Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Moving home

Not me, the blog.

As mentioned before, I'm moving the blog to a new site. I'm going to use Wordpress from now on as it enables me to have a more traditional type site with pages in a style i prefer to blogger.

I won't be transferring over the information from this blog as I'd like to make a clean break from the remnants of Port na Cailliche, fun though it was. The new site will focus on Isle Ornsay and it's development.

For those of you who link to this site, please direct your links to the new address:

Over and out.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Post Kew doodling

The trackplan above shows how the plan for Armadale has been adapted to fit in to the coastline around Isle Ornsay. I think it's adapted nicely and the area seems to suit it just as well as Armadale did!

The quay should extend to the edge of the baseboard joint to help mask the joint a little, or to just before and the fishing boat to mask it.

For a plan with annotations showing what elements are click here.

I'll be doing a full size plan when I'm back from an exhibition in Holland this coming weekend.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Post Kew excitement!

Well, today's trip to Kew was extremely successful!

All images below are reproduced with permission.

I wasn't anticipating finding much, but when collecting the first lot of records this is what I was presented with:

When unfurled this revealed a wealth of plans and long sections of the line including details of bridges, viaducts, and tunnels.

You'll have to excuse the weights on the end of the sheets in some shots, it was a constant battle to stop the sheets curling back up again! It all looked like it had'nt seen the light of day for some considerable time.

Here's an overview map of the whole system drawn onto an OS map sheet. Railway 1 runs from Isle Ornsay to Uig (52 miles in total), whilst Railway 2 branches off Railway 1 approximately 3 miles North of Portree and runs a further 24 miles to Dunvegan.

The trackplan I drew up for Armadale a while ago conveniently fits nicely into the area where Isle Ornsay station was proposed.

The sheet that shows the section of line I'm going to model is shown below:

More specifically the area immediately around Isle Ornsay station and pier:

As can be seen from the long section, the line was planned to pass through a headland in an 80 yard long tunnel - an ideal break for a fiddle yard! :)

Below is a general description of Railway 1 for it's entire length.

Notice to build the line under an order from the 1896 Light Railways Act in the form of an advert placed in the Northern Weekly on Thursday the 21st April 1898.

The line was proposed by a group of people from the London area. The directors are listed as being a Mr. Andrew M. Barr of Eltham, Harold E. Lewin also of Eltham, Charles Kemble (unreadable location), A. Hambury Tracey of Queensgate, W.M. Godward of Enfield, J.W. Hume Williams of Gloster Place, and T. Beaumont Hesseltine of Bond Street.

Some of the above were part of a well known railway manufacturer who's head office address matches that of the Hebridean Light Railway Co.

Dick Kerr feature on a lot of the paperwork and are listed as the promoter and official contractor for the line.

I've found several references to this proposal in different books, some mentioned the involvement of the North British Railway, the records don't show this. In one document it is stated that the line wasn't built due to lack of funds and the plan was abandoned. The company correspondence does make reference to them not wanting to immediately dissolve the company as they were keen to try and restart it in the future.

To make the model I have made one assumption:

When the costs for the line came in at more than expected (£598,977 9s 9d) the HLR approached the NBR to see if they would be interested in a joint project. The NBR agreed and part funded the line as well as agreeing to provide stock, and operate it. The provision of a government grant which the NBR aided the line in obtaining, was a great help towards some of the construction fees.

This would have meant that the line was more likely to get built, and to a reasonable standard with some interesting potential for stock.

The Highland Railway were approached to build a line on Skye and refused to do so on two occasions, so the NBR was the logical choice for this, especially as they were working on the Mallaig extension to the West Highland Line at the time this scheme was being proposed. Ferries could then have been run form Isle Ornsay to Mallaig to provide a connecting service.

The layout will be approximately a 9'x9' L shape, i'll be firming up the trackplan soon after i've made alterations to it to reflect the change in location. Things that will change are mainly the location, type and orientation of buildings as well as a minor re-site of the turntable and the addition of a tunnel mouth as the exit to the fiddle yard.

I wil be using some of the details from the National Archives (plus a little imagination) to write a history to accompany the layout.

The plans also showed lines proposed across the conjoined islands of Lewis and Harris, namely Railways 3 and 4. I will post some more details of this at some point if people are interested.

I've not modelled a real life location before, but the opportunity to do so is something that i'm looking forward to, although the proposed line will allow me to model the area immediately around the station as it could have developed had the line been built.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Quick catch up

Just a quick post to say that I'm off to Kew to go and examine the plans for the proposed line on Skye tomorrow.

