

It's no longer referred to as the Branch for obvious reasons, however the MP's from Carlisle are still actively used. Kinnaber is just shy of 203 miles and Stonehaven is 225 miles from Carlisle. Structure numbers also revert to the CR / LMS system at Kinnaber, from memory numbered from Perth. The NB is miles from Dundee (?). BTW the first bridge on the HML at Stanley is Bridge No1 and was referred to as the "Highland bridge".

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As Gary704 says the bridge numbering north of Kinnaber Jc is a continuation of the Caley route too, with the result that the numbers 'stepped back' and there are therefore several bridges with duplicate numbers. Control has to be very careful when getting a report of a bridge strike, or indeed any other incident involving a bridge number, in that area. I presume (unable to check as now retired !) that the Engineers' Line Reference (ELR) changes at the site of Kinnaber Jc ?

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13 minutes ago, caradoc said:

As Gary704 says the bridge numbering north of Kinnaber Jc is a continuation of the Caley route too, with the result that the numbers 'stepped back' and there are therefore several bridges with duplicate numbers. Control has to be very careful when getting a report of a bridge strike, or indeed any other incident involving a bridge number, in that area. I presume (unable to check as now retired !) that the Engineers' Line Reference (ELR) changes at the site of Kinnaber Jc ?

Ahh. I've seen reference to the "line of route" thing. I presume it will still change at Kinnaber. If I can confirm you will be the first to know!

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18 minutes ago, Fat Controller said:

The article I recollect made much of the fact that the line had received a 'Prize Length' award at some point.

 

18 minutes ago, Fat Controller said:

The article I recollect made much of the fact that the line had received a 'Prize Length' award at some point.

 

18 minutes ago, Fat Controller said:

The article I recollect made much of the fact that the line had received a 'Prize Length' award at some point.

 

18 minutes ago, Fat Controller said:

The article I recollect made much of the fact that the line had received a 'Prize Length' award at some point.

Yup. I remember seeing a "Prize length" sign about Eassie. And that was in 1982, long after the local gangers had gone. The "Forfar Relay" were  a squad of gangers living in Forfar, continuing the railway tradition long after the demise of "their" line. BR kept them going because of Forfar's geographical location. There would have been lads in that squad who would have worked win the line pre '67, it must have been galling to see the scrappy's move in..

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Thanks for the confirmation re : Stonehaven Gary, just couldn't remember the actual distance. 

As you say, for the coast route, 0 MP at Dundee.

As an aside, where is Perth-Dundee measured from?

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13 hours ago, caradoc said:

As Gary704 says the bridge numbering north of Kinnaber Jc is a continuation of the Caley route too, with the result that the numbers 'stepped back' and there are therefore several bridges with duplicate numbers. Control has to be very careful when getting a report of a bridge strike, or indeed any other incident involving a bridge number, in that area. I presume (unable to check as now retired !) that the Engineers' Line Reference (ELR) changes at the site of Kinnaber Jc ?

ELRs are supposed to change at any mileage change so the combination of ELR and mileage uniquely identifies a single location. 

 

According to a Quail (probably not the latest one, but these things don't tend to change much) the mileage at the former Kinnaber Junction is 33 miles 26 chains from Dundee Tay Bridge and 203 miles 11 chains from Carlisle, the latter series continuing to Aberdeen at 241 miles 6 chains.  Disappointingly the ELR is not somthing betraying any Caledonian heritage - itjust changes from ECN4 to ECN5. 

11 hours ago, keefer said:

As an aside, where is Perth-Dundee measured from?

"Backwards" from zero at the former Dundee West.  The mileage from Edinburgh via Kirkcaldy continues from Dundee West Junction to Camperdown Junction (ECN2), from which the mileage is from former Dundee East as far as St Vigeans Junction (ECN3) then from Dundee Tay Bridge as far as Kinnaber as above. 

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Re the Heilan Piper.

 

This was an express freight that ran from Glasgow South Side to Perth leaving Glasgow about 7.00 p.m.,passing Stirling about 8.30 and arriving at Perth about 9.30

 

In 1961 and 1962 summer months, it was usually hauled by the loco off the morning's 9.43 Liverpool (Exchange) to Glasgow (Central) so it was usually a Bank Hall Locomotive- often a Jubilee or a Polmadie Scot

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On 28/07/2019 at 22:03, Ian M said:

This was an express freight that ran from Glasgow South Side to Perth leaving Glasgow about 7.00 p.m.,passing Stirling about 8.30 and arriving at Perth about 9.30

 

Thank you, I have only just seen your information.  The WTT implies continuing Perth-Aberdeen, does that sound right? Any ideas on "The Fifer" and "The Kitty"?

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Hi all,

 

On the subject of named trains I have to be honest and say I have never heard of the named freight trains. I strongly suspect it was a marketing ploy, used by the commercial people, but never filtered down to the troops. None of the old steam boys I used to work with ever mentioned named trains, it was alway the "xx.xx goods" or whatever. Same with passenger trains, names were irrelevant.

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The best-known named freight train was probably the "Condor" which was supposed to be a fast container service London to Scotland, reliability of the Metrovick co-bos permitting.  Presumably an early attempt by BR marketing people to compete with road haulage by trying to break out of the old image of a battered loco shuffling a few wagons a few miles ready to sit for hours or days in the next marshalling yard.  A few years later Freightliner tried to do the same thing as a brand rather than specific named trains, but with somewhat more success.  

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