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Macduff - the final days


Saddletank

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Evening all,

 

Ive been struggling the last couple of months to make a start in the hobby, Ive posted 2 threads already about layouts I had in mind but for one reason or another they never got off the ground - probably the biggest reason being that I tried to do too much and felt overwhelmed, but also because the space I have to work in shrank and would have compromised the designs I had planned. I still have at least one on the backburner for another time, but need something more manageable to start off with.

 

Im going with Macduff (and sticking with N gauge), it might be a popular subject and have been modelled before but I like it, and with a good bit of compression it can be made into a compact end to end. Its got plenty going on, with single platform, fish dock, cattle dock, goods shed, engine shed and turntable. Only problem is I wanted to run it in the 70s/80s, after its closure and certainly beyond normal use for most of those facilities! It might take a bit of storytelling to position it as either in preservation, as an alternate history of local freight handling, or just with those facilities derelict. Or I might just have to grow a pair and move to BR green era with death throes of steam!

 

Track plan as below, it should allow a generous amount of storage within the 1.7x0.6m footprint, to allow a variety of fish, cattle, general goods and passenger stock to be stored and turned without resorting to handraulic action. Importantly, I will be able to build and store this entire layout with fiddle yard on one easily storeable and transportable board, which should make it less of a pain to set up when wanted, therefore more likely to be used. I had originally wanted roundy - roundy action but in retrospect this will probably be more engaging to operate. Easi-shunt couplings will be used to allow on scene shunting.

 

The platform can take about 4 coaches + loco, with enough room to run round them too. The end of the platform is inside the station building (as opposed to just under a canopy) for protection from the elements, as per prototype. One cattle siding has been ommitted, I didnt feel it necessary to include two. The building labelled as coal turns out to be a water tower, not sure where the coal lives but theres piles of something the other side of the track to it in one photo. The scenic break to fiddle yard will be by a sloped road bridge, not to prototype but it shouldnt look too out of place.  Anyway, enough of my babbling - enjoy!

 

post-17437-0-59275500-1357338791_thumb.png

 

http://www.railbrit.co.uk/imageenlarge/imagecomplete.php?id=7396

 

http://maps.nls.uk/os/25inch-2nd-and-later/view/?jp2=82870071#jp2=82870071&zoom=5&lat=3245.40011&lon=3358.95006&layers=BT

 

 

Saddletank

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Looks good Saddletank. I like the location you've considered and the plan looks suitably Scots terminusy. I'm looking at a possible Scottish theme for my layout (have been for about 3 years!) but not sure if it should be GNSR or Highland/Caledonian based, plus I would like to model a varied period to incorporate end of steam and the first blue diesels. I guess if you modelled mid to late 60's you would incorporate BR traffic (mixed passenger and goods) rather than have to rely on preservation type operations.

 

Will keep a look-out on this one.

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I think you have it right, leaving the modelling open to a change in period. Im not really that interested in steam (sorry!) but it was part and parcel of this station so I couldnt omit it. Suppose it could look near-derelict to support the occasional visit from steam power.

 

I dont know when cattle and fish traffic would have naturally been discontinued from this area had the station remained open, so theres that question to be figured out yet too.

 

I could be cheeky and weave in some different industries instead, perhaps keep the fish, and swap cattle for some sort of manufactured commodity - maybe in support of the oil industry in Aberdeen some large things were either made or transported here. Oil pipelines or subsea valves or something? The roads being as they are up this way, it could still be justifiable to shift bulk goods by rail if there were still lines laid!

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Hi Saddletank,

 

I like the more restrained approach as your plans mature! I'm another of the many who see possibilities for Macduff, though despite years of wishful thinking all I've achieved so far is to build the baseboards. Maybe 2013 will be the year ...

 

Regarding your questions - Macduff's fish traffic died down steadily after WW1 as larger boats landed catches at Fraserburgh and Aberdeen. 1950s photos show a fair number of ex-LMS and BR fish vans in sidings but there were no "fish specials" and the daily goods was usually fairly short - six to eight vehicles. There was little cattle traffic out of Macduff: Turriff (further down the branch), with its mart, was where most livestock traffic originated. On the other hand there was incoming traffic in sundries (the siding extension you show through the goods shed was shortened by the 1950s with a concrete store on pillars for incoming dry goods such as groceries) and domestic coal, which was dealt with in the siding you've omitted parallel to the loading bank, moved straight from open wagons into traders' lorries or carts. The major traffic you've not mentioned was fuel oil for road vehicles, farm tractors, and fishing boats - Gleaner Oils had a storage depot below the station and several tank wagons a week were unloaded by gravity from the hill siding (the one you've represented as a short headshunt next the overbridge/scenic break). The oil traffic was profitable, and was the only one which gave management pause for thought when cost-justifying closure of the branch beyond Turriff in 1961.

