First, and most importantly, the Brighton MRC exhibition, our club show, was a success. Numbers through the door were up, and we got some positive feedback.
However, running on Dufftown was very patchy. This is perhaps unsurprising, given the age of the stock, and the fact that the first time the layout had ever been run was on Saturday morning! Specifically, we encountered major problems with:
Pickups and chassis – some locos were only picking up on two wheels, causing problems at points, and two locos essentially pegged out during the show!
Points and polarity – I have gone off Peco points, because even new turnouts (some are “recycled”) were not switching polarity however much we cleaned the blades, and PL-13 switches will have to be fitted to all of them!
Couplings – we standardised on bemo-type couplings, but some of these were at different heights (again – a factor of time) and wagons were left behind with great frequency.
Despite all these flaws, the layout proved popular, especially with the youngsters who liked the tunnels (“where’s it going to come out now?”) and the fact that the blue livery made our Peco “James” look like a popular children’s character (“Daddy! There’s Thomas!”). The scenery and the track layout was commented on favourably, too, confirming that we’ve stuck a good balance between operational and modeling interest within the limited space we’ve given ourselves. Here are a couple of photos of the layout at Patcham.
These were taken on Saturday, by the end of Sunday a number of details had appeared, including the first golfer on the course!
There are several bits that, due to lack of time (it’s being spent on last minute modelling rather than writing about it) haven’t appeared here. The burn has been… begun; there are arches under the embankment; temporary distillery buildings; and yet more scenic work. Alan Gosling’s superb malt kiln and viaduct are now on the layout, ready to be viewed at Patcham Community Centre and as something to look forward to, though there won’t be time to post them until the show is over, photos of these will appear here early next week…
Dufftown station is one of the things left over from the original board that never got completed. With the intention to scratchbuild Dufftown’s station building, it wasn’t a quick project, but what was needed for the exhibition was… something!
Here’s what was put together over the last week:
The platform was cut to shape from 9mm ply. This is just a little high for the stock, but it was important for the look that the station had a “built up” platform and this has just enough height. Also there was some readily available! Strips of brickpaper were cut to size for the front, and the edge paved with Metcalfe self-adhesive paving slabs. The top was surfaced with polyfiller and coloured up. Finally the Will’s wayside station building SS67 was assembled and mostly painted (out of time!) to sit on top.
The BBC Four series featured a walk along the trackbed of the Strathspey Railway from Craigellachie to Ballindalloch last week. It’s available to view on iPlayer (if you’re in the UK) until Thursday and visits several sites that helped inspire the model Dufftown. The programme does not feature Dufftown itself, although there is a detour from the Speyside way which runs along the old trackbed from Craigellachie up the Glen Fiddich to Dufftown.
On 8/9th November 2008 the Brighton Model Railway Club‘s narrow gauge model Dufftown will be exhibited for the first time at our exhibition in Patcham. That’s just under three weeks away, and the layout’s no where near ready yet! On this site details will be posted of the layout, the background and story of its construction, and updates its current state… Expect a lot of changes in the coming weeks.