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Far North Line Traffic?


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Hi All

 

I have loosely put some OO Peco Code 100 track onto a 6'x1' board to represent a fictitious terminus off the Far North Line taking cues from the track layouts of Wick and Thurso stations.

 

I want to model it as late 1960's but with the option to run more modern stock. I have a general feel as to what ran up the Far North line around this period (generally BR Type 2's with passenger and mixed freights).

 

Were there any unusual loco types noted at the top end of the line (Georgemas Junction area) to feed some artistic/poetic licence between these time periods? Images that have come up through typical Google searches reveal the more usual stuff as already mentioned plus the ubiquitous 37's in the 1980's but I did see a pic of a 47 in the mid 80's at Wick...

 

So if I may put these posers to you:

  1. When did 37's start to use the line (presume early 1980's)?
  2. Did any first generation DMU's use the line? I have seen images of 122's and 120's at Inverness during the 1970's but that seems to be about it.
  3. Were there any restrictions on the loco types that could use the line (axle weight issues etc)? The largest/heaviest loco I have seen images of during the suggested time period is the 47 I have mentioned above...

As for rolling stock, due to the size of the layout and to try and keep train-to-scenery proportions visually comfortable, consists will be short (i.e. 2 coach portions of larger passenger formations, random mixed vacuum braked freights). I will probably consider block freights (timber, oil, fish vans) but again these will be short (roughly 6 to 8 wagons). Mixed passenger/freight/mail trains could also feature!

 

Thanks for any thoughts/observations/input you can give!

 

Alex

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Class 24's and 26's are the staple diet until the 37's started appearing in the early eighties, with a rare Class 40 showing to Invergordon now and then- motive power variety was almost non existent in this period, and bar a trial run of a class1??- deemed unsuitable for such a length of journey- DMU's are off as well. Of course, modelling licence can sort out such technicalities at a stroke, but weight restrictions on the northern stretches and the Kyle line barred bigger engines. As an aside, I have a ScR engine availability book from 1963, which allows the BR 9F to travel on the Far North line, but not the Kyle one. There's a modelling scenario for someone......

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I imagine that's to do with overall weights versus axle weights. A 9F is heavy, but not particularly so in terms of axle load, from memory. The top end of the FNL is supposedly the more fragile, but the Kyle line may have structures where overall load being placed on the structure is the primary limitation.

 

If it's late 60s it's 24/1s and some 26s. The Derby Sulzers website can help with allocation patterns.

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Hi all

 

The far North Line has some dodgy trackwork in various places!!!! as for traffic in your time period remember the oil depot at Larig which did and still does

get just a handfull of TTA tank wagons 6 to 8 wagons so this traffic would be perfect for your layout

 

kind regards

 

Dave

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  • RMweb Gold

There are quite a lot of photos of the line in the 70s on my flickr site, in the set "Highland Railway Inverness toThurso".

 

They are at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidwf2009/collections/72157626357373314/

 

I'd also recommend Ernie Brack's photos in several sets at:

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/irishswissernie/collections/72157626439675261/

 

Hope they are some use.

 

David

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Thanks everyone.

 

Dave - it's your flippin photos that gave me a grand old portion of inspiration! I looked at your flickriver site a few weeks back. Some really nice atmospheric shots of trains in nature! I'll check out the other link soon.

 

I'm actually reading up on the GNSR and the branches that once flowed to the far flung destinations along the coast. At least then I can possibly justify more choice of motive power, stock and workings at reduced/compressed lengths!

 

Thanks again.

 

Alex

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When it comes to freight traffic, I think you can discount the idea of timber traffic until the back end of the 1980s- the only timber traffic in Scotland from the 1960s until then had been the Crianlarich- Corpach pulp wood traffic. What you might have had, apart from mixed goods in vans, and domestic coal, were materials trains in conjunction with the construction of Douneray.

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Was there not some freightliner traffic at one point that was being tagged onto passenger workings?

 

Angus

Yes- this was at some point during the 1980s. Some Freightliner flats were fitted with drawgear at both ends and vacuum and steam through pipes; they worked as far as Inverness as part of normal air-braked freights (from Aberdeen, I believe), then were coupled to a passenger train for the Far North. The passenger stock was still steam-heated and vacuum-braked, hence the need for the through pipes.

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I found this in my "files" while looking for something else the other night- taken at Wick in 1971. I don't know any details of type of traffic or duration of this type of flow, but it offers some scope for modelling. The only likely outward source of traffic would be from the local distillery, as the declining fish trade was carried in Insulfishes by this time.

