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Dromahair

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Angus
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Hello! I've been contributing to RMweb for a while now on my various UK modelling activities and confess to knowing very little about the Irish rail network and history outside of the Sligo & Leitrim.

A couple of my modelling activities owe their origins to my school library and the books available to me in my early teen years.

The railway section was hardly extensive, from memory it contained an impenetrable text on Locomotive design by OVS Bulleid, an equally dull book on Locomotive performance by OS Nock and 3 bound annual volumes of the Railway Magazine 1962-65 all seeming to focus on the on-going modernisation of British Railways.

It did stock another couple of books that were much more inspirational, John Thomas's history of the the Callander and Oban Railway and finally a copy of the Slight, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway by Neil Sprinks.

The later book was full of weird 0-6-4 tanks engines running on an unusual 5' 3" gauge (to my pre-teen eyes) across and rural land I knew nothing about, none the less it sowed a seed.....

Forty years of dusty memory was recently brought back to life by seeing David Holman's superb Arigna Town at a couple of exhibitions and a trip to Dublin over the Easter break had me Googling and re-discovering the SLNCR again.

On return to the UK the three books on the line were purchased (including the edition of original history of the line I had read back in school) and a 1956 edition of the Railway Magazine that also contain descriptions of a visit and a potted history of the line.

One of the reason's for the sudden re-awakening of interest was the 2mm Scale Association's Diamond Jubilee Layout Competition (DJLC).

This is due to end in June 2020 and restricts the veiwable section of any layout to 600x240mm, so not a lot to play with and I had been struggling to find anything worthwhile that interested me.

Whilst Googling the line on holiday in Dublin, I found the Dromahair Heritage  web-site and noticed the Dromahair track plan on the OS map had potential:-

1294543917_DromahairStationmapboardoutline.thumb.png.2ae97fcefb68874aded783a2089aabb1.png

 

The black outline approximates to the base board size allowed and by moving the goods shed to the right I should be able to use this as a view blocker.

It should be noted that the OS map above is obviously an early layout of the sidings as I have never seen the point forming the loop in any photo of the line.

I'm intending to model the 1947-54 period so the track formation will be out of date but one of the other rules of the DJLC competition is that the layout must contain at least one point so it stays.

Besides, it'll add interest.

The layout will be built to 10.5mm gauge and I hope to get the track work underway in early June.

I'll be picking up gauges and rail at the 2mm Association's Supermeet on the 8th June (in Tutbury Staffordshire UK if your around.....).

The main board is built and a mock up tried, it'll be on with build soon.

792621414_DromahairDJLC.JPG.6d95ba8a7a9a428ae59a45ef0c3efc1c.JPG

 

1364640301_Dromahairmockup1.thumb.jpg.0307ee7dbb2976c614dc41d81d6c1a1e.jpg

I haven't seen any other 10.5mm gauge layouts but it would good to understand anyone else's experience and what, if anything is available to to the 2mm modeller for Irish railways.

I'm also hoping you'll set me straight should any UKisms creep into the build.😉

I'll post more as it happens (assuming you're interested!) Thanks!

 

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Thanks for the positive responses everyone,

Apologies for the late reply, I got myself locked out on my mobile as I couldn't remember my password.

Galteemore,

Good to hear there is some local interest.

I already have a couple of Alphagraphix kits in 7mm that I've scanned and reduced to 2mm.

These are railbus 2a, which I am intending to use as drawings to produce a plasticard model and Glenfarne goods shed which closely resembles the shed at Dromahair (the only difference I've found is the windows and doorways were arched at Glenfarne and horizontal at Dromahair).

The goods shed is currently being built in card at 2mm scale to assist with the mock up, eventually it will be built in plasticard as the stonework really needs some 3d texture to be convincing.

I am aware of a couple of other SLNCR kits in the Alphagraphix range (e.g. Manorhamilton singla box) but despite sending a couple of emails have had no response from Alphagraphix.

They usually attend the O Gauge Guild's show at Telford in September so worst case is I'll catch them there.

I've already purchased the Wagon drawings available from the Irish Rail Archives so should be in a good place to start constructing the rolling stock.

I've also got a 3d print of railcar B on the workbench.

It needs quite a bit of work due to striation on the lower body and roof but should be workable.