 

The shed was only provided to stable a loco overnight to work the early Aberdeen service, and closed promptly when the passenger service ended in 1951. There was a small coaling platform cut into the slope on the turntable side of the water tank, but tenders were usually topped up directly from an open wagon standing on the seaward shed road. Locos would leave Kittybrewster with a full tender and would not have used it all before returning. As you say, photos show piles of coal on the ground next the shed headshunt in goods-only days, but I find it hard to believe this was for loco purposes, since it would have to be manually handled fifteen feet up and over the tender edge  - I think it's more likely to have been for heating the station offices. Anyway the point is that only the turntable, water and coal facilities were used in goods-only days, not the shed.

 

In your diesel scenario the whole lot would be redundant, and it's a fair chunk of your layout. But you're right that the stone-built shed is a very distinctive part of the scene ... maybe you could keep it housing a rail-served engineering business, for the oil industry as you suggest, or for boatbuilding and repair which still thrives at Macduff today (indeed the station building and loco shed survive thanks to use for a fishing net business). Or a bonded store/loading facility for malt whisky from the Macduff distillery, a 1961 new-build about a mile and half away ... most of its output was for blending at Central Belt whisky firms and would move south by container on four-wheel longwheelbase wagons in the 1980s. The nice thing about tanks and containers at a terminus is that the wagon look the same loaded or unloaded, unlike domestic coal ...

 

One final thought - on the prototype, the rounding crossover at the bufferstop end of the platform was mostly outside the train shed. If you model the train shed as long as you've shown it, you might want to make the roof removable so you can clean the track and recover errant stock without risking damage.

 

Keep us updated!

 

cheers

Graham

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Wow Graham!

 

You've been doing your homework, I just cracked on with the planning software because I wanted a small terminus! This is a huge help and I will have to take some things into consideration. I did wonder how much traffic actually remained at closure, if I were to place this even in BR green era then it would still have to appear mostly empty, which is a shame.

 

I worked mostly from the OS map and a couple of photos in a book, one of which showed an oil tank in at siding so I now know what it was there for. The map doesn't show any of the crossover outside the shed, was the shed longer at one point or was the crossover added later and running around conducted by gravity shunting initially?

 

I think the only way out of the problem of little traffic is at this point to don the rose tinted specs and dream of what might have been...

 

Thanks again for the invaluable info,

 

Saddletank

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Great information from Graham. I know where to go if I have any questions on the area!

 

Notwithstanding the what-actually-happened scenarios, I think the relevant point is the presence of infrastructure and buildings. As to when the freight operations ceased is down to how you decide to operate the layout. Extending fish, coal, commodity operations another 10 or 15 years could easily be plausable especially if you are operating the layout for your own satisfaction and pleasure (subject to appropriate use of stock). However, if you are showing it to the public then you may need to be prepared to deal with testing questions at exhibitions! In my view there is nothing wrong with what if scenarios and a bit of fiction to make things fit!

 

Enjoy!

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Hi Saddletank

 

The Station plan looks good and has a lot of potential for operation. If you don't mind me saying, the fiddleyard side looks a bit over-engineered and with 10 points it will be costly costly to build. A possible alternative would be to have a scenic run to either cassettes, or maybe a traverser.

 

I hope you don't mind my thoughts.

 

Nigel

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Wow Graham!

 

You've been doing your homework, I just cracked on with the planning software because I wanted a small terminus! This is a huge help and I will have to take some things into consideration. I did wonder how much traffic actually remained at closure, if I were to place this even in BR green era then it would still have to appear mostly empty, which is a shame.

 

I worked mostly from the OS map and a couple of photos in a book, one of which showed an oil tank in at siding so I now know what it was there for. The map doesn't show any of the crossover outside the shed, was the shed longer at one point or was the crossover added later and running around conducted by gravity shunting initially?

 

I think the only way out of the problem of little traffic is at this point to don the rose tinted specs and dream of what might have been...

 

Thanks again for the invaluable info,

 

Saddletank

 

Hi,

 

The 1929 OS 25" map has a couple of inaccuracies - the goods shed siding came off the loop, not the yard siding, and the crossover is not shown. This photo shows "Gordon Highlander" on the crossover rounding a railtour ...  as you can see it was entirely in the open. The crossover was always there - the station yard was on the level, so no gravity shunting.

