Last Train to Clarksville

I’ve been cutting about the Ft Bill to Laggan stretch a few times recently, and it’s shuffled previous thoughts to the surface again. I love industrial stuff, the visit to the pipes on the recent Ben Vorlich trip was, oddly perhaps, a highlight. And the narrow gauge railway that ran from Loch Treig to the Ft Bill smelter has always caught my imagination as so much of the infrastructure still exists.
The film footage I’ve got of it in use showed the possibilities, the stories from locals about how it was sabotaged by deliberate neglect so that it wouldn’t pass into tourist use tells of a depressingly familiar attitude. So, if it can’t be a railway again without spending big bucks, couldn’t it be a proper path and cycleway? I passes through the Aonach Mor tracks anyway, but I suppose that would forever block the rail option though.
There’s a cracking collection of photies here, and an out-of-print book. I really fancy walking the route of the line from end to end, a train from Ft Bill to Fersit and then a walk back. I wonder how many fences you would have to climb and how many security men would chase you as you got further west? No summits to tick which is nice, instead there’s confrontations to collect, bridges to bag, sleepers to stockpile, rails to er, round up?
My to-do list is getting longer all the time.

From the mouths of children…

“Tiso rubbish. Transport Museum, Edie McCredie’s bus, okay thanks you”. Holly said it, not me. Not even the waterfall in the Tiso GOE held her interest today.
We slipped and slid our way back to the motor and headed to Glasgow’s rapidly emptying Transport Museum. There’s a new one being built by the Clyde and a lot of exhibits are in a limbo of transition and storage. Plenty people still in there, and the cafe was great. Well, you know me and food.
But, the original museum in the old tram depot on Albert Drive on the south side was still better. They had a huge train set, the cafe was decorated with wooden panels from First Class Victorian railway carriages, and the carpet had Caledonian Railway locomotives on it. I notice that some of that carpet got saved and made it into some of the current museum offices, nice to see there’s a soul in there somewhere and it’s not all just people doing a job.
Holly loves it in there and was distraught when we left. So the next plan was to get a wee sledge instead of dad’s improvised versions (the details of which shall remain a mystery), so we went to Cotswolds in Partick. No sledges and Holly got into a tent upstairs, made soup with a pot and a spork and refused to come out until “Granny phoned” and invited us over for tea. Extra bribery was provided in the form of a wind-up torch in the shape of a ladybird. A magic wee thing, and she spent the journey home shining it on the roof above her.
Great inversion today, I could tell from underneath it. I looked at some web and traffic-cams, the sun was shining on the snow covered mountains.
You know what? I have neither the energy or the motivation to pack and go and see it up close. It’s been nice this past week just doing nothing. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do something. Or the day after that.

Diesel power

Mechanical cross section as art?

This a section of a Napier Deltic diesel engine. They were originally in Navy torpedo boats and lattery as a pair in the Deltic or Class 55 diesel-electric railway locomotives which ran on British Railways until the early 80s. At it’s intoduction, the most powerful locomotive in the world.

I love the drawing, the detail. It looks too complicated to build or maintain, yet it’s obsolete technology.

Aye, we were good once.