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Adventures in Code 40 - The Corstorphine Branch


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The Corstorphine Branch (Cor-STOR-fin/Cur-STOR-fin) was a short North British Railway branch-line serving the reasonably well-to-do suburb of the same name, to the west of Edinburgh, and was furnished with three stations.  Balgreen Halt was the junction station, where the branch left the NBR Edinburgh and Glasgow (E&G) main line, just west of the present Murrayfield Stadium.  For travellers on the line today, the still extant Jenners Repository marks the site of the junction.  Pinkhill was an intermediate station on the roughly 1.2 mile line, which served the Zoo Park on the nearby Corstorphine Road, as well as the local residential area.  Not far from Pinkhill was Corstorphine Station itself, a two platform terminus with a modest goods yard.

 

The line was opened by the NBR in 1902 and closed by 1968.  Trains ran between Corstorphine and North Berwick, serving Haymarket and Waverley on the way allowing commuters direct access to the City of Edinburgh in around 11 minutes.

 

The route of the line is now a paved footpath/cycleway.  Corstorphine Station area has now been built on with residential properties, and so nothing remains.  Pinkhill Station building survives, probably helped by the fact that it sat on an overbridge above the platforms, and now appears to be the home of a motor vehicle repair business.  The platforms remain also.  Balgreen Halt now has a tram stop roughly on its site, alowing access to the walkway from Edinburgh City Trams as they ply their route between the City and the airport.

 

Some nice images of the route can be found on teh Railscot site: https://www.railscot.co.uk/companies/C/Corstorphine_Branch_North_British_Railway/

 

The attached track plan has been built to scale, without any compression, in N gauge (1:148) and covers the route between Pinkhill and the terminus at Corstorphine.  The road overbridge which accomadates Pinkhill Station building forms a convenient scenic break.  The layout has been designed in AnyRail and utilises British Finescale's Finetrax code 40  track system.  Scale mapping has come from the NLS' excellent website, and the maps used are at a scale of 1:1,250 and re-sized in AnyRail to give the correct scale for 1/148.

 

 

 

The layout will fit in a length of 6.3 metres, without fiddle yard, which I envisage as a turntable-traverser.  The scope is deliberately set to cover only the area within the railway boundary except for the Pinkhill end where the ramp accomodating Traquair East Park roadway, which helps with the transition to the scenic Break.  There is one anomoly in the trackplan.  There was a scissors crossover in the platform are.  I have replaced this with a single crossover since Finetrax does not have a scissors in the range, and the geomotry of the diamonds and turnouts that do exist do not allow for construction of a scissors.  The alternative would be to handbuild and I do not want to do that. 

 

This is the first pass of the plan and there is still a little work to be done, particularly with boards 5 and 6, to ensure turnouts do not straddle board joins, marked in red.

 

Construction would start with boards 1 and 2, chiefly because they are reasonably simple and because they would serve as excellent photographic planks.

 

The layout has been designed for for future exhibition in mind and I envisage it could be comfortably operated with three individuals. One servicing the fiddle yard, one accepting and despatching passenger trains and one dealing with goods trains and shunting the yard.  Operator 4 would allow relief for the others on a rotational basis.

 

There is not a lot of information about the line out there, unfortunately, but for the period I am interested in (late 50s/early 60s) passenger trains appear to have been in the hands of D49 tender engines,  V1/V2 tank engines and class 100 DMUs. Lightweight Met Cam DMUs were also trialled on the route during the 1950s, and it is not beyond teh realms for Met Cam 101s to have served the line in later years - certainly the last train was a class 101.  AtsoCad offers a 3d print of a V1/V3 which utilises a Farish N Class chassis.  The 100 does not exist except in the form of "scratch aid" etches offered by Worsley Works.  I haven't investigated fully the possibility of a D49.  I've still to ascertain what goods trains would be, both in make-up and haulage.  If anyone has any information  regarding the trains it would be greatly appreciated if they'd be happy to share.

 

 

Best

 

Scott.

 

Corstorphine Branch.PNG

Edited by scottystitch
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On 29/10/2020 at 22:13, sulzer27jd said:

This looks like it will be of interest. Keep us up to date with progress please.