 

But don't get hung up on the history ... you're right, get the rose-tinted glasses on and get cracking! You could postulate an MoD facility somewhere off-stage as a reason for the branch's survival into the 1980s... in fact I think there was a fuel store siding near Turriff around WW2 ... or an offstage maltings, such as at Burghead, to bring in trains of grain wagons (but not behind a class 40 - the branch was too light and too many sharp curves! ... one of those lovely Dapol 26s is just the job.)

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Hi everyone, thanks for the advice again.

 

I think Im going with the 'ignore history and do what I like' option, keep the line open and start changing uses of facilities.

 

The former cattle sidings and dock will become an unloading facility for oil pipe with overhead crane, on the assumption that Macduff supported the oil industry more heavily and was more appropriate position to assemble pipelines. I fly over the Subsea7 pipeline assembly facility at Westerloch, north of Wick, every couple of weeks. Basically it seems to be a very long, very straight length of track (on Google Maps Streetview it looks more like specialised runners than normal rail track) with road alongside, terminating on the shore at a couple of large warehouses where presumably the lengths are screwed together then pushed inland until the whole contraption is together, then towed out to sea.

 

I wouldnt model the construction facility, just the offloading point. The second cattle road track has been reinstated but the goods shed cant be justified in the modern age and will prob be derelict.

 

The former fish bay will now be a dedicated siding for fuel oil offloading, it might need fenced off from the passenger platform. The passenger services will be loco hauled, 3-4 coaches at most, so the loop will be kept intact. I should move the crossover out of the shed but as the layout is still heavily compressed it may remain at least part covered.

 

Still trying to find an excuse to keep the loco shed, I can accept the facilities will be unused in the diesel age, but Id like to keep rails into the shed. The only thing I can think of is a processing plant for frozen fish with one track in the shed, with the other track lost beneath an extension and road unloading dock extended from the old cattle dock. The shed would still be accessed via the headshunt, albeit moved to accommodate the extended fish facilities. The water tower would remain derelict in place, but the turntable would be lost to the extended roadway

 

What might have been, eh?

 

post-17437-0-44933100-1357397588_thumb.png

 

I agree Nigel, I keep overdesigning fiddle yards. I like the idea of not having to intervene by touching trains or traversers to move them about. Ive scaled it back and this should still be enough to support a bit of variety.

 

Alex, I know if I exhibited then I would have to endure the pedantic rivet-counter types. If I used the term: 'Its my trainset and Ill play with it as i like!'. that should disperse most of them tut-tutting!!

 

Graham, from the start, Ive had my eye on 26s and 27s, maybe 24/25s too, I like 47s but that might be overkill on such a small branch!

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Robbie

 

Have you thought of backdating your project to the late 60's/ early 70's, ie pre TOPS

 

A mix of traffics and motive power otherwise lost pre 80's together with a mix of green/blue diesels and maroon/BG coaching stock?

 

Just a thought! 

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I believe pipes for the oil industry were a major traffic in the 1970s - they were certainly well photographed in magazines of the period. There's plenty of siding space in your second plan and it would certainly locate the layout in time. You'd need to like bogie bolsters though.

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Don't forget that Banff existed as a goods only station until May1968 and photos are published in George O'Hara's 'Diesel Traction In Scotland' book-a must have! 

One of those pictures so very nearly convinced me to go all Scottish! At this station of course and in the pre TOPS era to boot!

It was not to be for me but I wish you all the best and will enjoy seeing your progress.

Best,

John E.

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One of those pictures so very nearly convinced me to go all Scottish! At this station of course and in the pre TOPS era to boot!

It was not to be for me but I wish you all the best and will enjoy seeing your progress.

Best,

John E.

We'll catch you next time John! :declare:

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Its amazing how similar your idea is to the one Ive been working on for a few years now. I have to admit rather ashamedly you appear to be further on than me. I keep getting side tracked by trying to fit other features into a plan Im happy with and then wrecking it!

I fell in love with the station at Thurso after going there en route to the Orkneys a few years back. It has a track plan that was just crying out to be modelled. After several plans working based on Thurso, I stumbled across a lovely little layout on this forum called Albannach, which is based on Macduff (I recommend Albannach to you to give a bit of inspiration) The trackplan for Macduff is similar to Thurso but the way the depot/ turntable fits the location was what really suited into my ideas so well. I love the photo of Macduff with the Turntable butting up to the loading bay!