 1266611508_railcarBbody2.thumb.jpg.924044864b8fbb16dae354cdec9a96b4.jpg

Ernie,

I'm already addicted to your site and have used extensively for my Callander and Oban modelling.

The SLNCR section was one of the inspirations behind this model.

David,

Thanks for the support, as noted above Arigna Town was another one of the inspirations.

I noticed the plan above doesn't have the notes on it which help explain the model:-

dromahair_djlc.png.f04d2a75c1a4b2378b7b58a6a97f32c0.png

I've brought the signal site just past the signal box onto scene to add interest.

Now I've more accurately scaled the model I have more room on the left hand side than represented in this plan so the Station building will not be flush to the backscene (see mock up above).

I've also got a fully drawn up Templot template now using 9ft sleepers at 2'6" spacings with flat bottom rail as per the prototype (as far as I can make out).

My current debate is whether to use code 30 or code 40 flat bottom rail, both are available from the 2mm Scale Association, the code 30 will look lighter and be more representative of the 75lb rail used but come in coil form and is, apparently, a right B###### to straighten.

railcar B body 1.jpg

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Never ceases to amaze me at the stuff that it out there. A 2mm 3D printed SLNCR railcar for goodness sake - and looks good too! Can the body be articulated I wonder?

 Don't know a lot about 2FS, but would think Code 40 rail should be fine, especially compared to Peco's Code 55 and the wider gauge would definitely set the scene.

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Indeed, 3d printing does open up a whole new world for rare prototypes, and for 2mm scale is not too expensive either.

It isn't an open the box and plonk on a chassis as it is sometimes portrayed, I am already a couple of hours into the smoothing and sanding an only one side and the roof is complete.

The cab is rigidly fixed to the body so would require cutting and a flexible connection added to articulate, I'm not sure whether this is worth the effort.

The current plan is to use a coach bogie (LNWR 8' seems the best representation) combined with some 5.25mm disc wheels for the 28" rear wheels and use 6mm discs wheels for the 33" fronts.

The fronts will need drilling to accept crank pins for the coupling rods, but that shouldn't be too hard.

The main issue is the use of wagon wheels prohibits the use of a standard 2mm split frame chassis so I will be back to wiper pick ups.

The plus side is this enables a solid drive axle to be used, current thoughts are to use one of these to power the rear coupled axle:-

https://shop.kkpmo.com/product_info.php?info=p1003_m400g144-micromotor-with-ratio-144-1.html

I reckon it will give a top speed of around 60 MPH (so in line with the real thing)

550rpm x 6mm dia x pi x 60mins/hr / 2mm/ft / 3ft/yd / 1760yd/mile if my calcs a right.

It probably won't be very powerful but then there is no tail load to drag.

The motor can be mounted vertically in the luggage compartment and should be relatively invisible.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, it may not look much but these bits of brass represent a massive step forward for my recreation of Dromahair.

Gauges.thumb.jpg.92c233feaaa007537c846ee8438f3b4f.jpg

Without them the track could not be built and I wouldn't have a hope of getting anything running well.

The are no off shelf options for these gauges for 10.5mm 2mm gauge so they all have to be turned from scratch.

I was fortunate in that the rolling gauge was kindly donated to the cause by a fellow 2mm Irish modeller over on RMweb.

The rest are the work of my own fair hand.

I still need another roller gauge and I would like a check rail gauge, so there is still work to do. I need to get a spacing washer for the toolpost on my lathe before I do though as I am getting some movement as I cannot tighten it down properly without one.

Without this I haven't a hope of turning the roller gauges accurately.

The gauges here are enough here to start the straight section of track at the rear of the layout that runs past the station platform though.

 

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When the Rolling Stones christened their album "Sticky Fingers" I don't think they were talking about gluing sleepers down......

It might not be very rock 'n' roll but I've finished the sleepers (and cleaned the glue off my fingers....)

187891452_Sleepersdown.thumb.jpg.5e65b75c8004a77005c95e55189939d4.jpg

It should be ready for some rail once the holes for the droppers and point control are drilled.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Slow progress at present over at Dromahair due to the past couple of weekends being tied up.

I've managed to get some rail down though.

