Stored OTAs on the move…

August 30, 2013

OTA move
DBS Class 66 No 66 185 was in charge of the 7Z44 move from Elgin to Millerhill (or was it Mossend?) via Inverness Millburn Yard.

OTA move_1

A portrait of the nag of the day in in Nairn – all clean and shiny for a change.

OTA move_2
Shortly after departure from Nairn – the train of 14 OTA timber wagons passes Delnies on the last part of the run to Inverness.


Elgin West

August 28, 2013


Elgin West_2

You can never be too sure how long signal boxes will last on today’s rapidly changing railway. Long term back water of the rail network is the Inverness – Aberdeen line with signal boxes, single line working with token exchange and traditional semaphore signalling. How long will it last?

Elgin West
The 11.48 to Aberdeen approaches Elgin West box. Class 170 Turbostars are common, if unsuitable, trains in the north of Scotland.

Elgin West_1
The age-old process of token exchange between signalman and driver. The process of single line working using tokens has been a safe and reliable system for years. After leaving the box, the train will enter the loop at Elgin station.

Token exchange at Forres…

August 15, 2013

I caught ‘The Royal Scotsman’ on camera for the first time this year – at Forres when on the Keith to Kyle leg of the run. I am normally out for the RS sooner than this in the season. No one is quite sure how much longer the signal boxes on the Inverness-Aberdeen line will survive, with modernisation on its way.

Token exchange Forres
The nag of the day was an old campaigner: 47 854. Whatever happened to 57 001?

Token exchange Forres_1
Photographed at Forres on 6th August 2013.

Two stations in Scotland…

August 11, 2013

They could not be more of a contrast! The first view was taken at Wick in July this year when I dropped in whilst in Wick on a completely unrelated matter, just before the arrival of the 10.37 from Inverness. The station has a certain charm about it and clearly has not had too much modernisation inflicted upon it. Notably, there was hardly a soul in sight…

Wick-panoramic view

The next view is of Stirling, taken a few days later. This beautifully restored edifice to rail travel is nearly always is busy…

Stirling panoramic view copy

Wick, in the mean time, produced about 3 passengers and a child for the returning 16.00hrs to Inverness. This belies how busy the Far North line is these days – the 16.00hrs train is likely to fill up at Thurso.

Wick panorama jpeg_6

You can smell the residual clag of long gone Class 37/4s…I once photographed a Class 50 here…whilst Stirling is all bright and shiny – even the classic semaphores at the south end of the station are giving way to LED signals.

Stirling semaphores

Class 50s at Wick…



Ballast loads

August 8, 2013

Image 307

One of those jobs I rarely find the time to do is fill my wagons with some sort of load. As it stands, I have a substantial fleet of ballast and spoil wagons with nary a drop of ballast in them! They have been weathered, but left without a load. Okay, not all wagons will have a load at any one time, but the lack of any loads in my fleet looks strange. The problem is that I find load making a tedious affair at the best of times and making them light enough so not to overload already hefty wagons such as the Dapol MRA takes some time to work out too.

Image 306

Enter Wagon Essentials and its lovely range of loads for various open wagons. I have equipped a recently weathered MRA with a full set of loads to good effect. This was followed up with a set of Network Rail JNAs, enhancing the appearance of the wagons considerably. So far, I have only used ballast loads which are composed of soft, light polystyrene bases which add little to the weight of the wagon and do not scratch the paint finish (or carefully applied weathering effects).

Image 405

I suggest you complete any weathering before fitting the loads. The effect looks so much better, especially if the interior of the wagon has been treated with rust and dust from the load. The Wagon Essentials products are far better than filling up open wagons with ballast and gluing it in which only wastes material and adds too much weight to the model. With the Dapol MRA weighing in at nearly a Kilo for a 5-wagon set, the last thing you want to do to that model is add any more weight than is absolutely necessary. More information can be found on the Wagon Essentials web site.