Bird's eye view

Scale and gauge

The C&DR was built in 009 - 4mm scale with a track gauge of 9mm. This scale/gauge combination was first pioneered in the 1950s by P.D.Hancock in Edinburgh (Craig & Mertonford Railway), closely followed by David Mander (Stronalacher Railway). In the 1960s however there was more interest in 00n3 (12mm gauge) due to the easy availability of Tri-ang TT, before commercial N gauge and the arrival of Egger-Bahn gave a great boost to 9mm narrow gauge. The 009 Society was founded in Britain in 1973, which within a few years led to a profusion of inexpensive kits that made 009 very popular.

Back to the Craigcorrie & Dunalistair Railway, the first step of which was taken by me in 1968 and 1969. My first layout was called Craigcorrie and measured about 0.40m by 1.80m. Parts of this early layout were included in three successive versions of Rae Bridge, the last one of which was begun in 2001. My second working layout was long and narrow, along a wall 4 metres long. After a house move I built my first double-deck layout, which appeared in the Modeller Book of Narrow Gauge by Peco, in 1985. This layout was later moved to our present house and extended to its present size of 3.00m by 2.50m. Here follows a short description.

The Craigcorrie & Dunalistair Railway

The layout consists of separate units resting on a wooden frame which is supported by inexpensive kitchen cabinets from the DIY trade. This has resulted in a lot of clean storage space below the layout. If I open a door or remove a drawer, I can easily reach the wiring under the layout. Inside the layout is a square of about 1.5x1.5 metres which serves as an operating space and also houses the workbench. Entry into this area is through a passage which is crossed by a lifting bridge with a single line of track across it. Outside the main layout area is a three-track return loop in a box measuring roughly 120x75cms, with a plywood lid on it. This functions as the end of the line and can store up to six trains. This unit is remote-controlled from inside the operating area. At the other end of the layout is a narrow fiddle yard serving as the branch line terminus.

The first cabinets are being positioned (2007).

Dunalistair fitted on to the first row of cabinets.

Dunalistair, with Inverlochan above. Note the internmediate tracks behind Dunalistair up to the wall.

Rae Bridge and the workbench below.

Rae Bridge seen from behind Glenclachan. Note a train on the bridge over the entrance passage.

Dunalistair below Inverlochan and the colliery.

Inside the main layout area is the entire landscape, with stations, a harbour, a mountainous area and a colliery. The latter is about 14 inches above the harbour area. Below the general plan of the layout can be seen (click to enlarge).

The route

The route starts in the harbour station of Dunalistair, which is built into the upper level of the layout below Inverlochan. The line traverses a wide curve around a headland and disappears on a continuous climb behind the town of Dunalistair. The line then continues behind the backscene of Dunalistair and reappears behind Glenclachan. Here the track is supported on a narrow timber ledge, supported in various places. Having ended up to the left behind Rae Bridge, the route continues behind the backscene to the right, where the line doubles back and reappears next to the distillery. The tracks of Rae Bridge station run diagonally across the area. Here the branch to Glenfinnan swings off and disappears below a bridge built into the backscene. The branch shares a length of track with the Creag Dhubh Mountain Tramway.

The return loops in their box.

The return loop box fits neatly above the desk.

A view along the length of Glenclachan, and (to the right) behind Glenclachan...

...showing the line to Dunalistair (bottom right), the branch fiddle yard just above, and below the branch the cut-off route which transforms Rae Bridge into a continuous run.

To the left of Rae Bridge the route dives into a short tunnel, reappearing in the Glenclachan Gorge, where the line crosses the river with a girder bridge, disappearing again in another tunnel. The line runs behind the backscene of Dunalistair again, now into the opposite direction and on a higher level. After rounding the curve behind the left end of Dunalistair it continues towards the lifting bridge across the entrance passage. Again the line ducks behind the Rae Bridge backscene and finally reappears on the top level to the left of Rae Bridge station. Here it passes the ruined winding house and reaches the siding and low platform of Glenclachan Road, perched on the viaduct abutment. Crossing the viaduct, the line reaches Inverlochan Moor and finally the station next to the colliery. Here through trains disappear into the return loops which take the place of Craigcorrie station.

Total length of this route is about 30 metres during which the line gains 14 inches in elevation. The effect of this distance and vertical separation is that the line really seems to run from one town to another.

This concludes the 'bird's eye view' of the C&DR.