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Portchullin Tatty

Glenmutchkin - Putting a Backbone into a Goods Shed

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Part 1 – Have summer house, will build……..

Much of 2012’s modelling time was devoted to the building or a summer house; at least that is what we told the planning authority it was.

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In reality, it was a better storage home for Portchullin that formerly had to be carted up two flights of stairs to the loft to live and also somewhere to get some of my “railway stuff” out of the house. At least the domestic authorities knew that it would provoke me into scheming my next layout……..
I used to spend literally hours scheming up layout plans; is it not as much fun as actually making them? But I have never had this much room – a heady 16 feet for the scenic section and, as I have arranged the summer house has a set of doors at one end, the fiddle yard can be erected for operating sessions through the door so can be in addition to this dimension. After much playing, this is what I have come up:

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I’ll explain more as to its concept in a future post, but it draws its inspiration from a couple of the Highland’s terminii so hopefully you can see a little of some fairly well known stations in the plans.  Certainly Ben Alder ought to.............

 

 

Edited by Portchullin Tatty
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Glenmutchkin: Part 2 – What’s in a name?

Glenmutchkin may well be a new name to you but it is one of the forgotten names of railway history; railway proprietors and the public alike from the late 1840’s will certainly have known of it.

We need to take ourselves back to the mid 1840’s first; at the heart of the railway mania frenzy. Parliament was awash with schemes to build railways in every worthwhile corner of the country and a fair few worthless corners too – so much so that parliament had to sit through the summer recess to consider them (could you imagine that in the 21st century?). Already some farsighted commentators were predicting that a stock market bubble was forming and this provoked The Edinburgh Magazine to publish an article lampooning the mania – How we got up the Glenmutchkin Railway and how we got out of it; written by Professor W E Aytoun.


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A period postcard of a Scottish Glen - this one is Sma Glen, a little to the north of Crieff.

 

The story concerns Messers Augustus Dunshunner and Robert McCorkindale, two Glasgow rogues who conceived their scheme over a small barrel of whisky. They concocted a plan to relieve would be investors of their money by creating a railway scheme. First they found an area of the Highlands that other railway promoters had not yet spotted (that was simple, they just made one up) and proceeded to populate it with an improbable amount of commerce and agriculture. The human population was noted as being particularly dense, with the centre at the Clachan of Inverstarve. They concluded that 4 million cattle annually needed exported down the line, the hills were covered with sheep & goats but most importantly, the glen included the most of the famous distilleries in the country. Clearly a railway company to such an important part would attract the crème of Scottish aristocracy to its board and here our promotors surpassed themselves; the preliminary board included Tavish Mctavish of Invertavish, The Laird Mhic-Mhac-Vich, The Captain of McAlcohol and The Factor of Glentumblers amongst others. The engineer, a Walter Solder’s, initial report concluded that the fourteen mile line would be simple to build with four short tunnels being the only engineering features of note. Given that Mr Solder’s previous engineering experience lay in being a gas fitter, he can perhaps be forgiven in concluding that a total of 6 miles of tunnel through Scottish mountains would be “simple to build”.

When Dunshunner and McCorkindale published their prospectus, they were not unduly surprised to find four other prospectuses in the same paper for schemes at least as outrageous as their own. Nor were they surprised to find that initial share issue to be several times oversubscribed; so they nobly sacrificed most of their holdings for hard cash. Armed with the initial subscriptions, our duo along with their company of advisors, friends and general hangers on headed to London to present their bill and oppose any that might seek to share the riches of Glenmutchkins. They fought “for three weeks the most desperate battle and might in the end have been victorious had not our last antagonist at the very close of his case pointed out no less than 73 fatal flaws in the plans presented by Solder”. Of course the opposition could have routed the Glenmutchkin line at the start, but they were just as anxious as anybody to enjoy the fleshpots of London at their shareholders expense. So all that was left for the promoters was to wind up the Glenmutchkins company and return the few pennies left of the initial subscriptions to the shareholders.

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"Simple to Build" - Glenmutchkin as it is now.  Photo from Roger Maclachlan although he probably thought he was on Rannoch Moor......