 

All the best with this project.

 

John

I'll try, John.

 

Pace won't be anything quicker than glacial, particularly as I will need to take a field trip when the situation allows.

 

I have some 9mm thick, 400mm deep ply left over from the benchwork of my garage layout, so first steps will be to form that into the frames of board 1 and 2 and then see where we get to from their. 

 

Construction of the boards, with the possible exception of 6 and 7, will be open frame.

 

So many projects, so little time.

 

Best

 

Scott.

Edited by scottystitch
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Interesting prototype. I'm sure I have read somewhere that Corstorphine would often see some pretty big engines on filling in turns out of Waverley before their runs back down South.  So potential for a few special appearances throughout the day...  Can't find the reference just now though! 

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Back in the early sixties my mother and I went to Corstorphine to visit a former colleague of my late father. Not sure of the way, she stopped and asked a policeman on the way out of Edinburgh for directions to "Cor-stor-pheen". Before directions were offered she received a very stern lecture on the correct pronunciation and was not allowed to go on her way until she had proved she could pronounce it correctly!

 

Great looking project by the way!

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42 minutes ago, FraserClarke said:

Interesting prototype. I'm sure I have read somewhere that Corstorphine would often see some pretty big engines on filling in turns out of Waverley before their runs back down South.  So potential for a few special appearances throughout the day...  Can't find the reference just now though! 

Thanks for looking in.  I have read of an A3 on a special, but wasn't aware of East Coast machines being used on a regular basis.  Interesting.

 

Best

 

Scott

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16 minutes ago, Mike_Walker said:

Back in the early sixties my mother and I went to Corstorphine to visit a former colleague of my late father. Not sure of the way, she stopped and asked a policeman on the way out of Edinburgh for directions to "Cor-stor-pheen". Before directions were offered she received a very stern lecture on the correct pronunciation and was not allowed to go on her way until she had proved she could pronounce it correctly!

 

Great looking project by the way!

 

Mike, I'm sure your mother felt otherwise, but that what a wonderful story!  Thankfully no clip round the ear?

 

Thanks for looking in.

 

Best

 

Scott.

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1 hour ago, FraserClarke said:

Interesting prototype. I'm sure I have read somewhere that Corstorphine would often see some pretty big engines on filling in turns out of Waverley before their runs back down South.  So potential for a few special appearances throughout the day...  Can't find the reference just now though! 

Interestingly, when looking at Pinkhill on Railscot, we find this:

 

https://www.railscot.co.uk/img/25/493/

 

Best

 

Scott.

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1 hour ago, scottystitch said:

Thanks for looking in.  I have read of an A3 on a special, but wasn't aware of East Coast machines being used on a regular basis.  Interesting.

 

Best

 

Scott

HI everyone,

 

Probably on a running-in turn from Haymarket.  I worked in the Murrayfield area for a while, and met a few former railwaymen who had worked trains on the line.

 

Balgreen Halt was interesting as it stood next to the E&G and Fife Lines but, from images i have seen, served the branch only.  Jenners Depository is quite a landmark to this day.

 

Regards,

 

Alex.

 

 

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5 hours ago, scottystitch said:

Interestingly, when looking at Pinkhill on Railscot, we find this:

 

https://www.railscot.co.uk/img/25/493/

 

Best

 

Scott.

 

"Scottish branch lines 1955-1965" by C.J. Gammell has a picture of A3 60060 with three on in the up platform at Corstorphine (June 1963), with a 2 car DMU in the down.  Noted as "a useful place to put an A3 out of the way". 

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16 hours ago, Alex TM said:

HI everyone,

 

Probably on a running-in turn from Haymarket.  I worked in the Murrayfield area for a while, and met a few former railwaymen who had worked trains on the line.

 

Balgreen Halt was interesting as it stood next to the E&G and Fife Lines but, from images i have seen, served the branch only.  Jenners Depository is quite a landmark to this day.

 

Regards,

 

Alex.