385019083_firstrailsdown.thumb.jpg.d3efa9c764f4384044d2c47c06c66923.jpgH

I've used the 2mm Scale Association's code 40 flat bottomed rail which is a bit heavy duty for the SLNCR but hopefully it captures the Irish broad gauge feel.

I really need to get a wagon chassis built before I finish the point though otherwise I risk having to rebuild the whole thing once complete if a roll through highlights any issues.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Due to the recent outage I am behind with my posting.

 

Whilst viewing some photos of the SLNCR on the web, I found a photo with what looked like a 14t tank wagon just coming into shot.

LISSADELL - 'Leitrim' Class 0-6-4T, built 1899 by Beyer Peacock, Works No.4073 - withdrawn 1954.

 

As I've got a Farish version of one of those it occurred to me I don't need to build a wagon chassis in order to test the trackwork, I can use a Farish chassis with replacement axles and the wheels spaced for 10.5mm gauge.

The tank wagon seemed a suitable candidate but required the brakes to be removed for the wheels to spin.

I'm not sure who owned the wagon, I seem to recall seeing a photo another tank wagon on the SLNCR but could have sworn that was in Shell livery.

There is reference to tar being delivered to a Council siding on the line, perhaps this is the delivery method?

A tank wagon would add variety to the freight workings.

 

With a rolling wagon available the trackwork was finished over the course of a few evenings.

 

876607114_trackcomplete.jpg.b6ef4eeb7d63250b02be63078a41cf22.jpg

 

Next I need to install the mechanism.

I have a manual (blue point?) switch left over from an abandoned 7mm scale project.

These are like an unpowered tortoise motor, and was going to be pressed into use on Dromahair,

The only snag is that I've used 2"x 1" timber frames which aren't deep enough.

 

1163783355_Pointswitch.jpg.96a0064f6a8294965fb7060dc922f596.jpg 

 

A couple of inch deep 2x2 sections on the corners of the baseboard should add sufficient depth, the backscene boards will  hide the bodging.

I found the lever frame at the Gauge O Guild's Telford show a few years ago, broken, bent, tarnished and for sale for a few quid,  A couple hours renovation work brought it back to life  and with three levers will find use at Dromahair (two signals and one point).

 

912140378_leverframe.jpg.7f67bbcb3ef7f2a036a3bc79058d39e4.jpg

 

It will be mounted on a platform at the side of layout.

 

Edited by Angus
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  • 1 month later...

 

slow progress over at Dromahair.

I picked up some Alphagraphix kits at  Telford on Saturday so hope to get these scaled down and some wagon builds under way soon.

Otherwise I've wired up the track ready for power once I have a suitable loco and given the track a quick spray.

It'll need a bit of touching up where I've caught the sleepers when I wiped the rail tops cleans, it will also need a bit of tone adding but then should be ready for ballasting.

1269589190_tracksprayed.thumb.jpg.406c86773a49053bb6d768db88222850.jpg

I also managed to track buy a reprint of the 1936 Service timetable recently.

This gives a real insight in how the line was operated.

1074752674_ServiceTimetable.thumb.jpg.e6afad68510bc8bb4ef2785f5c5fde6d.jpg

One of the nice things  about modelling a real location is the tangible link to the past created when reading documents such as these. 

Edited by Angus
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Great stuff. My dad has a copy of that which he let me borrow when I was in Ireland over the summer. The whistle codes on entering a station are interesting. As is the 1946 timetable, which features a tiny bit more steam passenger action than the 1957 one which most of us are familiar with. Apparently, so my dad says, the advent of Railcar B effectively did away with the  remaining steam passenger diagram bar the legendary 19:20 mixed ex Enniskillen. The Saturday only Manorhamilton to Sligo return was a surprise to me too - that also failed to make the 57 timetable.

6D047C60-6822-427B-A37F-AFCA94937024.jpeg

Edited by Galteemore
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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

It is slowly occurring to  me that I may have bitten off more then I can chew with this build, especially if I'm going to be ready for the 2mm association jubilee meet in June 2020.

I need to take some short cuts and ideally get a loco running so I can test the track before I get it all painted and ballasted.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall that a couple of LMS Jinties got sent across to Ireland, the latest Farish model is nice and easily converted to 2mm finescale thanks to some drop in bearings available from the association. A quick trawl of the internet revealed the NCC (UTA) Y class which consisted of a pair of re-gauged LMS Jinties used to shunt Belfast docks. For the period I am looking for both had been repainted in UTA livery.