The article attracted wide attention at the time and planted the seeds for scepticism of the railway mania. Whilst the bubble will have burst anyway; the Glenmutchkin article certain pushed the crash along the way. This of course cost many people their fortunes but it also particularly hurt the highlands of Scotland. The article had been based on a scheme to open up a portion of the Highlands and even 20 years later, the promoters of railways in the Highlands found that the ghosts of Dunshunner and McCorkindale had not left the public’s consciousness.

Many of our layouts are based on “might have been schemes” – so I feel I am carry on the tradition, but with a slight twist to my “might have been”. And hey; there is all that cattle to be transported……………..

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Difinitely one worth watching, I fancy.

Looking forward to it.

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This looks like another little beauty, what period do you envisage running? I am working on another Scottish project but this time it's continious run in N, due to lack of space, it will be based loosely on Glenfinin, and will be called Glenfinick.

 

Enjoy the build and yes I am sure Richard, (Ben Alder) will be popping in here for a few looks.

 

All the best

Andy.

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Thought I was the only one with another layout in the wings-mine is 'Fearnan'-based upon a westward extension of the Aberfeldy branch terminating above Loch Tay beneath Ben Lawers

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Enjoy the build and yes I am sure Richard, (Ben Alder) will be popping in here for a few looks.

 

All the best

Andy.

 

 

Oh, he certainly will- I'll look forward to seeing this develop- just wish I had had a bit more room for my version.....

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This is going to be an interesting one to watch, especialy if the story unfolds.

 

Duncan

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Glemutchkin - Part 3: Era

 

Whilst I seem to be known in the electronic ether for my 1970’s modelling, this is not really my main interest.

 

Many years ago, I set my main era as the early years of the LMS.  Whilst I do quite like some of the LMS standard classes, it was really the sight of the Edwardian and Victorian locomotives of the Highland in the lined red pulling a rake of fully lined coaches that seduced me.  After all; who could resist something like this:

 

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or this............?

 

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Its peculiar; I would think that the 1920′s is the least modelled era after about the 1880s?  Think about it, when did you last see a model from this era?

 

My regret for this period though is the loss of the red oxide painted goods stock.  The Highland often (apparently at random as to when they would and when not) pick out the ironwork of these in black and again I am drawn to the fusion of colour that occurred as a result.  To get over this contradiction; I model in about 1925/1926.  Much of the passenger stock and locos had by then been repainted in the new corporate LMS colours but at least some of the good stock remained in the old pregroup livery.

 

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with thanks to Ray nolton and Ian Ford for the piccies

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Glenmutchkin - Part 4: Inspiration

 

Glenmutchkin’s main source of inspiration is Wick or its slightly more slimline cousin, Thurso. These are very similar in layout except for their MPD’s; where Wick’s was quite a lot larger.

 

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An overall view of Thurso in the 1970′s, with thank to Richard Oaks

 

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Wick in 1983; photograph by Peter Whatley with Creatives Commons Licence

 

However, rather than a facsimile of either (hey Ben Alder/Richard Oaks has nabbed that idea anyway!), I am proposing to use the same arrangement of MPD as at Kyle of Lochalsh’s shed area, with the access road leading to a turntable and then the shed roads coming back off this. Due to the way that the layout will sit in its home, I have had to do a mirror of the shed at Kyle but otherwise it will be the same.

 

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A rather fab photo of Kyle shed with a superheater goods (which were the mainstay of the line from about 1930 through to just after the war) on shed. It is also a fine view of the signal here – one that I wish to model. Photo with thanks to Jim Payne and available at www.throughtheireyes2.co.uk

 

All of the lines to the west coast of Scotland; both built by the Highland or any of its rival companies or projected come late in the 19th century – partly as a result of Prof Aytoun’s story that I have paraphrased in part 2. Wick and Thurso however were built rather before this and are stylistically rather different as a result. The main differences are the way that the platforms were arranged and the use of a stone built station building/train shed. However, having decided that the Glenmutchkin was much earlier than this, I felt that I could assume that the terminus was built before any of the other lines to the west coast were achieved and thus use the older style of station. In practise I have done so because I wish to model the overall roof – probably the building at Wick as its screen to the end of the train shed is very attractive.

