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Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:58 pm
by Gympie
I'm new here . Am in the process of building a new layout and am interested in modelling the Kirriemuir Branch Line. I am interested in the Balmuckety Siding. Niall Ferguson's book "The Arbroath & Forfar Railway . . ." makes reference to it as being used every day. What activity happened there. His book mentions that the branch line at one stage trailed towards Kirriemuir but any of the OS maps I have seen it always trailed towards the Kirriemuir Junction.
He includes a breakdown of the passenger trains to Kirriemuir but there is no mention of the locos that operated on this line. Any information regarding this would be appreciated.

Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:19 pm
The 1915 Working Timetable Appendix states that wagons from Balmuckety siding are propelled towards Kirriemuir, which fits with your point about the siding trailing towards the junction. There was no special activity - according to the list of sidings 1910, it was a "public siding."



Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:58 am
by Gympie
Thank you,


Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:40 am
by Dave Lochrie
Hi Greg,
not sure how much of the branch you intend modelling but there was a series of articles published over the last few years in the Bachman Collector's Club Magazine (starting with Vol10 No 1, I think) which contained a surprisingly useful amount of info on building a model of Kirriemuir Station in OO. If you know someone who's a member then you could arrange copies, they do turn up in piles of magazines at exhibitions and occasionally on ebay, I've picked up several but by no means all, but I can scan the relevant pages if you don't already have these.
You are probably already aware of this but the Bachmann 4mm scale Caledonian signal box was commisioned using info supplied by the CRA to provide a box for this layout, I'm not sure if these are still available but an email request to the Sales Officer should confirm. Its is ackowledged as "similar to Kirriemuir" because research could only uncover one photograph with a distant side view of the signal box.
In addition to Niall's book there is also a self published E-book The Kirriemuir Branch of the Caledonian Railway, by CRA member (current?), (and original Caledonian Modellers Consortium member) Hugh Gibb which is a pretty thorough abstract of previously published and unpublished info, it's 60+ pages include sections on development, history, passenger and goods traffic and more than half its length is made up of Appendices on Timetables, WTT info, Private Owner Wagons, Staff, and Caledonian Locomotives used in the area.
If this sounds like it contains all the background info you would need for a model, you would be right because, if my memory serves me right, that is what Hugh was setting-out to do in the late 1970's!
On Balmuckety Public Siding he states-
Balmuckety was situated beside Balmuckety level crossing where the A 926 road from Kirriemuir crossed the Kirriemuir branch line. The crossing was on an angle of 45 degrees, and had four gates. One 18ft long and one 8 ft long, on each side. The gates were operated by a gatekeeper and were worked by hand. The crossing was protected by distant signals in each direction located about 400 yards on either side of the crossing. Traffic from both of these sidings would be worked to the Public Siding at Kirriemuir Junction, which lay immediately to the south of the closed Junction station, and from there on to Perth and Forfar.
and in the section on goods traffic-
Balmuckety Public Siding was similarly long-lived. Robert Drummond remembers ““……considerable traffic……”” throughout the 1950s and 1960s, particularly for potato traffic. The siding was worked in the same way as Ballindarg, but trains from Kirriemuir pulled the wagons to the siding, and propelled those returning to Kirriemuir.
And if all that doesn't sell it, it is available to download at- ... 15091.html
And it's FREE!
Kirriemuir Station Postcard.jpg
Kirriemuir Station Postcard.jpg (172.92 KiB) Viewed 18236 times
Dave L

Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:48 am
by Gympie
Many thanks for this information - it fills in the gaps I don't have.
This will be a long term project and would like to attempt modelling from the junction to the station. I am in the process of sorting out the loft and have 16'X12' to play with. I know this seems a huge task but I hope being trained initially in electronics and being a Chartered Engineer, I have the skills and know about planning long term projects.
Some of this information is recorded in Ferguson's book but the (free) download attachment really has useful information about locos and rolling stock used. I am in the process of building a Jumbo and have a 439 to build. I wasn't sure if these were used on that line but the attachment not only gives loco numbers but also the livery used.
I would like to build the station - Ferguson's book give a basic plan with dimensions - it could be large enough to warrant its own postcode, but as that is not my area of expertise, I might seek further assistance.
I have been looking for some of the four wheel passenger stock (there was a five coach rake) that visited Kirriemuir. I found out that Decent Models have these as a brass fret. I also found out that we are only about twenty five miles apart, so I have organised a visit for Wednesday. The pieces of the jig-saw are fitting into place.

Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:54 pm
by Dave Lochrie
Geography ensured that the site at Kirriemuir was fairly restricted,and it is one of the few prototype BLT's that appeared in photos to be as filled with stock as most model railways.
Kirriemuir post 1923.jpg
Kirriemuir post 1923.jpg (455.38 KiB) Viewed 18201 times
For reference when you come to model Kirriemuir, the CRA Archive holds drawings of both the station building and the goods shed as well as an undated track plan, National Archives of Scotland have a one of the Caledonian's rating plans dating from 06/06/1900 updated to 1924 at the handover to the LMS, which can be found at RHP81472, and you can purchase prints of photographs of the station (747_45_439 up to 747_45_445 incl. taken in the 1960's from Angus Council Cultural Services, their listing also includes a photo of a snowbound Balmuckety cutting, with 3 Caledonian locos coupled together with a snow plough (747_45_460).
Angus -Kirriemuir extract.jpg
Angus -Kirriemuir extract.jpg (240.29 KiB) Viewed 18201 times
Start at and follow the Kirriemuir link (also good for colour references to the distinctive local shade of red sandstone).
Kirriemuir Goods Shed & Station.jpg
Kirriemuir Goods Shed & Station.jpg (143.53 KiB) Viewed 18201 times
Enlarged business section of the floral postcard.

Dave L

Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:14 pm
by Gympie
Thank you so much for your reply - there is a lot to take in here, I am enjoying reading it. Some of this information along with photos I have, but you are filling in the missing gaps.

I have been discussing holidays for next year with my better half, I am hoping to include a visit to the area next year.


Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 10:46 am
by John Duffy
Regarding the working of Balmuckety Crossing, the signalling diagram that I have (LMS) shows distant signals both sides of the crossing controlled from a three lever ground frame at the crossing. There does not though appear to be any home signals by which to actually stop a train. Would the expectation be that a train would approach at such a suitable speed as to be stopped by a hand signal should the gates not be clear?

There were warning treadles either side to warn the crossing keeper of an approaching train, one 400 yds from Kirriemuir signal box and the other 1864 yds from the crossing itself, both cancelled by a further treadle just north of the crossing. Would these have been linked into the main telegraph/telephone lines along the branch?

Given there seems to be a reasonable level of infrastructure designed to protect the crossing, it is not somewhat odd that the protection of the crossing with home signals was omitted?



Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 11:51 am
by dunalastairv
Dear John,

The explanation is quite simple - the red targets on the gates themselves counted as home signals, with red lights to match at night. Of course, if you 'spad' these it makes rather a mess of the gates but for all bar the rarest of events, the low speeds on branch lines and the familiarity of the crews to every inch of line resulted in very few accidents.


Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 1:55 pm
by John Duffy
Much appreciated Mike - Thanks

Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 4:05 pm
by bdrummond
Many decades ago a visit to the by then closed sidings at Balmuckety (there were two parallel roads) saw me come home with a handful of labels for wagons destined for Balmuckety but sadly they have long since gone astray. They showed a year-round traffic in draff used as animal feed, some from distilleries as far away as the Speyside line. Agricultural lime in and potatoes out were seasonal traffics. By the gate to the yard was the crossing keeper's two storey house (the last resident keeper was Andrew Pullar) and the crossing was of course the scene in 1946 of the dreadful smash when an evening passenger train hit an elderly and poorly maintained excursion bus heading home to Forfar which had crashed into the closed gates.

Though there are several large farms nearby, I rather think part of the value of Balmuckety was that there was easy road access from it to Kirrie's agricultural hinterland well to the north and east of the wee town and to some of the Angus glens. Given the difficult road access to the station at Kirrie and the fairly restricted yard space as shown in the postcard views, at busy times of the year Balmuckety have been a useful asset and would have been far busier than the sidings at Ballindarg and Kirriemuir Junction.

The Kirrie branch had the distinction of being served not only by CR and subsequently LMS freights, but also by NB/LNE freights though I am unsure whether foreign locos would have dealt with any of the traffic to and from the three public sidings. Everything was invoiced to Kirrie and I was once told that the NB/LNE office at Kirrie was in the small square hut at the buffer end of the passenger platform. This hut features in several views of the station.

Please let me know if I can offer you any other help with your project.

Bob Drummond

Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:15 pm
by John Duffy
Today is the anniversary of the Balmuckety accident. I thought these might be of interest;
67642065_2385369694882443_3085286570215866368_n.jpg (175.86 KiB) Viewed 7831 times
67390403_2385369788215767_2676113832018968576_n.jpg (256.32 KiB) Viewed 7831 times
67676611_2385369704882442_8992858470608797696_n.jpg (205.13 KiB) Viewed 7831 times

Re: Kirriemuir Branch Line

Posted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:21 am
by Malcolm
What a fantastic & useful thread with great photos! I have recently resumed building a 00 gauge model of Kirriemuir in my attic, which I have modified slightly & renamed 'Thrums' to allow some artistic licence. This project was started in the late 1980s then left derelict for decades (during a terrible marriage which eventually ended). Work is currently ongoing on tracklaying & ballasting, the station building has been part-constructed from card, & the mainly Caledonian kit stock is being repaired or constructed. I'm aiming for immediate post-Grouping period.