Early views

Here is a selection of early views made in 1969/1970 and 1977, showing the first and second editions of the C&DR and some interesting motive power and rolling stock. There are quite a few items in view which are still around on the present layout. Both these early layouts were scenically fairly well developed, but they lacked in reliable operation until I started fitting N gauge points with live frogs myself around 1980. I hope you enjoy these early photos, and in particular the colours of the 1969 layout which still are very clear in my mind after 40 years.

In 1969 or 1970 I shot several transparencies of the first Craigcorrie layout, using a simple camera poised on a pile of books. Although they lack in definition, they give a fair idea of the layout in those days. Here we see 0-8-0 STT 'Calamity Jane', a forerunner of present-day 'Brama', draw away with a goods train. The same train was photographed twice. The overbridge and the whitewashed houses behind the station were already there. The steam cloud is cotton wool, wafted around during the time exposure.

Left: the same 0-8-0 tender-tank appears on the station approaches next to the colliery buildings. This view shows the colours of the engine and the rake of open four-wheelers that are still in service in a much more drab livery. Right: a passenger train hauled by a forerunner of 'Maid of the Loch' enters the station. Regrettably the camera didn't focus inside about a metre, otherwise we could have seen more detail.

Two more views of the station approaches and the colliery buildings. The latter were made from a Pola, or as it was called at the time, Quick kit, but with a stripwood trestle. Left there is the first Pugbash I ever made, even then named 'Firth of Clyde', regrettably not in the Caledonian Railway colours it appeared in first, but in Great Western green with yellow and black lining. Right is the 4-4-0 which was a forerunner of 'Maid of the Loch'. It used the chassis of a Minitrains 0-4-0ST and a bogie that just kept derailing. This loco already had the typical Beyer, Peacock lines that would grace its successors, and it was painted a nice dark brown.

Left: a 1969 view under the overbridge towards the station, showing three of the five locomotives including (centre) the railmotor. This is illustrated better in the right-hand view, showing the Jeanette kit in its unchanged form with a heavily bashed Egger steam tram coach body behind. This hung rather far from the engine unit's rear wheels and upset the balance. The station building was later reconstructed with the same roof and ornate chimney.

Left: no. 3 'Invicta' as an 0-4-0 in 1969 with my early plywood and card van and a kitbashed brake van based on a GEM 5.5mm scale kit. The backscene is a bit unfortunate in showing something rather like Mount Fuji. Right: No 6 'Calamity Jane' was another pugbash based on an Atlas-Rivarossi 0-8-0 American switcher. The tender featured my first try at rivet detail and a second chimney meant for an 'experimental steam condenser unit'. The chimney of the loco came from a Kitmaster Stirling single.

A close-up of 'Invicta' as an 0-4-0 on a Jouef Decauville chassis, made of plywood and card. The loco still has its original open cab and featured extensive backhead detail. The right-hand shot shows a line-up of Invicta, the 4-4-0 and the Pugbash. This view also shows the original paint scheme of the signals, with a Midland black ball on the arm instead of a stripe. The year is 1969 or 1970.

Left: the 4-4-0 in 1969, on a short train of stock which is still in day to day use: the Liliput-based coach no. 4 and the luggage van B2, now no. 8. Further to the left is another conversion of a GEM 5.5mm scale kit: the quarryman's coach. In the right-hand view we have made a jump to 1977 after the layout had been reconstructed. This view shows the approaches to the first Dunalistair station.

Left: another 1977 view showing what used to be the 4-4-0, now a 4-6-0T on a Liliput chassis, crossing the rather nice river on the Dunalistair board with a goods train. Right, 'Invicta', now an 0-6-2T on a Minitrix chassis in black livery, sits on the station throat at Rae Bridge in the late evening sunlight.

Left: Rae Bridge in its first form was rebuilt from the 1969 layout by widening the baseboard and laying new track. Here in 1977 the second Pugbash departs for Craigcorrie (the fiddle yard across the room) with a goods train. Right: another 1977 view of Dunalistair with the new railcar passing the pilot station with the lighthouse that found its way to the present Dunalistair layout.

Two 1977 views of Rae Bridge. The station building was still the original 1969 building without bargeboards and with crude Airfix windows and card stonework. Some of the detail like the Edwardian couple has found its way on to the present layout. Right: the loco shed and boiler house with the winding house ruin made an interesting scene. The winding house was made in 1968 and has found its way on to the new layout. The loco shed at the time was almost new and was later extended. Interesting is the mail van which was based on an Egger van. At the time it was crimson lake with red and white lettering. The body was later put next to the siding at Glenclachan Road halt, very weathered and run down, and is still quietly rotting there…

These 1977 views are the final ones of the early years of the C&DR. To the left the paddle steamer, still in its 1850 guise, in front of Dunalistair station. A train of four-wheelers, all of which are still in existence, stands in the station headed by the articulated 0-4-4T 'Ivanhoe' which was soon rebuilt as an 0-4-0 and tender. Also in this view is the Garratt in its 'as built' state. In the right-hand photo of Rae Bridge the Garratt is seen again, hauling a load of coal to clear the congested harbour sidings. Some of the stock I built at sea is in view, and in addition this offers a good overview of the station itself.