I've also found some more details on the proposals and have used these to compile a history for the new layout. This is currently running at 12 a4 pages long! It's been helpful to establish some ground rules though, before starting on the new layout.

Last week I drew out the two straight boards (half of the goods yard and the station) on lining paper and the plan fits in nicely. If I make the boards 50mm shorter then I can get them to fit widthways across the boot of my VW Golf. This is quite surprising, but also an added bonus, if i can fit it in the car then transport costs to shows are going to be considerably lower so it's likely to get more invites. I'll now design it with this in mind. I just assumed that it was going to be in van hire territory so hadn't given the car any thought until now.

Dunbracken has an invite to the Smalspoormuseum at Valkenburg in the Netherlands on the 1th and 12th September, i'm really looking forward to this show as it's my first trip to Holland for 13 years, my first show abroad, and I get to see Ted Polet's Dunalastair which doesn't normally make it over to the UK due to it's more cumbersome nature than Rae Bridge... Exciting!

Next week i'll post an update on what I uncovered at Kew.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Building Momentum

In my last post I mentioned that I was finding my enthusiasm for modelling rather lacking at the moment, and that this time of year my mind is normally on other hobbies.

Well, I attended a nice little 'do' at the weekend which was privately organised and only open to friends of friends who had received an invite. There were some really nice layouts there and I think most seemed to have a good day, me especially. It was nice to see some layouts that I've heard about or seen photographs of but never seen in real life, and a good opportunity to catch up with some friends.

I received two invites for Dunbracken for 2011, one to Arundel, and a potential one to Crawley.

I've also finally managed to sort out a date to go and look at the Hebridean Light Railway Proposal drawings in Kew in early september. I will report back on this in due course.

Recently I've been working on setting up the new website/blog that I referred to in a recent blog post, and I've been looking at the trackplan for Armadale and trying to work out where/how to fit in a turntable and avoid reverse curves.

A recent pleasant surprise was that I was awared a B&Q voucher for £75 at work recently for my performance, so that's the initial plywood budget for Armadale sorted out!

All of the above has resulted in a considerable raise in levels of enthusiasm, and I'm now getting really excited about the project again. We've recently had a big sort out at home and organised a lot of our possessions, we did this in a relatively short time so i'm hoping to continue these efforts in finishing the loft clearance off very soon.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Slow summer

My modelling is normally quite slow in the summer, I tend to amuse myself with the usual modelling forum trawling, reading, doodling and my other hobbies. So progress is generally slow in the summer, especially when it's near 30 degrees fairly regularly! Too nice to be sat at the modelling bench.

I've now got a date sorted to go and look at the drawings at Kew, there are some other items there associated with the line on Skye, company papers and such. How useful any of it will be is beyond me until I get there, hopefully it's going to be clear enough to be of interest though.

I'm slowly working on a new blog, i rather feel that this one has run it's course, covering the planning of the layout and a bit of history of the line. I'm going to make a fresh start for the construction phase, so keep an eye out for a new link if you link to this one at the mo. I'll do a specific post linking to the new one when it's ready.

In 'other' news, I recently accepted an invite to an exhibition at Valkenburg in Holland with Dunbracken, it should be fun going abroad with the layout, especially as I get to see Ted Polet's Dunalastair!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Portree Shed, AKA "What can I fit in a boxfile....?"

For a while now I've been thinking about doing a small photographic diorama to pose my stock on for photographic purposes, and for a bit of fun whilst I'm avoiding finishing off clearing the loft to start 'the big layout'.

A thread on NGRM really spurred me on with the idea, before then I was thinking of constructing something like a long section of totally rural track on a foamboard base. However, after reading the thread and discussing ideas for other people's boxfiles it go me on to thinking about doing an engine shed for myself.

As Portree is the end of the branches to Uig and Dunvegan I thought that would be a good place for a stabling shed. There was a 1:24 layout based on the same idea.

The trackplan is simpler than simple, but then it's not intended to be operational, just a photographic diorama. I think any more and it may begin to look crowded.

In these shots the Backwoods Fowler and NBR tank are on the shed lines, and the WD Hunslet is on the running line.

I'm hoping to cram a small workshop down one side of the shed, a bit like Pilton. There's going to be a workbench with tools on, a lathe and maybe a drill press.

I might add some grass to the front flap of the boxfile, not sure yet. I'm also hoping to add lighting to the buildings and hide a battery and switch in the low relief carriage shed opposite the engine shed.

This might prove useful for helping establish the 'identity' of the Isle of Skye Railway too and seeing how building and stock styles work together. At the least it should help me 'keep my eye in' until Armadale is at the scenic stage.