Thursday, 3 September 2009

A bit of background

When I was at university I’d take the train from Edinburgh to Exeter, a trip of around 400 miles. Most of the journey was dull, and I’d sleep or read. But there was a part of the journey where the line runs alongside the A74 trunk road through the borers of Scotland. In this stretch of line there are the most wonderful hills and valleys, that mark a physical border between the hilly north and the flat south (excuse prejudices here!).

It turns out that this area is the location of Beattock Summit, the highest point on the West Coast Mainline (WCML). The gradient to the top of Beattock Summit reaches 1 in 74, not much by today’s standards, but in the early days of steam most locos struggled to get up. Banker engines were used to push trains up the hill. These bankers were based at Beattock, a village south of the Summit. Beattock Station became an important point on the WCML.

Now, I’m what I call a frustrated modeller. I never had a layout, due to time, cost and space. But things have changed. I now have a small amount of each. Enough to make a serious start.

I don’t know why, but it was always N gauge for me. Perhaps I was captivated by the tiny details and motion. Who knows what sparks the grey matter…

I’m also an LMS man. Easy provenance this – the Scottish connection.

So, an N gauge model of Beattock (station and (maybe one day) the Summit) in LMS days is what this blog is all about. I’m starting from scratch, in terms of the layout construction, and from a modelling experience point of view.

I’ll be charting the progress of Beattock, from design to construction. I know very little about modelling so the learning curve will be steep. I guess I’ll need some bankers on the way…

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