A month down the track and I am on the mend after discovering the joys and pitfalls (and there are no joys) of kidney stones. Not being in constant pain is allowing me to get back to normal operation; thanks to the skill of the urology team at the Ballarat Base Hospital.
But enough of me, and on to the first of this month’s site seeing.
I grew up with a very Scottish grandfather, very Scottish. I listened in awe as a child to his stories of the highlands. Working for the railways (in Australia) all his working life, it was perhaps fated that I should fall in love with the Scottish highland railway lines. One particularly holds me in awe all these years later – the line out to the Kyle of Localsh.
In the very early 1980s Michael Palin’s Great Railway Journey’s travelled the line, and quite apart from being a fan of Michael Palin this program only made my yearning to travel it greater. It still is on the top of my railway journeys bucket list.
Over the years there’s been a couple of great layouts on the highland lines. Two that come to mind are presented today.
Site 1: Portchullin – a layout by Mark Tatlow
I love the sound of diesel engines working, doing what they are supposed to do; industry, grime and dust. Hearing a diesel notch up, lifting its train, from station, industry or yard reignites my passion for modelling. I don’t know why; it just does.
While ‘tubing recently I came across Portchullin. It ticks all the boxes for me on how a great North of Scotland layout should be built and come to life.
You can watch “A day’s trainspotting at Portchullin” here:
Best of all the creator of the layout has a great website with lots of useful posts (which I’ve just begun to follow) here: (Offsite link)
If you are a signalling buff like I am, you’ll enjoy the excellent working signalling on the layout too. Mark also sells (albeit as a small run manufacturer) parts for signals, which you can also find on his website.
Site 2: Kyle of Tongue – a layout by Steve Flint
Featured in the February 1990 Railway Modellers magazine, this layout was completely immersive. You could feel the cold coming off the highland hills, and leaching into your bones. Unfortunately images are hard to come by on the web. However this image shows Port Pennan also by Steve Flint I believe.
This ought to give you an idea of the layout style that Steve is famous for.
Great Railway Journeys – Confessions of a train spotter