First stumbling block was that only 2 pairs of wheels were available form the association shop but an appeal on RM web brought the kind offer of a pair.

So ebay was visited and the resultant win is here, it runs ok but is mysteriously missing its chimney cap, I should be able to turn up a replacement

1541646948_Yclassinthemaking.thumb.jpg.8380d867938f842b737e59164056efb0.jpg

First job is remove the decals and get back to black, I prefer to repaint the whole loco anyway, the black locos weather to a very dark grey.

I need to source some UTA roundals hopefully Rail-tec will be able to shrink their 4mm versions.

I have a etched number plate on order, she will become number 18 which was the first of the pair to be withdrawn.

So why does an UTA jinty get to Dromahair?

The Northern Irish Government (in conjunction with the Irish Government) support the SLNCR with grants upto the mid-50s when the Northern Irish Government removed their grant, consistent with their lack of support for the rail network across the North.

My alternate reality is that the SLNCR suffered a couple of breakdowns leaving it short of motive power (not that far a stretch, the three Sir Henry classes were approaching 50 years old and undergoing heavy maintenance work. the remaining member of the Leitrim class Hazelwood was another 10 years older). To work the timetable the SLNCR need at least two engines in steam with a spare, so had to borrow one from the UTA. A 3F Jinty would be ideal for the line.

It is, of course, a neat reversal of fortunes as the UTA ultimately bought the two Lough class locos when the SLNCR closed and used them to replace the two jinties on Belfast docks.

As far as I can tell from the photos I found the UTA jinties were standard (apart from the gauge of course) I need to remove the numberplate moulding on the smokebox door and will probably need to move the brakes and rigging out to suit the wider 10.5mm gauge.

Is there any other adjustments needed?

I'll post some pictures as I progress, current the various brass components (Wheels, coupling rods) are being chemically blackened.

Once this is done the conversion to 2mm fs can start.

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Good compromise Angus. It may help your machinations to know (if you didn’t already) that one of the last minute proposals put forward in 1957 was to keep Omagh to Enniskillen open purely as a freight line worked by the SLNC. In such a scenario, one can imagine the UTA being happy enough to allocate an obsolete/obsolescent loco (as you say, one of the Jinties was withdrawn quite early) to EKN to assist with the traffic. It could quite happily wander to Dromahair...

Having seen many photos, I think they were fairly standard machines with the only big change being the regauge.

Edited by Galteemore
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Conversion of the real thing to broad gauge wasn't easy. Apparently, they had to turn the wheels down to fit inside the splashers - the opposite of modellers thinning the insides of splashers and bodywork so over thick wheels will fit.

 Another thought re motive power would be via visitors from the south (as per Arigna Town). Not sure whether any 2mm diesel bodies are available (3D printing?), for A, C or Baldwin's, but the latest RM has an article where a Lima 33 was converted to an A in 7mm scale, so in 2mm a passable likeness ought to be more than possible?

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21 hours ago, Galteemore said:

Good compromise Angus. It may help your machinations to know (if you didn’t already) that one of the last minute proposals put forward in 1957 was to keep Omagh to Enniskillen open purely as a freight line worked by the SLNC. In such a scenario, one can imagine the UTA being happy enough to allocate an obsolete/obsolescent loco (as you say, one of the Jinties was withdrawn quite early) to EKN to assist with the traffic. It could quite happily wander to Dromahair...

Having seen many photos, I think they were fairly standard machines with the only big change being the regauge.

Hi Galteemore,

I was aware of the of the proposal to keep the Omagh - Enniskillen line open to allow the heavy cattle traffic from Sligo through. This traffic was the life blood of the SLNCR and in the early 50s when the SLNCR was first threatened with closure due to poor economics, the cattle traders agreed to increase their payments to help make up the deficit such was the demand.

I'd always figured if the take over the Omagh section had gone ahead then the SLNCR would have been absorbed into the CIE as the line was effectively being kept alive by funding from the Irish government.

I am tempted by the "might have been" which leads nicely onto David's comment:-

10 hours ago, David Holman said:

Conversion of the real thing to broad gauge wasn't easy. Apparently, they had to turn the wheels down to fit inside the splashers - the opposite of modellers thinning the insides of splashers and bodywork so over thick wheels will fit.