 

 

You are quite correct, Alex.  It was somewhat erroneous of me to describe Balgreen Halt as the "Junction" station.  It was of course nothing of the sort, merely the first station on the branch and it happened to be situated just after the branch left the alignment of the main line.  There were certainly no platforms on the E&G lines, and therefore no transfer of trains for passengers.

 

Best

 

Scott.

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16 hours ago, Alex TM said:

HI everyone,

 

Probably on a running-in turn from Haymarket.  I worked in the Murrayfield area for a while, and met a few former railwaymen who had worked trains on the line.

 

Balgreen Halt was interesting as it stood next to the E&G and Fife Lines but, from images i have seen, served the branch only.  Jenners Depository is quite a landmark to this day.

 

Regards,

 

Alex.

 

 


looking at that image again, that B1 maybe looks a bit grubby to be on a running in duty?...

 

Best

 

Scott. 

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Hi again,

 

Despite the B1's need of a polish, it is a great photo. Any idea of the date it was taken?  If it's the 60s then I am suprised it hadn't been replaced by a unit as many of the other Edinburgh suburbans had been. Perhaps my terminology is incorrect; would 'filling in turn' make more sense, or be more accurate?

 

Technicalities aside, I'm looking forward to seeing this develop.  It's good to see a model of that side of the city that's moves away from the mainline.

 

Regards,

 

Alex.

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2 hours ago, Alex TM said:

Hi again,

 

Despite the B1's need of a polish, it is a great photo. Any idea of the date it was taken?  If it's the 60s then I am suprised it hadn't been replaced by a unit as many of the other Edinburgh suburbans had been. Perhaps my terminology is incorrect; would 'filling in turn' make more sense, or be more accurate?

 

Technicalities aside, I'm looking forward to seeing this develop.  It's good to see a model of that side of the city that's moves away from the mainline.

 

Regards,

 

Alex.

Alex,

 

In no way was I being pedantic, but yes I'd suggest a filling in turn would be more likely than a running in turn in this example.

 

And yes it is a great image.

 

Best

 

Scott.

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Depends on the repair doesn't it? I doubt a relatively minor thing would automatically come with a full clean, but a quick run up and down a local branch may still have been desirable.

 

Either way, a great excuse to run anything that might have shown up at Waverley.

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11 hours ago, Zomboid said:

a quick run up and down a local branch may still have been desirable.

I agree, and if it did fail then blocking the Corstorphine branch would be a lot less of a nuisance than if it happened on the sub.  (Balerno couldn't be used due to the curvature.)  It all contributes to making this choice of line an inspired one.

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On 30/10/2020 at 10:19, scottystitch said:

Pace won't be anything quicker than glacial, particularly as I will need to take a field trip when the situation allows.

 

Do you plan on viewing this from the north looking south or from the south looking north?  I can't help with the trains that operated the line, but it's a piece of the network that I'm very familiar with since it's conversion to a footpath and a route I've walked many times this year as part of 'lockdown exercise'.  If you're looking for any current day photographs, then let me know - I can take some on my next walk.

 

I'll look forward to seeing the results even if it's not my preferred scale or time period.

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On 08/11/2020 at 21:49, Dungrange said:

 

Do you plan on viewing this from the north looking south or from the south looking north?  I can't help with the trains that operated the line, but it's a piece of the network that I'm very familiar with since it's conversion to a footpath and a route I've walked many times this year as part of 'lockdown exercise'.  If you're looking for any current day photographs, then let me know - I can take some on my next walk.

 

I'll look forward to seeing the results even if it's not my preferred scale or time period.

Hello david, thanks for popping in.

 

My inclination would be to view from the outside of the curve (i.e. from the South).  My thinking is that no matter where the viewer is, due to the curvature of the layout everyone would be abble to see what was coming/going without being blocked by another viewer.

 

Some photographs would be very welcome.  In particular I'd be interested in seeing the countour North and South of the trackbed formation, particularly around the bridge and up to the point where Traquair Park East veers South West, for starters. I'd also be interested in seeing if there was any evidence left of the footbridge at the station throat...

 

Best


Scott.

Edited by scottystitch
Clarification and typo correction.
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