 

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Photo of the road side of the main station building at Wick (that at Thurso is a bit smaller). Copyright held by Peter Whatley and reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence.

 

Another feature of Kyle that I will take is the overbridge splitting the station from the shed area. Being the son of a bridge engineer, I guess I need to get some proper civils into the model and the latticework is quite attractive. I will go for a single span bridge, rather than the twin span seen here at Kyle.

 

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Copyright held by Ben Brookshank and reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

 

Those cattle pens will appear at some point too!

Edited by Portchullin Tatty
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Glenmutchkin Part 5: Signalling

 

Whilst they are not without their frustrations (they are delicate for example), I was slightly surprised to have enjoyed building and using the signals as much as I did.   Therefore, Glenmutchkins will going a bit more large on signals.

 

I am assisted in that the Highland seemed to follow the trend of the pre-group companies and be fairly lavish with their signals.  Taking significant cues from my sources of inspiration, Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh, this is where I have got to with a signalling plan.

 

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As can be seen, there is a fair amount to this as I have assumed that there is a junction off scene that is signalled from the station cabin (although this is still under review) and not only is the yard signalled onto the running line but both the run around loops and the shed are both signalled.   It looks like this will be a 45 lever frame, so there is a fair amount to do……………

 

A particular signal to note is the one with arms 17,18 & 19 on it.  This is a repeater for arms 15 & 16 so directs locos coming off the yard where they are to go to.  This exact same situation existed at Kyle and in addition to being a surprising duplication between the two signals the former is that the signal is situated well up on the bank and faces fairly firmly towards the shed, not the running lines.  I do not presently have a photograph that is free of copyright to illustrate this but there are lots in the various text books; try The Highland in LMS Days or LMS Engine Sheds.

 

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Like that, great stuff but shouldn't 29 and 31 be at equal elevation as was the usual practice (elsewhere)?

 

Quite possibly! 

 

There was a very comparable signal at Aviemore which was it was going to use to base my model on so I will look at it carefully (it definately has a lower doll but it might be because it deals with the Speyside line rather than an adjacent platform).  Fortunately, i have not started that particular signal becase I need to have some etches made up.

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In the light of the complexities that I have found in developing a simple test scheme for the interlocking that I have in mind for Glenmutchkin, I think some simplification is likely to be in order.................  therefore I have done away with the junction, reasoning that it was controlled by a seperate box a bit like Fort William/Mallaig Junction.

 

Hence the revised scheme (rotated to match the signalman's view which incidently will be the operators side) is thus:

 

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I have improved the numbering a bit, in the light of the education I am having here.

 

Two queries, for those signallers amongst you:

 

- as I have to shunt ahead arms (no 33 & 32) to permit shunt moves to enter the main line block section, should I also not have an outer home to protect the shunt move?  I have not seen a Highland signalling plan that did have one, but I have seen several stations that had these shunt ahead arms but can you have one without the other?

 

- should I not have some protection at 25 to permit shunt moves that only use the loop but prohibit moves that cross the running line into the platform/bay - a double shunt signal?

Edited by Portchullin Tatty
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In the light of the complexities that I have found in developing a simple test scheme for the interlocking that I have in mind for Glenmutchkin, I think some simplification is likely to be in order.................  therefore I have done away with the junction, reasoning that it was controlled by a seperate box a bit like Fort William/Mallaig Junction.

 

Hence the revised scheme (rotated to match the signalman's view which incidently will be the operators side) is thus:

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/public/style_images/master/attachicon.gifGlenmutchkin Signalling Plan.jpg

 

I have improved the numbering a bit, in the light of the education I am having here.

 

Two queries, for those signallers amongst you:

 

- as I have to shunt ahead arms (no 33 & 32) to permit shunt moves to enter the main line block section, should I also not have an outer home to protect the shunt move?  I have not seen a Highland signalling plan that did have one, but I have seen several stations that had these shunt ahead arms but can you have one without the other?

 

- should I not have some protection at 25 to permit shunt moves that only use the loop but prohibit moves that cross the running line into the platform/bay - a double shunt signal?

