Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Beginning research on Beattock

I’ve accumulated some sources of information on Beattock. I’ve been surprised by the lack of info, given that Beattock was a major element of the WCML until its closure. My usual first source of information, Wikipedia, is surprisingly weak on the subject, though there’s useful background on the WCML and the Caledonian Railway. (One day I might update the entry myself.)

The most useful sources found so far are:

1. Magazines
Modellers Backtrack, June-July 1993. This has a full track plan of Beatock station, plus photos and drawings of some of the key buildings (station building, station master’s house, etc).

Backtrack November-December. This has a fab article charting a single day’s traffic over the Summit. Though the day was in the 1960s it gives a great insight into typical operations on a busy day. Plenty of operational scope, then.

Railway World May 1974 charts the introduction of electric expresses and demise of the bankers at Beattock. With 5,100bhp available these engines could cruise up the bank at 90mph, a considerable improvement in performance from the slow experienced by both steam and diesel engines.

2. Maps.
There are some important sources of information, the best ones are:

I visited The British Library, which has old maps in large scales that clearly show the track plans. But it takes ages to retrieve them from the basement, and I timed out, so a return vsit will be necessary.

3. Photos.

The best online source I’ve found is These are pictures of locos on the Summit taken in 1966, again later than my planned timeframe (BR rather than LMS), but I’m able to deduce much of the Summit track plan from these. They show the pronounced curve of the track plan, something to capture in the model.

There are some good pics of the station as it is now at – a site hosted by John Furnevel (thanks, John).

Also try

Other sources include eBay, where occasionally people are selling photos and postcards, and other random web sites. Believe me, I’ve searched them all. I believe there are commercial sources for photos, but I’m reluctant to spend cash on something I haven’t seen.

On there is an index of photographs for all British and Irish stations. This is really useful, and provides more than a dozen references of books and magazines with photos of Beattock station. No references to the Summit, though…

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