Rae Bridge - the sequel (2004)

Ted Polet

A full set of photos can be viewed in the album accessed by a button at the end of the page.

After a construction period of over three years, by 2004 the new Rae Bridge had largely been completed. Some detail work was still missing and the backscenes needed to be painted still, but otherwise the construction period was a thing of the past. Rae Bridge still contained a few parts dating back 35 years to my first bookshelf type layout named Craigcorrie.

Rae Bridge is the main intermediate station of the Craigcorrie & Dunalistair Railway, where the shops and the main locomotive shed of the railway are situated. Alongside there is a timber and corrugated iron carriage shed. The shops do their own major overhauls although boiler revisions are contracted to the Caledonia Foundry in Dunalistair. Across the river is Murdoch & Adams's distillery, famous for its single malt. In addition the station has a small goods shed and loading bank.

In addition, Rae Bridge is the junction station for the equally fictitious Glenfinnan Extension Railway (GER), branching off the main line, climbing through a roadside route past the church to follow a lonely route of many miles to Glenfinnan station on the standard gauge West Highland line. For a short distance, the road section is shared by the Creag Dhubh Mountain Tramway, terminating near the summit of Creag Dhubh which (in fine weather) offers a view of the Hebrides and, it is claimed, even the Irish coast (utter nonsence, since it's too far to see).

The portable units of Rae Bridge can be extracted from the main CDR layout, stacked in a frame and transported to an exhibition. During exhibitions the main line is converted into a continuous run with storage loops at the rear, from which a simplified service can be run reminiscent of the more complex operation at home. The works yard is used as a focal point by exchanging locomotives and carriages, and the distillery and goods shed are shunted by passing goods services. At home, the branch terminates in a four-road fiddle yard in the next room. During exhibitions a simplified branch service is run using a railcar, and a mountain tram runs a shuttle service.

Both at home and in exhibition mode the layout has proven to be very reliable. At the time of writing, Rae Bridge had been exhibited at the Narrow Gauge in the Gardens show (Exbury, June 2004), at Valkenburg in the Netherlands (August 2004) and at the Rail 2004 show at Leiden in November 2004.

More photos (2004)