Bonnie Dundee

Bonnie Dundee

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

You Cant Always Get What You Want

The Rolling Stones once sang that "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you might find. You get what you need." Taking that sentiment on face value I have been trying over the last few days to get what I want, and getting myself stuck. My preferred location for my new layout would be north of Dundee on the ECML. I am content to avoid the additional traffic that would be required beyond the point at which the eastern route meets the Caledonian at Kinnaber, but its the traditional engine changing at Dundee that is the sticking point.

I like the track layout at Laurencekirk, with its up refuge siding, its down yard and it was worked more than once a day by freights. Ideal it seems. Yet the extra trains required to represent the LMS traffic, presents a fiddle yard problem. Moving further south, eliminates the fiddling logistics, but restricts (as in fact does the more northern option) the range of motive power available to use. One of the key drivers for me developing a steam era is to make use of the LNER pacifics. Operating north of Dundee limits the use of the wider range of LNER types. 

I spent quite a bit of time this week researching the subject of engine changes at Dundee. An operation that unwittingly removed my sought after range of types from the northern section of the route. In my efforts to circumvent this set of circumstances, I discovered several interesting things, including; there is virtually no information available online on the Edinburgh to Aberdeen route, no-one seems to have photographed much of it, there is very little available on the early British Railway period around 1948 and other than two trains daily, every service changed engines at Dundee from the 1920's to winter 1958. The internet did however salvage something of its reputation with information from online forum. The engine changing came about from the introduction of the 8 hour working day for drivers and with drivers allocated to specific engines, neither seemed to venture north of Bonnie Dundee. I also learned that I would not push "modellers licence" too far. I had reached a limit.

If I want to use a wider range of LNER types, I will need to locate my layout to the south of Dundee. Now I have nothing against Fife (except for the fact that people there call it the Kingdom of Fife for no apart or logical reason [I know there is but thats not important right now]), but I would have preferred a location farther north. Which brings me back to the point - "You cant always get what you want."

The practice of changing engines at Dundee restricts the variety of types employed beyond the city. Peppercorn A1 60152 Holyrood would come off at Dundee and be replaced by an A2 or V2. This scene will be backdated by several years in my next project.
Having scoured the maps of the stretch of line between the Tay Bridge and roughly Markinch, I find there is no suitable location that matches my exact specification.
Incidentally a point to the north of Markinch was chosen as the cut-off point as that avoids me getting overcome with coal traffic. In my diesel period I get away with one loaded and one empty hopper train, but in the steam era I would have to represent a constant flow of mineral wagons with WD's and J37's galore. Too much for me working on my own.

Now I have to reconsider some of my earlier assumptions, such as; do I need a refuge in both directions? Do I need as many sidings in the yard? Can the mainline flow make up for the lack of station traffic? By being a little flexible and trying some different ideas, I find that I might not always get what I want, but I can get what I need.

I have also managed to number some teak Gresley coaches this week so progress!

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