Weekend at Whitrope





A truly massive weekend of productivity occurred at Whitrope last weekend as a large crew and excellent weather combined to ensure conditions were just right for work, if slightly warm!
Mike at Cumbria Lift and Shift helped greatly with his Palfinger equipped flatbed truck, not only delivering our new ground frame on Saturday but assisting with important movements of rail and sleepers that allowed us to position approximately 100 F28 and G44 sleepers for both a southward extension of two track panels towards the site of bridge 201 as well as for permanent laying of the missing panel over bridge 200 which had been left out whilst survey work was carried out.
Further groundwork in connection with the lever frame and our embryonic signalling system was carried out whilst other volunteers prepared the ground for the bay platform face.
One of the biggest pushes the site has witnessed since its inception was crowned by some major stock re-marshalling, made possible by our newly commissioned stock siding.
The Mk1 TSORB has been ‘retired’ from public service for now for use as a staff mess, allowing the Mk2f RF to present a somewhat classier public face to the railway.
Incidentally, another little piece of history was made on Friday when our Mk2 BSO became the first passenger vehicle over Whitrope since April 1970.
History is forever being made at Whitrope these days!

Waverley Route Artwork

My friend Iain MacIntosh is working on another of his excellent pencil drawings. This one, like the last is of a Gresley V2 class, but this time on a Waverley Route passenger working.
Iain’s work goes from strength to strength and this looks like being even better than his previous production.
Whilst Iain hasn’t confirmed this as yet I believe he is planning a limited run of prints of the drawing in the future.
I will post further information when it’s available.
Meanwhile I thought you should share a sneak preview of what is promising another beautiful piece of artwork.

The Waverley Spring


Today, I spent the day driving my friend Iain MacIntosh around in the northern part of the Borders and into Midlothian carrying out a photo survey for a new publication. The Railways of Peebles Through Time, which is a joint project with WRHA Chairman Roy Perkins, will be published shortly by Amberley Publishing at £14.99 and will also be available for purchase through the Waverley Route Heritage Association.
The purpose of today’s trip was to document stations on the Peebles Loop.
One location that we visited was the former station at Eddleston which has recently been beautifully refurbished as shown above.

On the northbound trip we travelled via the A7 and from Galashiels northwards to the limit of our expedition at Eskbank, evidence of work on the Waverley Route was apparent. All along the line, the once ever present linear birch wood has been felled, the embankments are once again visible, free of four decades’ worth of unmanaged growth, bridges, tunnels and previously hidden vistas are all on view and everywhere, contractors signs have appeared. Construction machinery appears at structures enjoying rejuvenation and every few hundred metres, men in orange workwear go about the business of waking this wonderful railway from it’s forty odd years of enforced hibernation.
And finally it can be seen, stirring along thirty miles, from the erstwhile coalfields of Lothian, down the Gala Valley and seemingly to the very foot of the Eildons; our beloved line is back. The Waverley Spring is upon us.

Gresley Butchery

One thing I’ve become somewhat over-interested in of late is more accurate coach formations and I’m also increasingly aware of the limitations of off the shelf products in this respect.

Stopping passenger trains on the Waverley were largely composed of Gresley 61′ corridor stock until about 1960 when Mk1 stock began to dominate. Hornby’s Gresley corridor stock has some notable flaws which conversion such as I’m undertaking can address to a limited extent. Chiefly from my point of view, it’s the limited usefulness of the provided variants that are of concern here though and this has necessitated using the Gresley models as conversion platforms. One of the glaring omissions is a corridor composite coach and I have used the Comet sides to graft on to a suitable donor, in this case, a sleeper third. Coach conversions are new territory for me so I apologise if my techniques are a little rudimentary – Larry Goddard I sure as hell ain’t!


The coach sides were unceremoniously removed using a razor saw and scribing tool. This task was undertaken with less finesse than was perhaps required but as it’s the first in a selection of models, I’m sure the techniques will refine with experience. Some stub ends were retained for basic mounting of the sides. The sides themselves had been prefabricated prior to this. You’ll notice that I have added a reinforcing strip of brass on the lower side as there isn’t a great deal of rigidity in the basic etching. Prior to doing this and after joining the upper and lower halves of the coach side (it comes in two parts) I rolled the sides to an approximation of tumblehome.


The Gresley coaches initially produced by Hornby have some rather odd issues with the end profile and tumblehome. This has been partly addressed with the more recent BG which I used as a guide to a more correct profile. In fact the raised vertical strips on the end on the outermost pretty much conform with the improved profile so I used these as a template and filed the outer profile to match. The result looks a lot better.



With the sides in place, it becomes obvious that more support is required at the top where the roof meets the sides. My method is somewhat agricultural but effective. The crude cutting away will also mean I need to do a bit of filling underneath the gutters but a lesson learned.

It’s at this time you realise that you’ll need to create new internal partitions and compartments so, using the sleeper’s internal arrangement moulding is used to create a new floor template from plasticard. I’ll show this later when some progress has been made.Image

So, the basic superstructure is now complete. I’ll add the doorhandles and the like once paint has been applied. The underframe equipment will also require modification as that under the CK was arranged differently from the SLT.

These are jobs for another day though; we’ll pause here with a couple of images of the basic bodyshell temporarily mounted on the chassis and looking better than I truly anticipated at this point.