 Another thought re motive power would be via visitors from the south (as per Arigna Town). Not sure whether any 2mm diesel bodies are available (3D printing?), for A, C or Baldwin's, but the latest RM has an article where a Lima 33 was converted to an A in 7mm scale, so in 2mm a passable likeness ought to be more than possible?

Had the SLNCR been kept alive beyond 1956 and transferred into CIE ownership then the possibility of diesel motive power appearing raises its head.

I don't know much about early Irish diesels but I do rather like the C class Bo-Bos, especially in their early aluminium livery.

There is a 2mm scale 3d print of a C class body available on Shapeways, but it does seem to suffer from the layering in the print seen on many Shapeways products (but missing from the latest cheaper home resin 3d prints).

A chassis is also available from Tomix in Japan that approximates to the C class chassis, the only real discrepancy is that the bogie centres are 2mm (one scale foot) too close together.

I don't know how easy the chassis would be to convert to 10.5mm gauge though.

Another alternative is a Deutz G class which is available in etch brass form (but no castings) from Worsley Works. I suspect this might be a bit of work to get into a complete loco though.

These might appear in the future as a bit of fun (which is after all, what it is all about!) but are straying a bit far from the recreation of the SLNCR that I wanted to build.

 

 

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I spoke to a former Dundalk Works manager and Senior some years ago, who was friendly with SLNCR management.

The very strong probability would have been steam until the mid 60s, then hiring in diesel locos from CIE. It’s likely they’d have bought one or two withdrawn CIE bogies, most likely of ex GSWR designs as they were most sturdy. 
 

Had they lasted into the 70s, you’re looking at hired-in CIE diesels and hired-in laminates, possibly one or two ex-UTA coaches of either NCC or GNR origin. CIE wagons would by now be the norm.

Into and through the 1980s and 90s, same. Eventually they might buy a couple of cravens and a couple of 141s when these start being withdrawn.

A second-hand two-car AEC set might have been a short-term option in the mid 1970s.

From 1975 on, probably to today, they’d probably have a G class to shunt their workshop, unless they had outsourced this to Inchicore. Maybe there would be two others there, covered in brambles and off the track, having been bought for spares.

If it survived now, I’d be fairly sure they’ve bought the two 2700 “bubble cars” and re-liveried them. 

Railcar “B” would have seen out the 1970s at least.

If the GNR had closed, it would probably now be a line just from Collooney to Manorhamilton.

Edited by jhb171achill
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As we are getting into "might of been land" during the 1950s the GNR considered replacing steam with diesel hydraulic locomotives. Although the GNR preferred a double cabbed Jung B-B unit the Beyer Peacock proposal looked remarkably similar to the British Railways Clayton Type , I am not sure if anyone had produced a Clayton in British N Scale

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5 minutes ago, Galteemore said:

Fascinating! Another possibility which is slightly  closer to real history would be using a Farish SECR C class 0-6-0 to recreate the SLNC’s ‘Glencar’ - pic courtesy of Mike Morant’s SmugMug site..

Hi Galteemore,

I would at some point like to model one the two (well three actually, one was swapped out for a less knackered one) 0-6-0s, the C class as a starting point is a bit of problem though.

For the C class Farish have moved away form their recent construction method that enables a drop in wheelset.

This means a scratch built chassis is required, and to be honest, if I am building the chassis from scratch then building the body to match would not be that much more effort and will procide a better scale representation. 

I just need to find a suitable drawing first (and even then I want to do a model of each of the three 0-6-4ts first).

9 minutes ago, Mayner said:

As we are getting into "might of been land" during the 1950s the GNR considered replacing steam with diesel hydraulic locomotives. Although the GNR preferred a double cabbed Jung B-B unit the Beyer Peacock proposal looked remarkably similar to the British Railways Clayton Type , I am not sure if anyone had produced a Clayton in British N Scale

Hi Mayner,

Whilst I don't mind straying into "Might have been land" I do prefer to model actual prototypes, I find it more satisfying to create a miniature of reality.