My chosen era for this layout is the moden era and I have also considered Oil and Pipes as the main freight commodities. Being as part of the EWS era it will also have an 'enterprise service' similar to the one that served Georgemas. I will probably have to leave the turntable out but have considered leaving it in place as a derelict site, which hasnt been removed due to the arguments about whether it should be maintained with the possibility of a regular steam service (ala the Jacobite) on the line. 

I can imagine your layout being stocked very similarly to Kyle of Tongue (the layout that first attracted me to Scottish modelling and is still one of my favourites so many years later) with tradition vans and coal wagons giving a glimpse of the past whilst the pipes come in on more up to date bogie wagons. A 24/25 or 26 on a rake of mk1s with a parcel van shunted into the bay from the morning service and hardly any passengers to be seen!.

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Hi, thanks for the tips guys!

 

Sounds like we do have similar ideas about this station, it's pretty much perfect and small as well. I am still being torn between modelling this and my original idea of a distillery branch, but neither is going to progress for a few weeks yet as I work away quite a lot.

 

I thought the industries fitted reasonably well, maybe a little shoehorned in considering the size of the harbour but enjoyable as a model nonetheless. The image of a 26 and handful of mk1s badly underused is irresistible!

 

I have used railbrit quite a lot to get a sense of place, also a book called Scottish branch lines. I've been urged to get a copy of BR Diesel Traction in Scotland, but at £40 secondhand on amazon, I think I can wait!

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I agree with you on the price of the book. Just keep an eye on ebay - one's bound to pop up.

 

I've just bought the following to try and keep me on the straight and narrow:

 

British Railway Pictorial: Scottish Region 1948 to 1967 (Dickson)

 

Diesel Days: Scotland (Dickson)

 

Scottish Layout Projects (Futers)

 

So when does the public consultation period expire?

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Hi, thanks for the tips guys!

 

Sounds like we do have similar ideas about this station, it's pretty much perfect and small as well. I am still being torn between modelling this and my original idea of a distillery branch, but neither is going to progress for a few weeks yet as I work away quite a lot.

 

I thought the industries fitted reasonably well, maybe a little shoehorned in considering the size of the harbour but enjoyable as a model nonetheless. The image of a 26 and handful of mk1s badly underused is irresistible!

 

I have used railbrit quite a lot to get a sense of place, also a book called Scottish branch lines. I've been urged to get a copy of BR Diesel Traction in Scotland, but at £40 secondhand on amazon, I think I can wait!

£25 From Book Law! 

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Hi,

 

Thanks for the info again guys. Nice photos by the way!

 

I could be changing my mind on this one again, it's not that I don't like it, just that by trying to force my preferred era onto a picture-perfect steam terminus I think it will lose quite a bit of the charm it seemed to have in the photos. Not so sure I will carry on with this one any more, if anyone else wants the plans then take them.

 

Sorry about the abandonment of another topic, in truth I have too much time to draw plans whilst working, by the time I've got home and am thinking about making a start I've either got fed up with the plan or it seems too unmanageable for a beginner. I still like the Speyside branch idea and it remains on the backburner.

 

Is there a more appropriate sub-forum to post ideas without clogging up layout topics, which seems mostly actually built railways. I don't like the blogs either, they're in enjoyable to navigate on a touchscreen.

 

I'm still wanting something interesting to operate but a bit smaller and more storeable, I've got another idea in mind and I've described it at the following link.

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/66925-round-and-round-the-boxfile-goes/

 

Sorry again for buggering you about!

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Sorry about the abandonment of another topic, in truth I have too much time to draw plans whilst working, by the time I've got home and am thinking about making a start I've either got fed up with the plan or it seems too unmanageable for a beginner. I still like the Speyside branch idea and it remains on the backburner.

 

Now the feeling, as I talk a good layout too ;)  I usually end up planning one thing then building something else!  - the (ex)GNSR bug has bit me atm even though I started out with the idea of something completely different !  Until I have the ideal space for a room size layout I dont think I would ever commit to one thing-  If you are building a big layout you would have to. 

 

Blacksboat was a lovely small station in Speyside, as was Cromdale some good book pics (& internet) around of those, literally a singe platform and a couple of sidings in fantastic scenery - still looking at your location you probably know that area better than I do.  We have done some bits of the Speyside way - cycling, and been to Spey Bay, hoping to do the whole route of it sometime !

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