I don't know anything at all about Highland Railway signalling regulations although I'm sure the basics were very much to the normal pattern  However shunting onto single line sections did vary - even into BR days - between Companies/Regions.  However having said that I would think there is nothing too unusual about having a shunt signal which does not read to an Advance Starter, it's all a matter of how it's used and that's where the regulations come in.

 

You definitely need something at the toe of 25 in the loop - I would think a full size signal with two miniature miniature semaphore (bow-tie in the case of the HR) arms would be appropriate for sighting reasons.

Edited by The Stationmaster

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Mike,

 

You would do this and not put a signal at the toe of trap #6 at the end of the loop then?  Or have I misread 30 to 33 then?  30 & 33 apply to the main line and 31 & 32 to the loop?  If the this is true, I now realise why I have become confused and probably confused others as well...  https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_scratch_one-s_head.gif

Paul,

 

I read 31 & 32 as applying to the loop (but not arranged in the best possible way for someone of a Western background to understand I would rapidly agree ;) .

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Thanks for the replies and the response on the two questions make sense.

 

I quite like the idea of having an outer home; it makes sense to me that it permits one train to occupy a block section whilst permitting a shunt move behind the outer home to occur safely.  In reality, the signal would not be modelled but it may be useful as a means to communicate to the fiddle yard that a shunt is about to come into their zone - hence I have decided (for the moment anyway!) to add it in.

 

I can also see the merit of a signal controlling the entrance to the loco shed.  Consulting the Kyle signal diagram applicable at the line's construction (below, with thanks to David Stirling - if you want to see the 1949 signalling layout then you can go here), it is clear that there was a control from the gantry for the move across the running line to the shed.  Hence I will take The Stationmaster's suggestion of a double skeleton arm on a post (I have already made one for 14, 15 and may substitute a double ground signal in this location freeing it up).

 

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Looking harder at the Kyle diagram leads me to realise that I had been wrong about the purpose of the signal up on the bank; it did in fact control the routing of trains coming off the mainline into the platforms or run around loops.  Given that my 3, 4 & 5 does this, I will let this signal go (which is a shame as it is very perculiarly located well up on a bank).

 

As The Stationmaster says, the second doll of the signal by the end of the run around loop was intended to control movements from this loop; either a shunt movement or a goods train starting off from the loop.  It should thus deal with the need for a shunt signal at this location.  Would this be better sited in the 6 foot if I can get it in?

 

So, the now much revised (and squeezed down to 35 levers) plan is thus:

 

post-7769-0-70904900-1364828709.jpg

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I doubt on a standard 6 foot that you would get that bracket into it Mark.  I know you have already looked fairly closely at HR practice in al sorts of areas and I reckon that if you have seen or can find a pic which mirrors the way you intend to do the job you are home & dry and can carry on - but it might need to be quite tall to provide decent sighting over a train etc standing in the loop.

 

The matter of an Outer Home is an interesting one.  I don't know what the Highland used as the Clearing Point at a single line terminus such as the one you're planning but it might be worth researching (I expect there's a copy of the HR Signalling Regulations at Kew, hopefully) but as it stands at the moment accepting a train would as a minimum require inevitably crossover 20 standing normal and 8 either normal or reverse.  I doubt acceptance would be permitted with 8 and 11 reversed although it might well be permitted with 5 reverse.  If an Outer Home was provided at the requisite distance in rear of the Home Signals (3/4/5) acceptance would require the line to be clear to those signals - the question then is how common were Outer Home Signals on the HR?

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Mark,

 

I love the lined red HR locos.  Do you have anymore you could post? And yes, it is another era neglected by modellers.  Indeed, few modellers seem to model an era before they were born.  I model those grey years just after WW2, in the first months after nationalisation with the mix of liveries.  Again an era not often seen.  It was the decade before I was born, so it is all based on research, which I enjoy.

 

A question about you revised diagram Mk3; what route does #33 refer to?

 

At present I have no more in lined red I am afraid but I am working on a couple so keep an eye out!  I do have a few more in various guises of black though which I will plonk up on the thread at some point.  The 1920's are a little before I was born so it is all as a result of what I imagine or have researched it might be!

 

No 33 is a shunt ahead from the loop into the block section.

