Bonnie Dundee

Bonnie Dundee

Sunday, 25 November 2012


The complexities of running a traditional railway never fails to impress. I have been doing some research on the running of the Dundee to Aberdeen line and knew from my experience that the main services would be the expresses between Aberdeen and either Glasgow or Edinburgh, I didn't know so much about the freight work because it tended to run early and later in the day. I had previously obtained a copy of the 1980-81 working timetable and that helped fill in the blanks for freight operations. However access to the internet has led me off looking at train formations and this in turn to my opining statement about the complexities of railway operations, even into the 1980's period. Coach formation were fairly fixed for the Glasgow route, but the operation of other services involved adding, splitting, changing and amending the formation over the timetable period. So locos would be rostered, drivers would be assigned, guards working a different duty, stock being meshed across the country and all to work to a published timetable. And all of this done before the internet and mobile phones etc. 

Going further back to pre-computer days the same route had a not dissimilar passenger pattern but a considerably more complex freight operation. The ability to even keep things moving, let alone keep them moving at high speed, safely, was a remarkable feat and one that inspires some of us to try and illustrate that in model form. I have said before that I believe the difference between railway modellers and other disciplines is our attempt to model the operation of trains. My hope in developing a mainline scene is to show the mundane, the routine, the regular. All too often we focus on unusual items, which for public display might seem to make a layout more entertaining however if you actually understand what you are seeing on a layout then it has far more value and does not need gimmicks or the spectacular to be impressive.

47210 heads an Edinburgh to Aberdeen service with a BSO leading. Not as per the book,
but as per a photograph. Research is vital but must be caveated by experience

So my 1980's research has produced a document called the Passenger Train Marshalling. It coincides with my May 1980 to 81 working timetable and describes in detail the vehicle types and order for each train. It shows where the stock came from and where it goes next. If I do things by the book my Aberdeen - Glasgow services will have a formation of vacuum braked Mark II stock, BSO, FK, RMB, 3 TSO, and a BSO. Great I have these available, but I cannot marshall the Aberdeen - Edinburgh sets by the book. Fortunately experience and other sources of information can assist. The internet comes again to the rescue as a number of photographers (not many its true, but enough) have made their work available online and the evidence is there that the instruction in the PTM book that "Passenger Trains must be made up strictly in accordance with the arrangements shown herein ....." were not always so strictly applied. So I can start to build up stock for these services and will avoid buying completely the wrong things (always good) but will still have enough flexibility to vary the sets and the look of the trains from time to time.

Happy days!

Suppliers of WTT's include -
Info on BR Coaching Stock -

Feedback welcome

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...