Bonnie Dundee

Bonnie Dundee

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Fog Starts to Lift

Those criteria that I was referring to earlier are probably worth exploring as it is these choices that assist in determining the outcome. I had given some consideration to using the space I had available to model a branch line, perhaps a number of stations or locations on it and try to do the 'whole' line justice, the Speyside line for example.  [see Morfa as an example of this style] However the temptation to model long mainline trains was just too much and I wanted to retain as much of my current stock as possible, therefore I focussed on these two initial options;
1) Mainline running. I was faced with two realistic choices; a) somewhere on the east coast north of Edinburgh, or b) somewhere between Aberdeen and Elgin.
2) Multiple periods. My main interests, and most of my current stock, fits into one of two periods, either the early 1980's or the early  to mid 1950's.

These two elements are probably key to what will be modelled, so I looked in detail at what each would entail. In the 1950's era both lines had attractions and a reasonable variety of services and power. The ex GNSR never had large locos but providing additional stock would therefore be less costly. The east coast route has the possibility of running all of the ex LNER pacifics. Now when I was growing up I was told stories of A2's and V2's, of heavily loaded fish trains and named expresses and the names of Sun Chariot and Tudor Minstrel are in family folklore. So, despite the prospect of yet more Bachmann A2's being required, this option was a clear winner.

Looking at the 1980's period and the GNSR section was even more depressing than I had realised. The decimation of railways in that area is actually staggering. Now I know the routes quite well and have studied them in some depth, but not into the corporate blue era. The working timetable did not take much reading, put it that way. For operational interest it was a non-starter and failed my test. The second era would just not be viable. For the east coast option the detail of what would run would depend on the exact location but there was still a reasonable variety and most of my current blue era stock would be suitable for use.

Can I now narrow down the location? Yes and I will expand on that later, but what these two elements have now done already is focussed the attention on 'how' rather than 'what' will be modelled. I am more convinced than ever that the way (at least for me) to approach this is not to say "I am a P4 [or whatever] modeller and therefore I must do X,Y and Z"; but rather to say "I wish to model ....... and the best way to achieve that is by doing A, B and C."

Big Steam on Shed, A1 and A2 pacifics rest on shed between turns
The viability of re-wheeling numerous large steam locos has let to the decision that
this next project will be in 00-SF

With the possibility at one point of needing just a couple of locos I had contemplated working the whole project in P4. Single track, not too much pointwork, not too much stock. Turn that through 180o and that option becomes unachievable for me. Even the option of rewheeling several pacifics into EM is not a realistic prospect. Therefore I have currently started experimenting with 00 handbuilt points using 00-SF as the basis with one being built in timber with chairs and one with copper-clad. I am actually looking forward to seeing how this experiment works out.

The important thing for me is that work is progressing. Always a good sign.

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