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I doubt on a standard 6 foot that you would get that bracket into it Mark.  I know you have already looked fairly closely at HR practice in al sorts of areas and I reckon that if you have seen or can find a pic which mirrors the way you intend to do the job you are home & dry and can carry on - but it might need to be quite tall to provide decent sighting over a train etc standing in the loop.

 

The matter of an Outer Home is an interesting one.  I don't know what the Highland used as the Clearing Point at a single line terminus such as the one you're planning but it might be worth researching (I expect there's a copy of the HR Signalling Regulations at Kew, hopefully) but as it stands at the moment accepting a train would as a minimum require inevitably crossover 20 standing normal and 8 either normal or reverse.  I doubt acceptance would be permitted with 8 and 11 reversed although it might well be permitted with 5 reverse.  If an Outer Home was provided at the requisite distance in rear of the Home Signals (3/4/5) acceptance would require the line to be clear to those signals - the question then is how common were Outer Home Signals on the HR?

 

Noted re the 6 foot and I am not surprised (and releved as the two lines are closing in on each other coming up to a B12 turnout and in practise I fear the signal may have needed to be quite a long way back from the turnout. 

 

In fairness I don't think that the HR used outer homes much; at Inverness and Perth there were multiple boxes so there were in practise several block sections close to the station.  The obvious stations that would have had them would have been Aviemore and Blair Atholl; both will have had a lot of shunt moves (Blair Atholl provided bankers for the big hill and the shed entrance was at the extremity of the station).  I will see what I can find in terms of signal diagrams and this is only a maybe signal.

 

In practise nos 26 & 51 of the Kyle plan were about 100 yards back from the loop.  There would not have been room to shunt a train behind this but there would have been plenty to get a loco through.  I am a little doubtful that this would occur as you could generally do the same via the loco yard.

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No 33 is a shunt ahead from the loop into the block section.

Don't you mean 23? (and what is the purpose of 33 - surely it should be the other side of the main doll to read towards the loco shed)?

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Don't you mean 23? (and what is the purpose of 33 - surely it should be the other side of the main doll to read towards the loco shed)?

 

Sorry for the delay in coming back.

 

i did indeed give the description of what 23 does, not 33.  No 33 controls the shunt move from the main platform into the loco yard.

 

I can see The Stationmaster's point that it should be to the RHS of no 35.  However, (I think) that the precedent for this signal - at the north end of Aviemore - is symetrical like this and would appear to control a similar situation.  Thus I am going to look harder at the precedent before giving in!  However, it is not built yet, so it can go either way!

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Cutting the First Sod

Tomorrow should be a big day for Glenmutchkin, because if my brother remembers we will be cutting the first sod of the layout building.

Now all good railway lines start with a ceremonial cutting of the first sod by the Duchess of something or other; typically with a nice silver spade and after which everybody retires to the local hostelry for a fine dinner…………….whilst the navvies start the really hard work. Well we probably will little different but let us presume that Tavish Mctavish of Invertavish could not find his silver spade, so will be using one from his shed like this........
 

post-7769-0-05788200-1382735773.jpg

 

More seriously, as long as he does not get blown away in the forecast storms, my brother will be bringing his welding kit over with him, so we can make a start on the big chunky bits of the layout.

Welding kit……………on a model railway; am I going crazy? You’ll have to come back to find out!

 

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I wished to use builder’s trestles for the supports for Glenmutchkin as they fold down, are very sturdy and durable (and are fairly cheap).  But, I also wished to go for a fairly full depth on the layout and they only come in the one depth (about 26 inches).  This meant I needed to cut and shut them, to make them into a "stretch trestle".

 

Fortunately, my father in law was over at the weekend, and he has had 40 years in the motor trade so could tell us a thing or two about how to cut and shut (sorry Bernard!).   So, coupled with my brother and his welder, we have managed to cut and shut the first three trestles (the others do not need the same treatment).

 

Here is my brother James hard at work on the smaller of the three.

 

post-7769-0-65768800-1382806942.jpg

 

I need to sort out a better means of storing Portchullin’s lighting pelmets.  One of the lessons I have learnt from Portchullin is that it has too many odd shapes and insufficient thought on how it should be stored/transported.

 

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