A portrait of the nag of the day in in Nairn – all clean and shiny for a change.
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?
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.
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.
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…
The next view is of Stirling, taken a few days later. This beautifully restored edifice to rail travel is nearly always is busy…
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.
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.
Class 50s at Wick…
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.
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).
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.