Monday, July 20, 2015

Duchal Moor Railway

When I originally started work on a bridge for the Dave Brewer challenge I wasn't sure if I was going to copy an existing bridge or just use one for inspiration. That is why, until now, I've specifically not mentioned the bridge I'd been looking at. Of course, as comments on recent posts have shown, it's difficult for any of you to make comments on how accurate something I've modelled is if you have no real idea of what it should look like, so......

The Duchal Moor Railway, known locally as the Grouse Moor Line, was built by the shipbuilder James Lithgow to help transport people and equipment out to the shooting butts on the moor. When completed in 1922 there was approximately 7 miles of 2ft gauge track. The railway closed in the late 1970s and most of the line has disappeared back into the peat bogs it was built over. One of the remaining sections of the line includes a bridge over Blacketty Water which I'm using as the basis for my model.

Clearly it's not a particularly big or complex bridge but I was looking for something that I had a could model with a chance of finishing in time, and which would also let me experiment with a bunch of new techniques. To follow up on the question of sleeper size here is a comparison of the test piece of track and the real track.

Having measured from the photo, I think the majority of the sleepers are around 2' 9" wide but I've modelled them as 3' (so 12mm) to give a little more width. Even with the extra width they look very narrow due to the over sized spikes and heavier rail. Given there is not much I can do about the rail or the spikes (I really couldn't handle smaller spikes) I think the track looks like a reasonable representation, especially as when viewed from a normal distance the spikes blend in more than they do in the close up photo. I suppose the other option would be to just glue the rail down and not bother with the spikes given how small they are in real life but somehow that seems like cheating.

Anyway, now you all know what bridge I'm basing my model on hopefully you'll keep making helpful comments as I continue experimenting and then building the final model.


  1. Ah, so it was Lithgow's that fitted this all out, I can well imagine. Lithgows were a big noise on the Clyde in the early-mid C20 and I was lucky enough to explore the remains of their yards in the eighties before they were all flattened and one became a Tesco store :-( A number of their directors, back in the day, lived in the Kilmacolm area, near to Duchal moor. This is going to be a fine model!

  2. Fascinating that someone should build a rail line out to the moors. When one thinks of the progress made in the following half century by which time vehicles with large soft tyres or even small hovercraft could be used for the purpose.