Craigcorrie & Dunalistair video

Ted Polet

The final dimension

After I moved the entire model railway to a different room in the house, I set to getting it to work again which proved to be surprisingly easy due to the modular construction. I had been planning to produce a new video programme of the layout for some years, and this moment seemed right to do so. So I started shooting short (and some not so short) camera sequences and, having some experience of sound editing, I added live railway sounds to the scenes. In the end I produced a 90-minute DVD programme showing a working day on the C&DR, a railway that may only exist in my imagination, but perhaps may not be so imaginary any more, looking at and listening to these scenes.

Technical notes

The natural slow running seen in these videos was achieved by using a Kent Panel Controls feedback controller. Most of the locomotives respond quite well to these, even if they are fitted with standard motors. Despite what I thought was scale speed, I often had to doctor the sound tracks to speed up the exhaust beats!

I used a simple DV camera, a Canon MV800, set to 16x9 PAL format. The camera was mounted on an old SLIK tripod which still works well enough even for video. The raw video tracks were cut using VirtualDub (a free package to be found on the Internet), and the sound track assembled from sometimes literally 10 parallel source tracks, using another freeware program called Audacity. The sound sources are various old VHS tapes, my own steam recordings of 30 or more years ago, downloaded sound effects and even sound effects from my own holiday videos.

This all sounds easy, but it takes a lot of practice to learn to know these tools. The clips shown on this page were extracted from the DVD and uploaded to Youtube.

Click on a picture to start the video.

The branch mixed, hauled by the ex-Darjeeling 'B' class loco 'Shiva', enters Rae Bridge and sets back into the platform road before continuing to Dunalistair. The sound is of a real Darjeeling loco on an old VHS tape, heavily edited.

As the surf roars on the rocks below and the gulls cry, a local passenger train hauled by the ex-Beira Railway 'Lawley', departs from Dunalistair, skirting the headland. After pausing at Rae Bridge, the train continues up Glenclachen Gorge. The sound is from the real 'Lawley' at the Sandstone estate in South Africa, heavily edited and adapted to the model environment.

The Tralee & Dingle Hunslet brings a mixed train from Dunalistair. After dropping the carriage and exchanging the engine, no. 16 'Ariadne' works the now 'unmixed' goods upgrade in the Glenclachan Gorge. The sound of 'Ariadne' was taken from a Dutch RTM tram engine working flat-out against a gradient, which I recorded on tape 30 years ago.

The evening coal train, headed by the Garratt loco no. 8 'Gaidheal', descends through the Glenclachan Gorge towards Rae Bridge. After pausing at Rae Bridge it continues towards Dunalistair, in the evening gloom. The sound is from a tape of the Alfred County Railway by Ian Turner, heavily edited.

After the Garratt arrives at Dunalistair with a coal train, the 0-4-2ST 'Greta', acting as the day's harbour shunter, shunts the coal tubs up the coal jetty. The sound was heavily adapted from a downloaded soundtrack of Ffestiniog Railway 'Prince', with exhaust bursts isolated and speeded up, blower, wheels, and coupling sound, and echoes added.

An empty coal train is worked by no. 7 'Brahma', from Dunalistair to Inverlochan, pausing briefly at Rae Bridge. As the train draws into the colliery yard, the driver whistles for the brakeman to screw down his brake and help bring the train to a stop. The sound comes from another South African loco, a NG15 on the Avontuur railway shown on an old VHS tape.

The late evening railcar arrives at Dunalistair in pitch darkness. The night accentuates the echoes, and the surf plays against the rocky coast. For this clip several sound tracks from old VHS tapes of narrow gauge in Romania and Poland were edited, and a horn sound from a car horn manufacturer's website added...