If you build it, they will come.







Twenty-five years ago; if you had told me that in the 21st Century I’d be riding down the re-born Waverley Route behind a Peppercorn A1 Class locomotive I would have asked you what you’d just dropped.

On Sunday the 13th September 2015, though no illicit chemistry of any sort was involved, that’s exactly what I did.

In just a few short but unforgettable hours all those marvellous images and anecdotes that admirers of the famous line rever; the tales of majestic vistas and sweeping curves, the old DMU cab ride film. All pulled into perspective and brought back into glorious, kicking, screaming life.
An uncommonly wonderful railway returned from oblivion, traversed by a member of a locomotive class back from the lost ranks of the extinct. A historical wrong in part(for now)righted.

Even the service trains observed today were full; station platforms crowded,
bridges full of photographers and curious well-wishers dotting the line-side of the Lothian uplands and the Gala Valley to witness a sight not seen here for half a century.

Tonight I’m hugely proud of my wee country because WE made this happen; from the grass roots lobbyists of the CBR and the WRHA who kept the flame and kept the dream alive to a forward looking and sympathetic government who trusted those who believed in the potential of this largest stretch of line to be built in Scotland or the UK for a century. To the engineers, technicians and labourers who grafted in all weathers and hours of the day to being the project to fruition.
True, mistakes were made along the way but today, the people of the Borders have a fast, modern link with the outside world and if what I witnessed today is any indicator the future is bright.

This evening, with the events of the day in mind, I walked Abi along the old trackbed from Brunthill to Parkside.
Even if trains return to the entire route in the future as far as Carlisle, developments since the 1970s have ensured that trains will never run this way again, but away to the north, the Phoenix of the Waverley has again risen and in that knowledge, the old section, quiet, leafy and tranquil can finally rest in peace.


Sometimes, the wildest dreams really, really do come true!


Possible new Reid Atlantic kit from 52F


(Image courtesy of WRHA Archive.)

Whilst a number of kits exist for models of the Caledonian and Highland Railways’ larger locomotives, there is nothing similar for the NBR (sorry, I just don’t like the full title!) 🙂 equivalent, WP Reid’s impressive Atlantic Class locomotives.
Built in the early 1900s to handle crack East Coast services north of Edinburgh and also the Midland Expresses north of Carlisle over the Waverley Route, these big 4-4-2s were unique to the best of my knowledge as being the only tender locomotives in Scotland with that wheel arrangement.

During the 1970s, a cast kit was available from GEM, but this is now very difficult to find so Peter Stanger, founder of 52F Models has intimated that if sufficient interest is forthcoming he will produce an etched kit in 2015.

It’s certainly a kit I would love to see produced so if you like me share that desire, please leave a comment to that effect and I’ll make sure word gets back to Pete.

Having made his mark on the NER modelling world with a rather nice series of kits, Pete has begun to tackle gaps in the NB’s fleet such as the C16 I reviewed last year and the useful N15 tank loco. Currently he is working on a J83 tank, famous in the later steam era as the Waverley station shunt pilots and whilst nothing is as yet finalised, future projects under consideration include J88 dock tanks and ‘Intermediate’ 4-4-0s.

You can visit Pete’s website and see the NE and NB items he has already produced by following this link. http://52fmodels.sharepoint.com/