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Fair enough Angus! I do have a certain empathy with where you’re coming from, given my own SLNC leanings. It’s a little easier for me in modelling an SLNC might have been rather than an actual location, but I still want it to be historically plausible. One instance - I have a Drewry railcar to build. I had thought of a few finishes for it - CIE green which it never carried, or even SLNC two-tone green. That’s too much of a stretch for me so I’ll do it in genuine GSR livery instead, and just keep my time period flexible from 1945-55! 

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Neil Sprinks history of the SLNCR notes several 'might have beens', not least a branch down to the Arigna mines, for which there were a couple of proposed routes. Had the one down the west side of Lough Allen been built, it would have gone past the eventual site of the power station which took all the Arigna coal from 1959. The branch would have been wholly in the Republic, while the power station stayed open until the early '90s.

 Hence an Arigna branch may well have kept the later 0-6-4Ts going into the '60s, before Baldwin power took over, with maybe a G, plus Railcar B, of course. All in my Arigna Town thread and was tempted to pursue the dieselisation theme for a while.

 There was also a proposal for a line to Swalinbar and beyond, plus there is the 2-6-6-2 Garrett that Beyer Peacock offered. Somebody has built one in 7mm scale, but am guessing 2FS might be a bit of a challenge, though I do have a drawing if anyone is interested!

 On a different note, managed to get a secondhand copy of Colin Boocock's Irish Railway Album at a show last weekend. In the short section on the Sligo he writes that Sir Henry reached 60mph between Collooney and Sligo on the 7.40pm mixed from Enniskillen. Given the nature of the train itself, even though the cattle wagons had been detached, 60mph with 4'9" drivers seems a bit fanciful. Any truth in this?

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Hi David,

I don't think 60mph behind Sir Henry would have been a comfortable journey! At least it was on the GSR tracks.

I wouldn't mind a copy of the Garrett drawing, I have a soft spot for them, but it would be way down the list of builds. Is it hard or soft copy?

Thanks

Angus

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25 minutes ago, David Holman said:

, managed to get a secondhand copy of Colin Boocock's Irish Railway Album at a show last weekend. In the short section on the Sligo he writes that Sir Henry reached 60mph between Collooney and Sligo on the 7.40pm mixed from Enniskillen. Given the nature of the train itself, even though the cattle wagons had been detached, 60mph with 4'9" drivers seems a bit fanciful. Any truth in this?

Judging by the performance of the CIE "standard goods" classes 60mph may have been possible by an SLNCR tank with a light load between Ballysodare and Sligo. The crew would have had to work the loco hard to get the loco up to 60mph following the station stop at Ballysodare before having to apply the brakes on the approach to Sligo.

Small wheeled mixed traffic locos were capable of high speeds, the late R M Arnold of Golden Years of the Great Northern recorded a run with Coey J15 (5'1" wheels) 198 with a light passenger train on the Cork main line with a maximum speed of 69mph on the 25.8 miles between Newbridge and Kingsbridge Station Dublin, on the Midland the record time on the main line from Athlone to Dublin was held for a long time J19 Midland Standard Goods (5'3" wheels) which was timed by the late R M Clements at 68mph.

Irish Railway Album brings back memories I borrowed the book from the library over Christmas when I was 17 or 18.

R M Arnolds books NCC Saga and the Golden Years of the GNR are well worth a read as both works focus more on the personalities that worked on the railway than more conventional railway books.

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Just to show I'm not completely mad by devoting such time to build rolling stock for a 2 foot by 9 inch layout I do have a follow up plan.

If this version of Dromahair ,created for the 2mm scale associations diamond jubilee layout competition, works then I have a couple of Tim Horn base boards unbuilt.

These were originally purchased for a Canadian layout I planned a couple of years ago whilst incapacitated with my arm in a brace following corrective surgery on my bicep tendon.

Once active again the desire to build the Canadian layout wore off and the boards remained unbuilt. The boards are 800mm x 225m so the two boards give a length of 1.6m,

Playing around with the OS plans and Templot shows Dromahair can fit with minor tweaks and no compression:-

605872440_Dromahairfullstation.thumb.JPG.118fe762b97e4806243a39efd62a794f.JPG

The light border shows the baseboard outline.

I should be able to rob the buildings off the DJLC layout on the competition is over.

The only additional building would be the long good shed which would make for a quick build.

Edited by Angus
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