Bonnie Dundee

Bonnie Dundee

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Decision drives Research

One of the great things about our hobby is finding out more about the railway we are trying to replicate. If you have read the previous entries in this blog you will have a feel for how difficult I find nailing a location and time period. With a large space available I feel if I weren't to use it fully I would be rather wasteful, so as a result I am determined that I will build a mainline. With that decision made I am equally determined to utilise as much of my pre-exisiting stock as possible, which in turn determines that this project will be in 00. I have 2 sets of stock; the first in BR Blue diesels, the second is mid 1950's Scottish steam.

The location must be such that my stock is in keeping, so that points me to the Scottish Region. No shock or surprise there. In considering my BR Blue diesels they are useable pretty much all over the Region but the ECML is the most suitable. My steam stock features the ex LNER heavily with firm favourites being the Peppercorn A2's and the Gresley V2's. My own history is around the Dundee area and whilst I have a fair bit of space, it certainly is not sufficient to contemplate the city itself. So the choice which is developing nicely, is east coast of Scotland, around the Dundee area but located either to the north or to the south.

Both options allow for what might be called a traditional railway, right through to the early 80's and to the north even a bit later. This fits with my planning to use timber sleepers and semiphore signalling. Key elements in this process involve how traffic was handled. For example in the steam era most trains changed engines in Dundee, which can restrict the use of southern (Edinburgh engines) north of Dundee. In the diesel era it reduces the number of trains using type 2 power, at least beyond Arbroath. I have further investigated the range of trains and motive power that would be within the scope and am satisfied that is it sufficiently varied to make an interesting project.

In the BR Blue era power such as Haymarket class 40's will be a mainstay of services on
a layout north of Dundee

If I choose north of Dundee I have further options in the steam period by going north or south of Kinnaber Junction. In other words I could have ex LMS types via the Caledonian route through Strathmore. The down side of that is it doubles the number of trains daily and of course increases the amount of stock required. As this is going to be a long term project, neither of these are issues that would halt my planning. It might also allow some scope for imaginative interpretation as this raises the possibility of running a 1980's period as prototype with the Strathmore route closed, or running as if that line remained open. 

In order to set out the options in some form of realistic context I have set about researching services for the line between Dundee and Aberdeen. Doing this "deep planning" is actually allowing me to confirm many of the priorities I had identified and thoroughly testing them against my objectives long before any timber is cut. This seems like a much better way of progressing. 

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