 

post-2642-0-39384800-1336253083_thumb.jpg

 

Sorry for the poor quality of the picture- it was probably taken on an Instamatic.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi!

 

Far north line motive power in the 70s was quite varied :

  • Class 20s working in pairs to Invergordon with block trains of alumina wagons for the smelter.
  • The usual mix of 24/26 on passenger / freight work. Pairs of 24s /26s or a combination thereof were used on pipe traffic from Invergordon to Maud (on the Fraserburgh branch).
  • Class 37s weren't too frequent until the early 80s
  • Class 40s were frequent visitors, again only as far (normally) as Invergordon on general freight including air braked services. One regular service north of Inverness being the bulk grain train from Doncaster to Muir of Ord.
  • Class 47s often went to Invergordon on general freight including air braked services. 47546 went to Wick with a Merrymaker tour...not sure which year though!

Class 27s only ventured north when Inverness got an allocation in 1981.

 

Stock used on the line was Mk1s with various NPCCS vehicles from the SR/LMS and LNER as well as BR CCTs and GUVs. A typical far north service being TSO+CK+TSO+BG (Thurso portion)+RMB+BCK/BSO (Wick portion). Added to this were three/four BGs off the overnight from Edinburgh/Glasgow with through GPO/Red Star/Newspaper traffic which went on the first north train from Inverness and returned on both the mid-day and late afternoon departures from Wick/Thurso.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Cheers Graeme

 

PS the layout of Cairnie Junction on the GNSR around 1960 - closure appeals for a project one day....... lots of Craven DMUs, Mk1 stock, 20s, 24s, 26s, 29s and 40s with an interesting trackplan too!

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  • 2 months later...

I found this in my "files" while looking for something else the other night- taken at Wick in 1971. I don't know any details of type of traffic or duration of this type of flow, but it offers some scope for modelling. The only likely outward source of traffic would be from the local distillery, as the declining fish trade was carried in Insulfishes by this time.

 

post-2642-0-39384800-1336253083_thumb.jpg

 

Sorry for the poor quality of the picture- it was probably taken on an Instamatic.

 

These ex Speedfreight containers were used in whisky traffic. The CLV numbering continued in use on subsequent wagons, such as VAAs, used in this traffic. I've never thought of a sensible explanation of what CLV stood for. The conflat As were modified for Speedfreight containers.

 

Paul Bartlett

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I've never thought of a sensible explanation of what CLV stood for.

Paul Bartlett

 

that rang a bell... in "Rail Freight in Moray", a short book published locally in 2000, author Ron Smith discusses whisky traffic and gives CLV variously as "Crown Lock Vehicle" and "Crown Lock Van": he states it was a Customs & Excise number. The book has a photo of a 30-foot container CL351113, which also carries CLV 44237.

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that rang a bell... in "Rail Freight in Moray", a short book published locally in 2000, author Ron Smith discusses whisky traffic and gives CLV variously as "Crown Lock Vehicle" and "Crown Lock Van": he states it was a Customs & Excise number. The book has a photo of a 30-foot container CL351113, which also carries CLV 44237.

 

Dear Graham

 

Thanks very much. I had understood it was to do with customs bonding or similar and your explanation appears to confirm this. This VDA has the number http://PaulBartlett.zenfolio.com/brvda/e2226f10f and these Palvans http://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/johnniewalkerpalvan

 

Paul Bartlett

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The following were the booked down workings out of Inverness for winter 1969/70, taken from the WTT for the period (booked power in brackets)

 

6 05.32 Inverness Yard - Kyle of Lochalsh (2 x 24)

7 06.18 SO Inverness Yard - Lairg (24)

7 06.42 SX Inverness Yard - Wick (24)

6 07.11 MXQ Inverness Yard - Lairg (37) (23.10 SX from Bowling)

6S43 07.46 MWOQ Rose Street - Muir of Ord (40) (14.35 TO / 14.15 SO from Doncaster)

7 08,23 SX Inverness Yard - Lairg (24)

7 10.53 SX Inverness Yard - Invergordon Distillery (24)

 

Obviously there were corresponding up workings and I can give details of these if anyone wants them.

 

Bill

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  • 2 months later...

Hi All

 

I have loosely put some OO Peco Code 100 track onto a 6'x1' board to represent a fictitious terminus off the Far North Line taking cues from the track layouts of Wick and Thurso stations.

 

I want to model it as late 1960's but with the option to run more modern stock. I have a general feel as to what ran up the Far North line around this period (generally BR Type 2's with passenger and mixed freights).

 

Were there any unusual loco types noted at the top end of the line (Georgemas Junction area) to feed some artistic/poetic licence between these time periods? Images that have come up through typical Google searches reveal the more usual stuff as already mentioned plus the ubiquitous 37's in the 1980's but I did see a pic of a 47 in the mid 80's at Wick...

 

So if I may put these posers to you:

  1. When did 37's start to use the line (presume early 1980's)?
  2. Did any first generation DMU's use the line? I have seen images of 122's and 120's at Inverness during the 1970's but that seems to be about it.
  3. Were there any restrictions on the loco types that could use the line (axle weight issues etc)? The largest/heaviest loco I have seen images of during the suggested time period is the 47 I have mentioned above...

As for rolling stock, due to the size of the layout and to try and keep train-to-scenery proportions visually comfortable, consists will be short (i.e. 2 coach portions of larger passenger formations, random mixed vacuum braked freights). I will probably consider block freights (timber, oil, fish vans) but again these will be short (roughly 6 to 8 wagons). Mixed passenger/freight/mail trains could also feature!

 

Thanks for any thoughts/observations/input you can give!

 

Alex

 

Hi there The Highland Railway Society's new book Inverness & Ross-shire Railway book has a superb 1958 photo at Tain of Brush Type 2 D5511 n/b on a trial train. do not know how far north it went. The opposite pages shows English Electric Type 1 D8053 in plain green arriving at Dingwall.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all

 

I have come back to this possible prototype although my mind still feels deeper in the GNSR area as opposed to the far north.

 

I was up in the loft messing about with track to see what plan could work. If I decide to go GNSR (Elgin area maybe) I will probably keep the diesel stock in small numbers (i.e. a shunter and a couple of Type 2's) and perhaps model the layout to accommodate end of steam. I've already got my eye on a Bachmann Compound (seen pics of 2P's in the Aberdeen area in the early 60's...). A Class 29 may also be a worthy purchase - have seen a nice atmospheric pic of a blue one at Inverurie: http://www.derbysulzers.com/6108inverurie.jpg

 

Thanks for all the thoughts and views so far!

 

Alex

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  • 11 months later...

Hi all, hope this is some interest. I came to caithness in 84 and was in Wick several days a week for many years. The container traffic mentioned by AngusDe was going and kept on till the summer of 85. There was a lorry mounted crane parked in the goods yard to handle it. Then for the next ten years the only goods traffic I recall was one train of pipes for what is now the Subsea7 yard at Wester, and one or two trains of UK fertiliser vans and open wagons. I also recall hearing that some old cars for a rally setting off from John o Groats had come to Thurso by train. The bay platform there has a decaying ramp which could have been used for unloading motorail vans.

In 95 transrail hauled enterprise services began. Timber trains left both Wick and Thurso, coal came in containers, scrap went out, and a daily Safeway container train ran to Georgemas, also vans taking materials in and freezers out for the factory in Castletown. I remember a train coming up from Wales to Thurso with large prefabricated concrete culvert sections. Cargowaggons came down to Thurso with building materials for a merchants there. That finished in 2004 and the freezer and Safeway train finished about 2005 I think. However since the mid nineties Subsea7 has continued to intermittently take in its big yellow pipes from Hartlepool to Georgemas and we now have DRS 37s on nuclear waste trains. Unfortunately the redevelopment to allow for that has involved the removal,of the old HR footbridge.

These observations cover a later period than the original post was asking about but a trainload of veteran cars could happen anytime !

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  • 1 year later...

Just for interest maybe this is one of the buses which provide a sort of connection from the John O Groats area to Wick railway station. Unfortunately today it is heading behind the tow wagon to the depot which used to be beside the station but is now across the river in the airport industrial estate. The High School pupils aboard felt the bus getting hot, warned the driver and all exited safely at Reiss, three miles north of Wick. Photo credit - Lucy Aitken.post-21198-0-28040000-1421084996_thumb.jpg

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  • RMweb Gold

You may wish to try and get a copy of an old DVD called "A Highland Railway Journey". I obtained my copy from Railway Recollections via Amazon. From memory the footage dates from 1966?.

 

On the Perth to Inverness section there is mostly class 26s, but there is also a few 25s on freight workings both north and south. I cannot remember what was north of Inverness as the Highland Line was my main concern. I can dig it out again and have a look for you.........

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  • 3 years later...

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